Well PAX East may be over, but we're still sorting through all of the new "Elder Scrolls Online" game play information that's been released in the last few days while counting down the days until the "ESO" beta begins later this month.
Developer Zenimax Online has remained relatively tight-lipped in recent weeks, regarding "Elder Scrolls Online" and the game's upcoming beta program, but a flurry of new details about the "ESO" experience emerged in the days leading up to PAX East in Boston last weekend.
Fortunately, though they kept it under wraps long enough to inspire some serious concern among the "Elder Scrolls" faithful, Zenimax Online has finally confirmed that the series' traditional first-person view will be included in "Elder Scrolls Online" after all. Despite early fears that first-person perspective (with visible weapons/magic hands) wouldn't be conducive to traditional MMO-style combat, "ESO" lead gameplay designer Nick Konkle says that the team is confident they've found a way to incorporate the traditional "Elder Scrolls" view without breaking the game.
" I definitely do not feel like it's at odds with the style of combat that we've built. Our third-person game wasn't necessarily developed for very, very zoomed-out from above," Konkle told RockPaperShotgun during an interview last week, adding, "When we built the combat system, we targeted having your camera be close up on the character, character off to the side, but in the world. Immersion was always a key part of it."
While some have scoffed at the notion that a particular camera view defined a gaming experience, others firmly believed that "ESO" simply wouldn't have been a proper "Elder Scrolls" title without the sword-and-shield view introduced in "Oblivion" . Personally, we're big fans of the decision, particularly when you consider just how much freedom "Elder Scrolls Online" players will have to swap between a variety of weapons and spells as they are needed.
Taking a stealthier approach to your tasks will still feel familiar in "Elder Scrolls Online" too, thanks to the return of the eye indicators, and players can still enter stealth mode simply by making their character(s) crouch. Many of us won't have any use for stealth though, preferring instead to let our steel/magic carve a path to victory.
Player-versus-player combat in the "Elder Scrolls Online" will be carried out on a massive battlefield -- think continents in "PlanetSide 2" -- with a variety of forts, keeps, and other battlements scattered across the land of Cyrodiil. Zenimax claims that hundreds of players will be able to do battle at once in "Elder Scrolls Online", and a recent build of the game shown to members of the gaming press apparently features dozens of combatants waging war with all manner of weapons, spells, and siege engines.
The folks at Zenimax held a private "Elder Scrolls Online" preview event last week, giving several members of the gaming press an early look at "ESO" in its current state, and revealing the return of the traditional "Elder Scrolls" first-person view at long last.. "Elder Scrolls Online" was also playable at PAX East in Boston last weekend, giving the general public its first up-close-and-personal look at the upcoming MMO. Surprisingly, the company remained mum on the subject of the "Elder Scrolls Online" beta, which was originally expected to begin by the end of March. Unfortunately, with only one (holiday) weekend left in the month, it's seeming increasingly unlikely that the "Elder Scrolls Online" beta will launch before the end of March.
Update: Despite our fears, the folks at Zenimax Online just hopped on the official "Elder Scrolls Online" website to announce that the first round of "ESO" beta invitations have been mailed. Did you get in?