The Elder Scrolls Online Still Exists, This Video Is Proof

ZeniMax are keen to remind you that The Elder Scrolls Online [official site] is still an actual, real MMO that you can play if you’d like. They’re doing so by releasing a series of videos showcasing the game’s key features, the first of which can be seen below. It details the level of freedom and choice found in the game, by having the guy who did all the old VHS Disney trailers talk at you for three minutes about classes and factions.

If you find this video enticing, you may be interested to know that you’ll no longer need a subscription to play The Elder Scrolls Online. Just a one-off purchase for the game is all that’s required. Having said that, there is an optional subscription service which will give you exclusive in-game bonuses and access to all future DLC at no additional cost.

Whether this sea change results in a healthy, populous online Elder Scrolls experience remains to be seen. Personally I can’t help but feel like it’s more of a death knell than a call to arms.

58 Comments

  1. Skaz says:

    I was almost tempted before release. What held me back is the bullshit “preorder if you want to play ANY race in ANY faction, otherwise you won’t be able to do it’ (it may even had been a collector bonus, don’t remember that). Like, Elder scrolls were never games about freedom of choice you know, so my khajiit would be stuck with filthy ELVES? Yeah, no, thank you.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      I don’t think it was anything like that, if i recall correctly you could be an imperial only with the preorder and that particular race could indeed be fitted anywhere, but not others.

      Still, not like this makes the whole thing any better, i’ll give you that.

      • Philomelle says:

        No, he’s correct. The pre-order version of ESO came with an Explorer’s Pack, a special DLC that allowed you to use any race in any faction. To my knowledge, it hasn’t ever been made available again; you can only obtain it if you risk digging for it on key re-seller websites.

        • Wendelius says:

          I think it’s available in the Crown Store, nowadays. But I could be wrong.

          • StarkeRealm says:

            Yeah, it’s in the crown store. It’s got a different pet from the preorder pack, but otherwise it’s the same thing.

        • vexis58 says:

          I tried out the “free weekend for people in the beta who never bought the game” and found it fun enough that I was willing to drop $30 on a copy off eBay. I’m not sure I saw a copy up for sale that didn’t include the Explorer’s Pack. I made a cross-faction character as soon as I installed it and can verify that it works.

          Totally worth that $30 for a sorta-Elder-Scrolls game now that it’s had another year of work, though all the other players and respawned enemies running around my single-player RPG are pretty annoying.

  2. dgbonomo says:

    All I can say is… The Elder Scrolls VI, please. Until then, meh.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      no thanks. they’re shit.

    • hungrycookpot says:

      IMO Skyrim was good, but not great. It certainly topped the previous games in visual appeal, but that was about it. Combat was nearly identical, magic was nearly identical, physics practically unchanged, animations almost as unsatisfying, world-building still pretty much just as cookie-cutter and uninteresting. But on top of all that we got an even more dumbed down inventory and menu system that looked like it was made for mobile.

      I’ll be honest, I’ll still probably give the next TES a play unless it looks terrible. But they are going to need to show me something special if they want to rebuild the hype of the old games. I took one look at the TESO trailers and gave it a skip.

      • Arglebargle says:

        If you look at their sales, it becomes evident why they focus on console style UI. On the PC Elder Scrolls has become a game that depends on modders to flesh out the skeleton that’s delivered. After watching Todd Howard bloviate on how wonderful Oblivion was going to be, vs what was actually delivered, I just wait and buy the games cheap later in their existence.

        I hope they eventually get a new, competent game engine. Of course, if it is not available to modders to fix, Bethesda would actually have to deliver a full game themselves.

      • Yglorba says:

        The world-building in Skyrim was not as good as Morrowind’s complicated political, religious, and cultural situation, but it was way better than Oblivion’s generic pastoral fantasyland.

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      Agreed, give me more proper elder scrolls.

  3. Wendelius says:

    It’s a pity, though not unexpected, that the prevalent attitude towards ESO is apathy. MMO’s, after all, generally get one chance to impress. And that’s at launch.

    I bounced off the beta in days a year ago and didn’t look back. The game was bland and didn’t hook me.

    However, a year worth of patches mean that ESO is actually a lot of fun nowadays. Add the new Justice system which really bring it closer to an Elder Scrolls game (fun to watch a failed thieving attempt lead to a hapless miscreant being chased all over town by guards). The combat is also much tighter than it was at launch.

    My wife and I bought the game when it went free to play. And we’ve been having a blast. The combat is engaging. The world is open to explore. And, free from rigid classes, you can build the character you like. Then anchors start dropping out of the sky and chaos and fun ensue.

    It’s still an MMO. You still need to not mind sharing the world with others. But, for a one time price of admission, I really think the game is worth a second look. But many have probably made up their mind about it based on that shaky start.

    Wendelius

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      @Wendelius – thank you for taking the time to write a little more about recent updates since launch. This is not easy information for a non-player or those on the fence to find.

      However, with all the great indie titles out (Stardrive 2 I’m looking at you) the competition for my PC time is fierce. The updates are not quite enough to tempt me to play, but a succinct review helps those on the fence and so I appreciate it.

      • Wendelius says:

        That’s understandable. ESO did miss its chance to impress at launch.

        But if your backlog ever dries up enough to give you time to consider a trip to Tamriel, you might find it worth giving it a chance.

        One other thing I like is that it’s one of the few MMO’s asking you to make choices. Save the keep or the docks? Enslave those spirits or free them? Those choices don’t have the impact they do in a single player game. But they do change the world for you and make for a more satisfying quest end than just turning in some offal.

        The trailer might not make a great job of selling it, but I do think the sense of freedom is what draws my wife and I to the game. Freedom to explore. Freedom to spec and equip our character as we see fit.

        The main downsides are probably a cumbersome inventory system (in true ES fashion :) ) and a strange implementation of the auction house. But the rest is a lot of fun!

        Anyway, too many games and too little time. We must all be choosy by necessity. Enjoy your current picks!

        Wendelius

        • Vayra says:

          I have to agree on a lot you have said about ESO’s qualities. Because there are definitely qualities to be found that are unique to ESO. I have been playing the game since open beta, played it for few hundred hours since launch. As an RPG with a massive open world, ESO does quite well. The questlines are enjoyable, there is an enormous amount of stuff to explore. But as an MMO, ESO fails miserably and I just can’t get into it.

          For me personally: the pro’s:
          – (relatively) open world, freedom
          – Character building and levelling.
          – questing
          … all of which are very well done by MMO standards. HOWEVER. If you compare the way these things are done in the context of a regular RPG, they do fall short. ESO needs the MMO component to keep itself enticing. And it is the MMO component of the game where things go horribly wrong and I come upon the cons…

          Cons:
          – tacky and strangely paced combat, lacking ‘impact’
          – too many hidden stats and modifiers, lack of UI and insight
          – RvRvR (Cyrodiil) is broken by design because the population is too low, and broken by design when the population is high. High pop results in zerging, low pop results in an empty battlefield
          – Lack of endgame content, and way too much content before you reach endgame as the game forces you to ‘play’ all three alliances too get there.
          – VR levels are a downright time sink without adding anything meaningful to the game or character progression, making the game repetitive and the otherwise nice questing, a boring and tedious chore. Add in a crapload of patches that have, over time, denied players the ability to level by farming mobs, and many players will give up before they reach VR14.

          I have reinstalled and re-attempted to fall in love with ESO over five times since launch. Just two days ago I reinstalled again to see how they had worked out the Champion Points and Justice system… only to find the exact same, tacky game that it was since launch. The changes are marginal, the same skills are still broken, the class redesign (Templar, for example) has not helped the game, and the rehash of character stats has made things even MORE obtuse than ever before.

          My advice: stay clear of ESO, play a proper RPG or a proper MMO, both of which will be better at what they do. ESO tries to be both and fails to become a great game either way.

    • adamacuo says:

      I tried to like it. I was in in the beta and have it a shot, but the main barrier for me was the lack if controller support. I was looking for a more Skyrim like interface and while that may seem naive, Skyrim is one of the best selling g games

    • adamacuo says:

      I tried to like it. I was in in the beta and have it a shot, but the main barrier for me was the lack if controller support. I was looking for a more Skyrim like interface and while that may seem naive, Skyrim is one of the best selling games of all time and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many would be looking for a similar experience. It was also announced that it would be released for consoles at the PC launch, and hesitant to pay $15 a month to play the game I decided to wait. I’m still waiting for the console launch, which now appears imminent. I was invited back to play the game on PC during a free weekend, but again the lack of console controls pushed me away. I got in touch with them via twitter to see if the PC version would be getting controller support with the launch of the console versions, and I was told that it wouldn’t. Now I’m not sure that I care enough to jump in, console or not. With The Witcher releasing soon to scratch the same itch, plus a Fallout 4 announcement coming at E3, never mind a growing backlog that includes Bloodborne, Scholar of the First Sin and Pillars of Eternity, I think that TESO’s time has come and gone, at least for me.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    It has actually improved ten-fold since launch. Unfortunately, in MMOG land, people only really remember how a game was at that time. Anyway, I urge TES fans or habitual MMOG players to give it a/another look.

    • Vayra says:

      It has improved, but only because ten thousand things were horribly broken when ESO launched. If I recall, at least half of those issues were VERY clear since the start of open beta, but were never fixed. Similarly with class balance; I mean how many patches have we been waiting until they fixed the Vampire? And how about the changes to Templar? The class is still broken in the same way it was before they ‘fixed’ it. We still see 75% of all Nightblades with two handers because its the only way to stay alive at VR content. We still see massive zergs in Cyrodiil or just outright deserted battlefields. The new content, Craglorn, is the only new content in over 18 months since launch.

      The improvements are there, but they haven’t helped the game with its most major issues. The recent changes for Tamriel Unlimited are not very positive either, because all they did introduce was a new time sink, which they label as ‘progression’. But lets face it, Champion Points are no more than a time sink with a very small impact, and under the hood you are now putting time into stats that you already had access to BEFORE the patch.

  5. trashmyego says:

    This game was the first in quite a long while that scared me off with a beta invite. There just wasn’t a lot of game there when I initially got the invite, and what was there was extremely unpolished. This was followed with what felt like a rushed release date. The final open beta did nothing to help the worry or get me to re-engage my pre-order and the lukewarm release seemed to only confirm my worry. It’s too bad. And it might be a worthwhile game now, but I’ll still pass. Because still to this day, I can’t comprehend how you squander such an opportunity as an Elder Scrolls online game, let alone rush one out of development. This was meant to be gangbusters.

    • vexis58 says:

      I remember thinking when I tried out the beta “Hmm, this is pretty terrible now, but that’s to be expected for a game so early in development. With another year of work, it should smooth out to a pretty good game.” Then they announced that it would be releasing in a month, and I didn’t bother logging in to the beta any more.

  6. AngoraFish says:

    I wanted to be tempted, but the video did virtually nothing to differentiate the game from every other generic MMORPG. Some of the comments here, however, have at least piked my interest.

  7. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    I might have jumped back into it since the subsciption disappeared but the patching process seems ridiculous. It did an 11GB patch, then a 5GB patch, then wanted to do a 32GB patch. I’ve no idea what it’s playing at, and don’t even know if that’s the last patch it’ll try to download, so I can’t be bothered with it.

    • Vayra says:

      Wait until you try uninstalling :)

      With the current game, (which I uninstalled again within a day, go figure), you click the uninstaller, it removes the uninstaller. 30 GB of game data simply stays there and needs to be manually deleted.

      Yup, quality game.

  8. grable says:

    I played the beta and liked it, and after it went pay-once i went in again and im liking it even more.
    Its a huge game for sure, lots of stuff to do and explore. Im loving all the elder scrolls lore which you get through quests, more so than any other elder scroll game.

  9. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    For me, playing an MMO on this side of ~’06 is akin to growing a dank bombdigity mullet again. We had a lot of fun but enough is enough and it’s best kept as memories to laugh at.

  10. SupahSpankeh says:

    Hmm.

    How’s the PvP?

    What’s the PvE like? Is it true of this game as most MMOs that there’s only really “game” at the endgame? Is stealing from random NPCs worth it and/or fun?

  11. Kefren says:

    I assume that even if you “buy” the game, there’s a disclaimer that they can pull the service at any time and you won’t be able to play anymore, or get your money back if you haven’t played it yet? If so, it isn’t the greatest incentive to buy.

    • Divolinon says:

      Just like with every other MMO off course.

      • Emeraude says:

        Which is a shame.

        What happened with, say, City of Heroes was just awful. Having the (legal) recourse of private servers to support a game community after a company is done with a game really should be a thing (but then given their position that any attempt at archiving old gamse and keeping them alive is similar to piracy…).

  12. Dale Winton says:

    I play a bit of this. It’s ok
    Wish I could use my xbox.controller with the game though

  13. Philomelle says:

    I really tried to like it back when it first hit Steam but it was such an embarrassing mess that I struggled to enjoy any of it.

    It is the only very recent MMO that misfires completely on the narrative by introducing you as the Chosen One who will save the universe, as opposed to a part of the faction (something The Secret World, WildStar and Guild Wars 2 are very good at doing), thus reducing your connection to other players because you’re not all parts of a faction adventuring alongside each other, you’re all the same exact Chosen One. It’s very hard to connect the dots after that.

    I think I stopped when I started the game in Morrowind, then accepted the recommended starter quest chain that took me to a distant snowy island in the north, where everyone talked to me as if I just walked out of the mayor’s mansion. Exploring the mayor’s mansion on the second floor got me a NPC who greeted me as if I just woke up in bed next to him and gave me a rundown on controls and such. Apparently, sometime between beta and final release, they decided to switch your starting point from that tiny island to the faction capital in order to give you more choices in starting quests. However, they got lazy about actually changing dialogue and events to reflect this, so a lot of NPCs are confused about where you come from and how things generally go.

    I finally broke into helpless laughter when putting the dialogue and events together made it look like I got washed up on that tiny island, then got sailed out of there and all the way to southern Morrowind despite the island being currently under blockade by an armed-to-the-teeth enemy ship, as well as a very likely possibility of me succumbing to injuries during that rocky week-long sail through the northern seas – all so the boat’s captain could politely ask me whether I would mind going back and helping them out with that blockade once I’ve recovered.

    The thing’s writing is less coherent than Scarlet Blade, which is quite an achievement.

  14. aepervius says:

    “talk at you for three minutes about classes and factions” pretty much 2m30 only if you remove intro/outro out of which it only cite “there are 3 factions, 10 races, and some classes” and pretty much nothing else.

    As far as advertisement goes, maybe interesting to pr-hype a MMO, but beyond that ? Nah.

    It keeps also speaking about freedom of choice, but from what I heard of the fighting you have only 5 spells +1 ability. Limiting your choice seriously. If you want a lot of choice, then try for DDO. You can have as much spells and ability as you have shortcut bars and key shortcut combo. And you can mix and match classes have tons of items and combo stuff. In comparison elder scroll “choice” sounds like “meh”.

    • malkav11 says:

      You can have two weapon sets that you switch between in combat and have completely different skills between the two. It’s also way more flexible and robust in terms of both combat and levelling than the actual Elder Scrolls singleplayer games. It’s not as hotbar heavy as most MMOs, but that’s because it would like you to design your approach from a panoply of skill trees that’s almost completely open to you – only three are determined by your class, and there’s a few others that have to be earned in game, not just pile a huge bunch of abilities onto a skillbar and rotate through all of them. It has its plusses and minuses (I kind of prefer the massive pile of hotbars myself), but it’s done for a reason.

  15. HiFiHair says:

    Robust crafting mechanics!

    • Freud says:

      It always seemed like they wanted to create a MMO for people who liked Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim, not realizing that people liked those games because they weren’t MMOs but still had expansive worlds.

  16. Curry the Great says:

    Goodbye.

  17. twaitsfan says:

    May the blasphemous MBAs be cast to the depths of Oblivion for conceiving this abomination.

  18. Hitchslapped says:

    I played the beta a week or two before the release and uninstalled the game after maybe 3 hours. This fighting just felt so wrong and boring.Sure this game might show you Tamriel in a much larger scale than ever before but it’s still not an Elder Scrolls game

  19. silentdan says:

    When TESO came out, I was really unimpressed. Today, I’m doing a second playthrough of Skyrim (with all the DLC that wasn’t out yet when I first played it at launch) and loving it. I do wish I had a TES6 to play, but it’s alright. They’ll do a Fallout one first, but that’s okay, I liked both FO3 and FO:NV. I’ll play it and probably like it. And once I’m done with it, if TESO can still fog a mirror, I’ll play Skyrim for my TES fix. Take your time, Bethesda. I’ll wait.

  20. Jip says:

    There’s MMOs with whatever content, and there’s single player Elder Scrolls games. Why can’t they just make a multiplayer Elder Scrolls game ? That’s what I want, and I know many others do. They already have the NPCs scripted to do their daily routines, so run the game as a server like Minecraft, Dark Souls, Baldur’s Gate or whatever, and then have the player join the server. As a host you can enable multiplayer if you want, and set a connection limit. Have quest givers flagged when a quest is completed so either no-one else can do it, or have them mention a quest was given to X but still hasn’t been completed so you can go interrupt it/gank them/help them.

    Let connecting clients see the mods you have installed, with options to download from the host server, or set up redirects like you could in Unreal Tournament.

    Back in the day, I was hoping they’d bought iD for the multiplayer expertise. I’m still hopeful they’ll incorporate it someday, preferably in the next game whether it’s FO4 or ES6

    • silentdan says:

      Drop-in co-op play. That’s all TES needs. “Hey, man, I’m having trouble beating Morokei. Is your battlemage free for 10 minutes?” No MMO crap, just a little care when constructing quests so that they can be practically shared between players, and probably a simple loot arbitration system. Host player owns all the real estate in the shared environment, but guest players can zone into their own game briefly, to pick up supplies from their various chests.

      If it’s an MMO, it has to be rigorously balanced, and I understand that. If it’s a private co-op session, players can buff themselves to OP levels and go on a rampage, if that’s what they want. The latter scenario is well-suited to the strengths of the TES series, the former is not.

      • spron says:

        You speak wisely, Silentdan. I still remember fondly creating the ridiculous Levitation spell in Morrowind which allowed me to fly around killing stuff from overhead. Not every game has to be balanced within an inch of its life and a coop version of Elder Scrolls where you get to just haul off and destroy enemies in an utterly ridiculous fashion does sound like much more fun than continually engaging in the “carefully level up, apply your skill point, increase your damage by 1.25% with one type of weapon, and upgrade your armor to absorb 2.5% more damage from one damage type” spreadsheet game.

      • vexis58 says:

        I never really wanted TES to be an MMO. 1-4 player co-op, yes. It’s the only thing missing from Skyrim. I want to be able to play games together with my husband from time to time, and it’s frustrating how vehemently single-player some of our very favorite games are.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’d prefer this, certainly…but with the proviso that they should steal some version of ESO’s levelling and combat systems and implement them in future offline Elder Scrolls titles. Maybe not an exact clone, but man, it’s so much more interesting than anything the main Elder Scrolls series has ever, ever done on that front. Skyrim’s perk system is a baby step in the right direction but it’s still kind of sparse and underwhelming without mod intervention. And even if you’ve made perks exciting, Skyrim combat is pretty much just running around and clicking your one bound attack except for melee and melee…get to vary how long they hold the button down, for the most part. Woo.

  21. MrNash says:

    As tempting as the game may be, the amount of hard drive space it takes up is a huge turn off. I’m also nowhere near as into MMOs as I once was, and would rather just futz around in the single-player Elder Scrolls games than bother with this one.

  22. Arglebargle says:

    I’m sure that when they pitched the idea for ESO 6 or 7 years ago, it sounded great. Unfortunately, the lead designer was intent on making DAoC with an Elder Scrolls skin, while most ES fans just wanted co-op play. They’ve been backpedalling fiercely on that since beta. Again, given the split between PC and Console sales for Skyrim (presented as 20/80%), the console version will be the golden goose, or the great downfall of ESO.

  23. ansionnach says:

    The Elder Scrolls Online: Play Daggerfall while checking your email.

  24. racccoon says:

    This game is brilliant fun! please go get it !
    for me having been side tracked from it by the gtav, only to be not into the game for two being messed about by rockstars bullshit social club crap arse launcher. I finally got in to gtav & I am playing it.
    Seeing how pretty it is, I finished its story mode found it really stupid jumping into 3 guys whom I never really wanted to play, but was captivated by the environment. I’m still playing it because its fun getting shit even though the games multi play is kind of shit too, with its poorly set out unplayable loads of blue rings everywhere, The real little fun to be had is but mayhem, so you spend time grabbing mining trucks and running havoc through the city streets, jump landing into the military base & flying jet plans etc etc etc etc quiet repetitive but still brings you back in for that fun and allurement.
    I’ve neglected ESO.
    I can see myself coming back to it because I love it, but… I now have my sights on Witcher3 release and that in its self is going beat me away from gtav! gtav will be shelved and maybe forgotten.
    So come Witcher 3 and after, if there is one, I can definitely see me back in ESO

    I can understand all these game devs feeling a very a hard pinch of lost players but as a gamer we can only be in one place at one time, & popularity wins.
    I have not left at all its just, currently I’m otherwise occupied in a turmoil of mess.

  25. cylentstorm says:

    At the risk of being verbally lynched, the only fantasy MMO that I actually recommend to other people is Final Fantasy XIV. I have also resisted the temptation to play ESO, so I can’t comment on the quality of experience offered there. I CAN offer my initial knee-jerk reaction to the idea of legions of MMOrons and WoW ex-pats infesting an Elder Scrolls game–but I won’t because it wasn’t pretty. Personally, I love Bethesda’s signature series, and that includes many of the long-running quirks that its detractors love to point out.

    Skyrim is TES at its prettiest, the combat mechanics are (finally) adequate, and the virtual world (or region) is by far the most polished and devloped in the series. However, the increasingly “streamlined” gameplay is worrisome, if understandable, as the devs polish several facets while amputating others. I know–it’s a delicate balance that is difficult to achieve. I’m just hoping that Bethesda doesn’t start taking the Blizzard approach and create what can only be described as games that are so devoid of meaningful depth that they seem to be tailor-made for smartphone junkies with a predilection for amphetamines and/or copious amounts of alcohol.

    Tangential ramblings aside, I’m not sure that ESO is what most players meant when they asked for cooperative multiplayer–as I’m sure that many of you are well aware. The overall opinion of whack-a-mole Elder Scrolls seems to be fairly indifferent to its continued existence. Perhaps the devs should take lessons from Squenix–which is something that I never thought that I would say again. ESO: Tamriel Reborn, anyone?

  26. anduin1 says:

    i still dont know who wanted a theme park mmo for elder scrolls, the series has always been about the hero character, not the group. It just feels wrong. I hope they don’t delay elder scrolls 6 for like 10 years because this mess is in existence.