Elder Scrolls Online: Will it capture the magic?

From the rolling green hills of the heartlands, to the aurora-kissed mountains of the north, to the vast emptiness of the arid deserts enveloping much of the east, this land is one I itch to return to immediately after leaving. The northernmost stars still gleam with such intensity that their light is still visible from Elsweyr. Unique, indigenous people traverse the land in hope of someday transcending to their own personal nirvanas – be it through kind deed, daedric worship, or heroic conquest.

Tamriel is the magical, yet somewhat harsh, land within which players are thrust into the role of a fugitive deemed fit for a more grandiose fate. This method of providing the player with no explicit detail on how their character befell this path meant that a lot was left to be imagined by the hardcore role players and fan fiction writers alike. However, in The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), the latest installment in the series, the player character has been described as a hero whose soul has been taken, and who therefore constantly resurrects. What this tells us about the origins of our in-game selves is little, although beginning as a prisoner again doesn’t seem entirely unlikely.

A huge aspect of the game that has fans of the series riveted is the first-person combat. While common in many games now, some questioned whether ESO would ring true to the series and include the first-person element that many players enjoy so much. This rare style of MMO is sure to entice previously-ambivalent gamers into becoming ensnared in the luscious world of Nirn for years to come – the console compatibility ensuring you won’t be able to escape at least trying the game out.

The visuals are nothing short of beautiful. Each mountain, each crevice, each forest, looks stunningly crafted and colossal in scale. Don’t believe me? Check out the video at the end of this article. For this writer, every polygon teems with the magic of fantasy. Do not be able to expect to go to all your favorite places from past games though (you ES fangirl, you). Due to the period in which this installment is set (millennia before even Arena), many of your favorite holds are yet to settled; and all of your favorite characters (except the Aedra) are yet to be conceived..

I, for one, hope to see a very lore-heavy and well-scripted game. My one jab at previous Elder Scrolls games is the lack of personality some characters have – and the platonic reactions they have to their saviors. This apathy is already claimed to be eradicated, but it’ll take weeks of playing to see if their ‘gratitude’ is truly believable. Diverse characters may seem only a small issue in the divine plan, but combined with unforgettable landscapes and stunning visuals, they may make this the best Elder Scrolls game to date. And that’s not even mentioning multiplayer.

Those interested in applying to participate in the Elder Scrolls Online beta may do so here.

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