The Elder Scrolls series is known amongst the gaming community for having vast environments with towering mountains, snow covered tundras and terrifying dungeons, all inhabited by vibrant and brilliant characters.
As more and more news is released concerning the Elder Scrolls Online, it is apparent that developers ZeniMax Online Studios is not straying from a staple that has made the series so popular.
The upcoming MMO will not feel like the everyday online game many are used to playing. Much like in Skyrim and other installments of the series, every place a player can see that player can visit and travel to. The game is being designed to look, feel and handle like previous Elder Scrolls games but with the added element of an MMO.
Because nearly all of Tamriel will be accessible in this game, the developers have spent hours researching each aspect of Elder Scrolls lore to make sure the game not only maintains continuity storywise but also in appearance.
Items such as weaponry and armor will not just be random throughout the world, but look as if it naturally belongs there. Dungeons will fit into their environments as well, with enemies and items fitting in naturally rather then something just placed or lost there.
The addition of dungeons is also indication of a distraction based style of game. Games in the past have featured hundreds of side quests, as well as new places to adventure to and explore, that can keep players off the main stories for hours upon hours. ZeniMax Studios are working to keep this style of game play a reality in Elder Scrolls Online. Dungeons will be accessible to all players with rewards and enemies to be shared. A dungeon in Skyrim may be vastly different than a dungeon in High Rock, with a different outcome by venturing through. The MMO-installment to the series will not shy away from side quests and dungeons and keeps filled with glory to be had.
Skyrim featured dungeons with a lot of interactive elements built in. Whether it was the puzzle solving to get from one room to the next, the countless half libraries scattering the ruins or the abundance of embalming equipment, a character was able to interact with almost everything. This will remain true in Elder Scrolls Online as well.
Players will be able to interact with their environment in ways such as picking up a piece of bread, an apple or a plate. The player will be able to take and leave weapons much like in the past.
To do these things, the key strokes will be similar to those in Skyrim. The E button will be used as the activation key, while the mouse controls where a character looks and the WASD keys will move the player. While the camera is third person, it is able to be zoomed in or out and panned.
This utilization of the camera can give the Elder Scrolls Online the feel of a medieval FPS as well as making the environment just as much of a feature of the game as ones character. Being able to zoom out and see a Nordic warrior standing on a ledge with a backdrop of a city below is breath taking in every imaginable way. And, as mentioned above, ones ability to then travel to said city helps put the player into the world.
Seeing a city far off in the distance from a mountaintop and then being able to travel there is something Skyrim made an emphasis of. The upcoming MMO is working to keep in line with this ability.
All of these things show how immerse the Elder Scrolls Online environment really is and how a player is able to do and play however they would like.
But perhaps the strongest point to the advancement in the Elder Scrolls environment comes from the PvP zone, which happens to encompass the entire territory of Cyrodil.
While the PvP will be vastly different yet similar to other MMO’s in games, one feature that stands out is the ability to interact with the environment. Even during 100-on-100 battles, it is possible for either side to use a siege tower or weaponry to take out structural weak points on buildings throughout all of Cyrodil. These siege weapons allow even under-leveled participants the chance to make an impact during battles. Walls can be taken down, allowing combatants the ability to invade and overrun a keep or fort.
This feature adds an element never before seen in an Elder Scrolls game. Buildings have always been fixed points in previous installments, and though it is in the PvP zones, they can now be damaged and destroyed. This feature not only makes the environment a hazard to players, but also aids in the storytelling process. The destruction, even of a forts wall, shows the dangers and struggles of any wartime situation.
If used correctly, these siege weapons hold the ability to turn the tide of a battle in one sides favor.
While there is still quite a bit of time before the game is released, and more news is bound to come out about Elder Scrolls Online before then, the MMO looks like it may redefine not only the genre but the Elder Scrolls series as a whole.
With all of Tamriel up for grabs, the real question is what’s next?