Beginners Guide To The Elder Scrolls Online

Written by Katie Allen on Sun, Dec 15, 2013 9:10 AM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

The launch date for The Elder Scrolls Online was finally announced this week, and we now know that gamers will be able to get their paws on the MMO from 4th April 2014.

You might be wondering why, since the last weekend Beta of Elder Scrolls Online was now several weeks ago, there are still so few official previews of The Elder Scrolls Online beta to be read anywhere. You can thank ZeniMax media for that; restrictions placed on the beta meant that participants weren’t even allowed to say they took part, never mind give details about it. But whilst information about the gameplay might be heavily restricted, there is still plenty a would-be ESO player can, and should, know about the game, and we’ve collected it for you in one handy space…

Setting

The Elder Scrolls Online takes place around 1000 years before Skyrim (800 years before The Elder Scrolls III and The Elder Scrolls IV). If there was one thing to be said about Skyrim, it was that it was huge. Vast, in fact. And whilst we don’t yet know the depths to which the Elder Scrolls Online will take us in it’s map, it’s certainly bigger in terms of sheer geography than the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In fact, it will be the first time since the original 1994 Elder Scrolls I: Arena that gamers will have access to all regions of Tamriel. We don’t know yet how expansive these will be, or whether subsequent expansion packs will be used to bulk out the less central regions in terms of size and content.

Story

The world of Tamriel is in strife due to there being no central ruler. The Imperials form their own alliance with the Tharn family and the High Elf Necromancer Mannimarco. However, Mannimarco is in fact in league with the evil Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Coldharbour, who intends to use his evil magic to weaken the barriers between Nirn and Oblivion and turn them into a single, nightmarish world.

In the midst of this, three factions form in an attempt to gain control of the White-Gold Tower in the Imperial City and vie for power in Cyrodiil. The Aldmeri Dominion (Khajiit, Wood Elves and High Elves), the Daggerfall Covenant (Bretons, Orcs and Redguards), and the Ebonheart Pact (Nords, Dark Elves, and Argonians) begin to fight both the Empire and each other to try and take back the White-Gold Tower from Oblivion’s forces, and choosing which of these alliances you wish to join will be one of the first things you do upon entering the Elder Scrolls Online.

Combat Mechanic

Long-time fans of the Elder Scrolls franchise will be pleased to note that, rather than abandoning its history for a new, more traditional MMO style of combat, the mechanic has stayed faithful to older Elder Scrolls games. Like Skyrim, the game can be played either in first or third person, and pre-beta demo impressions certainly suggest that the fighting in this MMO will be more analogous to Skyrim than anything else (see below). As well as being three factions and nine races to choose from, players will also choose a class. Dragon Knights use martial arts and physically altering or destructive magic; Sorcerer control weather and are able to use summons, Nightblades are quick, and reliant on stealth, whilst Templars are healing, and can restore health, magicka and stamina.

There’s no limitation in the Elder Scrolls Online as to which weapons and armour you can equip; any character can equip any armour, weapons or item they choose, regardless of which class they choose.

PvP play in huge, and involves fighting alongside your alliance. You can join in on PvP action once you get to level ten in the game, and PvP in The Elder Scrolls Online is level scaled. This means your combat efficacy will be temporarily increased during PvP so that lower level players can join in the several hundred person battles alongside high level players.

Demo Gameplay Impressions

We recently got a chance to have some hands-on time with The Elder Scrolls Online back at the Eurogamer Expo in September. The Elder Scrolls Online essentially plays exactly how you would expect it to, it's like Skyrim fused with a modem, and out pops this hugely addictive offspring.

The essential gameplay remains familiar to the series, particularly in regards to combat, but it does of course have to bring in some MMORPG tropes. It hasn’t gone down the generic MMO route like The Old Republic, while it also hasn’t gone to the counter-position, a large-scale RPG with multiplayer elements. It feels like a battle between these two opposing elements as each game type has to make sacrifices to work as an Elder Scrolls game.

Attacking enemies is very much done in the MMOG way, you can't dodge their attacks, so it becomes very much focused on skills-based rather than skill-based combat.

The demo area that we got to have a mooch around in was the Bleakrock Village area, and it certainly looked very much like Skyrim. What was pleasing to us though was the involved nature of the quests, they clearly take their cues from the single-player games, focusing on a decent narrative rather than rat-slaying in a tavern basement.

One aspect that looked noticeably better was the notoriously ropey third-person animation of the player character, with the shift over to an MMO it became increasingly important for ZeniMax to get the genre’s traditional third-person viewpoint all present and correct. That’s not to say the series mainstay, the first-person viewpoint, has been left out in the shade. First person is all fully animated as with the traditional iterations of the series, you can see your entire character model and the currently held weapon.

The Elder Scrolls Online certainly looks like it has potential but it's surely far too early to say whether it can live up to it. It will certainly have a rather large weight on its shoulders, many Elder Scrolls fans would undoubtedly have preferred a preferred a single-player focused sequel to Skyrim, and Bethesda may need to work a little harder to win them over, and justify that subscription fee.

System Requirements

During the demo session we got a chance to have a chat with some of the development team about what sort of system requirements you would be looking at to run this game. The rigs we were playing on were pretty meaty, running on GTX 660s and 8gb of RAM, coupled with a 3Ghz i5 processor, and the game ran buttery smooth, no matter what was going on screen.

Bethesda are promising that any PC bought in the last five years should be capable of running this game to a decent standard; you should be looking at the Geforce 200 series and above to get it ticking over nicely. Back at Eurogamer, the developers were still considering 300 player missions, although more recent information suggests this will be more in the range of 200, which is nonetheless still fairly hefty.

Getting involved in a raid on the sort of scale we’ve seen in recent trailers is sure to test any rig, so it remains to be seen how this side of the game will handle. Graphically the title is very comparable to Skyrim; although we didn’t get to see a huge chunk of the world or many expansive vistas, as the demo section we played was set in a singular area.

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The Elder Scrolls Online will be released on PC on 4th April 2014, with the console versions of the title available somewhat later for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, although there is no confirmed release date on these platforms as of yet.

Are you excited for The Elder Scrolls Online? Do you think it's looking as if ZeniMax will be able to justify the monthly subscription for this game, or would you rather see more single player Elder Scrolls in the vein of Skyrim?

 

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19:43 Jan-28-2014

Seriously too many people complaining about a subscription based game....they've been out for a while now....I'm sure half of you played WoW or you spend that much money on fast food every couple of days...

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03:01 Jan-20-2014

After playing recent beta, game isn't that impressive, much better MMO already out, offering better payment plan. All this game has is it's name going for it

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05:39 Jan-13-2014

Im actually pretty excited for this game! I do enjoy my MMO's. EQ1 back in the day then WoW, break and WoW again so I really hope this game lives up to my expectations. I always thought Elder Scrolls would make an amazing MMO!

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16:13 Jan-12-2014

Ah man would have gotten it in a flash if not for that monthly subscription thing..:(

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15:54 Jan-11-2014

Still can't get over their stupid payment method smh -___-

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00:05 Jan-11-2014

As a quick warning this game is very mediocre and feels very much like most other MMOs and really just provides fan service. From my experience in the beta I am going to give this game a miss.

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23:15 Jan-09-2014

Is this going to preclude future single-player ES games like Skrim? If so, then I am not OK with it.

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09:10 Jan-11-2014

If you mean "Is this like Elder Scrolls 6?" Then no, this is a spin off. Though I bet Bethesda will add references to this story in Elder Scrolls 6 anyway :(

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14:37 Jan-13-2014

Ha! They probably will. We'll be reading about the story in half the in-game books we steal off shelves in ES 6! I'll just sell them all to buy a new helmet.

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14:01 Jan-09-2014

Pay 80$ to get the CD! Then you can pay $9/15 every month so that you could pay for the microtransactions ingame! Isn't that awesome?!

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18:18 Jan-09-2014

Yeah so damn awesome that i skip this one.

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19:13 Jan-09-2014

Yeah! In fact, the price might be too low for some of us to be buying this cause we are too worried Zenimax will suffer heavy economical losses if too many people actually buy it at THIS LOW PRICE -_-

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08:54 Jan-09-2014

I've got a beta invitation so I surely will be installing this tomorrow :D

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02:54 Jan-09-2014

I've been in the beta and I hate to say it but I will not be getting this game. It's too much like other MMO's and the game itself isn't being made by BETHESDA. Bethesda really should have done this by themselves. The combat is terrible and the game isn't elder scrolls.

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00:01 Jan-09-2014

from the beta i played it was really bad i thought the combat killed it cause the ai would hit like one person while everyone else hit him from every direction and to me there are next to no mmo's that have even a bareable combat system tera is the only one cause im dodging attacks and the combat actually is like a good games i dont think bad combat should be thought of as okay just because it is average for an mmo to have bad combat

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22:52 Jan-08-2014

The fact they force you into stupid barely lore believable factions kills it for me...was it too much to be a Fighter's Guild member solely?

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13:34 Dec-16-2013

private servers! private servers!

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01:23 Dec-16-2013

As long as the game still has 9$/month charges,i will not play it.

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02:29 Dec-16-2013

We think alike

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22:55 Jan-08-2014

Very few MMOs are worth the monthly sub, subs keep trash out and promote more content. TESO however is so consolized it should just be a b2p.

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09:44 Jan-09-2014

I dont think anyone will play if they have to pay monthly

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09:54 Jan-09-2014

oh you don't know people.

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11:42 Jan-12-2014

I'm very excited. I just hope 4gb of RAM is enough for this...

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00:45 Dec-16-2013

I know it was only a beta but after playing it a couple of days my adventure ended when I opened a dungeon that crashed every time it was loaded up. Everything was gone, and the end of the beta for me. Thing was that I didn't care. For me the game was boring and a chore. Big cities and streets that looked like old early 2000 FPS shooter levels. Worst part was that you were herded through your "adventure". Didn't even want to restart. So sad. IMO

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17:46 Dec-15-2013

My wife and I look forward to playing this game together.

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18:28 Dec-15-2013

Kinda romantic...

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21:06 Dec-15-2013

lol, its nice when video game time and quality time are one and the same.

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15:07 Dec-15-2013

I heard there is a monthly fee so I am not getting this.

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12:01 Dec-15-2013

So...would even a GT210 run this smoothly?

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12:23 Dec-15-2013

i dont think it will be able to run this

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18:29 Dec-15-2013

Even if the 210 does run this, frame rates will be too damn low to be considered playable...

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11:16 Dec-15-2013

what settings/fps for my rig?

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11:38 Dec-15-2013

how would anyone know? :D

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18:01 Dec-15-2013

id say most likely medium with a bit of high no AA

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| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Xeon E3-1230 GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Gigabyte G1 Gaming 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-3470 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Gigabyte G1 Gaming 4GB 12GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Core i3-10100E 4-Core 3.20GHz GeForce GTX 750 Ti Asus OC 2GB Edition 16GB
Ryzen 5 3500X 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB 16GB
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Ryzen 5 3500X 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1440p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Asus Dual OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]
| High, 1080p
Core i5-10400 6-Core 2.90GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Core i7-10700K 8-Core 3.8GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Phenom II X6 1100T GeForce GTX 1050 EVGA Gaming 2GB 8GB
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-8400 6-Core 2.8GHz GeForce GTX 1050 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Core i5-4460 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Gigabyte OC 4GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB