Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is the highly anticipated MMORPG to the award winning Elder Scrolls series. Developed by ZeniMax Online Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks, Elder Scrolls Online serves as something of a prequel to the previously released, single-player only Elder Scrolls experiences: Skyrim, Oblivion, and Morrowind. The game features a pay-to-play subscription model which requires an initial purchase to download/receive the game and an additional $15 per month subscription for continued play. The payment model has been controversial and rather decisive since its announcement, with many arguing the merits of the game weighted against such a cost. It is widely believed that a transition to a free-to-play model is inevitable (much like the case with Star Wars: The Old Republic), though ZeniMax Online has yet to confirm with any certainty such plans.
The Elder Scrolls Online consists of three major factions, The Aldmeri Dominion, The Daggerfall Covenant and the Ebonheart Pact. Each faction consists of three unique races and has its own unique quest line to follow — the consequence of choosing any one race over the other is minimal and should be chosen purely by player preference. Regardless of faction or race, players must choose between one of four races (Templar, Dragon Knight, Sorcerer, Nightblade) which will determine the character’s skill set.
One emphasized feature of Elder Scrolls Online is the player’s ability to craft the character they want to play as, regardless of any permanent selections made during character creation. Any combination of faction, race or class is free to utilize any armor set, weapon or item, meaning players can play as a heavy tank character, a ranged mage or even switch between different variations at will. This allows players the unique and valuable ability to adapt to scenarios and approach them in the best way they see fit.
Much like previous entries in the series, Elder Scrolls Online features dynamic, action-based combat. Enemies are reactive of player actions and likewise, players must react to a wide variety of enemy actions and cues. A careful combination of offensive and defensive tactics will give players a distinct upper hand against foes.
Apart from an engaging main quest, there is a wealth of other gameplay options for players to immerse themselves in to keep them occupied. Multiple guilds are available to join with the promise of more on the way. Upper level players can choose to enter the thrilling PvP battleground which pits the three factions of Tamriel against each other in an all-out war for the domination and control of Cyrodiil. Or if it’s more main-questing that a player desires, there are always two other factions to which they can create a new character and start anew.