Preview:The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online Preview

Gameplay

Let's face it, MMORPGs are almost a dime a dozen now. They range anywhere from absolutely laughable affairs to extremely polished and engaging experiences. Myself, being a former and recovering addict from everything including World of Warcraft to EVE Online and Guild Wars 2, I honestly am a bit worn out of the whole concept. That being said, I was pretty stoked to jump into the latest press build of The Elder Scrolls Online. So, I grabbed some Oreos, jumped onto my nerd throne and after a 20+ gig download, I jumped in.. 

I had absolutely zero issues logging in or staying connected to the PTR server (Press beta FTW!) throughout my various gaming sessions. I loved the character creator and immediately created Pyra, the black lipped Breton Sorcerer. That's right, black lipstick. Bam! Anywho, the beginning island was wrought with beauty, danger and exciting battles. I won't ruin it but a side quest about a pansy warrior and a big snake was a highlight. Overall, combat was a blast as I mixed magic with sword and one handers. Everything is really starting to come together and even though the first person view still feels wonky (Can we get a FOV slider... please?) everything else in 3d person was a riot.

Combat feels refined and smooth. Crafting and gathering are interesting and complex. The story is engaging. Exploration is there even though we wish there were random caves and loot a la Skyrim. It's a minor niggle for MMORPGs but it would be awesome. Overall, we came away pleased to the very last minute the server shutdown. Gameplay wise, this game is shaping up ever so nicely.

The Elder Scrolls Online Preview

Greetings from The Elder Scrolls Online! (Shoddy attempt at  recreating a postcard)

Graphics and Sound

Now, let's just go ahead and admit that most MMORPGs just are not graphical powerhouses. Some have tried and failed hard *cough*AION*cough* with advanced graphics engines but either the performance was so clunky and/or the art style was just horrid. I am pleased to say that The Elder Scrolls Online not only succeeds in the technical and artistic departments, it's absolutely gorgeous in some areas and Daddy (that's me) is very hard to impress these days. If you don't believe me, check out the screenshots in our gallery and the video gameplay below.

The Elder Scrolls Online Preview

Excuse #567,941 to show a screenshot of The Elder Scrolls Online.

Every shot was taken straight from the game and have not been touched up in any way, shape or form. The day and night cycles are impressive and every little detail from ripples in the water, to crashing thunderstorms to striking spell effects are fantastic. I maxed out all settings on our beasty gaming rig and it was quite the load but for the most part, everything performed like a champ. So far, this game presents a stunning acheivement in the world of graphics for MMORPGs and stands above its peers. I can't wait to explore the rest of this world..

Think the graphics are impressive? The audio portion meets and sometimes exceeds the graphical aspect. Sounds range from subtle rain storms that soothe to crashing, pounding and crackle of spells, axes and swords and shields. The music feels just right in the world of Elder Scrolls and never was instrusive or annoying. In fact, I kept turning up the music as I rolled through the countryside bashing goblin faces in. Ah, bliss. 

The Elder Scrolls Online Preview

"Do you believe in magic in a young girls heart?" Wow, now that was some serious cheese.

Fun

When it comes to previewing and reviewing games, it's both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you have to wade through mountains of both tedious and mediocre games which is just the nature of the business. Still, some games make me want to punch cats. On the other hand, sometime find hidden gems, experience awesome blockbusters and sometimes you come away totally and completely impressed. The latter is the definitely the case considering my time with The Elder Scrolls Online. Honestly, I haven't even scratched the surface of this game but had an absolute blast in my attempt to do so. While most MMORPGs are going for microtransaction and some in wonky free to play attempts, I am extremely interested to see how ESO does in this regard. That being said, it's so blasted impressive, I know that myself and many others will be there on day one and stick around for a long, long time. Awesome gameplay and combat? Check. Deep crafting system? Yep. Stellar graphics, sound and music. Uh uh. This looks like the complete package folks but most important of all, IT'S FUN.

Final Verdict: 

When it comes to MMORPGs, anymore I am just plain resistant. Even though I love the series, coming into the experience, The Elder Scrolls Online was not on the top of my list of anticipated games. That has all changed with the latest press beta. Between gorgeous graphics, stunning sound and a ton of exciting things to do, this have moved to the top of my list for MMORPGs. Even though I wish there was a little more random content, we can't wait for this one!

Hype Meter: 4.5/5