Gimme some of dat Skooma.
I’m ashamed. I’ve let everyone down. It’s been nearly one full, long year since I beat my addiction, but today at PAX East, I succumbed to my drug of choice: The Elder Scrolls. As an addict, there’s a constant struggle. You know how dangerous even just a taste of open-world exploration mixed with a spark of magic and the clang of sword hitting armor can be, but you also know just how sweet it is. Deliciously sweet. Until it consumes my entire life. This time, it’s my riskiest relapse yet—The Elder Scrolls Online truly never ends, and I can team up with other quest junkies for a fix.
My demo lasted two hours. Those of you whom have played an Elder Scrolls game previously, or any MMO for that matter, know that two hours is barely scratching the surface of what’s in store. Now imagine combining the two to create a synergy effect of endless quests, side-quests, crafting, smithing, exploring, and just dicking around (c'mon, tell me you haven't rolled an entire inventory's worth of cheese wheels down a hill). Two hours is but a raindrop in an overflowing river. But it was long enough to let me learn the basics, test the combat, upgrade my character a wee bit, and learn about the story driving the game.
1000 years before the events of Skyrim, Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of Domination and Enslavement, puts into effect a plan to merge the mortal plane of Tamriel with Oblivion. Three factions—The Aldmeri Dominion, The Ebonheart Pact, and The Daggerfall Covenant—take arms to do battle with evil, and amongst themselves.
Each faction is comprised of the three races, each with different attributes and skills to upgrade. But fewer limitations are placed on the growth arch of the classes, allowing you to truly build a character to your liking. Character appearances are customizable when you first begin, and yet their abilities can be customized through progression or through discovery. Instead of only being able to upgrade skills when you gain a level, in TESO completing certain quests or discovering certain chests can add skill points too.
Very early on, your character will feel very limited—almost too limited—in their moveset. Only block, quick attack, and heavy attack round out your arsenal. It’s typical action-RPG gameplay found in other TES titles. And it’s not until after some solid time invested before magic and other skills can be unlocked to bolster your capabilities. Again, in two hours I couldn’t see much, but I was able to unlock three new moves in total, and already I felt like a warrior primed for battle
Over a handful of slots are open and awaiting players to drag and drop these abilities for use on the fly. Even spells or attacks that aren’t currently equipped are only a hotkey away. It's enough to make any fan of The Elder Scrolls series one-handed skill to increase to level 99, if you catch my drift.
Although I didn’t witness it myself, I was assured there was plenty of crafting, smithing, and more to find other ways to add to armor, swords, and spells. I didn’t get that far, because I was off on a quest to help a female captain that supposedly saved my life. Staple twists and deceit soon askew my plans, and quickly I found myself starting side-quest after side-quest, completing the most tempting first, unlocking more along the way for me to go back to.
So many quests so quickly—my ADD was spinning out of control. In what felt like a blink of an eye, my two hours had ran dry. It was good timing too, because the game had glitched on me and the devs overseeing the game were about to reset my playthrough, painfully ending my character’s legacy before my very eyes. No harm, though; it’s too be expected as the game is still plenty of ways off, with much time for fixing and polishing (the dev actually took note of my crash—smart). But it was too late for me. I had already grown a bond with my mute character, a bond with the world, and I had so many quests left unfinished. I realized it got me, and now I need more Elder Scrolls.