If there's one thing that can almost be counted on in life, besides death and taxes, is that gamers love them some complaining. Add new features, they complain. Take out old features, they complain. Don't change the game formula enough, they complain. So really there's only so much one can pay any mind to the cries of RUINED FOREVER that come out when game spin-offs are announced. Sadly the Elder Scrolls series has one of the most vocal and bi-polar fanbases out there and ESO isn't likely to quiet them anytime too soon even though the game looks really, really good.
Elder Scrolls Online, herein referred to only as ESO to spare my aching fingers, is aiming to be a more action oriented experience than your average MMO. Combat plays out as we old school fans are familiar with it, featuring health, stamina and magicka and combat that has you actively dodging or blocking attacks before moving in for a counterattack.
But that was to be expected really. What wasn't expected is that ESO has a large focus on single player content of all things as well as having a striking focus on not just raiding or partying up but generally forming a world where everyone actually wants to help each other.
Yes, that's right. They're making a campaign that actually can be played with friends but it is entirely possible to solo it. Yes, there's a single player game attached to this MMO that takes place 1000 years in the history of Tamriel and it doesn't require any of that pesky cooperation or working together plaguing MMO's these days. Molag Bal has stolen the hero's soul because that's what he does with his time and it's up to said her to get it back. Exactly why he's done this is the mystery that you'll get to solve throughout this adventure. So that's for all of the complainers out there!
For everyone who actually doesn't mind the MMO aspect the social, working together part of this game is greatly enhanced as compared to most online games. Here you can party up, raid or work together in massive PvP battles. But in some areas , noted as persistent dungeons, they are non-instanced and you can find other players engaged in combat. Choosing to chip in and help them out will net the both of you with rewards so there is literally no reason not to try helping each other out. Dungeons in both the regular game and campaign will feature the things we've all come to know and love from Elder Scrolls ranging from Daedra and undead to traps and puzzles so this help may end up being invaluable.
PvP in ESO will take the form of various large scale battles between the three alliances. These range siege warfare to open field battlegrounds and can shape the world itself. Towns, cities and even the position of Emperor can all be won from your foes, bringing your faction to the fore. Of course you'll be spending a lot of time getting the powerful equipment necessary to succeed in these fights so prepare to invest a lot of time into this one.
ESO is expected to release in 2013 but that's not the most interesting tidbit. The fact that they're actively aiming to release this title so that people with low spec machines can run it too is pretty nice for those gamers who don't update their entire PC every single year. Roughly anything within the past five years should be capable of running ESO so, prejudices aside, there's no reason to not pick this up if you're a fan of either MMO's or RPG's. Pick one of the three factions at war and get ready to take up arms brothers and sisters!