Thankfully, Stephen Totilo, writing for Kotaku, asked the very question that's haunted fans of The Elder Scrolls series since word of The Elder Scrolls Online surfaced: "Will ESO be like World of Warcraft?. ESO game director Matt Firor, who has worked on World of Warcraft projects in the past, assures us that these assumptions are false, specifically stating, "Our priority is to make a great game and not to make a clone of anything." He feels that once more information hits the gaming community, the more people will adjust to the idea of an Elder Scrolls MMO.
Totilo and Firor discussed various features of the most anticipated MMO of 2013, ranging from combat to quests to dungeons. Unlike the console based games, ESO is intended for third person point of view. Totilo was able to play the game and said playing in first person was optional, so long as the player zoomed in the camera all the way, an action he said made combat awkward and more difficult because the hero's arms and weapons are not visible from this viewpoint. Having third person perspective as standard is designed for players to view all hostiles and allies that flank them.
Spells and skills are assigned to a point and click toolbar at the bottom of the screen, much like other MMOs, while some combats, such as blocking, are assigned to keyboard buttons. Blocking does not require a cooldown, and many abilities do not, urges Firor, but many more do.
Dungeons. There are three types: group instances, in-game raids, and public dungeons. On public dungeons, Firor said:
"These public dungeons will be more difficult to survive in than above ground, so you'll want to ask people for help or give help. You'll always be rewarded for helping people."
Factions, joinable groups spread across the continent of Tamriel, have two major sides: the Ebonheart Pact and the Dagerfall Covenant. Players can choose to join either of the two, eventually raising to the rank of Emperor when enough territory and wealth is amassed. Combat, Firor says, will have PvP opportunities with instances as small as farm-side skirmishes between a few parties and full-scale wars with two major, opposing forces.
"Our quests are a little more exciting than ‘just go out and kill 10 rats,'" Firor said, unveiling a quest that has players rewinding the clock to find out how to defeat an undead warrior in the present. Much like the Time wound and Alduin from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Only cooler.
He classified the quests as a "point of interest" quests that would have 20 minutes of content with a reward at the end. These kinds of quests are triggered as random encounters that are initiated on the world map.
Most importantly, Firor said, "Everywhere you go, you find something to do. You can just walk across the world and find things to do."
Are we convinced that ESO will be "the new alternative" to MMOs? Gamers were promised a gem with The Old Republic and many felt it was not up to par. But, this 'is' the Elder Scrolls, after all. Read the full interview here.
In other news, lead artist of The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard Matt Carofano has revealed that Dawnguard offers more content than anything we saw in the Fallout DLC packs, but less than our beloved Shivering Isles. "We wanted to do something more in depth than that,” he said. “It's not as big as Shivering Isles, but there’s still a lot of content there.” Read the full article here.