The Elder Scrolls Online, also known as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, and commonly abbreviated as ESO, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was announced in May 2012 and was released for PC and Mac on April 4th, 2014. It is the eighth game in The Elder Scrolls series. On June 9th, 2015, the game was released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Developed by the team at ZeniMax Online Studios, The Elder Scrolls Online merges the unmatched exploration of rich worlds that the franchise is known for with the scale and social aspects of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
The Elder Scrolls Online features a Buy-to-Play model similar to previous Elder Scrolls titles, where one buys the game and play it for free afterwards, but there is also an optional membership program, ESO Plus, which grants bonuses such as increased XP gain and free access to all DLC Packs. The game has an in-game cash shop, the Crown Store, where things such as vanity items and cosmetic mounts are sold for a premium currency called Crowns, but nothing that gives players a significant advantage over another will be sold. Players who have had a subscription prior to the transition will be given 1500 crowns, or more if they have had a three or six-month subscription.
Buying the Imperial Edition gives players the option to play as an Imperial, craft Imperial gear, convert existing gear into the Imperial style, gives an Imperial horse with standard stats, a mudcrab vanity pet and the Pledge of Mara, which allows players to marry.
- Main article: Vestige
The game is set on Tamriel in 2E 582 during the Interregnum, a period of time between the assassination of the Last Potentate, Savirien-Chorak, and the rise of Tiber Septim, where there was chaos, bloodshed, and no Emperor on the Ruby Throne.
Several years prior, the Cyrodilic Emperor Varen Aquilarios desired to become Dragonborn in order to light the Dragonfires in the Imperial City, thus legitimizing his claim to the Ruby Throne. The sorcerer Mannimarco was able to convince him that he knew a ritual that could accomplish this, but that it required the Amulet of Kings. Along with the leader of the Dragonguard Sai Sahan, the half-giant Lyris Titanborn and the High Chancellor of the Elder Council, Abnur Tharn, they became the Five Companions. They were able to retrieve the Amulet of Kings and begin the ritual in 2E 578. At that moment when the ritual began, Mannimarco used his dark magic to immobilize the others and reveal his true intentions: he was an agent of Molag Bal, and the ritual in fact destroyed the barriers between Nirn and Oblivion in an event known at the Soulburst. This event allowed Molag Bal to initiate the Planemeld, a forceful merging of worlds. Once the ritual was completed, aftershocks were swept across every corner of Nirn. Mages died or went mad, Red Mountain trembled in Morrowind, earthquakes shook Skyrim, and heavy storms devastated the coastlines of Elsweyr and Valenwood. The constellation of the Serpent grew so large that it seemed to threaten every star sign at once.
The Tharn family, rulers of Cyrodiil through Empress Regent Clivia Tharn, made a pact with Mannimarco, the King of Worms, who agreed to supplement the Imperial's forces by resurrecting their soldiers, except for Clivia's father Abnur, who opposes Mannimarco. Molag Bal is harvesting the souls of mortals for more power. The hero, known as the Vestige, is an adventurer whose soul has been taken, which allows them to constantly return to life. The player is killed by Mannimarco in a sacrificial ritual and they are brought to Coldharbour, where they awaken to find a mysterious man known as the Prophet, who, with the help of Lyris Titanborn, helps the Vestige escape Coldharbour, freeing the Prophet, but also imprisoning Lyris within Coldharbour. Once the Vestige escapes Coldharbour, they awaken in Tamriel and are let loose upon the dangerous world.
In the game, there are three major playable factions fighting against one another in the conflict known as the Three Banners War. Those factions, made up of the different races found throughout Tamriel, are the Aldmeri Dominion, the Daggerfall Covenant, and the Ebonheart Pact.
The Pact was formed by the three races through a common hatred of the recently invading Akaviri and fear of being conquered by the other alliances.
Despite the mistrust between their member races, the Pact is remarkably stable.
Other factions in the game include:
- Fighters Guild: A guild of mercenaries-for-hire, largely involved with destroying Molag Bal's presence on Nirn. They are led by Sees-All-Colours.
- Mages Guild: A guild of individuals devoted to the magical arts, largely involved with collecting old books and lore in order to preserve them. They are led by their founder Vanus Galerion.
- Undaunted: A brave collective of like-minded mercenaries and adventurers who seek to achieve riches and glory, and do not have any sort of leader. They are involved with dungeons.
Aside from Elsweyr, all of the provinces of Tamriel are explorable to some degree. Cyrodiil is accessible once the character reaches level 10. The dark realm of Coldharbour is accessible once the Vestige completes The Weight of Three Crowns. However, most provinces are only able to be traveled to in a limited capacity. In fact, the only province explorable in its entirety is Valenwood. Over time, new areas will be released to the game through updates, such as the Imperial City.
Each zone is roughly 3 square kilometers in size and Cyrodiil is 27 square kilometers in size, and there are over 20 zones, meaning the explorable game world in Online is significantly larger than the previous three instalments in the franchise.
Classes and Builds
- Main article: Classes (Online)
- There are four classes, including Dragonknight, Templar, Sorcerer, and Nightblade. Classes will only give players 3 exclusive skill lines, and do not affect a character's other choices. For example, you can be a stealthy Sorcerer who wears heavy armor and wields a bow.
- Any class can play any of the three main roles (Damage Dealing, Tanking, Healing) effectively, but some classes do certain roles better than others. For example, a Templar is typically better at healing than a Sorcerer, and a Dragonknight is usually better at tanking than a Nightblade.
- The Elder Scrolls Online is extremely flexible in how you can build your character, allowing a player to build their ideal skill set from the beginning with few restrictions to dictate what you choose. Character Setups, universally known as "Builds", are typically divided into two categories - Magicka builds and Stamina builds. As their names imply, if a character uses Magicka in combat significantly more than Stamina, then they are using a Magicka build, and vice versa. Characters with magicka builds normally utilize light armor and staves while characters with stamina builds are often seen using medium armor and weapons like bows and two-handed swords. Hybrid builds can also be used, but they are not as effective at dealing damage as a purely magicka or purely stamina (or simply "Pure") builds. Hybrid builds normally use heavy armor and are usually seen playing as tanks. Any character can play any role efficiently
Combat and Gameplay
- Main article: Combat (Online)
- Combat is reminiscent of the previous games in the franchise, and is action-based. There are light attacks, heavy attacks, blocking, bashing, dodging, sneaking and using spells and abilities. There are no auto-attacks or "random" mechanics in combat - everything must be done manually.
- Abilities are unlocked by spending Skill Points. Skill points can be earned from main storyline quests, earning skyshards, ranking up in PvP, and increasing your character level. All abilities are divided into skill lines, and each skill line has its own level. The level of a skill line is increased by using abilities belonging to that skill line - the more abilities from a particular skill line you use, the faster the skill line will level up. As you increase the level of a skill line you will unlock more abilities and passive abilities to spend skill points on.
- Some skill trees level up in a special way. For example, the Soul Magic skill line only levels up by completing quests in the Main Quest, the Assault and Support skill lines only level up by increasing your alliance rank, and your racial skill tree is tied to your character level.
- 6 abilities can be slotted on your ability bar at any one time. The 6th slot is reserved for a very powerful ability called an Ultimate Ability, which can only be used after acquiring a certain amount of a resource called Ultimate Points. Ultimate Abilities have varying costs. Ultimate Points are earned by simply attacking enemies.
- At Level 15, Weapon Swapping is unlocked which allows a player to have two different types of weapons equipped at the same time. The player can switch between their weapons at any time by pressing the respective keybind for Weapon Swapping, and will also unlock a second hotbar for use with the secondary weapon. This is not the same as dual wielding - with Weapon Swapping you can have two different weapons e.g. a bow and a staff equipped at a time, but you cannot use them at the same time, unlike dual wielding.
- Once an ability reaches level 4, it can be morphed, which means the spell turns into a more powerful version of itself, usually adding a new effect to the spell. Players have 2 morph choices, and every ability, including ultimate abilities, has a morph. Passive abilities cannot be morphed, though they can be levelled up by putting skill points into them.
- There are a total of eight ranks for increased ability proficiency, but the latter 4 can only be earned after a morph.
- You can reset your skill points at the Shrine of Stuhn in Mournhold or the Shrines of Stendarr in Wayrest and Elden Root, but it costs a hefty sum of gold.
- The list of skill lines is:
- There are passives exclusive for all 9* races in the game. Some races share the same passive bonuses, while some do not.
- There are passives for each of the crafting professions: Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Clothing, Enchanting, Provisioning and Woodworking. Putting skill points into the top passives in the tree will give the player the ability to craft increasingly powerful weapons and armor the more skill points are put into the passive, which is tied to your level in a particular crafting profession. For example, you can put a skill point into the second tier of Metalworking in the Blacksmithing skill tree at Blacksmithing Level 10, which will give you the ability to use Steel Ingots, and the next tier will be unlocked at Level 20 which will give you the ability to use Orichalcum Ingots, and so on.
*There are 10 races in the game if one purchases the Imperial Edition. Imperials have their own racial passives as well.
Character Stats and Progression
There are three primary stats:
- Health - Affects amount of damage that can be taken before dying.
- Magicka - Amount of Magicka available to cast spells.
- Stamina - Amount of Stamina available for things like stamina abilities, blocking, bashing, sneaking and dodging.
And six secondary stats:
- Armor - Affects how much physical damage from non-magical abilities can be mitigated by the player, up to a maximum of 50% mitigation.
- Spell Resistance - Affects how much spell damage from magical abilities can be mitigated, up to a maximum of 50% mitigation.
- Weapon Damage - Affects how much damage the player's weapons and non-magical abilities deal.
- Spell Damage - Affects how much damage the player's spells deal.
- Weapon Critical - Affects the chances of a critical strike with a players' weapons and non-magical abilities.
- Spell Critical - Affects the chances of a critical strike with a players' spells.
As your character levels up, they will be given one point to place in the Health, Magicka, or Stamina stats, similar to the system on Skyrim. Secondary Stats can be affected by numerous factors, such as armor traits, enchantments, buffs and Mundus Stones.
A maximum of 62 points can be put into Primary Attributes. You can change how your attribute points are distributed by visiting a Shrine of Akatosh, Auriel or Kyne in your faction's capital city (Wayrest, Elden Root and Mournhold, respectively) and paying a sum of gold, or purchasing an Attribute Respecification Scroll from the Crown Store for 700 Crowns.
Champion Points and Veteran Ranks
Once a player reaches Level 50, they will unlock Veteran Ranks. Veteran Ranks are used to progress in all content after Level 50, such as Craglorn, and they act just like normal levels - XP is earned to increase them and it is earned from things like quests, public dungeons, group dungeons, PvP and other such content. Each Veteran Rank takes 1 million XP to earn, and they go all the way up to Veteran Rank 14, the highest attainable level in the game. Earning a Veteran Rank will also give you an attribute point and a skill point and will give you access to higher-tier weapons and armor.
The advisable Veteran Rank for PvE endgame content such as Trials (Which are similar to raids in other MMORPGs) and Dragonstar Arena is around Veteran Rank 12.
Additionally, once you reach the Veteran Ranks, you will also unlock Champion Points, which can be spent across three constellations (Warrior, Mage and Thief). Each constellation has 3 separate trees, with 8 passive abilities in each. 4 of these passives can be leveled up by Champion Points, up to a maximum of 100 per passive, and the other 4 are unlocked depending on how much points have been spent in the sub-constellation e.g 10 points, 30 points, and the 4th is unlocked after 120 points. The system is similar to Skyrim's skill trees.
Player vs. Player (PvP)
Player vs. Player combat is available after level 10. In Cyrodiil, the Alliance War revolves around the capturing of Keeps, their surrounding supply lines, and outposts. If a keep isn't defended well (which is unlikely - there are players defending their faction's keeps everywhere in Cyrodiil.) a keep can be taken by a small group of players. If it is heavily defended, a much larger force with more siege weapons and a lot of co-ordination is required. Sometimes, individual battles can last for hours.
Up to 1800 players from all three factions can be in Cyrodiil (Which is roughly 27 square kilometers in size, not including the many areas such as dungeons, Ayleid ruins, houses, caves etc.) at a time per campaign, a kind of "sub-server" to mitigate overpopulation. There are 5 campaigns on the PC version and 12 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The majority of campaigns on the console versions are for non-Veteran players only, while there is only one non-veteran campaign on the PC version. You can join two campaigns at once - one home campaign and one guest campaign. A guest campaign is usually for when there is a long queue for your home campaign or if you wish to play with a friend who is in the guest campaign, but you cannot increase your leaderboard ranking while in a guest campaign - you may only increase your leaderboard ranking in your home campaign.
Each campaign has a duration, e.g 30 days for Thornblade, 2 weeks for Chillrend and so on. Once the duration is up, the faction leaderboards reset and whatever faction was at the top of the leaderboards wins the campaign, and the winners receive a large sum of gold. The runners-up will also receive a smaller amount of gold, and this reward is increased based on your contribution to the campaign which is determined by your Reward Tier, which goes up to Level 3 and is increased the more you PvP. Once the campaign resets, keep ownership does not change, the only thing that happens is a reset of the faction and player leaderboards, and the war resumes once again.
Siege Weapons such as Ballistae and Catapults are used to attack and defend keeps in Cyrodiil. Each siege weapon is suited to a particular role in PvP combat e.g Trebuchets are for destroying structures, ballistas are used to take out enemy siege weapons, and so on. Siege weapons can be purchased for a varying amount of Alliance Points, the PvP currency, from quartermasters in keeps, and there are 5 types of siege weapons - Flaming Oil, Battering Rams, Ballistae, Catapults and Trebuchets. Ballistae, Catapults and Trebuchets each have variations with special effects, such as Fire Trebuchets and Scattershot Catapults which give enemy players various damaging effects depending on what sort of siege weapon they were hit with. Fire-based siege weapons are very powerful and are capable of breaking up large groups.
Alliance Ranks are an alternative advancement system, with 50 ranks. Each rank will give a new title, a skill point, sometimes a new armor dye and a new alliance icon on a player's name tag, similar to faction ranks in Morrowind and Oblivion. They take a very long time to earn, and Grand Warlord is the highest alliance rank available. Increasing your alliance rank will also increase your Assault and Support skill lines and will allow you to unlock new abilities such as Magicka Detonation and Vigor. At Alliance Rank 24, you will have maxed out these trees. Alliance Ranks are similar to combat ranks found in the multiplayer components of various first-person shooter games.
You are able to become the Emperor of Cyrodiil. To crown an Emperor, your faction must be in control of the 6 keeps surrounding the Imperial City (Chalman, Blue Road, Alessia, Roebeck, Ash and Aleswell) simultaneously. Once this is done, the player at the top of your alliance's leaderboards will become the Emperor. The Emperor receives a variety of extremely powerful bonuses and if your alliance has crowned an Emperor, everyone in your alliance will receive +2500 extra health as long as the Emperor reigns. The Emperor will also get a title and a special set of cosmetic armour.
Player vs. Environment (PvE)
Player vs. Environment (PvE) is any form of content that isn't battling other players.
- Mundus Stones are used to give special passive abilities. They are similar to the Standing Stones found in Skyrim and have the same names, but they give different boons.
- Fast Traveling is available. Instead of fast travel in the previous games, where one could fast travel to any location, players must travel via Wayshrines. You can teleport to a wayshrine when using another wayshrine to teleport for free, or you can travel to the wayshrine from the wild, but you must pay a sum of gold if it is done in this way.
- Fast Travel in Cyrodiil is different from the rest of the zones. Instead of Wayshrines, characters can travel to keeps and outposts that their alliance controls via the Transitus network. Players can not fast travel to anywhere without using a Transitus shrine at a keep or alliance base camp, nor can players travel to resources. To fast-travel to another keep using the Transitus, that keep must be linked to the keep the player is traveling from. Players cannot use Transitus shrines at outposts.
- Players are able to own a pet. Only Sorcerers can summon and control combat pets, while the other classes must use vanity pets which cannot be used in combat. The Scuttler is a pet given to players who pre-ordered the game, the Nibenay Mudcrab is a pet given to players who purchase the Imperial Edition, and the Imgakin Monkey is a now-unobtainable pet given to players who participated in the game's beta.
- Adventure Zones are zones of which's content is tailored to 4 or more players ranked Veteran 10 or above but any player above Level 50 is able to enter solo, with a small group, or even a large group. Craglorn is the first and only Adventure Zone in the game. They are essentially very large public dungeons, and include Trials, Dungeons, Quests, Storylines, Bosses, and other world events. A new region of Craglorn was released in Update 4. A new Adventure Zone called Murkmire is planned to be released at an unscheduled date in 2015.
- Mounts are in the game, though only horses can be used at present and there are no plans to include flying mounts. There are, however, plans to include other species such as Guar and Senche-Tigers as mounts. If a player purchases the Imperial Edition, they can get a unique white Imperial Charger to use, though it has no exclusive advantage over other mounts.
- Daedric Artifacts such as the Prismatic Weapon exist in the game, and are tied to the Fighters Guild storyline, but the artifacts are very different from past games and are not obtained through Daedric Quests.
- There are special types of dungeons called Group Dungeons, which, unlike other dungeons, are instanced to groups and have storylines. Once Level 50 is reached, new areas of the dungeon will open up, and the results of previous actions in that dungeon will be able to be seen. These are called Veteran Dungeons.
- The game is available in three different languages: English, French, and German.
- Crafting elements can be done in crafting stations in cities as well as special crafting stations in the wilderness where one can craft special weapons and armor that belong to a special armor set, such as Whitestrake's Retribution.
- Daedric Artifacts such as the Prismatic Weapon exist in the game, and are tied to the Fighters Guild storyline.
- Player Guilds exist in the game. If a guild controls a keep, their Guild Store and bank are able to be used there. Guild keep ownership is specific to a faction's campaign.
- Lockpicking works much like Oblivion where the player must move tumblers to unlock locks. The twist is that the player must unlock the lock in the alotted time. There are levelled locks much like past games.
- Players are able to dye their armor to different colours with over 250 colours. There are a few default dyes, but the player must obtain the rest through completing certain tasks through Achievements. There are three different areas of each piece of armor that can be dyed individually.
- The game is hosted on a Megaserver, which will allow players to find players more easily, without requiring them to reset to a different server. However, to enter PvP players must select from 5 different "sub-servers" called Campaigns. There are currently 2 megaservers in total and there will be 6 when the console versions are released; one for each region and two for each platform (PC/Mac, PS4, Xbox One), however, console players cannot play with PC/Mac players. Furthermore, console megaservers are console-specific. The European megaserver is hosted in Frankfurt, Germany. The US megaserver is hosted in Dallas, Texas.
PC System Requirements
Minimum system Requirements
- Operating System: Windows 8/Windows 7/Windows Vista/Windows XP 32-bit or 64-bit
- Processor: Dual Core 2.0GHz or equivalent processor
- Memory: 2GB System RAM
- Hard Disk Space: 60GB free HDD space
- Video Card: DirectX 9.0 compliant video card with 512MB of RAM (NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 / ATI Radeon™ 2600 or better)
- Sound: DirectX compatible sound card.
Recommended system requirements
- Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit or Windows 8 64-bit
- Processor: Quad Core 2.3GHz or equivalent processor
- Memory: 4GB System RAM
- Hard Disk Space: 60GB free HDD space
- Video Card: Direct X 11 compliant video card with 2GB of RAM (NVIDIA® GeForce® 560 Ti / ATI Radeon™ 6950 or better)
- Sound: DirectX compatible sound card
Mac System Requirements
Minimum system requirements
- Operating System: Mac® OS X 10.7.0 or later
- Processor: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo
- Video Card: Intel™ HD Graphics 4000, NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M or ATI™ Radeon™ HD 6490M or better
- Memory: 4GB Ram
- Storage: 60GB
- Media: DVD-ROM
- Resolution: 1024X768 minimum display resolution
Recommended System Requirements
- Operating System: Mac® OS X 10.7.0 or later
- Processor: Intel® i5 Processor
- Video Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 650M or ATI™ Radeon™ HD 5770 or better
- Memory: 4GB Ram
- Storage: 60GB
- Media: DVD-ROM
- The game has been in development since 2007.
- 5 million people signed up for the game's beta.
- The game has sold several million copies since its release. The exact number is unknown. When the game utilized a subscription model, it had around 1.2 million subscribers by the end of 2014.
- There are 61 million items in the game, as well as 2,235 books, 11,039 NPCs, and 5.0952187*10^58 (509521870000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000) possible character variations.
- Dragons are not going to be part of the game, at least not for now.
- Many races have their own type of craftable armor, including the Daedra and Dwemer. Not all racial styles belong to playable races.
- There are moral dilemmas in some quests and the choices cannot be reversed without abandoning the quest.
- Content in Cyrodiil is not just player-versus-player, there are character towns and many quests scattered throughout Cyrodiil, though the Vestige is always vulnerable to those from enemy alliances no matter where they are.
- The Creatures' AI system is such so that they not only will work together, but will also be aware when they are being outnumbered by players.
- The Elder Scrolls Online (Versions) – information about the updates to the game.
- The Elder Scrolls Online Original Soundtrack
- Books (Online)
- Characters (Online)
- Creatures (Online)
- Factions (Online)
- Locations (Online)
- Quests (Online)
- Armor (Online)
- Weapons (Online)
- Combat (Online)
- ↑ 05 May 2012. Bethblog Game Informer Announces the Elder Scrolls Online
- ↑ http://elderscrollsonline.com/en/news/post/2012/10/18/reading-the-future-of-the-past-in-the-elder-scrolls
- ↑ January 18, 2013. The Elder Scrolls Online (Lawrence Schick). Alliances at War
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Game Informer: June 2012 Edition
- ↑ Reeves, Ben (16 May 2012). Elder Scrolls Online Faction Profile Aldmeri Dominion. Game Informer.
- ↑ Reeves, Ben (16 May 2012). Elder Scrolls Online Faction Profile Daggerfall Covenant. Game Informer.
- ↑ Triumphs of a Monarch, Ch. 10
- ↑ Reeves, Ben (16 May 2012). Elder Scrolls Online Faction Profile Ebonheart Pact. Game Informer.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Hanson, Ben (21 May 2012). Creating the Story for The Elder Scrolls: Online.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 October 22, 2012. RPG Gamer The Elder Scrolls Online: Hands On Preview
- ↑ October 22, 2012. MPOGD Elder Scrolls Online Preview And Studio Tour
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 February 9, 2013. The Elder Scrolls Online. Ask Us Anything: Variety Pack
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 October 22, 2012. MMORPG Stuff We Didn't Play: PVP and Social Integration
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 October 22, 2012. MMOAttack Elder Scrolls Online Hands On Preview
- ↑ October 24, 2012. MMORPG Reveling in the Combat
- ↑ October 24, 2012. The Elder Scrolls: Off The Record The Elder Scrolls Online Press Summit: YOUR Character Progression
- ↑ The Elder Scrolls Online: The Alliance War
- ↑ October 30, 2012. MMO Attack MMO Attack: ESO Interview with Matt Firor Transcript
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 October, 2012. Tamriel Foundry Developer Interview: Matt Firor and Paul Sage
- ↑ http://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/news/post/2015/06/12/esotu-console-launch-update
- ↑ August 05, 2012. Platform Thirty Two The Elder Scrolls Online - Exclusive Interview With Maria Aliprando
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