Hands-on: The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online is in the unusual (and perhaps unenviable) position of having to appeal to two kinds of player – fans of the Elder Scrolls series and fans of the MMO. It would be silly to argue against the suspicion that, at a certain point, these two groups must overlap. It’s that sweet spot of the Venn diagram that Zenimax is pitching to with its foray into the lots-of-people-fighting-at-once genre. It has already been pointed out that TESO looks to be leaning towards the tried and tested techniques of the MMO, rather than forging a distinct multiplayer world from Elder Scroll conventions, a la the broken yet personable Mortal Online. Having recently had a brief wander in Tamriel, it does seem to us that, as a game, it is certainly more World of Warcraft than Skyrim. Even if it does pay tribute to its forebears in terms of lore and world-building.

Set 1000 years before the events of Skyrim, Tamriel is in the midst of a Game of Thrones-like struggle for the emperor’s seat. The world has broken off into three alliances (thus the tri-bestial ouroboros of the logo). Each alliance contains in itself a triumvirate of races. There is the Daggerfall Covenant in the west (Breton, Redguard and Orc), the Ebonheart Pact of the north and eest (Nord, Argonian and Dark Elf), and the Aldmeri Dominion of the south and south-west (High Elf, Wood Elf and Khajit). Given the strong undertone (read: overtone) of racial tension in the Elder Scrolls series so far, it’s fun to imagine what brought such misfit groups of people together. But it isn’t necessary to indulge the backstory – it is more a way of creating fertile ground for grand PvP encounters, since the central continent of Cyrodiil, from Oblivion, is set as the battleground over which the different alliances will fight for control.

Little of the PvP aspect was shown in our demonstration, however, and we’ll have to rely on a balance of marketing material and healthy scepticism to get a sense of what the sieges and battles will come to look like. The developers plan to have ‘keeps’ over which groups of players can fight, and close to each keep will be a set of resource-granting buildings such as lumber mills, farms and mines. These outlying resources will reinforce the keep (the lumber granting stronger doors and the mines granting stronger walls, for example) in a way that hopes to encourage players to see these places as strategic points worth protecting on a grander scale. PvP will be playable from an early point, Zenimax have promised, and you will be able to fight on behalf of your alliance starting from level 10.

The nature of that fighting is almost fully Warcraftian, in the sense that there’s a hotbar of six skills with the requisite cooldown timers. But there is also a basic swordplay to the combat, which means a lot of left-clicking to slice or fire a spell and a lot of right-clicking to block with the shield, if you have one. There’s also a fairly easy-to-use ‘interrupt’ move that can counter enemy NPCs. In our case this took the form of a satisfying shield bash – one of the more useful nods toward the franchise’s traditions.

Weapons and armour are a similar half-way house. Your character won’t be the only one sucking up XP. Weapons themselves will level up and be granted skills. This means that you can train with a staff until it becomes high enough to use a special flame attack, but you cannot then use that attack without the staff itself. The skills and attributes of your character are therefore spread into two pools – your equipment and your ‘self’. Armour comes in the three forms of the Scrolls’ tradition – light, medium, heavy – and, like weapons, each has its own line of upgrades which will prove to be useful to a certain archetype. For instance, progression with heavy armour will eventually grant bonuses in healing, whereas progression with light armour will grant bonuses to magicka regeneration.

Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to play with a ranged character, so the exact feel of firing bows or bolts of lightning at an enemy is something we would be keen to discover, since archery and staves requiring player-skill and accuracy have always been a staple of the series. The developers have said that ranged characters will still need to be aiming at their target but we can’t say as to how accurate such aim is required to be. There is a first-person mode – which you can enable simply by scrolling the camera to its closest position with the mouse wheel – but the game is often too crowded with enemies to forgo the use of the third-person perspective. This suggests that there will at least be some sort of aim-assist for firing projectiles. The projectiles in question will also be of the ‘magically infinite’ variety, so you won’t need to buy quiver after quiver of arrows for your longbow.

Healers, on the other hand, will have area-of-effect or cone-shaped spells and will therefore have to stay within a good sphere of their party, rather than sniping health into people from afar. There is also a ‘synergy’ system, which allows characters to buff each other and lend support roles without sacrificing their own battle input, so to speak. Although, this synergy system was a little hard to work out and we were unable to put them into practice during our short demo. Needless to say, the exploitation of this system will be most important to those parties looking to dive into the dungeons for later-level loot than those looking to explore the continents.

That sense of exploration is something Zenimax want to emphasise. The likely reason being that they know Elder Scrolls fanatics to be curious trailblazers at heart. There certainly is a lot of landmass to cover – comprising the land from all the previous games combined, plus more – but it’s how this landmass is to be populated that will determine how successfully sated the hungers of these trailblazers will be (or how satisfied the explorer ‘subgroup’ of the MMO community will be, for that matter). It’s been a common criticism of the single player Elder Scrolls games that – although the worlds are huge, the geography stunning, and the architecture fantastic – there is a serious lack of character among the majority of the quest-giving caste and other NPCs. Obviously, this being Elder Scrolls *Online*, it can rely on the human element to pick up the slack, but that doesn’t make the first staid fetch-quest we encountered during our playthrough any more enjoyable, even if it was dressed up in a murder mystery plot and one of the characters was a dog.

The sense of progressing through the world in a geographical sense is perhaps more gratifying, since each village or town you arrive at appears to have a single big problem for you to solve. The first village we came across, just outside the city walls of Daggerfall, was being torched by imps that had to be eradicated at the same time as extinguishing the flames with a bucket of water filled from the village well. The next town we stopped in had been taken over by High Rock bandits, who would only attack if provoked but would eventually have to be ousted to give control back to the townspeople. It’s not hard to imagine this process repeating itself for every settlement along the way and it might get tiresome to be greeted as the ‘one and only hope’ to every single town when you know all along that there are several thousand other people being hailed in the same way. But that is more a perpetual problem of inconsistency with the genre, as opposed to being one specific to this game and, in fairness, there are offenders a lot worse than the Elder Scrolls in this regard. And you can always simply walk past or through a town without bothering the questfolk.
This is what we did with the rest of our time, reaching into the swamps of a place called Hag Fen and darting between crocodiles and necromancers that were much too powerful for us to take on at our level. It resulted in an experience that felt more like survival against trope than anything, but the discovery of a couple of secret chests along the way which required lockpicking to open was a welcome distraction, as was the satisfaction of plotting a mark on the map and gaining XP simply by discovering an encampment, monument, hamlet or dungeon entrance.

Eventually, we reached the end of the playable world, where the walls started melding with the statues they were supposed to support and all signs of human habitation and vegetation disappeared, bar three or four cornstalks next to an abandoned plough in the middle of a wide, fenceless plain. At the end of this plain the earth came to an abrupt halt and everything dropped into a sky-coloured void. It was here we ran out of time for the demo, so we never got the satisfaction of leaping into said void. Here I should note that Zenimax were showing a self-contained test build to us so, obviously, the final game is unlikely to contain such a phenomenon. But it is perhaps representative, in some metaphorical way, of the size of the task Zenimax has taken on with the fantastical world of Tamriel, and of the work the studio has yet to do.

The Elder Scrolls Online is currently taking beta sign-ups.


  1. clownst0pper says:

    So it sounds just like Guild Wars 2 then, except…Elder Scrolls?

    • Wedge says:

      And a monthly sub last I recall. At least until they realize nobody is going to pay those anymore.

      • Tuskin38 says:

        They have not said what option they’re using yet.

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          Which means a subscription or they would have said otherwise by now.

      • lokhe says:

        I’m tempted to screen cap your comment, frame it in pure gold and then just look at it and giggle when Blizzard releases their next soul eating MMO.

        • kmwudjaid says:

          If it features half of the landmass of Daggerfall, it’s already by far the biggest land to cover in any MMO. You may want to edit that part :P http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/05/02/only-50-layers-left-on-molyneuxs-cube-dead-clown-inside-starting-to-smell/

          • Vegard Pompey says:

            Jesus, they’re getting smarter. This one stumped me for a minute.

          • Deathmaster says:

            Same, guess I’ll just avoid clicking links from comments altogether.

          • GamerOS says:

            Just hold your mouse over link and you should see where it links to in the bottom left of your browsers window.

          • Thurgret says:

            A context-sensitive bot? That’s somewhat impressive. Even if the link was unrelated, it was still a solid effort.

          • iucounu says:

            I’m guessing it reads the tags, then copies comments from other related threads? Or is that from this thread?

          • TWChristine says:

            My guess is it wasn’t a bot at all. Last year my spouse and I were really strapped for money after she lost her job so she started taking a lot of random online writing jobs between interviews. Some of them involved writing articles about topics she knew nothing about (not sure what other people did, but she researched the heck out of them as much as she could), and others involved writing ads or sitting there filling in lists of CAPTCHAS. :/

            (Note: if you all figured it was a real person and were just making jokes about bots then forget I was ever here.. *fade away*)

            (Note Deux: Then again the person above me had a good theory.. and the link text didn’t have anything to do with the game. Ah well who cares!)

      • SwENSkE says:

        Well then, tell me how EVE Online is still going strong if nobody wants to pay for subscriptions anymore.

        • Rufustan says:

          Trite answer is: Because its Eve and those crazy Icelanders never do what everyone else does.

          Seriously, I think there is a bunch of factors: There does seem to be a difference in the way games are viewed. If it was around before FTP became the fashionable thing, players seem comfortable with the sub– even new ones. New releases are automatically compared to the FTP from release games like Guild Wars 2, or the (relatively) successful converts like LOTRO. If they charge a sub, players are pointing a finger at other games even before its released (think SWTOR).

          I also think that the sandbox style games don’t get ‘old’ in the way the post WOW theme-parks do, a new pilot in Eve doesn’t have to get to level 87.4 before he can start to play with others.

          Equally, players have less of an issue with a sub, when there are regular free updates and no paid expansions.

          Also– PLEX.

          EDIT: Sadly dumb enough today to only smell out the likely Rhetorical/sarcasm after I replied; still the points are still valid :)

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            There’s also not terribly much competition in Eve’s particular case. Much to my disappointment.

      • Blodyavenger says:

        I would pay monthly subscription for this one and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    I could not be less excited.

  3. DatonKallandor says:

    Guild Wars 2 without the art style, combat system or self-awareness.

  4. engion3 says:

    Signed up for the beta because why not.

  5. aliksy says:

    if(requiresSubscription) {
    return “meh”;
    else {
    return “interesting…”;

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      requiresSubscription ? return “meh” : return “interesting….”;

      • Lacero says:

        return ( requiresSubscription ? “meh” : “interesting….” );

        • jrodman says:

          return “meh” if requires_subscription else “interesting…”

        • Michael Anson says:

          function isItInteresting (bool requiresSubscription) return (!requiresSubscription);

          Or, ultimately: interest = !requiresSubscription;

    • Biaxident says:

      Yeah pretty much this.

    • Mctittles says:

      for each Month {
      if (willingToPay) {
      else {

    • pixelrevision says:

      var 1Day = 86400000;
      var 1Month = 1Day * 31;
      if(interestLevel === “meh”){
      interestLevel = “interesting”;
      }, 1Month * 6);

      • Dozer says:

        oh gosh is that php. Who else uses a === operator.

        • KhanIHelpYou says:

          Javascript, php uses $ instead of var and doesn’t have a setTimeout function. ‘==’ just checks value, ‘===’ checks type too (string vs int etc), so is somewhat unnecessary in this case but some people promote it as best practice.

          I cant really see the game taking off, I doubt many of skyrim’s console hordes will be convinced to try an MMO and it generally looks so run of the mill as MMOs go that it seems inevitable it’ll follow the normal new MMO lifecycle of being fairly popular for a few months when it first comes out to rapidly dropping off over time. Subscription for 10 months maybe, then FTP?

    • Grey Poupon says:

      I think I’d actually prefer a sub instead of f2p. That way it’d at least be balanced between the players. That said, as it seems to be just another “warcraftian” (what a nice word Brendan cooked up) MMO, I’ll probably skip it either way. Changing the way you level up doesn’t change the core gameplay.

  6. DestroyYourEgo says:


    Where’s Fallout Online already?

    • crizzyeyes says:

      This actually exists, believe it or not, in the exact name you phrased it. It is essentially a hacked version of Fallout 2, equipped for multiplayer play, in the same way that GTA: SA achieved a multiplayer client. It worked somewhat well; I played it quite a while ago, so I don’t know how they’re at in development now, but the game was rife with newbie scavengers going through the Boneyard for scraps of equipment. Full looting was available, but anything you keep at a tent (something which is frustratingly expensive to buy, but creates your own little instance on the map where you can keep things) doesn’t go away when you die, and from what I understand may or may not be impossible to access by other players. Worth playing, if only for the cow-shit-shoveling newbie quest.

      • Trithne says:

        Is this the same FOnline where half the playerbase is Russian and occasionally race wars spring up?

    • Darakir says:

      Fallen Earth is pretty close.

      • SwENSkE says:

        But unfortunately not really worth playing for long.
        I was excited when I first heard about it, even subscribed (now it’s F2P so take a look yourself) and had fun for a few weeks but then it quickly became really ‘meh’!

      • catmorbid says:

        Except it sucks.

  7. Brun says:

    Weapons themselves will level up and be granted skills.

    This system seems rather interesting.

    How were the classes set up – were they based on normal predefined RPG archetypes or could you choose a set of skills (i.e. Stealth, Alteration, Illusion) like in Morrowind and Oblivion to define your class?

    • RvLeshrac says:

      This is the way GW2’s weapons work.

      • Iceman346 says:

        Only in a very very basic sense that you have to unlock all of the skills for a weapon before you can use them but this is done very quickly and the skills themselves do not vary between the first cheap dagger you pick up and the endgame exotic dagger of awesome +5. If ESO goes further with the concept and introduces special skills for special weapons it could be interesting.

        • tyren says:

          Also unlike GW2 the game doesn’t designate half of your skill slots for “weapon skills” that you’re not allowed to switch out for anything else.

        • iridescence says:

          LOTRO has this with “legendary items” It’s interesting although it got kind of grindy/ridiculous after a while because they cap the item’s level and keep making you start new ones. Glad to see another MMO messing around with that kind of system though, although it seems literally the only thing interesting to me about ESO.

          • tyren says:

            This article makes it sound like you level up individual weapons, but every other source I’ve read talks about unlocking skills for weapon TYPES, so I’m pretty sure it’s actually nothing like the LotRO legendary weapons.

          • DigitalSignalX says:

            Defiance does this for their guns, the weapon itself has an XP bar you level up and unlock small perks on, then you have a 2nd character stat for the weapon type you also level up with similar perks.

  8. neonordnance says:

    It’s looking better than I expected (as in, a franchise-diluting abomination that bombs hard enough to destroy Zenimax Online within months), but I’m still less-than-sold. Including a first-person viewpoint is a start, but a WoW-style hotbar is bad news bears. Skyrim should be the primary touchstone for combat, not Blizzard’s aging virtual game-crack delivery device.

    The primary goal of any Elder Scrolls game is immersion, and at every step of the way they seem to want to step back from that. I think the problem is the number of players they want to get in each area. They are so in love with Dark Age of Camelot-style massive melees that they are missing the point: Elder Scrolls players don’t want thousand-player servers if it costs them immersion. The number one request, in terms of multiplayer, has always been co-op, even if that takes the form of 4 or even 2 players. But given how far tech has advanced, they could easily get 64 or even 128 players in an authentic Elder Scrolls experience. Sure, they’d probably have to dial back physics or graphics a bit, but I don’t think anyone would mind.

    Instead they’ve gone for hundreds or even thousands of players simultaneously, to the point that the only examples of immersion they’ve given are clickable bookshelves. They can’t even give us interactive conversations, TOR-style? I’m really quite worried that when this fails, it will drag Bethesda down with it, or at the very least make the suits wary of another Elder Scrolls game, and that will be a crying shame. But as for whether it will succeed, that’s not even a question unless they make some serious improvements.

    • Iceman346 says:

      While the Elder Scrolls games are certainly interesting sandbox games their combat system is just boring and shallow. This is fine in a game where the exploration is the main focus but in an MMO where you want to get every type of player involved a better combat system is a must.
      ESO seems to go the GW2/Tera route of mixing action combat with some hotkey skills which is probably the best way to approach the basic Oblivion/Skyrim like combat (which is basically “click left very often”) while introducing more depth through various skills.

      Also why I can understand that people want a coop/small scale multiplayer Elder Scrolls game I personally have high hopes for the ESO PvP System. It could be the first time since well DAoC that we get a good mass PvP again in an MMO. I admit that my hopes will probably be crushed when I get to play the beta/release but still, fingers crossed.

      Also I think your worries are quite unfounded. Skyrim was a huge success, there is absolutely no reason for Bethesda to not make another singleplayer game in the series even if the online game bombs.
      On a sidenote: There are barely any interactive conversations in the singleplayer games, why do you expect those to be in an MMO? That is one of the reasons why I enjoy the Elder Scrolls games as a type of “see the world, and the sights” game but for interesting characters, good storylines, important decisions and character building you really have to go elsewhere.

      • Morzak says:

        The only game that had something that could approach was Warhammer imo….. But boy that game would have needed at least a year more and some redesigns. But it had some pretty interesting stuff in it, also concerning skills and PVP tanking.

        Not holding my Breath, it’s an Elder Scroll game and the main features of those always was bad combat. While the other stuff that made it great for many people will not be as good, because it’s an MMO. I would really like a mass PVP focused MMO that actually gives importance to holding keeps/ territorry and not just make point swapping the most beneficial meta.

        • Iceman346 says:

          Yes, I had similarly high hopes for Warhammer, especially as it was made by Mythic themselves. And while it hat some novel ideas on the whole (public quests for example, something I predicted we would see become a standard in future MMOs and lo and behold, Rift, GW2) and the PvP system was well founded it was certainly rushed.
          Also in the beginning it was a lot easier to farm xp and PvP ranking in arena PvP which meant that the open PvP areas were mostly empty. This in combination with the 2 faction system (which just doesn’t work for large scale PvP) broke the games neck for me.

          At least on paper ESO seems to tick all the right boxes, 3 factions, keeps, siege weapons, large scale battles etc. Thats why currently it’s one of the games I’m most anxious for.

  9. HadToLogin says:

    I don’t know why ES fans are so against MMO – earlier games were totally like MMOs, with boring fetch quests and hours of grinding and worthless NPCs and awesome exploration.
    Only bad thing about ESO could be “I quacked your mom” high-pitched screams if it goes F2P.

    • Captchist says:

      Because the great part about ES is being utterly immersed in the world.

      Adding 6000 more people just means trying to immerse yourself in the world while somebody spams “LFG Sha-Adnius no Acrobats” in global chat, and 15 other people all try and use the same vendor you’re using.

      • Biaxident says:

        There’s always RP servers, which surely enhance immersion?

        • Screwie says:

          People are a big factor in immersion absolutely, but immersion is also about seeing your impact on the world. Something the ES games are great at but MMOs, with their quest structure and inherent lack of consequence, are not.

          That said my most immersive MMO-like game was Guild Wars 1, which hid everything behind private instances and allowed from both quiet unspoilt adventuring and some impressive consequences. So my expectations for immersion are probably a little skewed.

    • GiantPotato says:

      You can’t make the same impression on the world in an MMO. My favorite moments in ES games came from those map-changing decisions, like letting the ghouls into Tenpenny Tower. Decisions like that just won’t be possible in ESO, so what’s left? The other hallmarks of ES games are shallow and sparsely-written NPCs, quest bugs, lackluster combat mechanics, and fantastic potential for exploration. Only the last of these is a good thing, and I don’t see how an MMO setting is essential to it.

    • iteyoidar says:

      Part of the fun of Elder Scrolls games is finding ways to completely break them (mixing potions that allow you to fly fast enough to crash the game while hurling giant fireballs at townspeople, screwing with the daggerfall experience bonus system, being a werewolf, levitating your horse and wagon like a medieval Santa Claus…). Or trying the opposite and seeing how far you could get with a really terrible character. Morrowind even had a mod that let you pick NPC classes if you wanted to make your guy a bookseller or fishmonger or something.

      Since this is an MMO it has to be balanced and not fun so none of that will be in the game and you’ll be fighting against an unbeatable make-numbers-bigger system instead.

  10. nimzy says:

    I’ll be signing up for the beta just to see this madness. The factions are quirky enough to work. Doesn’t seem like there’s much to warrant spending money on, though. The words “theme park” come to mind.

  11. DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

    It’s pretty shitty that MMO just means “WoW-style” MMO now. No one even tries to do anything interesting with the genre or do anything other than make what is basically a single player rpg with other people running around at the same time to no effect on the world and a bunch of zeroes added onto the end of the numbers to make it take forever to progress or do things. Every new one that comes out they say it’s going to have a more immersive world or be different etc., or whatever and it’s a load of horseshit every time. Ultima Online still has them all beat. All anyone has to do is make a more modern and polished version of that. Hell Ultima 7 has them beat as long as they’re going to keep being basically single player experiences with 90 percent filler.

    • Danarchist says:

      If someone would just give Asheron’s call or Anarchy Online modern graphics (and no other changes!) I would happily be done wasting $60 every few months to be disappointed again.
      Ironically the only MMO I have had fun in lately seems to be generally hated by everyone else, Defiance. Granted it is just borderlands-humor+cash shop, but when I play it I’m not thinking to myself “Only 53 more levels to go before I can do anything interesting!”. Maybe the fact that it is mindless shooting of things is why I like it.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      EVE, Darkfall, Mortal Online, Salem, even DayZ. Whether you like those or not, they exist and they aren’t the same WoW-style theme parks.

      • GamerOS says:

        The problem with that is that most people think MMO only when they see a generic WoW clone Fantasy MMORPG.
        They don’t realize MMO is much more then that.

    • Rufustan says:

      The really sad thing is that model of play has become so all pervasive. I was in a discussion about new content, and the idea of level to cap, group up, then run instanced content for gear. Almost everyone involved was not arguing from the point of view that this was the best way to do things; they just thought that was the way MMOs worked.

      I keep waiting for someone to release a skill based fantasy MMO that is largely a sandbox, perhaps even with real risks and consequences, The ever increasing list of theme-park MMOs being released (each with their own unique twist), sadly suggests I’m in a tiny minority.

  12. Astartes says:

    I wonder how Bethesda feels.

  13. Stevostin says:

    “There certainly is a lot of landmass to cover – comprising the land from all the previous games combined, plus more”

    If it features half of the landmass of Daggerfall, it’s already by far the biggest land to cover in any MMO. You may want to edit that part :P

    • Sidewinder says:

      I was going to point out- if that first village was less than a 45-minute real-time walk from the walls of Daggerfall, they don’t have all the land.

    • Dominare says:

      The thing with Daggerfall is that the vast majority of the landmass is randomly generated, so while it is indeed huge, there’s basically nothing to do in 99.5% of it. It isn’t hard to see why they moved away from that approach for subsequent games.

      • Sidewinder says:

        Procedurally generated; not random. And anyone who’s ever played it knows that the vast, vast, VAST majority of the space is empty and (for all reasonably practical purposes) useless, but it’s still there in Daggerfall, and if it’s not in TESO, then it isn’t “comprising the land from all the previous games combined”.

  14. Mctittles says:

    Sounds like they are making a lacking single player game in order to charge people a monthly price (for awhile) instead of a one time fee.

  15. abHowitzer says:

    I might play this to just wander around and walk across all provinces. But that’s probably all I’ll be doing.

  16. Arglebargle says:

    I suspect that their DAoC endgame is not going to sit well with a large number of ES fans. I know a bunch of Elder Scrolls players, and none of them have the slightest interest in RvRvR. I understand that using that endgame attempts to get the developers off the new content treadmill, but…. Even if it was somehow, miraculously done perfectly right, it still won’t appeal to a sizeable chunk of the intended sales base.

  17. Cryptoshrimp says:

    Nord, Argonian and Dark Elf. Together. Are they absolutely mad? Did they not read their own worldbuilding notes? This is literally the worst group of races to put into a faction together.

    • aleander says:

      They are called “the leftovers alliance”. The bunch of kids nobody else wanted to team up with :-(

  18. NinjaOxygen says:

    oops, commented on wrong story :-/

  19. Bhale7 says:

    It would be nice to have the gameplay style of the original Ultima Online all with modern graphics. Unfortunately, it will never be made because it’ would be too “dangerous” for the average game…

  20. Whisperduke says:

    If the team behind Mortal Online were as wealth as Bethesda ……best MMO in the world imo.

  21. Skrofler says:

    “The nature of that fighting is almost fully Warcraftian, in the sense that there’s a hotbar of six skills with the requisite cooldown timers”

    No point in reading anymore after this.
    When writing a review, even only a preview, you have to actually try combat before writing about it, not just look at the interface to draw prejudiced conclusions. ESO has no cooldown timers. The hotbar has six abilities compared to WoW’s unlimited number. Tell me again how that combat is “Warcraftian”. Is it the action blocking? The pacing maybe? Anything?

    Dear readers, please don’t believe anything Mr Caldwell has to say about the Elder Scrolls Online until he comes back from journalist school.