the elder scrolls online

Official Site: The Elder Scrolls Online
Studio: ZeniMax Online Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Launch Date: April 4, 2014
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: Buy-to-play on PC as of March 17, 2015
Platform: PC, Mac; Xbox One and PS4 as of June 9, 2015

The Elder Scrolls Online is planning a freeplay event next week plus free lockboxes for subbers

Do you want to play The Elder Scrolls Online for free this weekend? Too bad. You can’t. But you can play next week! Yes, ZeniMax has announced that it’s running one of its infamous ESO Plus Bonus Events starting on Tuesday, July 10, and running through the following Monday. Existing subbers, there’s something in it for you too: If you log in during the hoopla, you’ll pick up six free lockboxes.

“To take part in the ESO Plus Bonus Event, log into the game with an active paid ESO Plus membership (the free trial does not count, sorry) each day from July 10 until July 15. Note that in order to qualify, each unique login must occur within a 24-hour time period that starts at 10:00AM EDT and ends at 10:00AM EDT the next day. If you remain logged in over a two-day period, it will only count as a single entry. You must log completely out of the game and back in – only logging out to the character select screen will not work. The free Crown Crates will be delivered to your account by Friday, July 20. Check your Crown Crates menu!”

If you take advantage of the free-play period, know that you’ll be able to check out basically all of the DLC and Morrowind (but not Summerset). You’re getting all of the perks associated with subbing with the exception of the monthly stipend, so that means the experience bonus, costume dyeing, double bank, and so on.

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Todd Howard says ‘Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world’ as Ubisoft and Bethsoft weigh in on games as a service

Are you all in on games as a service? Are single player-games over, replaced by much more profitable eternally online (and lockbox-ridden) titles? Bethsoft’s Todd Howard doesn’t think so. Speaking to GIbiz, Howard says that in spite of Fallout 76’s controversial online nature, the always-on games-as-a-service motif “doesn’t mark the future.”

“Corporately we’ve done a mix; people forget sometimes,” he says. “Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating, and Elder Scrolls: Legends. Anyone who has ever said ‘this is the future and this part of gaming is dead’ has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should try it.”

Ubisoft, on the other hand, has taken a different tack. The company’s EVP of Creative, Lionel Raynaud, spends some time in a corporate blog post to come at the problem from a narrative angle, saying his studio is trying to keep games going by doing its best not to “give finite experiences.”

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Elder Scrolls Online deep-dives the dungeons and PvP upgrades of the Wolfhunter DLC and GU19

ZeniMax is back to work today and hyping up Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC. Announced at E3, the Wolfhunter pack will roll out two new dungeons, both with the werewolf theme. The first, March of Sacrifices, sounds like a “Hounds of Zaroff” type of encounter as players will be trying to take down Indrik to please Hircine himself. The second will send players into Moon Hunter Keep to topple the ancient werewolf Vykosa “before she threatens all of Tamriel.”

But of course, as ZeniMax notes, Wolfhunter isn’t the only thing players have to look forward to. In fact, even if werewolves and dungeon romps aren’t your thing, there’s a bunch of stuff coming in the simultaneous release of update 19 that is all free. There’s a brand-new semi-symmetrical battleground map called Istirus Outpost, the addition of keep recall stones to alliance PvP, an improved respec system, better werewolf skills, and unspecified class changes too.

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Tamriel Infinium: All the lore you need to know for Elder Scrolls Online’s Wolfhunter DLC

Lycanthropy has been a part of the Elder Scrolls lore since Daggerfall, even if it did kind of skip Oblivion. Elder Scrolls Online introduces lycanthropy as its own skill line with both passive and active skills. It was this fun skill line that helped me want to jump back into the game a couple of years ago. It’s not the most useful skill tree in the game, and it certainly isn’t as good as Vampirism when it comes to PvP, but I found it to be a lot of fun and would recommend it to players looking to explore some of the lore and interesting mechanics of ESO.

In the next DLC for ESO, players take to opposite stance and actually hunt werewolves with the Order of the Silver Dawn. Although we don’t have many details about this next DLC, we know that one of the dungeons take place in the Order’s headquarters as its infested with werewolves, and the other takes place in Hircine’s Hunting Grounds.

This Friday at 6 p.m. EDT, Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan and Writer-Designer Tori Dougherty will give us a more in-depth look at these two dungeons, but before that, we should probably learn all we can about werewolves in ESO. That’s why I’ve broken down how to become a werewolf in ESO and where they come from according to the Elder Scrolls.

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Elder Scrolls Online shares the making of the mighty gryphon

Fun fact: Elder Scrolls Online’s gryphon is only found one place in the game, and that’s on its brand-new island of Summerset. Players who encounter one of these rare creatures should probably observe them at a safe distance, because Buckbeaks these are not.

ZeniMax said that it wanted to give its version of the gryphon a place of honor, as its artists weren’t happy with how the creatures are usually portrayed in fantasy.

“Instead of approaching gryphons as a literal combination of two creatures, I started from scratch, envisioning a winged, four-legged predator, evolved for flight, and with traits you’d also happen to find in big cats and birds of prey,” said Concept Artist Lucas Slominski. This even meant using inspiration from featured dinosaurs — how cool is that?

The devs said that because the gryphon also has flight, it needed twice as many animations than most air- or land-bound creatures.

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One Shots: Better virtual homes and gardens

Lately I’ve been overdosing on some serious Sims 4 time (blame the Seasons expansion announcement for this!) and indulging in my long-standing passion for player housing. I don’t always get that fix in every MMO I play — looking sideways at you, Blizzard — but I do enjoy expressing myself and seeing what other players have come up in their own living spaces.

Let’s take a tour of some excellent virtual abodes today! We’ll start with Rees Racer: “I’ve been a Elder Scrolls Online plus player for… a long time. I don’t buy much, so I had some crowns to spend. I eventually purchased the Alinor Crest Townhouse in Summerset. I’m a Bosmer, and it’s technically Altmer architecture, but I really like the colours and the courtyard fountain, and I’m fairly certain I saved the rule of Queen Ayrenn a few years ago. It’s more extravagant (like all High Elf accoutrements) than I need (or like), but I earned it.”

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ZeniMax is getting only half of the amount originally awarded in the Oculus lawsuit

Did you think that the Oculus vs. ZeniMax lawsuit was over when ZeniMax was awarded $500 million in its legal battle with the VR manufacturer? That’s silly; this lawsuit and associated wrangling will outlast the stars themselves. The judge in the case has cut the award from $500 million to $250 million while also denying an injunction against the sale of the headsets. That’s a bit of a black eye for ZeniMax, with a statement that the company is considering its next steps.

For those of you who no longer recall why these two companies were fighting like newly divorced parents, the courts found Oculus guilty of using proprietary software and copyright infringement when developing the Oculus Rift. ZeniMax Media is of course the parent company of Bethesda Softworks and ZeniMax Online Studios, the latter of which is in charge of The Elder Scrolls Online, so that’s very much relevant for both MMOs and future VR developments. If you need a bit more recap, we’ve got our whole roundup of coverage of the trial below for your enjoyment.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 176: Guild Wars 2, The Crew 2, and Elder Scrolls too

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin agree that two is the best number in the world, especially when it comes to video games! It’s a hodge-podge of topics, including Guild Wars 2’s latest episode, The Crew 2’s launch, Trion Worlds’ Gazillion acquisition, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset added a new hour of music and 7,224 lines of dialogue

You might be finding yourself enchanted with Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset’s pretty visuals, but what about the delight that your ears are sampling?

ZeniMax gave props to its audio team that handled the music, voices, and sounds of the recent expansion, saying that its work was “designed to wholly immerse you in the home of the High Elves.” Zeroing in on Summerset’s magical ambience was of key importance for the group, with the music leaning on wind instruments to distinguish itself from the other releases.

And don’t forget the extensive dialogue! “We have 7,224 lines of unique dialog in Summerset,” says Voice-Over Supervisor Becky Ichnoski. “For this chapter specifically, we spent a total of 108 hours in the studios recording, making up 37 individual sessions with a total of 35 different voice actors.”

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Elder Scrolls Online offers Steam downtime compensation as review-bombing hits ‘mostly negative’

Earlier this week, we covered the messy business between Elder Scrolls Online and Steam – specifically, that Steam logins for the game have been toast for the last couple of weekends, leading to some gigantic threads on both Steam and Reddit (2600+ comments now on Steam) as people found the game entirely inaccessible. Now, it doesn’t appear ZeniMax has it completely sorted yet, but a forum note says it’s working on a solution – and in the meantime, it’s offering compensation.

“To give everyone an update on the recent complications with ESO on Steam, we’ve been having conversations with Steam to fully understand what’s causing the downtime and login issues, and will update everyone as soon as we have information to share. In the meantime, we do plan to grant all Steam players an extra Psijic Vault Crown Crate since not everyone was able to login during last weekend’s giveaway event. These crates will be delivered to your account after the next PC maintenance, tentatively scheduled for July 2. Thanks for your patience, everyone. We’ll provide another update as soon as we can.”

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Global Chat: The fallout of Fallout 76

Bethesda’s E3 reveal of Fallout 76 had many gamers and franchise fans talking, no more so than out among MMO bloggers. After all, taking the series online for the first time is a pretty notable occasion, is it not?

“As I said before, I am all onboard with a Fallout survival game,” wrote In An Age. “Exploring the wasteland and looting all the things consists of about 80% of my gameplay in this series, and I am currently on an extreme survival game kick the likes of which I have not experienced since my high school JRPG days. All of that sounds fantastic to me.”

Leo’s Life isn’t as enthusiastic: “I was certainly interested last week. Now, not so much. It’s not the game that I wanted, but it’s probably the game that someone else did.” And Endgame Variable notes that, “The first thing they showed was your basic animalistic gankbox-style PvP. That’s got to be sending a message.”

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More MMOs pledge to fully remove Red Shell spyware, including Secret World Legends

At the beginning of June, we covered The Elder Scrolls Online’s implementation of spyware program Red Shell, which is designed to track specific information about players and PCs logging into the client, like where on the globe they live. At the time, as fury blazed across Reddit, ZeniMax’s Matt Firor apologized for Red Shell, saying the company was “experimenting” with it and didn’t intend to patch it into the live build, and therefore it would be patched back out.

As it turns out, there are plenty of other games with Red Shell, or parts of Red Shell lingering. Redditor Alexspeed75 has been keeping track of games accused of running the spyware. Most notable on the list for our readers is Funcom; while the studio removed the Red Shell code from Conan Exiles in May following player complaints, players still found parts of it in The Secret World as of last week. That, Funcom has told Redditors, was an error, as it patched out the code last year.

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