My first foray into the Elder Scrolls series came in 2002 when I purchased Morrowind on the Xbox. I’ve always been a fan of RPG’s (especially sandbox ones) so when I got home from work (I was with EBGames at the time) I put in the disc and I haven’t stopped playing the series since.
When it was announced that there would be an Elder Scrolls MMO I was immediately interested (I won’t lie I may have cheered and danced a little jig). The release of the recent cinematic reinforced my excitement* (see below)
This is a franchise steeped in lore, possibly moreso than any other currently on the market. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as there are certain things that “have” to occur in the Elder Scrolls timeline which can make it difficult for creating a truly unique online experience for gamers. As with Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls Online is set at a time before the game we know and love. It is set approximately 800 years before Morrowind and 1000 years before Skyrim. This means that it is set in a well-established period of Elder Scrolls lore, but Tamriel is a big place and Bethesda has proven that they can deliver strong lore-based games before.
The game itself has been in development since 2007; meaning that Zenimax had five years of development prior to the announcement of the game. It also allowed them to work alongside the Skyrim team during development, helping to ensure that the world of Skyrim will translate into the Online medium smoothly. Indeed it appears that all of Tamriel will be open to players for the first time, allowing us to revisit many of our favourite locations such as Morrowind, Skyring and Cyrodiil.
In addition we will encounter a number of familiar enemies such as the Daedroth:
The Storyline of Elder Scrolls Online will encompass the struggles of three factions: The Daggerfall Covenant, the Ebonheart Pact, and the Aldmeri Dominion as they take up arms and fight for control of Cyrodiil, the Imperial City, and the throne of Tamriel. At the same time, the factions will be attempting to counter the machinations of the Daedric Prince Molag Bol. Zenimax currently plan to enforce race restrictions on each of the three factions, limiting the playable races for each one. Already there is a lot of pressure from the ESO community to remove this restriction, the primary argument being that it takes away from the freedom found in previous Elder Scrolls games for the player to largely decide who they fight for. It also severely limits the roleplaying options for those so inclined.
Personally, I hope they retain the restrictions – it is a simple fact of MMO gaming that races are commonly restricted to specific factions and given the basis of the storyline supplied so far by Zenimax and Bethesda it certainly fits with the lore we are dealing with.
So, there are the very basics of what we know so far about Elder Scrolls Online, so much more can be found on their website with their weekly Developer questions and a number of videos that easily explain the political situation and tensions that can be found in the game. I encourage anyone who is interested in the game to check it out.
You can also find out more about; and sign up for the beta here.