The Elder Scrolls Online

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The Elder Scrolls Online
Elder Scrolls Online cover.png
Developer(s) ZeniMax Online Studios[1]
Publisher(s) Bethesda Softworks[2]
Director(s) Matt Firor[1][2]
Composer(s) Brad Derrick
Rik Schaffer
Series The Elder Scrolls
Engine HeroEngine[3]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One[1][2]
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows, OS X
April 4, 2014[4]
PlayStation 4, Xbox One
June 9, 2015[5]
Genre(s) Massively multiplayer online role-playing game[1]
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

The Elder Scrolls Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing video game developed by ZeniMax Online Studios. It was released on April 4, 2014 for Microsoft Windows, OS X and on Steam[6] on July 17, 2014. It is a part of The Elder Scrolls action fantasy video game franchise, of which it is the first open-ended multiplayer installment.

On January 21, 2015, it was announced that an active subscription will not be needed to play the game effective March 17, 2015. The game was renamed to The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.[7] The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One console versions are due to be released on June 9, 2015.[8]

As with other games in The Elder Scrolls franchise, the game is set in the continent of Tamriel and features a storyline indirectly connected with the other games. The Elder Scrolls Online had been in development for seven years before its release in 2014. It has received mostly mixed reviews.

Gameplay[edit]

Upon creating a character, players have access to four classes: Dragon Knight, Templar, Sorcerer, and Nightblade. As in previous The Elder Scrolls titles, gameplay is mostly nonlinear,[9] with a mixture of quests, random events, and free-roaming exploration of the world.[10] The game does not provide a mode for single-player offline play, although the developers have stated that there will be "plenty of content" designed to accommodate players who prefer to play solo.[11]

The player is able to play as numerous races such as Nords, Redguards, Bretons, Imperials, Dunmer (Dark Elves), Altmer (High Elves), Bosmer (Wood Elves), Orsimer (Orcs), the cat-like Khajiit, and the lizard-like Argonians. The Elder Scrolls Online has a lot of character choices beyond those of race, such as the player character also being able to become either a vampire or a werewolf, each of which grants its own skill tree.

Setting[edit]

As with other games in The Elder Scrolls franchise, the game is set in the continent of Tamriel and features a storyline indirectly connected with the other games. The game is set a millennium before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and around 800 years before The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, with the Daedric Prince Molag Bal appearing as the main antagonist as he attempts to meld the plane of Mundus with his realm of Coldharbour.[1]

Most of the continent of Tamriel is available in the game, although much of it is locked off for expansion content. Players have the opportunity to join any of the three factions warring over the throne of the Emperor of Tamriel:[1] the First Aldmeri Dominion (represented by an eagle), composed of the Altmer (High Elf), Bosmer (Wood Elf), and Khajiit races; the Daggerfall Covenant (represented by a lion), composed of the Bretons, Redguard, and Orsimer (Orcs); and the Ebonheart Pact (represented by a dragon), composed of the Nord, Dunmer (Dark Elf), and Argonian races. Players may also unlock an additional race, Imperial, which may be a part of any of the three factions. Pre-ordered copies of the game included the "Explorers' Pack", which allowed all races to be played in each of the factions.

Development[edit]

The Elder Scrolls Online had been in development for 7 years before its release in 2014.[1] It is the first project for ZeniMax Online Studios, which was formed in 2007. Matt Firor, studio lead at ZeniMax Online, is also the director of The Elder Scrolls Online.[2]

While rumors of a massively multiplayer The Elder Scrolls game had been circulating for years, accurate information about the game and its imminent May 2012 announcement was not leaked until March 2012, to online publication Tom's Guide by an anonymous industry source.[12] According to the leak, the game was scheduled to be shown at E3 2012 in June and QuakeCon 2012 in August. On November 8, 2012, Bethesda released a video on YouTube called "An Introduction to The Elder Scrolls Online", in which the game's developers talk about the game's content and development.[13] Several actors were announced to voice the characters of The Elder Scrolls Online, among them John Cleese, Bill Nighy, Kate Beckinsale, Lynda Carter, Alfred Molina, Michael Gambon, Jennifer Hale, Malcolm McDowell, and Peter Stormare.[14]

Beta sign-ups for The Elder Scrolls Online began on January 21, 2013, and continued for seven rounds until February 26.[15][16][17]

On June 2013, Sony announced that The Elder Scrolls Online would be available on PlayStation 4 at their E3 press conference. It was later clarified by Bethesda that it would also be available on Xbox One.[18] While players on PC and Mac play together, those on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 play only with others on the same platform.[19] In August 2013, at Gamescom, it was announced that The Elder Scrolls Online would have a monthly subscription fee upon release for all platforms.[20][21] Subscriptions can be purchased in 30-, 90-, and 180-day increments.[22] While it was announced in January 2014 that the game would not require a PlayStation Plus subscription to play online,[23] the Xbox One version will require an Xbox Live Gold subscription in addition to a The Elder Scrolls Online monthly subscription.[24] On May 8, 2014, Bethesda spoke about development of the console editions, announcing that the release date for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game would be delayed until the end of 2014, though it was revealed in December 2014 that the game's console debut was once again delayed into the Spring of 2015. ZeniMax Online Studios announced that players who purchase The Elder Scrolls Online before the end of June 2014 will have the opportunity to transfer their characters from Microsoft Windows or Mac OS to either console platform and receive a free 30-day subscription.[25]

Release[edit]

It was announced on May 3, 2012 in an exclusive reveal by Game Informer and formally revealed in the same month's issue of the magazine.[1]

The Elder Scrolls Online was released on April 4, 2014 for PC and Mac. Home console releases for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are scheduled for June 9, 2015.

Shortly after the game's launch, it was reported that some players were unable to activate the 30-day complimentary game time included with their purchase until a subscription had been set up and—in "a strange state of affairs" and "most likely a mistake"—after a full month had been paid for.[26] A serious item duplication exploit was discovered that allowed players to gain huge fortunes, which was patched shortly after release.[27] ZeniMax later announced that they had permanently banned thousands of accounts because of the exploit.[28]

On January 21, 2015, it was announced that an active subscription would no longer be needed to play the game effective March 17, 2015.[29] Aside from the initial game price, there is be an optional subscription called "ESO Plus" which grants free access to all current and future downloadable content (DLC) and a monthly allotment of 1500 Crowns, the in-game currency as long as the player stays subscribed. The DLC will also be available for separate purchase in the Crown Store. Additionally, the optional subscription grants various perks that allow players to progress slightly faster than a free player.[30]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 70.93%[31]
Metacritic (PC) 71/100[32]
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Revolution 4/5[36]
GameSpot 6/10[33]
IGN 7.8/10[34]
PC Gamer (US) 68/100[35]
Polygon 6.0/10[37]

The Elder Scrolls Online has received mostly mixed reviews; the game has a weighted aggregate rating of 70.93% on GameRankings, based on 46 reviews,[31] and 71/100 on Metacritic, based on 63 reviews.[32] PC Gamer gave the game a score of 68/100, writing that it is "an MMORPG of moderate scope with a few good ideas" but cautioning that "'okay' isn't good enough when you're facing down this much of a premium."[35] The game was mainly criticized for an excess of bugs, a phasing mechanic that separated players from groups, and its Veteran Progression System. Zenimax has responded to these criticisms by fixing many bugged quests, introducing a new phasing mechanic that did not separate groups, and is currently working on a replacement for its Veteran System called the Champion System, scheduled for completion later in 2015. The system is being rolled out in phases, with the first having came in July 2014 tweaking game difficulty at Veteran Levels, the second in November 2014 that made leveling up from Veteran 1 to Veteran 14 more similar to the Level 1-50 experience, the third was released in March 2015 introducing a progression wheel where players can unlock special passives through Champion Points, and the fourth and final phase is to be rolled out later in 2015 which will remove Veteran Levels entirely, readjusting the maximum level in the game to 50.

Metro reported that The Elder Scrolls Online was the top-selling game in the United Kingdom for the week of April 5 for individual formats, and number two across all formats.[38]

The game had 772,000 subscribers in June 2014 according to SuperData Research.[39] It was later reported in October 2014 by the same company that the game had generated around $111 million in subscription revenue, indicating that the game had about 1.2 million subscribers around that point.[citation needed]

As of April 3, 2015, the game has sold about 150,000 copies on Steam.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "June Cover Revealed: The Elder Scrolls Online". Game Informer. May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Elder Scrolls Online makes MMO of series". Gamasutra. May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ "The Elder Scrolls Online - English Manual" (PDF). Zenimax Online Studios. March 24, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ Dyer, Mitch (December 11, 2013). "The Elder Scrolls Online PC, Xbox One, and PS4 Release Dates Announced - IGN". IGN. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ http://www.vg247.com/2015/01/21/elder-scrolls-online-no-subs-ps4-pc-xbox-one/
  6. ^ Karmali, Luke (17 July 2014). "The Elder Scrolls Online is Now Available on Steam". IGN. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "ESO HEADS TO CONSOLES JUNE 9TH". The Elder Srolls Online. Zenimax Online Studios. January 21, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  8. ^ "ESO on Consoles- Update". Bethesda Softworks. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  9. ^ "The choices you make, from the alliance you join to the battles you fight, will shape your destiny and the world of Tamriel", Amazon.com, Retrieved on January 26, 2014
  10. ^ Evans-Thirlwell, Edwin (December 31, 2013). "Elder Scrolls Online interview: Bethesda talks risks, rewards and compromises". Official Xbox Magazine. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Will The Elder Scrolls Online Have A Single-Player, Offline Mode?". Bethesda Softworks. February 7, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Exclusive: Bethesda to Announce Elder Scrolls MMO in May". Tom's Guide. March 15, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  13. ^ "An Introduction to The Elder Scrolls Online". YouTube. Bethesda Softworks. November 8, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  14. ^ Makuch, Eddie (January 23, 2014). "Elder Scrolls Online voice cast is seriously impressive". GameSpot. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Elder Scrolls Online: Beta Sign-Up". Bethesda Softworks. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  16. ^ "The Elder Scrolls Online - First Wave of Beta Invitations". Bethesda Softworks. Retrieved March 26, 2013. 
  17. ^ "The Elder Scrolls Online - Second Wave of Beta Invitations". Bethesda Softworks. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  18. ^ Sliva, Marty (June 10, 2013). "E3 2013: Elder Scrolls Online Coming to PS4, Xbox One". IGN. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ Kain, Erik (July 8, 2013). "Elder Scrolls Online: Bethesda Calls Next-Gen Cross-Platform Play 'Just A Nightmare'". Forbes. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  20. ^ Mahardy, Mike (August 21, 2013). "The Elder Scrolls Online Will Require a $15 Monthly Subscription Fee". IGN. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Help: Elder Scrolls Online official site". Bethesda Softworks. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Early Access and Launch FAQ". Bethesda. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  23. ^ Firor, Matt. "The Elder Scrolls Online on PS4: Your Questions Answered". PlayStation Blog. PlayStation US. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  24. ^ Futter, Mike (January 28, 2014). "PlayStation Plus Is Not Required For The Elder Scrolls Online, Xbox Live Gold Is". Game Informer. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  25. ^ "The Elder Scrolls Online Console Release Delayed". MMO Attack. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  26. ^ Lefebvre, Eliot (April 6, 2014). "The Elder Scrolls Online runs into free sub time billing issues". Massively (blog). AOL. Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  27. ^ "The Elder Scrolls Online players discover serious item duping exploit". 
  28. ^ "Taking Action Against Cheaters in ESO". 
  29. ^ Stephany Nunneley (2015-01-21). "The Elder Scrolls Online drops subs, console release date announced". VG 247. Retrieved 2015-01-21. 
  30. ^ "The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited FAQ". The Elder Scrolls Online. ZeniMax. January 21, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b "The Elder Scrolls Online for PC - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  32. ^ a b The Elder Scrolls Online for PC Reviews at Metacritic Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  33. ^ VanOrd, Kevin (April 24, 2014). "The Elder Scrolls Online Review". GameSpot. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  34. ^ Johnson, Leif (2014-04-31). "The Elder Scrolls Online Review: The 500,000 Companions". Retrieved 2014-04-22.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  35. ^ a b Thursten, Chris (2014-04-14). "The Elder Scrolls Online review". Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  36. ^ Tan, Nick (2014-04-04). "The Elder Scrolls Online Review". Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  37. ^ McElroy, Justin (2014-04-24). "The Elder Scrolls Online Review: Other People". Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  38. ^ "Elder Scrolls Online takes UK number one, as FIFA 14 scores again". Metro. April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  39. ^ Handrahan, Matthew (18 July 2014). "The Old Republic earned $165 million last year - report". GamesIndustry.biz. Gamer Network. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  40. ^ Steam Spy - The Elder Scrolls Online Retrieved April 3, 2015

External links[edit]