The Elder Scrolls Online Gameplay Demo: Multiplayer Skyrim
A live gameplay demo for The Elder Scrolls Online was presented at QuakeCon 2013, showcasing some of the game’s more salient features, which give it a “multiplayer Skyrim” vibe.
Creative Director Paul Sage walked viewers through the demo, which began with a display of the character creation options available, showcasing a good degree of visual customization.
Skyrim’s influences can already be felt in the slider interface, and continue to be seen in the UI and overall feel of the game. You crouch to become hidden; you swap between weapon sets with the press of a button; you can dual-wield weapons; any character can use any weapon or armor, regardless of class. The demo demonstrated the ability to swap between first- and third-person views, as well as a control scheme familiar to an FPS. Even Skyrim’s compass made it into the game, designating the direction to points of interest.
Sage pointed out that players well-versed in the Elder Scrolls series will recognize familiar landscapes, specifically mentioning Morrowind for this demo. Lore books can be found throughout the world and reward players for their exploration efforts.
Players will be able to join familiar factions, such as the Mage’s Guild and Fighter’s Guild, and can even become a vampire or a werewolf. In addition to the three different skill lines that all classes receive, joining a faction will unlock new skill lines that are picked up dynamically.
Sage stated that TESO is fully-voiced, and that players gain XP for discovering new things within the game world. A waypoint system will allow for fast-travel between locations.
As can be expected from any new MMO, TESO will have a Looking for Group feature, and once grouped, players can fast-travel to their group mates — or to a safe location nearby them, if they are in combat. Loot is instanced to each player, so there is no need to fight for the spoils of war.
Watch the stream VOD:
The majority of the demo showed four players running through a dungeon, which did not showcase anything particularly impressive. The design appeared linear, and the entirety of the experience amounted to killing groups of monsters. Sage highlighted the fact that the monsters demonstrate pack behavior and coordinated tactics, such as one enemy pouring oil on the floor and another igniting that oil, but from a spectator’s point of view, this didn’t seem to have a dramatic effect on the old “hit it until it dies” formula.
One thing that did appear original and noteworthy was that, upon killing a goblin leader — perhaps some form of boss or mini-boss — the players earned the loyalty of a small army of goblins. As the players progressed throughout the rest of the dungeon, the little critters followed along and helped defeat other monsters — or just served as cannon fodder.
Sage mentioned that when you die in a dungeon, you can resurrect on the spot if you have a Soul Gem; otherwise, you can restart at the dungeon entrance. There is penalty for death, and armor will degrade upon dying.
One aspect that went unmentioned — but that I noted — was that, despite Sage mentioning that the viewpoint player was fairly high level, there was only one hotbar on screen, with only eight abilities on it. Oddly enough, this may be the “feature” that most excites me about TESO — it won’t be “Hotbar Manager 2014.”
Sage ended the segment by saying that The Elder Scrolls Online will release sometime in Spring 2014.