During E3 2012, Zenimax revealed new information about the upcoming MMO, The Elder Scrolls Online. Set in Tamriel one thousand years before the events of Skyrim, the game will provide a back story to a world many gamers are familiar with. Players will encounter memorable landscapes, classic monsters, and of course the varied player character races from the Elder Scrolls games, but the politics of the time are very different.
The Elder Scrolls Online will have emphasis on the social aspect of MMOs. There will be areas, such as dungeons, throughout the game where players can meet with others. Additionally, players are given encouragement to help others throughout the game. For example, if a player were to encounter another player struggling in a fight with a monster, the passerby would be able to help the other and be rewarded with a share of loot and experience. By battling alongside friends or strangers, players will have access to Synergy, a skill that makes attacks stronger while players work together. Also, those who are interested in PvP will be able to participate in massive events, such as stronghold sieges, that will feature over one hundred participants.
Those who are not interested in playing with others will still be able enjoy a single player experience in The Elder Scrolls Online. While adventuring in a world filled with fully voiced NPCs, players will receive quests from various towns or areas they visit. The development team is aiming to avoid the traditional quest hub system, instead creating a freer system that allows players to explore and complete quests at their leisure. Quests will feature choices for players, and the decisions made in The Elder Scrolls Online may have ramifications on the game’s story. In the demonstration shown at E3, the player was given a quest to help pacify a group of mourning ghosts haunting a former battlefield. As the quest progressed, the player was able learn more about the ghosts' distress and even go back in time to find the undead werewolf that was the root cause of the problem. At the branching point in the quest, the player was given the choice of either helping the quest-giver by killing the werewolf or helping the werewolf by kidnapping the quest-giver. In the game, one of two different follow-up quests will be available to the player upon the quest's completion, dependent on the route the player chooses. If the player kills the werewolf then the player will be approached by a relative of one of the ghosts, but if the player kidnaps the quest-giver then they will meet a character associated with the werewolf.
The combat in The Elder Scrolls Online will be action oriented. As the developers are trying to stay away from the skill cooldowns commonly found in other MMOs, they have incorporated elements of the combat found in the main Elder Scrolls games. The game will feature different types of attacks, such as normal attacks and charged attacks. Additionally, the player will be able to crouch, sneak, block, and perform other movements in battle. Despite a wide assortment of skills and abilities, the developers are currently working with a minimalist user interface for the game. Although the interface shown in E3 is by no means the final product, its current form simply shows players their health, magic, and stamina. Players should expect to see a choice of familiar Elder Scroll races, with Breton, Orc, Altmer, Dunmer, Khajit, and Argonian shown at the E3 demonstration. Although little information was given on specific character builds and classes, we were told that the developers are aiming for an MMO where no roles are excluded from fights. The game is being targetted for a low minimum specification, which may impact the overall level of detail but will also make the game accessible to those without top-of-the-line computers. The Elder Scrolls Online is expected to be released in 2013.