The Elder Scrolls Online Preview: It’s Like Skyrim – Online

Game Front’s E3 Primer series is focused on providing previews of key games, companies and gadgets leading up to E3 2013 (June 11-13, 2013). Bookmark our E3 channel and check back for more in-depth preview coverage leading up to the big show.

UPDATE (4/29/2013)

More PvP Info:

  • When you join a PvP zone, you’ll be scaled up to approximately level 50. You’ll be able to hold your own, but someone who’s actually level 50 have more skills and abilities than you.
  • Siege weapons can be purchased using Alliance points, and rams, ballistae, catapults, and trebuchets can be packed up and re-positioned.
  • There will be a PvP rankings system. You’ll be able to earn Alliance Ranks which will grant you titles, as well as giving you access to purchase weapons and armor. There’s even a PvP skill line that you’ll be able to gain access to.
  • Leveling through PvP will not be on the same pace as PvE leveling, because other players don’t just show up to die.
  • Stealth/Sneaking is a factor in PvP, but there are ways to detect it. Damaging a sneaking player will reveal them , as will spells designed for that purpose. Additionally, sneaking using stamina, and therefore going into battle sneaking will put you at a disadvantage.
  • NPC villages will be Alliance-neutral, but if you hold the nearby keep, guards will patrol the town, making it safer for you to do business there (But not 100% safe).

Other Game Info:

  • Fast travel is in TESO. Once you visit a point called a Wayshrine, you can travel back there from anywhere on the map. If you’re at a Wayshrine, you can go to any other Wayshrine for free. If you’re out in the wild, it will cost you gold – you’ll also be limited in how often you can do this.
  • Yes, you’ll be able to make and eat Sweet Rolls and Fishy Sticks.
  • You will be able to loot items from houses, crates, barrels and the like. Plans are that respawn rates for loot will be fast enough that you won’t always find empty containers.
  • You’ll be able to get most skill lines in the game, with a few exceptions. You can’t be a vampire and a werewolf at the same time, for example, and there are some class/racial exclusives.

Last week ZeniMax Online and Bethesda gave GameFront a sneak peek at their upcoming AAA MMORPG, The Elder Scrolls Online. This is the first time we’ve been able to actually play the game as well as get a look at what’s planned for the title at launch. And we liked what we saw.

This is Skyrim Online

If you enjoyed Skyrim and its DLCs, you’re going to enjoy TESO. It hits everything that made Skyrim great: deep world immersion, build-your-own class system, exploration-based content, action-based combat, discovery-based crafting and minimal UI intrusion. And yes, there will be vampirism as well as the fighters’ and mages’ guilds.

The biggest difference here is that this is an MMO and that means you are playing on one big megaserver with everyone else, allowing for more social and group interaction than in Skyrim. You’ll have an opportunity to group with three other players for instanced dungeons, join larger groups for raid content, and interact with hundreds in the PvP zone. The smaller differences include a lack of a lifelong companion (sorry Lydiashippers), no dragon souls to absorb (that I saw) and no player housing to clutter with thousands of bowls and brooms.

Deep World Immersion

Beautiful landscapes, intricate clothing textures, and a melodic soundtrack — it’s all there to draw you into the continent of Tamriel. Though a first-person mode that includes the character’s hands on the screen was not available for my play session, I saw a demo of it and it brought a whole new level of visceral experience to the game.

The voice-acted dialogue of the NPCs sounded natural and immediately drew me in. My favorite part about the storyline I encountered (without spoiling) is that you aren’t asked to be “the hero” many times by other characters. The NPCs often are happy to simply bribe you to get you to do their bidding. I like being the hero, but I also like shiny rewards. This game often separates the two.

The only caveat I can add here is that I was playing on a PC that was loaded to the gills. The game was running on the maximum settings for me to enjoy all the visual splendor it had to offer. I’m not sure how this is going to play on an average player’s system.

[UPDATE}Since returning from the event, Bethesda has informed us that the TESO engine is “one that the team at ZeniMax Online has built themselves and is not the same as the Creation Engine used by Bethesda Game Studios” for Skyrim. They also emphasized that TESO is “being built so that if you’ve purchased a laptop within the last 5 years or so, you’ll be able to run it.” While we obviously haven’t had a chance to test the game on other systems, this assurance from Bethesda is nice to have.

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19 Comments on The Elder Scrolls Online Preview: It’s Like Skyrim – Online


On March 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Im still sad they made it into an MMO :(


On March 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I’m cautiously optimistic.


On March 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm

No caution here. Severely disappointed. Hope it bombs so they won’t do anything so stupid again.


On March 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I remember seeing a developer preview video from early last year where they stated that each server would be limited to 300 players, but there were be system to swap server instances for easy access to friends and guild members.

“Megaserver” implies it is…. but by chance do you know if this still the case? If so, how does one identify themselves in-game without a guild or building a large friends list? By that I mean as part of a server, shard, population segment, etc… and not just as one of the millions of players?

One of my favorite things about MMO games is that each time I play a new game I am usually among the same pool of players, thus allowing for a game community and relationships to form. While that pool may be thousands of players at first, eventually (depending on game progression and gameplay hours) it narrows down to playing with the same couple hundred people who you learn to recognize. From what I’ve seen TESO is going to function more like a matchmaking system of sorts.

Kinda seems like the next step beyond the dungeon/group/team matchmaking tools many recent MMO games have used. That may be a good or bad thing depending on your opinion of ‘em. I certainly think such tools are a bad idea and detract from the community aspect of MMO games.

How would such a system be better for social and group interaction? This system implies you’ll play with a far larger random pool of players. Is there a system which dumps players in servers with the same level players or…?

I’m hungry for more info


On March 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm

The customization options sound disappointing to say the least.


On March 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm

What was the actual character customization like? Was it like pick a face or did it actually have the sliders?


On March 21, 2013 at 8:47 am

No player housing?!?!? I don’t want to play it anymore :-(


On March 22, 2013 at 1:06 am

This actually sounds pretty good. I don’t see why everyone just seems to hate on it. It isn’t even out yet.


On March 22, 2013 at 2:02 am

And hopefully it never will and they will concentrate on games that actually sound good. I’m sorry, buy anyone who hopes for an mmo, well I just have a hard time understanding or agreeing with. There are more mmo’s out there, then you can use to choke a bloody T_Rex. When I hear about another one, I get just about as excited as I do when the doctor tells me I have some rare, incureable disease. I party, do cartwheels, do a litlle dance, make a little love, and I get down tonight. (that was part of a seventies song for all you young things out there).
Everybody and their grandmother, and their grandmothers best friend, her neighbors, her dog, her cousins in Detroit, are getting on the bloody mmo cash cow wagon. All hopen to strike it rich. Morons.


On March 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I love Elder Scrolls but I despise all MMO games.


On March 23, 2013 at 12:25 am

This game is being made by Zenimax Online Studios. Bethesda Game Studios isn’t working on it , all you haters are still going to get the normal single player games. Don’t like ESO? don’t play it, just wait for TESVI.


On March 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm

haters just beat it! you’r afraid of a real human fight so you prefer to go and smash some npc’s stupid head in single player games (no challenge? yes, please!)… becose a long time ago you’ve tried mmo and some punkass PK beat all the crap out of you… it’s all about your hands growing from your ass instead of your shoulders… ! So STFU go to your caves and cry for bethesda to give you another super hero dragonborn role than you can save the tamriel again with your mega daedra oneshot dagger… all by your self! ALONE!) PS. pardon my language)))


On March 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm

hwi – your comment makes zero sense. For one thing, there are countless reasons why people dislike MMOs, mostly due to connectivity, lack of new content, microtransactions and so forth. To wave this all away as people not being able to beat human players is, at best, blinkered. Of course, that leads to the second problem – the assumption that human enemies are ALWAYS, without exception, superior to NPCs. If that’s your opinion then I’m fairly confident in saying that you haven’t played many games in your life. Either that, or you struggled so badly with the really hard ones that you opted for MMOs, where difficulty is always variable.

Troll elsewhere, please.


On March 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

@hwi Omg but you are an idiot. You are one of the reasons I don’t like MMO’s. Stupid people annoy me. In real life I can take care of idiots like you. On the computer, you get even more moronic because you know we can’t touch you, and I simply feel like breaking my monitor, but that cost way too much money, so I simply avoid games that put me in touch with your kind of stupidity. Much cheaper that way.
So in short, go back to suckeling on you mommas teets and leave the thinking to the big boy and girls.


On March 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm

@HWI you piece of crap.
I happen to hate mmo’s because entitled little shieisskopf like you. I am usually fairly anti social, and the constant spam and crap put out by people like you has me uninstalling an mmo I would have liked with in less than an hour of installing it. As for pvp, I have almost a hundred hours in day of defeat source and various other games.


On March 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait. Been waiting for an mmo like this for ages. Even guild wars two is a glorified wow clone, this will be great.

The one thing I never like about tes before was lack of multiplayer and now it’s here :)


On June 24, 2013 at 10:58 am

i want it now


On October 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

I can’t wait!

Please release soon!


On December 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm

I like the idea of other real people playin the game with u.I’m a huge elderscrolls guy since morrowind love itn gotta say only complaint would b it does get really lonely n companions don’t cut it but don’t take core elements out of tes such as houses imperials n messin with classic 3 rd person view other than that looks badass! I’m in! But fix that stuff I said new devs