The Elder Scrolls Online: PAX East Hands-On Preview
Josh Knowles | On 27, Mar 2013
Have you ever, while playing Skyrim or Oblivion, thought “Man, this game would be amazing if I could play with other people?” Well, I am pretty sure I got to experience that concept at PAX East and I really am trying to still decide if the concept plays better on paper or not.
I was ushered into a small private room with a handful of other members of the media and allowed to play The Elder Scrolls Online for a set amount of time. The demo started me in a pirate ship. I had just been pulled from the water and the captain decided I should go to shore to convince others to join their merry band of privateers. After a little discussion I went to shore and started killing the local fauna with my fire-imbued staff. I mean, it is an MMO, right?
The HUD was almost nonexistent, so paying attention to health and mana was very important.
Not too soon after, I encountered a random dude hanging out who offered me some sort of fetch and received a quest. It wasn’t going to just be “Hey, join this totally rocking pirate crew,” it was going to be more “Random adventurer, please fulfill my quest chain so I can consider joining the crew after you jump through my series of hoops.” It felt very much like Guild Wars 2.
While going from Point A to Point B, I noticed weapons leveled based on their usage, so even though I had rolled a mage, I wasn’t limited to that at all. This came in handy since at the end of my first quest chain, I fought a small sea snake built more as a trial and error encounter than anything else. The snake had the ability to fully heal itself if you didn’t stun it. (Which was something that really wasn’t explained to you initially.) My mage’s abilities weren’t strong enough to get the job done so I equipped a bow and went to town on the boss from a distance. It worked awesomely.
So, it appeared I had stumbled upon part of the beauty of The Elder Scrolls Online. Just as in the original games, there was no limited path for your character to follow. You want to run around throwing fireballs at pirates, only to pull out a war-axe and cleave some heads when they get too close? Yeah, you can do that, no sweat.
After terrorizing the beachfront for a little bit, I stumbled upon a pirate camp where I laid waste to their forces and found a few chests I got to lock pick. (Yay!) At this time, I was told my experience should be wrapping up, so I swam out into the ocean and left my character there for the next member of media.
All in all, The Elder Scrolls online doesn’t seem like a bad game, in fact it may actually be pretty entertaining.
While combat is set on an active battle system, it wasn’t very rich and I often got hit by enemies who never even got close enough to make actual contact. The beta is still very rough, so under all the dirt there really does seem to be a solidly built MMORPG that includes tons of lore and locations based off of over 1000 years of Tamriel.
The first of the beta invites are going out this week, so keep an eye on those email accounts in the meantime.