About Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online, which is often abbreviated to just ESO or TESO, is a MMORPG that was developed by ZeniMax Online Studios. The Elder Scrolls franchise was originally a single-player RPG series from Bethesda Softworks but is being adapted to an MMO format. ESO will be available for PC and Mac on April 4th, 2014, and then be released for the Xbox One and Playstation 4 gaming consoles in June.
Game Setting and Environment
Elder Scrolls Online will take players back to a time that is 1000 years before Skyrim and about 800 years before Oblivion or Morrowind. It is a dark time where mages have gone mad and the Daedra are prevalent throughout the world. You and your alliance members (explained below) will fight the evils that haunt Tamriel as well as opposing factions to claim Cyrodiil and the Imperial City and rid the world of darkness.
Unlike those games ESO will allow players to explore all of Tamriel in a single game. As of right now we know that the following areas will appear in-game:
- Black Marsh (an Argonian homeland)
- Cyrodiil (the Imperial lands seen in Oblivion)
- Elsweyr (home to the Khajiit)
- Hammerfell (home to Redguards)
- High Rock (home to Bretons)
- Morrowind (featured in the game of the same title)
- Skyrim (as seen in Elder Scrolls V)
- Summerset Isles (home to Altmer)
- Valenwood (home to Bosmer)
Many of the most recognized cities in the major continents will also be found in Elder Scrolls Online including Bruma, the Imperial City, Skingrad, Mournhold, Windhelm, Riften, and several others.
NOTE: While ZeniMax does plan to make all of Tamriel explorable a lot of the areas will be blocked off at launch. This is assumed to be because the company will open those areas later on via expansions for the game.
Alliances and PvP
ESO’s PvP system requires that players choose to align with one of three different alliances: the Daggerfall Covenant, the Ebonheart Pact, or the Aldmeri Dominion. Throughout the course of the game players in each faction will be fighting for control over Cyrodiil and the Imperial City. Each of the alliances is comprised of different races from different lands all throughout Tamriel.
The PvP in this game will prove to be one of the largest in any MMO putting hundreds of players onscreen at once in massive, epic fights. The end goal is secure Cyrodiil for your alliance but doing so will require that you and fellow alliance members fight enemy factions to gain control of keeps, fortresses, farms, and other strategic locations using your weapons, magic, siege weapons, and pure strategy.
By gaining control of the majority of territories your alliance will also claim the Ruby Throne, the ultimate prize. The top player of each alliance will also receive the coveted title of Emperor once you and your allies completely control the Imperial City.
We’ll explain PvP in much more detail in another article later on.
Unlike most traditional MMORPGs the Elder Scrolls Online has a rather unique combat system. It is very similar to the mechanics found in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as there will be an option to play in either 1st or 3rd person view and feels more like a typical RPG where you can cast spells, hack ‘n slash with swords or other blunt weapons, and even use bows & arrows.
This game features classes like most other titles in the genre but the actual class system operates a bit differently than most games. There are 4 set classes (Dragonknight
, and Sorcerer
) which have set skills and abilities but a player can change the role & capabilities of their character at any time by simply changing the weapons and/or armor equipped.
For full details about each class and how this system works be sure to read our full overview of ESO classes which contains much more information for each one.
Game Cost and Fees
To the dismay of many fans of the series as well as avid MMO players the Elder Scrolls Online will not be a simply buy-to-play (B2P) title. ZeniMax plans to sell the game for $60 a copy plus charge a $14.99 monthly subscription fee. This fee is applicable to all platforms.
A lot of people have stated that they’ll wait for the Elder Scrolls Online to become free-to-play (F2P) before playing it due to the subscription fee but many more have claimed they love that the game is going to require a paid sub because it’ll keep more casuals and potential scammers & bots out. Time will tell if this business model proves successful for Zenimax.
It’s also worth noting that the company stated that ESO will not require a Playstation Plus subscription for PS4 gamers but will require an Xbox Live Gold subscription on the Xbox One for gamers on that system. This means that for Xbox One owners the game would cost $60 upfront plus the $15/mo game subscription plus the $5-$10/mo (depending if you pay a year or advance or elect to pay monthly) for access to the Xbox Live service.
Both ZeniMax and Bethesda wanted to make sure that this game would be available to as many players as possible. For that reason they made the game so that it doesn’t require having an expensive, powerful gaming rig to play. The minimum requirements are fairly easy to meet even with a budget PC.
That’s not to say that game lacks in graphics, though. When the settings are thrown on Ultra (which does require a beefier computer system with a capable GPU, RAM, and CPU) the game is absolutely stunning to look at.
For a detailed list of the specs you’ll need to play this game be sure to read over our ESO system requirements page which provides the info you’ll need to know what hardware and software you’ll need to the run the game on both Microsoft Windows and OS X.
ESO Leveling Guide