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.

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8 Comments on The Elder Scrolls Online Gameplay Demo: Multiplayer Skyrim

Huntsman06

On August 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm

The feature of your armor taking damage and needing to be repaired, that was one of my favorite features in oblivion and caused some interesting things to happen when your giant brute’s two-handed warhammer just broke and you cannot repair it. That was totally missing from Skyrim and I hope it’s just how it was in the MMO.

Derek

On August 4, 2013 at 12:43 am

I’m impressed and certainly looking forward to this, but it doesn’t seem to capture the Skyrim atmosphere. Plus the graphics are unimpressive. Why can’t MMO games push the graphics and visuals boundaries anymore?

Kevin

On August 4, 2013 at 4:00 am

@Derek: Because they want to make sure a lot of people can play the game, so the graphics aren’t intensive for low-end computers.

psycros

On August 4, 2013 at 8:55 am

“Oddly enough, this may be the “feature” that most excites me about TESO — it won’t be “Hotbar Manager 2014.””

So only having access to a handful or your character’s abilities is appealing? Bizarre. For most of us its a deal-breaker.

CJ Miozzi

On August 4, 2013 at 8:59 am

@psycros:

The implication is that you won’t have 50 powers to manage, not that you won’t be able to fit all your powers on a hotbar.

hfcoied

On August 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Elder Scrolls fanboys will die……………….

Charlie

On August 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I wouldn’t underestimate how many abilities you’ll need to use often. Sure, you’ll only have a few hot bar abilities, but then you have another hot bar that they allow you to instantly switch to in combat. But more importantly, you have: Dodge, block, interrupt, stun break, sprint, and light & heavy attacks. Keep in mind every one of these with the exception of light and heavy attacks cost stamina. No Cds you say? This couldn’t be farther from the truth. As you’ll need to manage your resources: stamina & magicka, and avoid using costly abilities when you’re running low on those resources including health if you need to heal. Poor graphics? The video had beyond terrible quality, and wasn’t too far away from being the quality of the beta leaked footage. In reality the environments truly are stunning to behold, although they need to improve the combat animations (fpv in particular). However, keep in mind that they only implemented fpv a few months ago and only worked on it for about a year. And if ZOS continues to listen to their fans the fpv bow animations will no doubt get polished, and I seriously doubt all of the fpv weapon animations are finished yet. While the 3rd person view animations have improved drastically from previous footage. In regards the appearance of armor, they had to make some sacrifices in order to have 200 people on screen at one time. And if they’re successful with ESO PVP that could pay off drastically.