This week on TWIMMO ZAM’s Scott Hawkes talks about his Elder Scrolls Online hands on experience and we talk about the lastest Blizzard game.

Bethesda held a The Elder Scrolls Online hands on event recently and Scott was one of the lucky few who was able to participate. Lucky for us, he’s here to share his experience. He has a lot of info to share… Enough to cover three long articles on ZAM.

Of course, Gary has all kinds of questions for him about the game — which has resulted in a rather lengthy episode of TWIMMO. So, you may want to get a drink and a snack and strap yourself in for almost two hours of Elder Scrolls Online hands on goodness.

Some of the topics covered:

  • Is it like Skyrim?
  • First person camera.
  • Emphasis on classes.
  • Class specific abilities
  • Thoughts on story?
  • Dark anchors.
  • And a whole lot more!
  • How many dungeons does will it have at launch?

Blizzard’s big surprise!

So, Blizzard had been teasing us all with a some new game. Everyone’s been making guesses about what it would be. I’m not sure any of us expected this. In fact, I remember there being a lot of guesses about it being Diablo III news, Blizzard Allstars, and even a mobile game.

Yeah. I didn’t guess a collectable card game either. But here it is! Hearthstone!

What do you guys think? Find out our hosts’ thoughts by watching the episode above.

And don’t forget, despite not having time for them this week, we still love your viewer questions — especially video ones. If you have a question you’d like answered on the show, send them to  Remember to make video questions 30 seconds long and upload them to YouTube. Then send us the link via email.

As always, if you missed last week’s episode you can check it out here.

  • garygannon

    In before “The shows not really 2 hours!” I derped..its 1:37…deal with it :)

    • InvaderMig

      You get a pass this time, but don’t let it happen again.

  • Miljan Stanojevic

    teasing, teasing…1st all this waiting for GoT S3, now this TESO, TESO…cant wait!

  • Dularr

    Woot, great show. Can’t wait for the second episode of the ESO show “The ESO Show.”

    BTW, Hearthstone is not a MMO…. lol

  • Ernie Spence Sr

    Hawkes View : TESO Show

  • Golden_Pantheon

    I personally lost interest when I heard the game is zoned. I’m definitely going to give it a shot in beta, but I’m not very optimistic. People that develop multimillion budget zoned MMOs usually don’t have much of a clue about what people want from an MMO. It is at the very least a little alarming as far as the design direction of the game goes.

    • Dularr

      I’m very interested in seeing how this MMO turns out. Sounds very promising, but so many risky design choices.

      • James Megretton

        Project blackstone WAS the heart of the swarm ARG. The TCG on the leaked timeline was not Hearthstone. It referred to a TCG expansion that was cancelled by Blizzard when they didn’t renew the license with upper deck. It was stated that Hearthstone was only conceptualised early last year and has taken a year to build. This is long LONG after the leaked time line made an appearance.

    • cyberpunkhobo

      I think this is a consequence of their decision to go with a so-called MegaServer more than anything else; as well as the heavy phasing that seems to be a touted feature of the game. Generally speaking, it’s a lot simpler and more efficient to run copies of instanced zones than it is to run copies of the entire game world. Of course, I could be wrong entirely and their decision is not at all based on technical limitations.

      • Dularr

        Also sounds like they could be going with the MMO design, everyone is friendly in your zones and PvP only occurs in PvP areas. Or only allowing the world explorer to occur at max level.

    • David Grimm

      MMO’s having zones is a symptom of complexity. They zone it to provide better performance. No server can handle a few thousand players and all the ai and item calculations across an entire game “Planet” without zoning. If they didn’t zone it, it would be unplayable…..

  • Maxime Beaulieu

    The design of the questing will definitly not please to everybody, as it should be. Its a TES game first, and they need to bring the feel of this kind of game. In TES, you are THE hero, not A hero. When you do something, it has impact on the rest of the game. Its necessary that there is phasing during quest, so the world you see fit with your choices. If I decide to let die 5 people for whatever reason, I cant see them walking around chilling just because my friend decided to save them. I see my choice, he see his choice. Its a beautiful thing.

    The MMO aspects are still there, as you can group and make choice together.. therefore youll see the same thing as your friend. Dungeons and raid are there too, which are part of an MMO. But you have to feel like what you do matter. In game like WoW,even if you kill those ghouls, they are still there, the NPC is still there, asking to everybody who come by to do it.. it make no sense. In GW2, its lil bit different, but still the same thing.. the bandits will raid this village every 10-15 minutes even if you wiped them down once; its an event on a timer, not your choice.

    I love the idea in TESO that, if I decide to wipe those bandits, I’ll never see them again. It doesnt matter if my friend see them, as it was his choice. But I want my choice to have an impact on the actual world, and I think phasing the NPC, not the players – you still see people around – is an amazing idea.

    Cant wait to have my hands on this game, I’m a huge fan of TES series as well as a big MMO player, and it looks like this game will be a perfect fit between the RPG where I’m the hero, and the MMO where I can do epic stuff with friends.

    • Kevin Cox

      I completely agree. Phasing can prove to be a bit of a nuisance but at it’s core it really only encourages you to play with your friends.


      Factions may make this difficult. It’s one thing to be limited to your own zones until max level. That I can deal with. No problem. But if you want to play with your friends who may have joined an opposing faction, will phasing limit what you’re able to do with each other since you’re technically exploring a zone he’s already completed?

      i’m betting you can hit max level without seeing all of the zones of your faction so we’ll definitely be able to share new experiences with our friends at max level but if i’m to take this logic to heart, I may have to quest in some zones alone (at least not with my friends all the time anyway).

      it’s going to be interesting how they ultimately handle factions when this goes live and it’s going to be even more interesting how the community deals with it. I’m all for phasing for individual player continuity, but I see a bit too many barriers being erected, blocking players from playing with each other.

      But then again why should an MMO cater when it wants to encourage Faction loyalty?

      I support the idea but not necessarily the implementation. Hmmmm

      • Revanhavoc

        I think you raise some important questions. One thing I heard in a seperate video is that when you reach max level your faction area will level up to 50 and higher so you can replay the content. I believe at that point, when you can group with friends from different factions who are branching out to do other faction area quests, you can replay your faction quests with lvl 50 mobs in a multi-faction group of 50’s. (Non-single player quests)

        If my understanding is correct, this means you will be able to do faction specific quests with lvl 50 rewards AND with your friends from different factions.

        If anyone has conflicting information, please feel free to tell me!

        • ScottHawkes

          Once you hit level 50 you will be given the option to pay through one of the two remaining faction’s content. That content will then be upranked to 50 to prove challenging to you all the way through. This content will also provide access to loot that is more powerful than that in the original faction.
          Once you complete the second faction (each alliance having 120-150 hours of content) you can then do the third; which also increases in regard to the power of items available.

          • Dularr

            It sounds so instanced. So once you hit level 50, will you be able to go through your alliances level 50 content with friends from the other factions?

          • David Grimm

            But it’s not really instanced. It’s Phased, but mainly the quest related stuff is phased. From what I’ve heard, you’ll still run into other people like in a normal mmo. The only difference is due to the survey you fill out, everyone you see should have similar interests. Party/friend lists/Guild(Or whatever they decide to call it) will trump the phasing and still show up around you iirc.

          • Dularr

            The leveling/quest content sounds phased. It’s when you hit level 50, that’s it seems more instanced.

            If it’s true that once you hit level 50, the content becomes tuned for level 50 characters, it will be interesting to see how players leveling and max level players co-exist in the same zones.

          • Oceans

            Sounds like the Solo experience will be amazing. But how about the group experience? If every plot/ quest line is instanced, that may turn a lot of MMO players off.

          • Kevin Cox

            See that’s what i’m talking about though. I feel like from what i’ve heard so far, this game doesn’t really support group play outside of dungeons and PvP all that well.

            Let’s say you choose an Orc and Richie decides to play a Nord. Neither of you can interact or even talk with one another in-game throughout your leveling experience. You both hit level 50 and you decide you want to quest in Richie’s faction’s zones. Due to phasing, you won’t really be able to play with him to the fullest extent of your capability (i.e. you’ll be progressing your character while he just helps you mindlessly kill creatures for an NPC he may or may not even see).

            Now like I said before, you can most likely hit max level without seeing the entirety of a faction’s content so of course you and him will be able to experience completely new things together regardless of whose faction zones you’re playing in. It’ll just require that you talk to each other to find out what either of you have or haven’t done yet and then go off and do it.

            For the rest of it, it sounds like you’ll just have to bite your teeth and accept that he won’t be able to really play with you aside from the aforementioned mindless killing of mobs for an NPC he can’t see. But then how often does your average MMO player actually quest through the entirety of a zone’s content with someone else? lol

            As far as zones being opened up one faction at a time, it sounds clunky.

            You have 3 friends in 3 different factions.

            At max level, steve decides to join frank in the Ebonheart Pact. Frank chooses The Aldmeri Dominion so he can play in the zones that steve got to play in.
            But Benny hits max level and chooses the Ebonheart Pact and can now only play with Frank and Steve in either those zones or the Daggerfall Covenant zones but CAN’T play in the Aldmeri Dominion and instead will have to play through the entirety of the Ebonheart Pact (something that Frank might not want to do) before all three of them can visit any zone together.

            But by this point the phasing is going to be all over the place that it just won’t be worth grouping up. All three of these players will have accomplished various goals all throughout Tamriel and unless the three of them make a conscious effort to take note of what’s been completed and what hasn’t, grouping up just won’t be any fun cuz it’ll devolve into, “do you see this NPC?”


            I think it would’ve been much better had they gone the WoW route. You can go anywhere in the world, you can’t communicate with a player of the opposing faction in-game, you have the option to openly challenge a player of the opposing faction to a duel, enemy cities are hostile towards you and so on and so forth.

            I reserve my judgement until well into the game’s launch like any sensible person to fully evaluate how well the Faction mechanic is implemented and dealt with but at this juncture, the hurdles players may have to jump through to play with one another seem unnecessarily steep.

            Of course then again, can you even group up with a player of the opposing faction once you’re in their zone? If not, then my worries are nullified instantly because that’s Zenimax sticking to their guns and promoting faction loyalty and I fully support that.

            Like Gary says, games don’t need to cater to everyone to be enjoyable so we as players don’t need to be able to group up with everyone. Choose a faction from the start and those races are your best friends for the rest of your experience with that toon. Players will deal with that.

            But if you can group with anyone post 50……..ew. Too clunky as I said.

  • ryan phillips

    did Blizzard mention if this was the project referred to as ‘Blackstone’?

    i desperately need to know if i was right!

    • Dularr

      The projectblackstone(com) Web page still redirects to a SC2 promotional mini game.

  • Oceans

    Great episode!! More TESO please. I am hungry. Nom nom nom….

  • Depravity

    Hawkes is a badass last name btw. Proper shit!

    p.s.: And btw, this presentation/review really hyped it up for me. Can’t f. wait.

  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    It seems ESO is not mmo but something like D3 where you get group do things or do solo but in same world as other people… I don’t know where is MMO aspect of it.
    The most important info for me is B2P, F2P, P2P? If P2P i’ll pass.

    • Dularr

      It’s still an MMO, but it does sound like questing is a standalone RPG.

      You noticed as well, that there was no mention about the revenue model. hmm…

  • Blake Morris

    phasing sounds lame… dont care for voice over.. give me an open world thats mine to develope… tired of this theme park nonsense

  • Mike Coulombe

    Oh Gary! The first M in MMO is an adjective to the second M, “Massively Multiplayer”. Not just “massive” alone. If Skyrim had 2 player co-op, would it be an MMO? Cause it sure as hell is “massive”! :)

  • Key Foster

    I AM SO READY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • theunwarshed

    why are game devs still trying to turn mmo games into single player rpg?

    • darkdayze

      it’s because, this game was already said, it is elder scrolls first..and foremost, and you get to play with friends. So basically, it was already a single player RPG to begin with. You get to play it with friends. That’s pretty much it. It wasn’t designed to be an MMO hardly at all. But they added a few elements of an MMO to make it a Partial MMO.It’s also because a lot of players have complained “well, I wanted something to happen THIS way, why should another player choose what I wanted to do?” “why do I have to watch another person’s actions?” Well, these guys answered back and said “ok, you can do that now”

      Complaints like these ended up making devs look it as a single player perspective, with SOME MMO aspects. I think personally, I will be highly addicted to this game because now I don’t have someone else ruining MY story. And if you really think about it, it adds a TON of REPLAY value. Well, what if I wanted this story to act out different? Well, roll another character, try it a different way and you’ll get a complete different experience. Not only is there a 150 hours in EACH faction (yes, multiply that by 3), you get a lot of replay value because arcs are different EACH time. This game is going to suck the life out of me…period.

  • Rasmus Nielsen

    They did a TCG already, looks like this online version is more interesting though.

  • Steve Mink Jr.

    Guys I got a serious question and I’ve been trying to get an answer that is possibly unanserable at the moment. Is it possible to go “go off rails” and explore the wilds and come across tons of Points of Interest (P.O.I.’s) such as Dungeons, Grottos, Camps, Caves, and Keeps like in Skyrim? This will be really big deal breaker for me if the PvE leveling isn’t similar to Skyrim.

    • David Grimm

      Yea. they said in previous interviews that It’s completely viable to level via exploration/random wandering.

  • Fuerte

    Is Wizards going to sue Blizzard on Hearthstone? Because Wizards usually sues everything that resembles MTG.

  • Revanhavoc

    I have been fanboying for this entire video. Wishing I had been in chat to discuss!

  • mikeb for president

    Dammit, wheres mikeb talking about mmos?

  • Dekin

    I can see the card game being played in between raid wipes or raid set up or something. Being a MTG person I didn’t care for it. However, the reason MTG was originally made was so people could play something while the DM set up DnD campaigns, now MTG is its own monster.

  • St_Draco

    It sounds like ESO is going to be a great RPG, but possibly a bad MMO. Personally Phased Questing, Personal “Finesse” rewards, and a lack of group content at launch makes it seem like the game is more geared towards solo play than group play.

    Personally phased questing is a bad idea. It only serves to confuse parties, since not everyone is aware of what is going on, the options available, or the outcome of selecting those options. Party Member A, “So talk to this guy and he’ll give you the quest.” Party Member B, “What guy? I don’t see him.” PMA, “This guy right here. Didn’t you do X, Y, and complete this quest this way?” PMB, “No, I did this, this, and this, so…” PMA, “Ok well we’ll go do this one instead.” PMB, “Ok, so we are going to kill so and so?” PMA, “No, I helped that guy, we have to kill this other guy.” PMB, “Dude, what ever, you do your thing and I’ll do mine and we’ll meet up later and try again.” This is going to result in people playing beside each other and not with each other.

    Finesse rewards being personally based is not conducive to group play. People are going to want to get these rewards, and if playing in a group makes this more difficult, then people are more than likely not going to want to play in groups. It won’t even matter if grouping will allow you to get rewards faster, because the psychological effect is going to be greater.

    In Scott’s Zam article, he mentions at the end that the adventure zones will not be in at launch. These are the group/raid-like/elite zones. Without these it leaves only 4-man dungeon content and Alliance VS Alliance PvP as group oriented content. I could be wrong, and hopefully I am, but as it stands this doesn’t look good for guilds and groups.

    Now, they could make a few fixes and suddenly you will have a potentially good MMO. Make phasing shared when grouped. This eliminates the confusion and makes grouping desirable as it opens up more opportunities for players. Players will bring their “contacts” and “experiences” to the group. Next, make “Group Finesse” rewards, where you give bonuses to working together as a group, just as you would with personal finesse. Now, there is a psychological and immediately perceivable reward for grouping and working well as a group.

    Again, remains to be seen, but based off the info so far, it doesn’t look as promising as people had hoped.

    • Kevin Cox

      I agree. Phasing and how they handle the factions in a PvE setting are my biggest concerns for this game.

      I agree that phasing should be shared when grouped, much like a quest might be shared in WoW. One person initiates and the other helps out and you both get rewarded in the end (you’ll just have to argue with each other over what choices you make lol).

      I forsee the combination of phasing and one at a time faction zone unlocking to be very clunky and difficult for group play UNLESS you can’t group with a member of the opposing faction even if you can quest in their zones. I approve of that because it supports faction loyalty and two Orcs won’t have to worry about the phasing in another zone like an Orc and a nord grouping together would.

  • David Bell

    *gasp* Gannon doesn’t like cheesecake.. most incredible announcement of the show.

  • Hearthless

    Nice, I remember posting on the forums a real long time ago they should do something like this as a mini game within WoW since I can’t go and find people to play TCG.

  • Danny Smith

    Getting wicked flashbacks to the early episodes of the republic here..