The ESO updates its site and adds a story page


The Elder Scrolls Online does not want for backstory. If anything, its biggest obstacle is the surfeit of backstory presented over the course of five games, enough so that even setting the game during a previously unexplored time can cause issues. So it’s not surprising that along with a massive overhaul to the official website, the game’s team has put together a new story page providing series fans with a solid set of information to place the upcoming game in the context of its fellow installments.

Seeing that page may still not entirely comfort longtime fans of the lore, which is why the site has also provided a new article explaining how the team at ZeniMax Online Studios is handling writing for TESO. The short version is that the game has intentionally been set in a time period during which players have plenty of space to shape the world without derailing future parts of the game, and the team has been working very hard to keep the lore of the new game in line with past and future developments.


gets shiny concept art, bi-weekly Q&A

The Elder Scrolls Online gets shiny concept art, biweekly Ask Us Anything (Related to the Topic We've Prescribed)

Have you been searching for a way to represent your favorite fantastical faction? Put down the stencils and spray paint: The fine folks behind The Elder Scrolls Online have seen fit to provide you with Twitter and Facebook avatars representing the Ebonheart Pact and its constituent races. Bear the crest of the Pact, Argonians, Dark Elves, or Nords with pride! While you’re at it, you might ogle the fancy concept art that accompanies the avatars.

If the Ebonheart Pact isn’t your fantasy consortium of choice, maybe you simply don’t know enough about it. In that case, an upcoming Q&A about the Ebonheart Pact may be just the thing for you. The TESO dev team is starting a bi-weekly Ask Us Anything Q&A to address questions about the game and its development. Each of the Ask Us Anything sessions will focus on a specific topic, which the team requests you keep in mind while thinking up your “anything” to ask. For the inaugural Q&A, which will go up next week, you can ask whatever you like about the Ebonheart Pact. You can find more information on the official site or submit questions through the official Facebook page.


Elder Scrolls Online preview clip

ZeniMax releases nineminute Elder Scrolls Online preview clip

Last month we flew to Maryland to report from The Elder Scrolls Online’s first press event. While we were getting some hands-on time with the title, we were also watching a nine-minute video that ZeniMax put together in order to introduce the game to a wide audience.

Today the firm has published the clip for the first time, and it features a mixture of fly-through footage, talking head interviews with creative director Paul Sage and lead designer Nick Konkle, and snippets of PvE and PvP gameplay too.

ESO Dunmer

Name this Elder Scrolls Online Dunmer

See this strapping Dunmer lad? He’s got it all. Youth. Power. Insider status with the Mage’s Guild. And of course his handsome mug plastered all over the official Elder Scrolls Online website. One thing he doesn’t have is a name, and that’s where you come in (provided you’ve got a lore-appropriate imagination, that is).

Yep, ZeniMax wants you to christen this particular NPC so that he can more properly assist adventurers in Tamriel when the fantasy title goes live sometime that isn’t today. The naming contest starts on November 13th and runs through November 21st. Read all the entry details via the links below.


The ESO grapples with questions of race, story, and setting

The Elder Scrolls Online grapples with questions of race, story, and setting

You have questions about The Elder Scroll Online (probably many questions, yes?), and ZeniMax has a few answers in return. The developers took on a half-dozen queries from the community, many of which were concerned with setting and story, not to mention why typical adversaries are working together all of the sudden.

If you’re concerned that the three factions will offer thinly veiled copies of each other’s quests, the devs have good news: “Each Alliance’s content in TESO is as varied and dynamic as the Alliances themselves are — your adventures an Argonian in the Ebonheart Pact, for example, will be quite different than those of a Bosmer in the Aldmeri Dominion.”

Another player asked how similar places will be that are covered in both the single-player titles and the MMO; the devs replied, “The stories and events that unfold in these areas during The Elder Scrolls Online will be different than those in past Elder Scrolls games. The people living in these familiar places won’t be too different from their brethren in later times; however, they will have different views and tales to tell, based on the current events that are impacting their daily lives.”

All your Ebonheart Pact questions answered, part two

TESO AMA tells you even more of everything you wanted to know about the Ebonheart Pact

Continuing a tradition of bi-weekly Q&As, the team behind The Elder Scrolls Online has answered another round of questions. This week’s AMA continued to look at the Ebonheart Pact.

Characters that join the Ebonheart Pact will, if they make certain choices, have the chance to run into Joruun the Skaald-King and other prominent figures like the Nord Companions. All members of the Ebonheart Pact will have a chance to visit the Shadowfen and the Argonian city of Stormhold, which likely means running into the huge, reptilian wamasu that lurk in the swamps.

The Great House rivalries that players came to love in Morrowind will figure into TESO, although players won’t (initially, at least) be able to formally join a House. Similarly, players who loved Skyrim will find that while the land is familiar, it’s got substantial differences as a result of being about 1,000 years younger.

Argonian players who’re fond of the extremely reptilian look will be pleased to hear that character customization will allow for “much more variety than [the team has] been able to convey in the screenshots released so far.” To read the full answers, hit up the official Q&A.


Regales us with the history of a king

The Elder Scrolls Online regales us with the history of a king

Pour a tall mug o’ mead, my friends, and prepare to be entranced with the tales of The Elder Scrolls Online. ZeniMax’s scribes have crafted a particularly cunning tale of Jorunn the Skald-King for you to enjoy.

As Jorunn is one of the key figures in TESO, we figure it’s a good thing to keep tabs on him and his history. The short story tells of his upbringing and ascension to the throne of the Ebonheart Pact. The team indicated that we should expect two more stories covering the other faction leaders.

Give the short story a read and let us know whether this man is the type of fictional character that your fictional character will swear fealty to or not!


Elf cannibalism and the lineage of cat people

The Elder Scrolls Online on Elf cannibalism and the popularity of cat people

The Elder Scrolls Online spotlight has shifted away from the Ebonheart Pact faction and is now shining most brightly on the Aldmeri Dominion. The first part of a new community Q&A peppers the devs with questions about this player faction and how it differentiates itself from the others.

The playable races of the Dominion are the central focus of several questions. Players have the choice of the Wood Elf, High Elf, and Khajiit races. The latter feline humanoids may prove to be quite popular, although the devs say that there will be only one subset of the race — the Suthay-raht — available at launch. The team isn’t avoiding the issue of the Wood Elves’ cannibalism, saying that players should find mentions of it while exploring.

Both Elf races will be getting plenty of story love: “We’ve made sure that this kind of lore about the Elves will be included in the game — in plenty — in all the classic ways cultural lore is delivered in the Elder Scrolls games: quest dialogue, conversations with NPCs, lore books of all kinds, music, item crafting, and so forth.”

The lands covered by the Dominion are touched on in the Q&A as well, including the vast jungles of Valenwood and the stunning beauty of High Elf cities.


The ESO’s gameplay at QuakeCon [Updated]

The Elder Scrolls Online live gameplay starts here!

QuakeCon, hailed as the largest LAN party in North America, kicked off yesterday, and since MMO fans have been clamoring for some uninterrupted Elder Scrolls Online gameplay, ZeniMax chose QuakeCon as the venue to show off its latest addition to the Elder Scrolls franchise. Starting right now (at 1:30 p.m. EDT), Creative Director Paul Sage and other lead designers are livestreaming direct from Dallas, Texas. Our intrepid reporters are watching along, providing a periodic liveblog in this post as well as frequent chatter in our comments. Watch the stream and join the conversation right now!
[Update: The stream is over now, but we’ve collected the important bits beyond the cut, and Larry’s liveblog in the comments is still viewable!]

Notes from the livestream:

Pete Hines, VP of marketing, explains that ESO will allow you to “be what you want to be; play what you want to play.”
Creative Director Paul Sage introduced and begins the actual presentation.
Nick Konkle, gameplay lead, begins showing off the character creator for the Ebonheart Pact.
The demo starts in Deshond in Morrowind.
Mouselook is always on.
Left click to attack; hold down for heavy attack. Right click to block.
The compass sits at the top of the UI, showing POIs.
When you join a guild, you gain skill lines. Each class has three skill lines. Paul Sage: “You can make skills behave the way you want it to behave.”
Game is fully-voiced.
Nick is teleporting to using wayshrines and riding a horse.
Crouch/stealth mechanics and easy weapon swapping demontrated. Any class can use any armor or any weapon.
Paul Sage: “When you discover new things, you get experience for that.”
Easy travel to group in a safe location near your groupmates.
Three skyshards grant you a new ability.
It looked as if you could use a bow and magic at the same time. Weapon swapping really easy.
Game gives the player a heroic feel by fighting multiple enemies at one time.
No fighting over loot because it’s instanced to each player.
Nick is playing a Templar. Roles can be switched by switching weapons. “You play the role you want to play,” reiterates Paul Sage.
NPCs work together. If one NPC drops blue oil, another might set it on fire. They work together against your party.
Soul gems allows you to rez your teammates or rez yourself. Every time you die, your armor degrades.
NPCs can work with your group.
Mudcrabs confirmed 😛
The game is due to release in Spring 2014 on PC, Mac, XboxOne, and Playstion 4. Sign up for beta. And that’s it!

The presentation starts 40 minutes and 49 seconds into the video below.


Elder Scrolls Online gets some myths dispelled

The myth that the game features no huge and disgusting spiders is quickly dispelled.

Are you looking forward to seeing what happens when the developers at Bethesda finish working on The Elder Scrolls Online? Are you unsure how the game’s Skyrim-based combat will work when accounting for lag in your aim? Do you have a fear of having everyone grouped on a single server? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s probably a good idea for you to take a gander at the video below the cut, because all of those questions are based on misconceptions that the video aims to correct.

The fansite Tamriel Foundry has put together a short video hitting several of the most common misconceptions about The Elder Scrolls Online, explaining both the inaccurate belief and the truth of the matter. This covers everything from the actual developers (Zenimax Online) to the changes to the combat system (you won’t be actively aiming, with the game instead establishing a soft target lock on your selected target). Even if you think you know all there is to know about the game already, it couldn’t hurt to sit and watch — and maybe have a few mistaken ideas cleared out.