Afters years of beta testing and building anticipation, Elder Scrolls Online launched today for the PC and Mac, accompanied by a five and half minute cinematic trailer (the third such trailer released for the game). The game, from Bethesda Softworks and ZeniMax Online Studios, was announced back in May of 2012 and is the first massively multiplayer online role playing game (or MMORPG) for the immensely popular Elder Scrolls series.
While not a follow-up to Bethesda’s last Elder Scrolls game, 2011’s award-winning RPG masterpiece Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it does take place in the same world, known as Tamriel, and is set approximately a millennium beforehand. Elder Scrolls Online puts players in the middle of a massive civil war for the crown between three warring factions and is focused on the concept of building a team of varied adventurers with other online players to take on similarly formed player groups as well as in-game monsters and quests.
Players who were introduced to the Elder Scrolls series with Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, or its preceding Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and are unfamiliar with playing MMORPGs, such as World of Warcraft or Everquest, may find themselves struggling with the differences in overall gameplay. Dave Thier, writing for Forbes, touches on the slight change in dynamics between MMORPGs and regular RPGs, such as Skyrim:
To MMO fans, this is nothing new. They got used to the idea that they were not the one chosen hero a long time ago. Bosses respawn after being killed, dungeons repopulate themselves with monsters, mysteries unsolve themselves and priceless relics remain in place even after you remove them to fulfill the quest. The world is fresh for every player, at the same time.
Bethesda also released an infographic today, filled with all sorts of little fun facts about Elder Scrolls Online. For example. did you know the game boasts a mind-boggling 5.0952187*10^58 different character creation possibilities? Or that the game developers, ZeniMax Online Studios, have drank 162,784 cups of coffee since May 2011 and that the amount of coffee beans needed for that many cups is equal to the weight of 360 spider monkeys?
To round out the release, elderscrollsonline.com posted a special launch message from Elder Scrolls Online game director Matt Firor:
Welcome to April 4, 2014! Today’s worldwide release of The Elder Scrolls Online for PC and Mac is a landmark day for our many fans and all of us here at ZeniMax Online Studios. I am incredibly proud of the team that has been working hard to bring Tamriel to life online and am extremely grateful for everyone in the ever-growing ESO community. Making a AAA online RPG with the scope and scale of The Elder Scrolls Online is a daunting development effort, and we couldn’t have done it without our talented team and the most supportive fans in the world. Thanks for helping us reach this day.
Development doesn’t stop here. Soon we’ll be unveiling Craglorn, our first Veteran-level, end-game zone tailored for small and large groups which offers lots more hours of gameplay and new areas to explore– and we’ll continue to add new systems and exciting content regularly. And of course, we are still hard-at-work on the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game as well. I sincerely hope everyone has as much fun playing the game as we had making it. You are in for a thrilling journey, and as this is the first Elder Scrolls game to go online, we hope you share the fun by making friends — whether you’re joining groups and guilds or fighting hundreds of enemy players on the battlefield. We’ll definitely be out there with you – see you in Tamriel! And stay tuned for all the new and exciting things we’ll have to share with you in the coming weeks and months. This is only the beginning. – Matt
Elder Scrolls Online is expected to get released on the XBox One and Playstation 4 in June.