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The Elder Scrolls Online Preview Leak—Details Galore

Posted on May 4, 2012 AT 08:16am

A ton of Elder Scrolls Online details have appeared online after a preview leaked onto the Internet.

A PDF of Game Informer‘s preview has been making the rounds, and it appears that the game will play much differently than anything we’ve seen before in the series. The gameplay’s being tweaked to fit in with the MMO lag-ridden, balance-heavy landscape—real-time combat is gone, replaced by classes, levels, hotbars, and a third-person viewpoint. Werewolf and vampire forms are both out, as is mastering all skills. For you sandbox lovers, player housing’s also been kicked to the curb.

ESO‘s being developed by ZeniMax Online. Bethesda Game Studios, makers of the single-player outings, are helping with lore and geography but are keeping out of design decisions.

Three factions will be available, each with three playable races. There’s the northeastern Ebonheart Pact (nords, dark elves, argonians); the southerly Aldmeri Dominion (high elves, wood elves, khajiit); and the northwesterly Daggerfall Covenant (bretons, redguards, orcs).

The three factions will clash in Cyrodiil, where keeps, forts, and mines will be fought over in up to 100-vs.-100-vs.-100 battles. Siege weaponry will also be available. The ultimate goal is to take the imperial city for your faction’s emperor, the player who topped the contribution leaderboard during the battle. This, apparently, offers nothing more than bragging rights. The faction will then hold the city from invaders. This sounds very similar to Guild Wars 2‘s open-world PVP, which also involves three factions fighting over keeps and castles—and has proved very popular with players.

Stamina will be key to combat. It governs blocking, sprinting, interrupting, and breaking free of incapacitating effects. All weapon types will be able to block, with varying degrees of success. The game won’t include aggro, so enemies will attack all members of the group, rendering Tanks useless.

Groups will be made up of five players, and classes will be able to combine abilities. One such ability mentioned was that a mage can create a firestorm, and then a warrior can spin within it for extra damage. Phased questing will also be present.

Crafting will be included in the game, but no details were mentioned. Stealth and quick travel will also be in the game. Apparently, The Elder Scrolls Online will be fully voice acted, similar to the recently released Star Wars: The Old Republic. Finally, dragons are unlikely to make an appearance, sadly.

There’s a lot to take in here. It appears that ZeniMax has chosen to pick the best points from most major MMOs and incorporate them into ESO. You’ve got the epic three-way PVP areas of Guild Wars 2, the questing system of World of Warcraft, and the fully voiced cutscenes of Star Wars: The Old Republic. But the team still has a lot of work to do if they want to compete in this crowded market. The fanbase is already there, but there has to be a game worthy of the name behind it.

What do you make of all these new details? What stands out? Can the game actually compete against the biggest MMOs? Let us know your thoughts below.

Matthew Bennett, Associate Editor
Matthew Bennett finally got his big break with EGM three years ago, following years of volunteer work for various sites. An ability to go many hours without sleep and a quick wit make him ideal for his role as associate editor at He often thinks back to the days when the very idea of this career seemed like nothing but an impossible dream. Follow him on Twitter @mattyjb89. Meet the rest of the crew.

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