Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online is a buy-to-play fantasy MMORPG from ZeniMax Online Studios and Bethesda Softworks based on the popular Elder Scrolls series. The Elder Scrolls Online takes place a thousand years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, in an era known as The Age of Heroes. ESO made a huge move a few years back, with an update called “Tamriel Unlimited”. Now, The Elder Scrolls Online represents the more traditional Elder Scrolls feel, with players being able to wander and journey as they see fit, with the content scaling with them along the way. The world of Cyrodill is open for players, and popular content from the Elder Scrolls series has also made its way into the MMO with DLC for the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood.
Though still buy-to-play, Elder Scrolls Online no longer requires a subscription, posting that as an optional choice for players that give minor benefits without becoming pay-to-win. Players ultimately find themselves on one side or another of the war for the Imperial Throne, in a series of factions: the Daggerfall Covenant, Ebonheart Pact, or Aldmeri Dominion. However, players that choose to be an Imperial are considered rogue to the Empire and are unbound to a faction, leaving them to choose which faction they want to join that could potentially replace the Empire. This faction does not impede players in grouping, as an update was released to allow players to group cross-faction for the purposes of leveling and completing dungeons.
The way you build and explore is entirely up to you, with each level in The Elder Scrolls Online giving points for the player to put into Magicka, Health or Stamina, as well as Skill Points for a wealth of different skills. This creates endless possibilities for growth, as players can wield any weapon they want, regardless of race/class combination, and each class can also focus on the stat of their choice. As players increase the power of their skills (by using them), you can morph them, changing how they function. In this, a spell that normally uses Magicka could change to using Stamina, if someone wanted to be a Stamina-Sorcerer as an example. Each class has three trees of skills to choose from, but there are also passives, racial skills, weapon skills, and more still.
The central plot of the base Elder Scrolls Online focuses on the followers of Molag Bal, who currently control the Imperial Throne. They have made Necromancy legal, mages are perishing, the dead are rising again. The Worm Cult controls the Mages Guild, and the land is in disarray. Three alliances of races have banded together to save Tamriel, and perhaps claim the Throne for themselves: The Daggerfall Covenant, Aldmeri Dominion and the Ebonheart Pact. The Daggerfall Covenant has united under the High King Emeric, consisting of Orcs, Redguard, and the Bretons. The youngest of these alliances is the Aldmeri Dominion, and features the Altmer (High Elves), Bosmer (Wild Elves), and the Khajiit. The Khajiit may seem out of place, but they owe a debt to the Altmer, whoc ame to their aid when the Knahaten Flu began to claim the Khajiit population. The Ebonheart Pact was born from necessity and is as such, terribly fragile. The Dunmer (Dark Elves), Argonian and the Nords make up their ranks. Perhaps the pride and ego of the Nords, who feel it is their right to rule will shatter this alliance, but only time will tell.
The Elder Scrolls first major expansion takes players to Morrowind, roughly a thousand years before the events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The story is focused around Vivec, the Living God. So long as Vivec lives, the massive rock hovering over Morrowind stays right where it is. Should he perish, that boulder will fall from the skies and demolish the land and everyone in it. The expansion takes place on the island of Vvardenfell, held captive by the hubris of Vivec. As is the way of things, proud men and deities alike are deceived by the Daedra and are the cause of the current problems in Vvardenfell. So it is up to the hero to set things right and save the terrified citizens of Vvardenfell. A mysterious power has also awakened for heroes who journey here, the power of the Warden, a warrior deeply in tune with nature.
Summerset, ruled by the Altmer has had their gates closed to outsiders for as long as we can remember. But Tamriel has changed, as catastrophe after catastrophe was inflicted upon it. This fantastic, beautiful island has finally opened, but it’s very clear the Altmer are unused to having foreigners in their land. Summerset is also home to the mysterious Psijic Order, who were once advisors to the greatest leaders in the land. However, they have retreated back to Artaeum, and seclude themselves in this hidden land. There are whispers of Daedric influence in Summerset, and many find it peculiar, even infuriating that Queen Ayrenn opened the gates of the Altmer land to anyone who wishes to travel there. Hidden in the gorgeous land of the Altmer, a nightmarish conspiracy threatens to unravel life as we know it in Tamriel.
Tamriel has never been easier to explore; as long as you own the content, you can make a new character and go and do as you please. When a new DLC pack arrives, players are free to travel there, provided they own it (or have a membership with ESO, which automatically grants all DLC Game Packs). The world is absolutely massive, with all of the familiar locales of the Elder Scrolls games available to explore, and plenty of nods and winks to the PC games for people who are on the lookout. There are also three story perspectives to pick from, so even if you have maxed out a character in one Alliance, you can see how life is for the other factions if you so choose. Many of the DLC updates also bring new skill lines with them, such as Summerset’s Psijic Order, and the Thieves Guild/Dark Brotherhood adding new features to the game as well. The Thieves Guild, for example, added the ability to fence (sell) stolen items, and pay off guards to be on your way, provided you have the skill to do so.
Another solid feature of the Elder Scrolls Online is being able to interact with the world around you. Instead of simply being tied to the same dialogue every time, there are points where you can try and bribe, sneak, flirt, or intimidate your way through a problem. This can certainly change the course of events. But if that fails, you can always just steal from your target, or murder them, but these come with consequences. Should you be caught, a bounty is placed on your head. There’s more than the main quest and side-quests though. There’s a lot to find simply by exploring the world, from single-player dungeon crawls to group Delves, raids, and finding Skyshards out in the world (finding three gives a Skill Point), and each Expansion has added something major. Morrowind added the new Warden class, and Summerset included Jewelry Crafting, and the ability to harvest minerals from seams in the world for it.
The Elder Scrolls Online features ten races from the classic Elder Scrolls series: Nords, Redguards, Bretons, Imperials, Dunmer, Altmer, Bosmer, Orsimer, Khajiiti, and Argonians. Each can be physically customized and can play the game in the same way as the others. The major change is what Alliance/Faction they are aligned with.
Pre-Morrowind, there were only four classes, but with that expansion came the flexible Warden class. While each of the classes has one or two things they excel at they can be built however they like, creating more options and builds than it may seem like on the surface. Each of the character classes also has three Ultimate abilities, one per skill tree. The character classes are pretty flexible in what they can do, offering many options for all players.
Dragon Knight: Dragon Knights can tank or do melee dps, and have three skill trees: Ardent Flame (DOT/CC Line), Draconic Power (AOE and Tank Line) and the Earthen Heart (Tank and CC Line).
Sorcerer: Sorcerers excel at ranged dps and can control the weather as well as summon horrific Daedric forces. Sorcerers can tank if they really want, but it’s less ideal compared to some of the classes with better damage mitigation/threat abilities. The three Sorcerer skill trees are Daedric Summoning (DPS/CC), Dark Magic (Support Line – Removes debuffs, heals health/magicka of allies), and Storm Calling (Pure DPS line).
Nightblade: Nightblades are powerful melee damage dealers that rely on stealth, speed, and just a little bit of luck to survive. They are incredible damage dealers and can also help their allies by siphoning life from their enemies. Their three skill trees are Assassination (Dps/Debuffs), Shadow (AOE DPS/CC), and Siphoning (DOT/Support Line).
Templar: These traveling knights call upon the power of holiness and the light to restore their foes, and the burning sun to devastate their foes. The Templars excel the greatest at healing perhaps, but can also tank, and deal damage through the Aedric Spear skill tree. Their three trees are Aedric Spear (DPS), Dawn’s Wrath (Support with Nuke DPS), and Restoring Light (Tank/Heal Line).
Warden: Added in the Morrowind expansion, Wardens are attuned deeply to nature and the creatures that inhabit the wilds. They can summon a mighty bear to aid them in combat, and summon a host of other creatures to deal damage for them. A Warden can fill any spot needed in a battle, as a master of the Green. Their skill trees are Winter’s Embrace (Tank), Green Balance (Healing), and Animal Companions (DPS).
There have been two major expansions to The Elder Scrolls Online, and many DLC Game Packs that add dungeons, questlines and skill trees. The major expansions were Morrowind and Summerset. Each adds a major area to explore, main story quests, new skills to acquire and more.
Microtransactions in The Elder Scrolls Online feature cosmetic offerings to the player, mounts, pets (noncombat), and DLC Packs to play through. Those can also be acquired through the membership to ESO. Players can also purchase houses with Crowns (the real-money currency), which are not necessary but are visually very appealing and can house some of the player’s items. The player can also purchase Crates, which offer minor items that increase exp, or cosmetics for the player, but also do not confer any real strength bonuses to the user.
- Status: Released
- Release Date: Apr 04, 2014
- Business Model: Retail
- Developer: Bethsoft
- Publisher: Zenimax Online
- Category: Stand-alone
- Genre(s): 3D, MMO, Adventure, RPG, Fantasy
- Platforms: PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4
Editor's Score: 4/5
- +Elder Scrolls setting and lore.
- +Action combat system.
- +Subscription no longer required.
- -Class system needs work.
- -Console versions not synced with PC.
- Recommended PC System Requirements:
- OS: Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 8 64-bit
- CPU: Quad Core 2.3GHz or equivalent processor
- RAM: 4 GB
- GPU: Direct X 11 compliant video card with 2GB of RAM (NVIDIA® GeForce® 560 Ti / ATI Radeon™ 6950 or better)
- HDD: 60 GB
Recommended Mac System Requirements:
- OS: Mac® OS X 10.7.0 or later
- CPU: Intel® i5
- RAM: 4 GB
- GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 650M or ATI™ Radeon™ HD 5770 or better
- HDD: 60 GB
- Description: The Elder Scrolls Online is a fantasy MMORPG from Zenimax Online Studios and Bethesda Softworks based on the popular Elder Scrolls series. The game takes place during the Age of Heroes, 1,000 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
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