It looks like the beginning of the "Elder Scrolls Online" beta is still a few weeks away, but a new update from Zenimax Online reveals that some gamers could soon have access to the one of the most highly-anticipated MMORPGs of the year in a matter of weeks.
The "Elder Scrolls Online" beta program will officially launch at the end of March 2013, according to a new Frequently Asked Questions( FAQ) post from the game's developers on Friday, though testing will apparently be limited to occasional weekend events at first. The game will presumably enter a more open beta state as the "Elder Scrolls Online" release draw closers, and Zenimax Online says that the progression system will be revealed in a few months as well, though there's no word on whether or not the game's solo, instanced campaign content will be making an appearance during the "Elder Scrolls Online" beta as well.
Zenimax Online also revealed that the first "Elder Scrolls Online" semi-public test has already been completed, with a "small friends-and-family" session having taken place on February 28. It's unclear what exactly Zenimax Online's first round of "Elder Scrolls Online" beta players were asked to test last month, though additional comments from the developer (along with the apparent one-day nature of the test) suggest it wasn't the "ESO" progression system.
Like previous entries in the "Elder Scrolls" franchise, "ESO" will allow players to create and level their characters using an open skill tree system, rather than forcing players to lead their creations down paths defined by classic MMO archetypes like the Tank or Healer. Instead, players will be allowed to pick and choose from all of the skills and abilities that "Elder Scrolls Online" has to offer as they increase their character(s)'s capabilities.
It's possible that early testing will focus primarily on the new single-shard server system that Zenimax Online plans to employ when "Elder Scrolls Online" launches later this year, given the studio's previously confessed need to test the system's capabilities for hosting massive player-versus-player battles before "ESO" is released.
Those who are selected for the first round of "Elder Scrolls Online" beta testing will apparently be notified via email in the coming days, and include information on how to download and install "ESO" before the first beta weekend begins. The developers revealed that the "Elder Scrolls Online" beta will require roughly 20GB of free storage space on users' hard drives, and Zenimax recommends getting started on the download as soon as you receive your invite to guarantee your installation is ready in time for the "Elder Scrolls Online" beta.
If you are one of the few people interested in "Elder Scrolls Online", that hasn't seen the game's 6-minute cinematic teaser, take a few minutes to check out the first "ESO" trailer released by Zenimax Online:
Registration for the "Elder Scrolls Online" beta program remains open at this time, and the first invites will be mailed at the end of the month according to Zenimax Online. Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for all the latest on "ESO" as the game's development continues.