The Elder Scrolls IP has always been known for changing the conventional styles of most RPGs. Whether it be the large fully interactive world, in-depth game mechanics such as spell crafting and alchemy, or shaping the way you played your character, The Elder Scrolls Online will continue to push the barriers of the genre to new levels.
Choosing your class
While MMOs allow you to chose a class and then moves you along your path, the classes in TESO are more of a “springboard.” While your class defines the skills in which your character will be able to use, it does not hinder you from choosing “how you play your world.” One thing to point out is no matter what class you choose, ANY class can use all weapons and armor types. You are not restricted by your class to just cloth armor or medium leather. A healer can use the heaviest armor with the largest warhammer in Tamriel – and not be hindered by the choice.
The normal Health, Magicka and Stamina trees are present in this game, and depending on which path you focus on during leveling will grant you specific perks along your adventures. For example: after putting a couple of perk points in the Magicka tree, it not only increases the Magicka available for you to use, but it also grants you a bonus against Magicka damage. The way in which you spend your skill points will affect the type of gameplay you choose down the road. Obviously someone with high Health might end up focusing more on tanking, while someone with high Magicka will focus on skills and weapons that use that pool.
During the media summit there were two playable classes: Templar and Dragonknight. The Dragonknight was your agressive, melee oriented character, adept at dealing damage in large quantities quickly. Your Templar was a mixture of damage and healing, sort of paladin-esque. This game had some skills that were also granted bonus damage based on your stamina, thus giving you a reason to add points into your path-trees. Other classes will be in the game such as a Sorceror, Warden and Nightblade to name a few.
Playing the world your way
This is a common mantra from the development team and something that is at the heart of The Elder Scrolls as a whole. While there is no “skill tree” as we know in the modern MMO, there will be branches of your development that you choose to play your way. For example, when you gain a certain level, a new skill might open that prompts you to make a choice. You can choose a path that will be more DPS heavy, or you can choose a path that is more defensive. This type of development has been hinted at in other games, but not nearly this in depth.
As stated earlier, each class can use any and all weapon types in this game. Whether you want to be a mage who is proficient with a Bow when he needs to be, or a tank who specializes in two-handed swords, you have no restrictions placed on you. That is the major idea behind how you play your character: No restrictions. You play the way you want to and the game follows suit.
Choosing your weapon
Weapons in The Elder Scrolls series have always defined your playstyle, and not the class you choose. Sword carrying players will undoubtedly be more of a close-range attacker, where a person who specializes in Mage’s staffs will tend to stick close to the back of a group. Your weapon choice in TESO will define your character and not the class you choose. Nick Konkle, Zenimax’s Gameplay Lead, put it best when he said: “Towards the end of the game you’ll find that the character you’re playing is nothing like what you started out with.” Potentially the character you customized will be nothing like what you originally created. The example he gave was going back to the Templar. While the Templar is envisioned to be a heavy armored damage dealing class, your weapon and armor choices can change that character into a robe-wearing magicka user.
Each class is not set up to have an advantage over the other when using a weapon, rather they will be different for each class. As you use these weapons, as previously stated in articles already released your proficiency will increase as you use that particular weapon. As you level your weapon, you will also unlock new skills to effect how you use that weapon. These skills will level independently from your normal class skills, and will change depending on the weapon you are currently using.
Planning your development
Taking into account the highly customizable nature that weapons and armor give you, as well as the attributes you obtain through leveling up either Health, Magicka and Stamina, you begin to understand the scope in which TESO allows you to make the character that is only limited by the player’s imagination. This is also prominently featured via an intuitive interface that helps you strategize on path you want to take. Each weapon type is listed in its own window, complete with drop down menus with a horizontal tree that shows, at the corresponding weapon level, each skill you will earn and even at what point the weapons skills split to become more role specific. This will help the player decide what they want to focus on and start to move their weapon proficencies and focus towards that goal.
Character development in games is one of the major sticking points of a great title, and is also one thing The Elder Scrolls have consistently done right. The developers have created something fresh and revolutionary with the implementation of this mechanic, as is the only way to make an Elder Scrolls game. As time moves on this will only become more refined and polished, creating one of the most unique – and gratifying experiences in the gaming industry to date.