Pax Prime 2013 Impressions: The Elder Scrolls Online

here's nothing like stepping out into the new day and seeing the sun cast a radiant glow on the crystallized snow. A glance upward reveals a winged procession suddenly scattered by the howl of a savage wolf close by. The General calls out with desperate urgency, snapping the player back into the world. The dead have risen, and now several of the townspeople have gone missing. The experience feels very familiar, and in a title like The Elder Scrolls Online it is a smooth transition into the MMO landscape.

PAX Prime began with an hour long demo of the game's current build, where the media and attendees alike were put into the town of Bleakrock Isle with a mission of the upmost importance. Even with only one faction playable, the character creation process could have easily taken the majority of our time. After various tweaks and alterations to my male Nord, I set off to protect the village. While en route to my current objective, an injured man bellowed out for someone to help him. This poor soul had lost his leg after an attack from an impure beast known as Deathclaw. I informed the injured man that I would end the creature's reign forever and went towards battle.

The game's dynamic questing constantly takes the player off the beaten path to find different encounters and potential items of importance. Like other past Elder Scrolls titles, travelers will easily lose hours of time by simply proceeding forward. Throughout the playthrough it never felt like the NPC offering quests would ask for the player to kill a number of enemies or gather a certain amount of items. It was as if the game was exactly like the single player titles released previously, but now with everyone in the same world. For novice players making The Elder Scrolls Online their first multiplayer experience, they will have a smooth transition into the online world.

The controls are nothing new or different; players familiar with any Bethesda release will be able to play with ease. The online offering now has the first person perspective fans have asked for since the title was announced, and the user interface has taken past criticisms to heart and improved greatly. The only issues encountered through playing were lock picking was difficult to understand and even worse to attempt. Also the game did have a minor glitch where the shield of the character was stuck in place, making the player unable to interact with other objects, A quick logout fixed the issue, and our player returned instantly to the same location which was impressive in an MMO.

As our allotment of gameplay slowly winded down, the current quest was also coming to a monumental conclusion. After successfully gathering three runestones and gaining access to Skyshroud Burrow, players were able to slay the necromancer responsible for the sudden emergence of the living dead and purify the spirit of the dragon priest Haldriin who, like all characters in the game, was fully voiced. For an online game with this amount of production, it can be hard to think of it only as a MMO.

Criticism of a paid subscription aside, The Elder Scrolls Online could win over current fans of the series as well as new players.


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