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The Elder Scrolls Online Hands-On Event

TESO is just about what one might expect from a synthesis of The Elder Scrolls franchise with the MMORPG genre. Zenimax Online Studios seem content not to revolutionize the MMORPG and instead bring a highly polished, Elder Scrolls-esque multiplayer experience to life using methods and designs that are known to please.

The game certainly feels like The Elder Scrolls most of the time, and it's not just a matter of familiar armor types or monsters; it's a matter of atmosphere. Unfortunately, there have been sacrifices made in the transfer from single player experience to MMORPG. Elder Scrolls players might find a lack of interactivity and detail. They might be frustrated that they can't open every book and fill a house with butterfly wings. They might also condemn the lack of novelty, although perhaps the unique individual stories that come out of a playthrough of Oblivion or Skyrim will be replaced by unique collective tales shared by friends, but not every single player. This remains to be seen, as does the longevity of TESO's conservative MMORPG gameplay, which may not be novel enough to survive in the genre today.

The Elder Scrolls Online ScreenThe developers are dedicated to making TESO an excellent experience at launch and beyond. Director Matt Firor ensured us during a presentation that they'll be prolific with post-launch content. Level cap increases, expansions, new regions, and new features (the Dark Brotherhood, perhaps?) are all promised. A broad 2013 release window was given, but no mention was made of the pricing structure. Keep an eye out for updates related to the upcoming beta as well.

TESO offers a highly polished social experience in the vein of the Elder Scrolls franchise. The game seeks to augment the benefits of the MMORPG with the best elements of the Elder Scrolls single-player games. Exploration and detailed questing prevent mindless combat and looting, and TESO resembles a single-player game more so than any MMORPG I've seen. This might just be what a few million RPG fans have been yearning for. Perhaps The Elder Scrolls Online calls for a bit of a genre redefinition after all: the transition to a more natural, immersive, and organic MMORPG.

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