The Elder Scrolls: Online: Tamriel Unlimited (PS4)
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Release Date: 09/06/2015
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Set 1,000 years prior to the events in Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) is set in a world menaced by three feuding factions, all of which are trying to gain control of the entire continent of Tamriel. The main villain of the piece is a Daedric Prince called Molag Bal who is raising an undead army in order to take control of Tamriel. The three factions are The Aldmeri Dominion, The Daggerfall Covenent and The Ebonheart Pact. These factions have certain races allied to them, all of whom will be very familiar to players of other games set in the Elder Scrolls universe. From the outset the developers at Bethesda have designed the game to focus on the multiplayer aspect of MMOs. Players are encouraged to interact with one another to the point where even if they are not grouped with someone and they help another player out, they'll get rewarded for it. As an extension of this, there are many dungeons and warrens to explore, just like any Elder Scrolls game. Most of these require a group to be formed before entering, but some do allow players to wander into them unassisted and will likely find other people taking on the denizens of the dungeon. The base character construct used in Elder Scrolls games remains in place within TESO. The base stats of Health, Stamina and Magicka remain as does the ability to use any weapon, regardless of class. Players will not however be proficient in it if they have not specialised in the wielded weapon's use, again a similar trope found in Elder Scrolls games. The main quest, in typical TES fashion, has a number of big names from the film industry, names like Michael Gambon (Dumbledore from the Harry Potter films) and Bill Nighy who plays the game's antagonist Molag Bol. It could have been right out of a single player TES game. Another familiar facet to that ever so long lineage of games is an open world full of potential for exploration. In TESO players will be able to go where they wish and do what they wish, which is something many recently released MMOs fail to achieve. As an interesting adjunct to the main story, there are self-contained stories set within the smaller areas of the world. Each location has the usual string of side quests, but there is an overarching goal that when achieved will lead to a change in the game world. For example, if you defeat a necromancer who is defiling the body of a long dead Dragonlord, all the undead around the ruins will no longer be present and the area is completely safe to loot at your leisure. It is a small but permanent change to the world as you see it. The developers have looked closely at the combat in TESO and have tried to create a dynamic combat system that rewards the player's skill. This is done by allowing the player the opportunity to block incoming attacks and once successful, executing a parry move. The upgrade system which follows TES's example by having abilities level as you use them. At certain levels you can change them in to more powerful/useful versions with added effects. This is on top of choosing new abilities from a large selection covering combat, crafting and Guild-based skills. Tamriel is waiting...