The Elder Scrolls Online Beta Hands On

At last, The Elder Scrolls (TES) as we know it, includes other players worldwide into the game to play together. Developed by ZeniMax Online Studios, presenting its first massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) into the series, The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO).

Creating a character is a common start in most MMORPGs. But before that, the game introduced a trailer, describing the current situation of my newly character; as of now, the trailer is a placeholder, using descriptive words to describe the situation. After that, I’m thrown to a dungeon-prison environment, along with the initial customization.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (1)Character creation screen after the trailer

Choosing a race is crucial as each race is represented in one of the three available alliances. Do note that a race from a specific alliance will affect the character’s quest-line and its location after clearing the tutorial. Not many MMO games have established this flow, which really pique my interest in playing as different races of different alliances to check out their quest-lines, and the differences in the plot.

Unlike the character customization in the previous TES series, unique features such as Face Type allows players to adjust the face’s shape of a character by using a triangular slider, whether you want your character’s face to be more Heroic, Soft or Angular, or maybe balanced. Voice pack is a new addition to the series, allowing the player to choose a voice for their character. Personally, this gives more freedom of choice for players in customizing their characters.

To my surprise, TESO provides 4 different classes where I have never encounter in TES V : Skyrim. I’m not talking about the 3 “classes” we know off in the previous series, namely, Fighter, Mage and Thief. These classes are Dragon knight, Sorcerer, Nightblade and Templar. This game is moving towards more than just a typical MMORPG, as they do not start off with the standard classes which most MMOs does, like Warrior, Mage, Archer or Thief.

Now that my character is created, I’m ready to play. It first felt like the familiar Head-Up Display (HUD) welcoming me back to TES world, Tamriel. Yes, I’m talking about the compass bar at the top of the screen which always shows the different symbols for different areas, my objectives and my enemies, following on with the appearance animated sentences stating the quest, as well as the Health, Magicka and Stamina bar at the bottom. It is without a doubt that I am back in the world of The Elder Scrolls.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (4)Engaging a combat with a Skeletal Archer

Personally, I feel the game is much more fast paced in action than in Skyrim, which gives me precise controls over my character during combat, and the recharge rate of HP stamina and magicka seems much faster, but different in animation compared to the other series.

There seem to be a little delay when pressing Ctrl key to crouch and Z key to unsheathe/sheathe my weapons, hopefully this can be adjusted to engage the mentioned actions instantly on press when the game goes gold.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (5)Lighting animation when a character levels up

Likewise in all MMORPG games, and the previous TES series, leveling is vital for a character to gain more skills, and increase in Health, Magicka and Stamina. Unlike Skyrim yet similar to most MMOs, the level of a character affects the number of equipment a character can wear, since every weapon and armour has a level requirement. Having said that, this restores the balance among players of the same level, where one character cannot overpower others.

Compare to Skyrim, the inventory and the skills interfaces are totally different and it’s much more accessible to different items and skills.

In terms of skills, the game offers not only passive buffs, but also offensive and defensive magic attacks and buffs, based on the chosen race and class. Not only that, the game offers different weapon and armour skills, which give more choices for the player to decide, with the consideration of the weapon and armour a player intends to equip in combat.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (9)The skills interface screen

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (15)Using the dragonknight’s buffs

If you have doubts on the skills have added, then don’t fret. If you happen to spot a beam of light shining towards the sky, do approach it. That’s where a Skyshard occurs. These skyshards are available around Tamriel, offering players to exchange for a skill point for every 3 Skyshards collected. That will ease your mind to have variety of skills, and to upgrade them to their fullest potential.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (8)Using a skyshard

The inventory interface has different category for the variety types of items, similar to Skyrim. Instead of using carry weight to limit the number of items a player can carry, inventory space is a much better approach, since I really hate my character to be really slow when carrying loads of good loot. The equipment tab is new addition to the inventory interface, which allows us to view the current items the character is holding. This is actually much better than in Skyrim when selling useless items as I tend to accidentally sell my equipped weapons to the NPCs.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (10)The Inventory interface

Like Skyrim, the voice acting of the NPCs, the immersive environment and the collaborating music contributed in making TESO seems so real. The conversation between NPCs makes you feel like being a part of the story. Some NPCs reacts to what they say with their body actions and expression. Some NPCs are just being mischievous, yet hilarious in their own dialogue.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (11)Convincing The Frozen Man

Unlike most MMOs with simple quests like killing 5 slimes for a reward, these main quests ensure the player to follow the story, engaging in decision making, like how they made me decide if I should rescue everyone in Bleakrock Isle from the Covenant, as well as choosing to do optional missions to solve every NPCs query, like dealing with The Frozen Man’s tricks to release Eiman from his clutches. This made me feel that I’m playing an important role in the story.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (12)Walking around in Bleakrock Village

The music gives me a sense of peacefulness whenever I’m in town, making me feel like walking instead of the default running movement. It changes to a fighting situation music whenever I’m engage in a battle with mobs, and an even epic soundtrack during a boss battle.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (6)Fighting against the Anchor Guardian before completing the tutorial

And let’s not forget about the graphics of the game, the immersive environment I’ve wanted to share. Admittedly speaking, this is the main reason why I would choose to play TESO, or rather, going back to the world of TES.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (14)Wider view of Bleakrock Village

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (13)Shopping under one roof

The model of the houses and the environment where it took place really matches the scenario I have had in my mind. It makes me feel like leaving the high rise buildings, and settle down in a wooden house, calling it as my new home. As I continued on with the main quest, there are certainly much more areas to explore, with interesting themes I have never expected to be. If the current alliance my character is in encountered these wonderful areas, I’ve got to know playing as different alliances has to offer. Tamriel is indeed a vast world.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (16)Meeting at Dhalmora

With that being said, I see no reason why players should not enjoy TESO. Although the bugs are bound to occur around the game, since the game will be released in the near future, developers still have the time to fix them, as well as the concerned feedback beta testers have, like how I would prefer if the fast travel can be free at any time. Hopefully we’ll get to see more in-game content and big events when the game goes gold. TESO is undoubtedly another MMORPG I would recommend to my friends, family, and to the gamers worldwide.

TESO Beta Hands On Screen Shot (7)Onwards to Tamriel!

by Andom Yeo

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