tamriel infinium

Tamriel Infinium is an Elder Scrolls Online column by Larry Everett. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Tamriel Infinium: The restoration of Elder Scrolls Online’s Orsinium

Bethesda, the parent company of ZeniMax Online studios, had an amazing showing at E3 this year, but unfortunately, no one from the Elder Scrolls Online team was there to talk about anything that was happening with the game despite the console launch landing literally the week before. I don’t want to speculate on how much Bethsoft actually cares for the game — and maybe they’re all too busy working on the launch — but I am quite disheartened that there was no presence at all.

I guess I can be happy that we did get a fly-by trailer and some never-before-seen images of Orsinium. And we did get a tease of the Dark Brotherhood at the very end of the trailer. Unfortunately, it was a tease similar to one we saw about a year ago. Don’t get me wrong; I’m truly excited to see the Imperial City and all the rest coming to the game; I’d just like to have seen more than a couple of fly-bys.

Still, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t important to Elder Scrolls legends or the story of ESO. So let’s discuss everything we saw in the ESO E3 trailer.

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Tamriel Infinium: The pros and cons of Elder Scrolls Online’s console versions

As of today, you can now play Elder Scrolls Online on your consoles as well as your PC. Finally, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gamers can play the game that PC gamers have enjoyed for nearly a year already. Of course, if you have been keeping up with our Tamriel Infinium column, you know that the Elder Scrolls Online game that PC gamers received at the game’s initial launch has changed quite a bit, and the game will continue to change as ZeniMax tweaks it.

It’s rare to hear that PC gaming owes anything to consoles because PC gamers like to think that the biggest innovations to games have taken place on the PC first. I’m not here to argue that point, but I would like to thank console gamers for the current pricing structure for ESO. I think it’s likely that the game would not have shifted to its current buy-to-play model if it weren’t for the imminent console release. And that would be a shame because this payment model is one of the best, and it carries across all platforms.

That said, there are differences between the PC and the console versions of the game, and if you’re still on the fence as to whether you should buy the console version or not, then let me give you the pros and the cons. I am familiar with the Xbox One version of the game rather than the PlayStation 4 version, but most of the these pros and cons apply to both.

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Tamriel Infinium: What we know about Elder Scrolls Online’s Imperial City

Even before the PC launch of the Elder Scrolls Online last year, there was something the community pined for: the Imperial City. In my first trip to Cyrodiil, I hopped on my horse to see if I could catch a glimpse of the White-Gold Tower at the center of the capital. As I galloped over a hill in the southwest of the Cyrodiil woods heading north, the shadow of a giant spire peeked out from the dense fog.

It’s not often anymore that we are awed by the scale of an MMO, especially since so many MMORPGs close themselves off with zones or a ton of instances — ESO does the same. But it’s nice to know that the developers did a great job of keeping the scale and the beauty of the land yet still sectioning off parts.

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Tamriel Infinium: A guide to Elder Scrolls Online’s combat basics

I was looking back through some of my posts about the Elder Scrolls Online, and I noticed that I’ve mentioned combat quite a bit. I talk about how it feels, how it’s action-oriented. I even have a couple of articles about different class builds. My favorite thing to talk about is how that your class really doesn’t determine your role in a group. But somehow, I’ve never really discussed the basics of ESO combat.

ESO’s combat is a bit slower-paced than some other games, like DC Universe Online which actually has a very similar system. I think it has a slower system than Guild Wars 2, but that might just be an animation difference. ESO‘s combat is far less clunky than The Secret World, and the hits definitely feel as if they have more weight.

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Tamriel Infinium: The 18 words an Elder Scrolls Online newbie needs to know

One of my favorite things about the storytelling in Elder Scrolls Online is that the quest-givers don’t fill their dialogue with exposition regarding Tamriel lore. For instance, NPCs will throw around terms like Ayleid and Dwemer as if you are just supposed to know what that means. That’s not to say they don’t share a lot of expository dialogue; it just usually contains the information that you need in your quest, not the story behind the story.

I thought it fitting to give you a list of terms and names that you will run into while playing the Elder Scrolls Online that you need to know, especially if you’re a novice to the franchise. I’ve run into most of these myself, and I reluctantly admit that I wasn’t sure exactly what they meant. For instance, what’s the difference between Tamriel, Nirn, and Mundus? The Prophet seemed to use these terms interchangeably in his dialogue, but they certainly mean different things, and he’s not using them arbitrarily.

So this week, I’m going to do something different from what I usually do. I’m going to make a lexicon of sorts. I have 18 terms that I think you should know going into ESO in order to understand the deeper meaning behind some of the quests that you will be running.

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online sucked me in with werewolves

A couple of weeks ago in Massively Overthinking, we talked about making a game sticky without vertical progression. Although the question was a bit loaded because it kind of assumed that a game couldn’t be sticky without vertical progression, I talked about storytelling ideals, such as Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s storytelling and Neverwinter‘s Foundry. However, one element that I think is extremely interesting for those who like gameplay, not just storytelling, is character growth. Usually, character growth is accomplished through skill points. But what if you could combine storyline with a compelling skill tree. To my surprise, Elder Scrolls Online did just that… with werewolves.

Remember how I told you that I was roped back to the game by the Justice system? How I literally spent hours just trawling the cities in the Daggerfall Covenant stealing from everyone that I saw? The same thing happened when I experienced lycanthropy, or werewolf-ism, in The Elder Scrolls Online. Again, I spent hours upon hours doing things to level up my werewolf skills without even touching my regular skills or questlines, not because I felt that it would make me better at some endgame thing but because it was just fun.

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Three Elder Scrolls Online mods you shouldn’t play without

If you have not jumped into Elder Scrolls Online yet, you should really give it a shot. With its latest update and B2P transition, it’s finally feeling like Skyrim or another Elder Scrolls game — just online.

Of course, I can’t say that ESO is perfect; there are a few things missing. And at times, you can tell that this game was made by a staff that doesn’t necessarily specialize in creating an MMORPG. Fortunately, ESO allows for mods. And while you won’t need to replace character models as you likely did for past Elder Scrolls games, this UI doesn’t exactly cater to MMO players. And so crafty players have designed UI mods to help with everything from item sorting to roleplay. I use a lot of mods myself, but there are three specific sets of mods that I don’t think I could play without — and neither should you.

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Tamriel Infinium: Five reasons to return to Elder Scrolls Online

Gamers rarely give an MMO a second chance. Far too often, a game bears forever the impression it earned the first time we played it. When I first played the Elder Scrolls Online in beta, I saw its potential, but the game was far from anything resembling the single-player Elder Scrolls games that I’d played before. Still, the storytelling was there, and the character models didn’t require any mods to make them look halfway decent, so I was willing to give it a shot. In the end, the reason it turned me away had nothing to do with the game itself; it was the people making the financial decisions for the game. It seemed to me as it did to many people that ZeniMax was using its subscription fee to subsidize the final year of development.

I had to eventually ask myself whether the purpose of the subscription was enough to justify not playing the game. In the end, my answer was “yes.” My subscription fee wasn’t paid by the studio or the site; it was on me, and that’s the way it should be. If a writer doesn’t think the game is worth paying for, then it’s probably not going to be worth it for the reader either.

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Tamriel Infinium: Dealing Elder Scrolls Online justice

When The Elder Scrolls Online launched, many people had high expectations for the game. Of course, given the number of people who loved the Elder Scrolls series of games and the number of people who love MMOs in general, no developer could ever satisfy the playerbase. The devs could have completely recreated Skyrim in an online form and there would be complainers.

Although I did some complaining about the game myself after its launch last year, my primary gripe was not the game itself. The storytelling and character progression mechanics were great. My primary issues was ZeniMax‘s handling of its playerbase and that knowledge that the PC subscription that many people have been paying for this last year has actually been a pay-to-beta model without ZeniMax ever actually admitting it. But after March 17th, that all ends, and the game, now called Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, is more than worth your money to buy.

I am a returning player filled with all the bitterness that returning players carry. ZeniMax murdered my family and ran off with my dog, but right now, I am super impressed with what it’s been able to accomplish over this last year.

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