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The Elder Scrolls

Elder Scrolls drops subs photo
Surprise, right? Guys, are you surprised?
When I reviewed The Elder Scrolls Online back at launch I thought it had potential, but not enough to keep people paying for subscription time. Plenty of MMOs have enjoyed a subscription-based model, and games like ...

Deals photo
Deals

GameStop Black Friday has a bunch of MMOs on sale


Prices so low, you'll scream
Nov 26
// Dealzon
Deals brought to you by the crew at Dealzon. FYI: sales from certain retailers go toward supporting Destructoid. Well, this came out of left field for us. GameStop just started up its digital PC Games Black Friday Sale. We're...
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I am not making this up, guys.
Okay, that's it. We're done. Skyrim is vanquished, and Ronnie James Dio can now mount his big clean tiger and ride it down into the midnight sea full of shiny diamonds like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue. Or somethin...

Skyrim photo
Skyrim

Ronnie James Dio kicks a little wagon around


We played a game some more!
Oct 09
// Max Scoville
Our ongoing look at what it would be like if the late heavy metal icon Ronnie James Dio continues his exploration of Skyrim. I like to think, in a decade or so, people will look back on this video series the same way they on that Ken Burns documentary about that thing that he did. 
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Spelunk-rim
Here's the fourth part of the idiotic Skyrim Let's Play series Bill and I have been doing. The hook is this: we're playing Skyrim, but our character KIND OF looks like Ronnie James Dio. So, we're talking about heavy meta...

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That raccoon is probably Dio's pet in the netherworld
Continuing our adventures through Skyrim; Max lays out the lengthy tale of what he did the day Dio died. Max's romp involved bottomless mimosas, a 40oz of malt liquor with a condom taped to it, and a deformed raccoon named 'Scary'. I don't really remember what I did that day. Probably listened to Dio.

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We've been down too long in the midnight sea
Max and I decided to start a playthrough of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as the late Ronnie James Dio, the heavy metal legend who had a music video that kinda looks like Skyrim. There's only one problem; Max can't remember any Dio lyrics correctly. It's okay though; we had good beer and bad tacos.

Skyrim promoted blog photo
Skyrim promoted blog

What Skyrim taught me about pushing my best friend off a mountain


Promoted from our Community Blogs!
Aug 16
// MeanderBot
[Dtoid community blogger and artist MeanderBot shares this wonderful story and comic from his time with Skyrim. (Check below for the full comic.) Want to see your own work appear on the front page? Go write something! --Mr An...
QuakeCon photo
QuakeCon

Dishonored is $4.99 in the yearly QuakeCon Steam sale


The Elder Scrolls Online is also making its Steam debut
Jul 17
// Alasdair Duncan
The horribly cynical part of me is wondering what's going to actually happen at this year's QuakeCon; now that John Carmack is gone from the company and Doom 4 still just exists as a trailer, is there much to look forward to?...
The Elder Scrolls Online photo
The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online is coming to Steam today


Announced at QuakeCon 2014
Jul 17
// Dale North
Announced at QuakeCon 2014 as a kick-off announcement, The Elder Scrolls Online is coming to Steam. Today. Both the Standard Edition and the Imperial Edition will be available for purchase later today.  It sounds like ev...
Elder Scrolls Online photo
Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online will revamp its Veteran Rank system soon


That's the max level content
Jul 10
// Chris Carter
Elder Scrolls Online is a good game in many ways, but it failed to meet my expectations in terms of a service worth subscribing to. ZeniMax is responding to some complaints by revamping its Veteran Rank content, which is aime...
Elder Scrolls photo
Elder Scrolls

That Elder Scrolls mod by way of Skyrim's engine is entering alpha soon


Yes!
Jul 07
// Chris Carter
Morrowind remains my favorite Elder Scrolls game, and soon, you'll get a chance to try it out by way of the Skyrim engine. A group of modders have been hard at work with the Skywind mod, which transforms the b...
ESO creation photo
ESO creation

The Onion spoofs character creation in this ESO video


'Create the muscular skeletal system that's right for you'
Jul 03
// Chris Carter
We're not quite at the point where we can customize individual organs and bones in a character creation screen, but The Onion humorously takes a look at a fictional Elder Scrolls Online system that does just that -- and...
Bethesda's Final Fantasy photo
Bethesda's Final Fantasy

Morrowind kept Bethesda from going out of business


Bethesda's Final Fantasy
Jun 06
// Steven Hansen
A lot of people think they do their best work with their back up against the wall. That's the narrative Bethesda's Todd Howard is going with. In an interview with GameStar, Howard talked about how Morrowind was basically the...
ESO photo
ESO

The Elder Scrolls Online gets its first major update


Craglorn
May 26
// Chris Carter
The Elder Scrolls Online is delivering new content in the form of "Update 1" -- the first big content update since its launch. It'll have a new storyline specifically designed for Veteran (max level) players, as well as new q...
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Mods

Oblivion is also coming to Skyrim thanks to modders


Skyblivion
May 16
// Jordan Devore
The folks doing impressive work over at The Elder Scrolls Renewal Project aren't merely bringing the content of Morrowind into Skyrim with Skywind -- they're also giving Oblivion (and its DLC) the same treatment with a proje...
Skyrim photo
Skyrim

Glean some interesting facts about Skyrim from this Did You Know Gaming? video


You know, aside from the lyrics to the main theme
May 13
// Brittany Vincent
I don't watch too many YouTube video series, but I quite enjoy some of the facts Did You Know Gaming? serves up. Sometimes I actually walk away having learned a little something. I ended up liking the latest entry to the DYK...

Review: The Elder Scrolls Online

May 09 // Chris Carter
The Elder Scrolls Online (Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4, Xbox One)Developer: ZeniMax Online StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease: April 4, 2014 (Mac, PC) / June 2014 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)MSRP: $59.99 ($14.99 subscription fee, with 30 days included in base game)  My experience with ESO started off very promising. Its early game is one of the best in MMO history, because it establishes a clear-cut goal, enemy, world, and cast of characters to actually care about (if only marginally, although I'm a big fan of Michael Gambon's performance as The Prophet). Every five levels or so you'll acquire more story quests that draw you further into the game's core storyline, and all things considered the writing is about on par with the rest of the series. Combat is also well done, and the absence of an auto-attack is no doubt polarizing to some, especially in an MMO. But in first-person, it really feels like an Elder Scrolls combat system. Hits have an impact, and there's a lot of strategic choices involved, including dodging, blocking, counter-attacking, and choosing the right ability for the job. The leveling system is also more open-ended than most, and I really enjoyed experimenting with pretty much every type of build my heart desired. Instead of leveling the exact same way as someone else, I could instead choose to be completely and utterly different, and it was rare when I saw another player with the same skill choices as me, if ever. It's a weird mix of a traditional Elder Scrolls game and the MMO genre, but it worked, and most of the solo-instance dungeons are fine because hey -- it was acclimating you to the game and its world, which is totally understandable. [embed]273921:53826:0[/embed] Quests though, are very vanilla, to be frank. Although there is the occasional spooky ghost and interesting monarch that actually dole out said tasks, most of them are "kill this enemy," or "deliver this item." I'm talking hundreds of them, and they comprise the vast majority of the roughly 150-hour quest from level one to 50. You'll also have to compete occasionally with other players when hunting down objectives. As someone who grew up with the MMO genre and is used to immersion-breaking quests where multiple people are hacking away at a major enemy, it doesn't really bother me much. For those of you expecting a 100% Elder Scrolls experience though, it will feel jarring and foreign. When I said it was a "weird mix" of multiple genres, I mean it. Dungeons are also very well designed by a team that knows how to handle them. Right from the get-go dungeons aren't just boring fodder to run because you need to run them -- you'll actually have to pay attention and adapt to enemy and boss strategies. Dungeons also tend to have massive amounts of enemies pull at one time, preventing tanks from just picking up one or two in the lot. As I mentioned previously though, the dungeon finder tool needs a complete overhaul, as it's utterly useless at the moment and unreliable. There's also no incentive for anyone else to go back and do them, so you could be waiting hours to find a queue. That's not the chief problem I had with the leveling process, though. My biggest disappointment with ESO is how much of a slog mid-game became. For the first 20 levels or so, it's smooth sailing with a number of dungeons to work through, environments to explore, and plenty of quests to grab. But once you start completing more and more and work your way up to level 25, you'll find yourself running into a cap of sorts, where things not only start to feel like a grind, but it actually becomes one. One of the things that contributes to this feeling are the pitiful world events.  Mainly in the form of Dark Anchors, these events are similar to Rifts in the MMO Rift (and FATEs in Final Fantasy XIV), but a lot less fun and rewarding. Since the party/group tool is so bare-bones, you'll have to resort to shouting across world channels to assemble a posse, and once you actually win, you might get a marginally better item if you're lucky. Whereas other MMOs have options if you aren't into questing all of the time, The Elder Scrolls Online's XP choices are rather slim in terms of actual returns. It constantly funnels you into questing to a fault. Crafting is great in theory (both the rewards and the process are quite fun), but the game really needs an Auction House at some point in time. ZeniMax has gone on record telling fans to go to a third-party website to establish trades instead of an in-game solution, which is pretty absurd. There are Guild Stores and a few options in terms of hitting up chat, but the response from ZeniMax regarding trading has been disappointing so far. Once you reach the level cap, things pick up in some ways, but in others, they drag on just as much as mid-game. At level 50, you'll reach the "Veteran Rank," which allows you to further rank up past 50 -- basically a new maximum level cap within the cap. It's almost like a prestige mode in a first-person shooter, with all of the rewards and shortcomings that come along with it.  You'll be running on a new XP system, earning "Master Points" by way of Master Dungeons, PVP, adventure zones, and otherworld content. At the moment, Veteran content is fairly slim. You can venture into the other two factions that you didn't choose and start working your way to the new cap, but it feels very grindy, and since a lot of the quests mirror the ones in your own faction, there's not much incentive to keep going. Craglorn is the first major update coming, adding a new zone for Veteran Rank characters, as well as two 12-person dungeons -- but right now I don't see hardcore fans sticking around for much more than a month after they've mastered everything. It's admirable that ZeniMax does have a plan, and on paper the Veteran system is pretty incredible, but it needs content sooner than later. PVP is hit or miss depending on how well your team decides to work together, but the developers don't reward you enough to entice you into playing until you're at Veteran Rank. Often times when people aren't using teamwork on a particular server you can't get anything done, and the world PVP zone of Cyrodiil is too big if the fight is underpopulated. In other words, it just feels like roaming around a big, empty world. Another cool thing about endgame is that if you actually persist with Skyshards (items you can find hidden in the world that grant skill points), you can get practically any skill you could possibly want. Rather than re-roll or even re-level a character in some MMOs, one skill-heavy character is capable of more gameplay variety than most -- again, if you can put up with the leveling slog and justify the subscription fee. I think right now, the most prudent thing to do is to wait for ZeniMax to iron out all of The Elder Scrolls Online's kinks (including how it handles post level 50 content to make it less grindy), and play the console version of the game. Not only will it arrive with all of the updates from the PC version in tow, but it'll also have full native controller support -- which feels more natural than a mouse and keyboard in this instance. Personally as an MMO player, I think I'm mostly going to be putting my time in the near future into Final Fantasy XIV and WildStar until that happens.
ESO reviewed photo
In some ways, it's elder alright
It's been a long month in The Elder Scrolls Online, full of ups and downs. At first, ESO wowed me unlike essentially any other MMO before it. Similar to Lord of the Rings Online but with much more bravado, the openi...

ESO photo
ESO

The Elder Scrolls Online delayed six months on consoles


Official FAQ was updated, then pulled
May 08
// Chris Carter
[Update: ZeniMax has responded to the situation, confirming the delay. Players will be able to transfer their characters to the console versions for free, and eligible PC players can buy the PS4 or Xbox One version for a...
ZeniMax photo
ZeniMax

ZeniMax gives out an extra five days of gametime for The Elder Scrolls Online


As a thank you for dealing with gold spammers and bugs
May 02
// Chris Carter
It's been about four weeks since The Elder Scrolls Online launched, so we've reached that fated point in any subscription based MMO's life -- the date where everyone who got their first month free now has to choose ...
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It should have come with a barf bag
Bill and Max unravel the mysteries of the Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Edition. What slumbers inside the gilded box could never have been imagined... or wanted.

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Mods

The mod that's bringing Morrowind into Skyrim is coming along nicely


The best-looking Elder Scrolls project right now
Apr 18
// Jordan Devore
Devise a lofty goal for fans to work toward and they'll come together to create something truly remarkable. This is Skywind, an in-progress mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that intends to bring the content of Morrowind i...
Elder Scrolls Online photo
Elder Scrolls Online

ZeniMax confusingly endorses an online forum to support trading in Elder Scrolls Online


It's not in-game
Apr 14
// Chris Carter
As I've mentioned in my review in progress for The Elder Scrolls Online, the game did not ship with an Auction House -- a system in place in nearly every MMO that allows players to conveniently buy and sell goods within the g...

Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access and Launch)

Apr 04 // Chris Carter
The Elder Scrolls Online (Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4, Xbox One)Developer: ZeniMax Online StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease: April 4, 2014 (Mac, PC) / June 2014 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)MSRP: $59.99 ($14.99 subscription fee, with 30 days included in base game)  Before you start to consider ESO, it's important that you understand how classes work. Currently you have the option to spring for four distinct choices: Dragonknight, Templar, Sorcerer, and Nightblade. Even though you could easily match these up as Warrior, Restoration Paladin, Mage, and Rogue respectively if we're using World of Warcraft comparisons, the way ZeniMax has structured the game is more like a mix of tradition MMOs and Elder Scrolls sensibilities. Like any entry in the franchise, even if you're a damage-centric class, you can still pick up a healing staff, equip it, and earn a whole new skillset of restoration abilities -- allowing you to use spells of the same type. You can also throw on some light, medium, or heavy armor at any time, and put skill points into either of the three trees to boost your effectiveness with each type. In theory, you could make a Dragonknight that's formidable with a two-handed weapon, heavy armor, a healing staff, and light armor. Racial skills, faction skills, and guild skills add yet another layer of depth on top of that, making this one of the most detailed MMOs I've ever seen in terms of the customization of abilities and powers. Sometimes I'd just sit and stare in awe at the skill-up menu, wondering what to put my points into. And speaking of points, they're extremely plentiful as finding three "skyshards" on the world map will net you one, and major quests as well as level-ups also net you one each. [embed]272686:53268:0[/embed] While ZeniMax admirably trumps the Tank, Healer, and DPS triumvirate (that's either blessed or plagued MMOs based on your perspective), the fact of the matter is it still exists. Even for low-level dungeons you'll have the option to queue up in the group finder as "tank, healer, and DPS," and all four player parties will still need to follow the trinity in some fashion. So while it does offer up new options similar to A Realm Reborn's class-switching system, it's not that revolutionary or deep. The true test of ZeniMax's vision will be with Veteran content, once people start working their way up to the maximum level cap of 50. Combat is a bit more pared down from most MMOs, which fits the general Elder Scrolls design that's been employed in more recent entries. Your skillbar can fit five abilities at a time, including a sixth slot for an "ultimate" -- a powerful skill that you'll have to slowly boost during fights for periodic use. While your general pool can surmount to over 50 skills in total, you can only employ six of them at a time -- effectively forcing you to create your own "builds" at any given time. The good news is that pretty much everything is balanced, so you don't really need to worry about "wasting points" or going for a cookie-cutter build. I'm sure as time goes on people will craft leveling guides and standard builds, but for now I feel like everything I pick up is worth it in some way, which is a good feeling. Once you hit level 15 you can also queue up two builds to switch off between at the touch of a button, which is convenient. A full first-person mode on top of all this adds another layer to combat, and I've stayed in first-person for roughly 90 percent of my time with the game. Quests (read: the vast majority of the game) are a double-edged sword though. One one hand, there's lots of lore built in here. Fans will love to see big namedrops, lots of backstories on their favorite races and factions, and I know more than a few of you will be excited to step foot in some of your favorite locations. ZeniMax has really stayed true to the core series, and they've filled the game's world to the brim with tiny tidbits that add to the world. You'll be able to find lorebooks in the world, fight alongside famous characters, and embark on a few epic quests that feel right out of a mainstead Elder Scrolls game. But on the other hand, the quests themselves are still standard MMO fare, which will no doubt turn off those who aren't already accustomed to the genre. The fact of the matter is the leveling process is slow, likely designed to keep you playing for long periods of time to accrue more subscription payments. The good news is there's tons of content there for you to engage in, as nearly every zone has around 100 quests to mess around with. For ZeniMax's first MMO, it's crazy how much they've packed into the world. But still, you really can't avoid the fact that around half of those are "go here, kill this enemy, or fetch this item" quests that have no real bearing on anything. There's nothing worse than grabbing five boring quests in an area, and fighting with other players to grab the limited amount of objectives. It's not only silly to see tons of people jumping around and warring over inconsequential things, but it's also frustrating, and can sometimes impede progress. Phasing (which basically puts players in different "instances" of the open world) helps, but sometimes an area can get so crowded that I've actually abandoned a quest. What's odd is that ZeniMax has designed a great deal of quests with phasing in mind (where players can all "grab" the same item or objective without it disappearing), but a heap of them utilize limited-use objects, forcing you to wait around until a quest piece respawns. There are a lot of great quests in the game overall though, and I really think ZeniMax has achieved the perfect balance of writing and voice acting. Whereas The Old Republic wasted millions on full voice acting, ESO only uses it when it needs too -- namely on story-related quests every five levels or so, or on major questlines. The game has a lot of voice acting in general, but for the most part these roles are relegated to industry veterans like Steve Blum and Jennifer Hale -- leaving only a few characters to the likes of Hollywood, most notably Harry Potter's Dumbledore himself, Michael Gambon (who does a fine job). Actors like Bill Nighy, Kate Beckinsale, and Alfred Molina are also peppered in for good measure, and only where it counts. As a side note, John Cleese has been heavily promoted for the game, but he's barely in it. Right now ESO also has the tried-and-true Fighter's and Mage's guild, which both have their own massive questline in addition to the main campaign. Sadly, there's no Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood at this time, but ZeniMax already has plans to add more guilds and major factions to the game. While I really enjoy the core quests, there really could be more meaningful factions to even out all of the fetch and kill quests, so these can't come soon enough. Speaking of menial quests, ESO has a rather odd experience curve that I started to notice around level 15. Simply put, dungeons barely give any experience outside of the first story chain-related clear, and earning XP through PVP is extremely difficult because of the requirement to assemble a group to really complete most of the quests. So basically that leaves you at the mercy of completing world quests, and I found myself running out of them with no real alternative. Most MMOs provide a substantial XP bonus for dungeons (thus ensuring you never hit a wall), and A Realm Reborn even goes so far as to offer repeatable quests (Levequests), bonus rested XP, a heap of grouping tools, and a fair amount of experience from standard mobs -- ESO has no such consolation. Make no mistake: it will take you a long time to level, even if you're powering through it. In terms of mechanics, there are lots of little things missing that I take for granted in other MMOs, and eventually, it adds up to some amount of frustration. For instance, there's no real minimap, and players are at the mercy of the "compass," situated on the top of the screen. Remember how in Elder Scrolls games you're generally flicking through a map to see where stuff is? Well imagine doing that in an MMO -- constantly. The user interface is also minimal, which is a refreshing change of pace from most genre staples, but in some cases, it's too minimal, as the XP bar doesn't display any details, and health, mana, and stamina bars disappear constantly without exact values. There's also no way to mark target orders in dungeons. These are all things that should come standard in an MMO in 2014. If the community is there, mod support will help ease the pain, but you can't guarantee that. For what it's worth, two of the biggest mods out right now alleviate the two aforementioned UI woes. One of the major shortcomings is the weak dungeon finder tool. In most modern MMOs, you can open up a menu and automatically queue up for any dungeon you'd like. That feature is in Elder Scrolls Online, but it's so bare-bones that it resembles something an MMO would have had nearly a decade ago. Whereas the standard is to use matchmaking to prepare a group, bring up a prompt, and drop you in a dungeon, ESO simply puts you in an available party where you're standing with no fanfare or bells and whistles. This creates a certain degree of entropy, as players often have no idea what instance they even queued for or what their role is, and drop out of the group constantly. I hope ZeniMax eventually updates this tool so it's actually useful in the future. Once you're finally in a dungeon though the fun starts. In addition to the two level 12-15 instances I played earlier this week I also had a chance to check out a few more, including several level 20 areas. It's very clear that ZeniMax is educated on the genre (Matt Firor of Dark Age of Camelot fame is legendary), and pretty much every pull is enjoyable in some way -- this goes double for the boss fights. Early fights are generally tank-and-spank fights with adds (a lack of multi-phase on-the-fly strategic change-ups, sometimes with additional creatures to handle and clear out), but they're fun, and often mix things up with interesting mechanics. For example, one boss channels an ability that makes one party member a bomb, forcing them to run away to mitigate damage before it detonates. Another creates tons of tiny crabs that fill the battlefield that need to be taken care of with AOE (area-of-effect) spells or abilities. While none of these encounters are rocket science for MMO fans, they're still engaging, and the dungeons themselves are well designed and beautiful to look at. I'm very excited in seeing what Veteran dungeons and raids look like if these early instances are indicative of what's to come. In terms of the overall server quality, ESO is one of the smoothest launches in MMO history. Not only did ZeniMax employ a "megaserver" solution to allow everyone to play on the same realm, but I also haven't had more than one disconnect -- which was the result of a service patch during the Early Access week period. While there are a few bugs still present during some quests, a lot of them have been squashed by a major update two days ago. It's nice to see ZeniMax staying on top of things. I see a lot of promise in Elder Scrolls Online. But right now, I wouldn't recommend the game for newcomers to the genre, or those of you who don't really care about the Elder Scrolls lore in general. But for the people that do meet that criteria -- I think you'll have a ton of fun experimenting with builds, roaming around the world looking for skystones and other secrets, and fighting through the game's challenging and well-designed dungeons. Stay tuned in the future as we stick with the game and see if it has staying power.
Elder Scrolls review photo
The first 20 levels
[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.] I've been hard at work playing Elder Scrolls Online this week...

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Check out the latest cinematic trailer too
The Elder Scrolls Online is officially available today for the masses on the PC and Mac. To celebrate, Bethesda has released another badass cinematic trailer, titled The Siege. Along with this trailer comes a neat little inf...

Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access)

Mar 31 // Chris Carter
The Elder Scrolls Online (Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4, Xbox One)Developer: ZeniMax Online StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease: April 4, 2014 (Mac, PC) / June 2014 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)MSRP: $59.99 ($14.99 subscription fee, with 30 days included in base game)  As of right now, I have a level 12 Imperial Dragonknight after roughly 14 hours of play. To break down my character, the Imperial race abilities supplement sword and shield setups, and the Dragonknight class operates as a melee attacker of sorts, with the ability to go DPS (damage) or Tank as you see fit. Before I begin though, it's important to realize one thing -- you can only select the Imperial race by purchasing the Collector's Edition, thus locking out a hefty piece of content for standard subscribers. I understand that ZeniMax wants to sell some sort of premium add-on, but MMOs typically go the route of cosmetic items and extra pets (which are already offered) -- not something that directly impacts gameplay. I sincerely hope they open up Imperial creation to everyone very soon. With that out of the way, the Dragonknight class is actually pretty fun, as it's a mix of both a warrior and mage class in standard RPGs. You'll have the power to get in close and wreck shop with a weapon of your choice, but you'll also have a number of magical abilities at your disposal like molten-hot chains that drag your enemy towards you (think Mortal Kombat's Scorpion), enchantment powers, and stun/root spells. [embed]272638:53198:0[/embed] Combat as a whole feels more active than most MMOs -- but at a price. While I was engaging in particularly tough questlines or dungeons (more on those later), everything just clicked. I wasn't just wailing my left mouse button to attack on a constant basis -- I had to choose my skills effectively, move around, and adapt. It was a refreshing change from most MMOs where you stand in one spot and auto-attack while you cycle through your rotation. But fighting easy enemies and questing throughout the world does feel repetitive by comparison, because all you really need to do is just hack and slash away with very little thought. Elder Scrolls fans will probably be fine with it, but those of you who get bored easily won't be pleased -- in other words, ESO does not transcend the genre by any means. You're able to use the first-person perspective throughout the entire game, which is a much needed and welcome addition since it makes the game feel very different when compared to most MMOs -- having said that, the rest of the game is standard fare, to the point where I wouldn't recommend it to those of you who haven't already played or enjoyed an MMO. I joined the The Ebonheart Pact, which basically means my early-game zones take place in Morrowind (I couldn't resist). The Aldmeri and Daggerfall factions start you off in the Summerset Isles and High Rock, respectively -- places any Elder Scrolls fan will recognize. But to a non-fan, it looks like a standard fantasy rendition, with very little discernible landmarks in tow. While I was entertained by the constant name-dropping of characters such as Vivec and the like, a lot of people simply won't care. The game basically has a mix of Guild Wars and old-school MMO sensibility for questing -- and while the systems in place aren't as complex as the former, the quest system is well designed for the most part. Grouping isn't necessary for completing most objectives, and I found myself grouping by proxy on many occasions -- which were often the most fun experiences I had. It really feels like the multiplayer Elder Scrolls game we've always wanted when you play in first-person despite the mundane nature of many of the quests. That feeling came to a head when I played my first two dungeons (available at level 11): the Fungal Grotto and Spindleclutch. These are filled with group encounters and boss fights are a far beyond anything the franchise has ever seen before, and are extremely satisfying to run through, especially with a group that's willing to work in tandem. If your passion is getting together with fellow players and figuring out brand new strategies and bosses, The Elder Scrolls Online has delivered so far -- I just hope it can keep things rolling with mid- and end-game content. I should also note that the community is very welcoming and helpful in general -- especially those who use the looking-for-group function to team up for dungeons. It's a stark contrast to some of the experiences I've encountered in other MMOs. I've only come across a few bugs so far -- a far cry from the typical Bethesda release, and impressive for an MMO in general. The major one I ran into temporarily impeded the progress of a major story quest, involving the demonic Balreth boss encounter. To solve the issue of a particular part of the quest not working, I logged out, then back in, didn't loot the boss, and everything was good to go. Another bug I ran into was the fact that my horse mount dismounted every so often after a jump -- almost like some bits and pieces of zones are marked as "non mount zones" -- but it's a minor inconvenience at worst. There are a few blemishes, however, that veteran MMO players will notice. Right now, there is no player housing, no auction house, no minimap (the series standard top-loaded compass is intact, but mostly inefficient), and no controller support. Thankfully there is mod support, which is the saving grace of ESO in a lot of ways when it comes to modern conveniences. Modders have already created a minimap and other features for the developers, which is good news for players. At this time, I can safely recommend The Elder Scrolls Online to people who are both fans of traditional MMOs and Elder Scrolls in general -- everyone else should probably pick it up on a sale or wait and see how the subscription fee system fares. Stay tuned as we cover The Elder Scrolls Online throughout the launch -- next on Friday evening after testing out roughly a week of the live environment and the launch-day festivities (or wait queues).
Elder Scrolls Online photo
Our first 24 hours in Tamriel
[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.] In many ways ZeniMax is fighting an uphill battle with Elder Scrolls Online....

ESO photo
ESO

The Elder Scrolls Online launches today for Early Access folk


It's pretty stable so far
Mar 30
// Chris Carter
The Elder Scrolls Online officially launches today by way of the Early Access program for select pre-orders. Specifically, it kicked off at 7AM EST this morning, and I was there to test out the soft launch and see how Zenimax...
Elder Scrolls Online beta photo
If you already redeemed a key last time, no need to reapply
[Update: Beta weekend over! Hope you had fun.] Bethesda is kicking off another massive beta weekend today for their upcoming MMO The Elder Scrolls Online, and we've got a bunch of codes to hand out to lucky Dtoiders! The beta...

Elder Scrolls Online keys photo
Play the game all weekend long
Update! Non-Huge members can now get in on this action. Click here to snag your beta keys before they're all gone! Our friends at Bethesda are kicking off a massive beta weekend this Friday for their upcoming MMO The Elder Sc...

Elder Scrolls Online photo
Elder Scrolls Online

Stop & smelt the flowers: Elder Scrolls Online blacksmith


'Oh man, there are a lot of flowers to pick up'
Feb 21
// Steven Hansen
The Elder Scrolls Online looks to be rewarding players who want to put effort into crafting. The keen eye ability will highlight scroungable resources so you don't miss precious elements. Or flowers. You can even gain enough...

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