The Elder Scrolls Online Might Be Your New Entry-Level MMO

That’s f–kin’ Teamwork

How exactly does holding down two combat roles at the same time work? From Firor’s description, it’s because the combat roles in TES Online function a little differently from what you’d see in traditional MMOs like World of Warcraft. Firor described a common MMO situation in order to explain how TES roles work.

“If you’re being healed during a big fight, you might not even be sure who’s healing you,” Firor said. “If they heal you, then you think, ‘That’s fine, that’s what’s supposed to happen.’ And if they don’t, then you get mad because somebody wasn’t doing their job — and that’s not fun.”

Instead, TES Online encourages a more skill-based approach to things such as healing. From the sounds of things, there’s a bigger reliance on area of effect spells and skills. A healer might lay down a healing spell in a certain area at a certain moment of a battle, but it’s up to the other players to take advantage of that healing by stepping into the area or triggering an effect of their own. And the spells can play off each other for added effects, but the point is that it requires the players to actually work together and think about what they’re doing in combat.

It should be noted that this system, again, seems to play toward the sort of “newbie” MMO player’s needs. Players jumping into MMOs for the first time struggle with things like combat roles; TES, then, looks to be trying to simplify them, while encouraging more players to work together by combining their spells and focusing on skill-based gameplay.

A Cleaner Interface

Firor also pointed out the fact that TES Online has next to nothing for an interface. Most of the heads-up display vanishes during normal play and only appears when players mouse over it. What’s there is pretty minimal as well — a smaller skill tray than most MMO players would expect and fewer abilities. The TES Online team has said it’s focused on having fewer abilities that are better than most MMOs, and so the result is fewer buttons to push.

Like other Elder Scrolls games, players have three resources to deal with at all times: health, magicka and stamina. Those three bars appear on the HUD as well, and they all recharge over time. They also keep things simple and help players used to Skyrim get into TES Online without much difficulty, and when they get into the MMO, Skyrim players will find things they’re familiar with, like real-time blocking.

It was hard to tell just how combat will function in TES Online — the animations look like some kind of combination of real-time fighting and auto-attack — but we do know that players can block at any time. You’ll also have the ability to wind up larger, stronger attacks, like you can in Skyrim or Oblivion, to deal really crushing blows to enemies or opponents. Bad guys can do the same, and from what Firor described, it sounds like what your block ability is really meant for is to stop these huge attacks from taking you out by actively blocking when you see a character wind up to smack you.

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