An Introduction to The Elder Scrolls Online
Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls games are some of the most popular and played games of all time. The Elder Scrolls Online is no different, and it even aged like fine Skyrim wine. It originally came out back in 2014, released by ZeniMax Online Studios, and has been getting better ever since.
We even got a new Story Chapter this year named High Isle, which has shown us completely new, never before seen lands.
The entire Scrolls saga is set in the continent of Tamriel, which is largely explorable in ESO. It is unlike their single-player games, which focus solely on specific regions, and that is why it has an additional appeal for long-time fans.
You can consider Chapters as huge expansions in the ESO world. There have been six total Chapters so far, and all of them brought something new and fresh to the table.
Seeing as Tamriel, the game’s continent, is quite large, it is really hard to fit all of it in one game. When the game initially came out, we could run around in a large chunk of it, which was really cool. Since then, every Chapter has added various locations for us to fully explore.
This Chapter is located on the island of Vvardenfell, which is a large island in Morrowind’s inner sea.
This Chapter is located in the Summerset Isles and Artaeum. Summerset is a large island southwest of Tamriel. Artaeum is a mystical island where the Psijic order dwells.
This Chapter is located in Northern Elsweyr. Elsweyr is a southern province in Tamriel that is home to Khajiits.
This Chapter is located in Western Skyrim and Blackreach’s Greymoor Caverns. Western Skyrim’s location is quite self-explanatory, and the Blackreach’s Greymoor Caverns are just beneath it.
This Chapter is located in the southern region of Blackwood. Blackwood is a southern province in Tamriel.
This Chapter is located in the southern region of High Isle, Systres Isles. The entire Systres Archipelago is located west of Tamriel.
Gameplay and Playstyles
Elder Scrolls Online, just like all other major MMORPGs, presents you with a wide variety of character creation options. Looks, skills, and everything in between can be altered to suit your playstyle the most. Speaking of, ESO caters to all kinds of different playstyles, whether you want to play PvP or PvE.
Naturally, you can choose what class you are going to be, but keep in mind that all classes differ gameplay-wise. Another great thing here is that all weapons can be used with any and all classes. If you are afraid you won’t be able to use a certain weapon in your respective class, don’t be.
You are also not limited to your class in regards to developing skills. You want to be an archer, but you just love heavy armour and want it even though they usually use lighter equipment? No problem, just pop it on and go forth slaying beasts and completing quests.
If you get stuck or are unsure what to do with your skills, you can always check the Skill Advisor System. This system will recommend which skills it thinks you should spec into, and that is quite nice.
2021’s Blackwood Chapter even introduced fully functioning followers, also known as The Companion System. You can bring your companions with you on your adventures, and they will even fight alongside you when the need arises. Keep in mind though, they will react to your actions, as the game has what is called the Rapport Level. That means they’ll either love or hate you, depending on their views and how you are playing.
High Isles brought another fun addition to the already jam-packed game: an in-game card game. It is called Tales of Tribute and it has an interesting concept where you have to juggle three resources – Gold, Power, and Prestige. There are even ranked and unranked options to choose from, which is a nice touch for both sides of the coin.
The combat in ESO is a bit different in execution from what you might be used to in other MMOs like World of Warcraft. You have to utilise Light and Heavy attacks, Weaving, Skills, Blocking, Bash, and Dodging. All of these are quite usual and self-explanatory, except Weaving, which typically wants to have you mixing Light attacks with Skills. Some people also call it Animation Cancelling, and that almost immediately clears up the mystery behind it.
Weaving’s purpose is to increase your damage per second by speeding up the entire process. Instead of looking at the pretty animations, you could be casting another ability. It is not just for damage though, as Weaving can be used for both tanking and healing too. There is more to it, of course, but it is an absolutely vital skill to develop for all new players.
You can test your combat skills in Cyrodiil, which was the setting for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It has been turned into an all out PVP zone in ESO though, where literally hundreds of players battle at all times. It is a beautiful zone and it is absolutely filled with activities you can do, from quests to large battles. There is also an option to just run around and explore, if you are not feeling up for questing. But if you lose your focus for a bit, you’ll find yourself respawning quicker than you can say “By the Nine”.
Another PVP option you can pursue are the Battlegrounds. They were implemented in the Morrowind Chapter, and they feature smaller scale, more focused team battles. You enter an arena setting of sorts, there are three teams consisting of four players each, and you just battle it out.
There are five different game types in Battlegrounds:
- Team Deathmatch
- Capture the Flag
- Crazy Kings
PVP aside, there are tons of PVE options if you are looking for a more relaxing playthrough. There are many dungeons you can go through, either by yourself or with friends. Trials are also present, and they can be relatively summed up to be harder, more difficult dungeons.
There are also what are called the Dark Anchors, and they appear across the map so you will inevitably stumble upon them. The explanation behind them is that a very evil figure named Molag Bal is attempting to drag Tamriel into his own realm. The Dark Anchors allow him to do so, but they also allow for his creatures to come out of them, leaving you to handle the mess. Eliminate his forces, close the Dark Anchors, and everyone is happy. Except Molag Bal.
World Bosses are also present, and as it’s usually the case, they require groups of people to take down as they are far too strong. You will see a World Boss appear on the map, and our recommendation is to go to it if you are able. They can be really fun to fight against, and you get cool rewards when you finally manage to beat them.
Another thing that wasn’t mentioned here is the story, but it is never too late. ESO’s quest line separates it from a lot of other similar games, as it is really fleshed out. We always appreciate the effort that was put behind a good story, and this is a great example of it.
We haven’t even scratched the surface of what is possible in ESO, since it is such a comprehensive game. There is so much to do, you will find yourself saying “I just have to do this one more thing before logging out” on repeat. Before you know it, you’ll be knee deep in arrows after having spent tens and even hundreds of hours roaming around.
The game used to require you to purchase a subscription in order to play, whereas you can download it for free nowadays. You don’t get the extra privileges that the subscription players do, but ultimately, you will be just fine without them.