I’ve been a harsh critic of The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO). I still stand by a lot of my criticism, but I have to point out that recent stuff coming out of Zenimax, specifically from the gameplay they showed at Quakecon, looks incredible. One of my biggest issues with the game thus far has been a lack of Elder Scrolls feel. I have to say that my concern might be invalid after watching this video.
Obviously there are certain mechanics that are more MMO than typical Elder Scrolls RPG (horses appearing and disappearing) but I felt the entire presentation was very much in-tune with the Elder Scrolls feel.
The combat in first person looks close to the real-time combat, albeit with hotkeyed abilities inserted. I didn’t get any sense of button mashing action — actually quite the opposite as I saw countering, blocking, etc. I think the archery looks good, and PvE in general looked like something I would expect from this type of game. Interestingly, notice when he 2 shot that NPC in the beginning — that’s something you’d do in Elder Scrolls, but in a normal MMO it seems out of place. I’m totally okay with that if the game is about evolving a character’s skills and not about leveling up.
Around the 16 minute mark and on there are several great looking fights against tougher mobs. I love how the warrior brings up his/her shield and blocks — that’s real tanking! The flow of combat is actually quite remarkable. I’m a huuuuge fan of groups overcoming the odds and working together, and I can envision that type of experience if more combat in TESO is like these battles.
My excitement for TESO was fading fast, but this pushed me back up to the top. Am I fickle? Yeah, maybe. I know what I like, though, and they weren’t showing me anything to get excited about until recently. I’m still waiting to see how much of this experience is entirely instanced, and how much of this world is open and explorable to everyone at the same time. At least now I can be genuinely excited about, or at least wanting to see more of something in TESO.