TESO Trailer

Does the Elder Scrolls Online beta trailer foreshadow gameplay?

You watch the Elder Scrolls Online beta trailer and just see a bunch of dudes fighting.

I watch it and see a good deal more — or at least the potential for more.

We know that these kind of trailers rarely are perfectly accurate representations of what we’ll be seeing in the games themselves. Typically, characters and situations are similar to what we’ll see in the final product, but specific gameplay actions are usually exaggerated for the sake of making a cool video.

There’s a lot going on in the Elder Scrolls Online beta trailer, but how much of it will carry over into the game? Or can we just “ooh” and “aah” over the glitzy presentation?

The trailer has three separate and distinct parts, each highlighting the three factions in the game: the Daggerfall Covenant, the Aldmeri Dominion, and the Ebonheart Pact.

The Elder Scrolls Online

Ebonheart Pact: With Fire & Sword

We start with a party of four — by the looks of it, a Nord warrior, two Dark Elves, and an Argonian. The Dark Elf mage points his staff down the hallway and lets loose with an illuminating fireball.

I’ve always thought staves a bit strange in TES games. The kind of character you most associate with them — mages — tend to need them the least, as they typically have bountiful mana pools and don’t need implements like this to achieve their ends.

But in TESO, weapons will determine what skills you can use, to some extent. So I’d fully expect that a character — any character, mind you — who wants to shoot a fireball will need to equip a staff to do so. A mage-type character might be better at it — more damage, quicker cooldown, whatever — but even that nord warrior could at least serve the role of “party flashlight.”

In what looks like a typical dungeon crawl, the group takes on a pack of what appears to be werewolves. As we know, players won’t be able to become werewolves, so they’ll likely serve simply as antagonists. I don’t think we can take anything in particular away from the combat, which is a typical blend of spell and weapon effects. But hey, they look pretty.

That covers the most obvious PvE portion of the video. Which brings us to…

The Elder Scrolls Online

Aldmeri Dominion: Scaling the Walls

Now this is a fortress siege I could get into! Climbing up rappel lines, dodging fiery explosions, arrows, boulders… all right!

Now raise your hand if you think we’ll actually see any of this. Yeah, didn’t think so.

Hey, it’s a cinematic trailer, I wouldn’t expect we’ll see things that are exact analogs of what we’ll experience in game. But I’d like to think there’s a chance we’ll get a little more from our three-faction PvP than just the same “bash down the gates for 10 minutes” action we’re currently getting from games like Guild Wars 2.

If you’ve played as many Total War games as I have, you know that sieges can be intense and the action can be directed across multiple fronts. Some troops are bashing in a gate here, some are scaling the walls there, and others are even undermining the walls or tunneling in from below. Why can’t that be the case in an MMO?

Dark Age of Camelot brought realm-vs.-realm fighting to the forefront in MMORPGs, and with Matt Firor in charge of things, could we see further innovation? I hope so.

The Elder Scrolls Online

Daggerfall Covenant: A Bridge Too Far

Speaking of crazy siege mechanics, the Daggerfall Covenant portion of our video seems to have it in spades. The “ballista bridges” would fit my earlier request of different access points to a T, especially if they could be — as seen in the video — destroyed by the defenders, sending the assaulting forces to plummet to their doom.

But I really can’t believe you’ll be able to “zipline” down to the tower like our intrepid Breton ninja.

After he takes down multiple opponents at once with an array of butt-kicking moves — because he’s a ninja — we cut back to the High Elf woman, who mixes swordplay with magic, again emphasizing the freedom in character design that looks to be a hallmark of the game, before concluding with the epic three-way standoff between representatives of the three factions.

Who will win? My septims on the Nord. He’s probably a mage in disguise.

Other tidbits:

Those guys in the tower? Clearly Imperials in the three-faction PvP province of Cyrodiil. You can see the White-Gold Tower clearly in the distance at 2:26.

Check out the Aldmeri lady’s backup. Three characters with human-ish faces in tribal-looking armor are probably Wood Elves. But at 5:00, you get a very blurry look at the third, whose face appears to be that of a Khajiit.

Does the Nord coming out of his dungeon encounter with the werewolf signify that there will be PvE dungeons in close proximity to the PvP area, as we’ve seen in other games? Or is it just dramatic license?

For even more information on The Elder Scrolls Online check out Richie’s roundup of the state of the game information.