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The Elder Scrolls Online Finally Looks Like an Elder Scrolls Game

They said they weren't going to do it. People objected. They changed their mind. And now, behold: The Elder Scrolls Online has a first-person-with-hands mode. Ahhh. This game now looks like a Skryrim MMO.


Add +100 to me giving a damn.

I explain what the deal is in the video, which you really should watch to see how this all looks. But in case you can't listen, here's what happened: ZeniMax Online Studios starts making an Elder Scrolls MMO and presents it last year as a third-person game. Typical MMO stuff, but not typical Elder Scrolls, since the beloved single-player RPG series has long enabled gamers to play in first-person. The ESO developers say they want you to have situational awareness. They emphasize that the game is multiplayer, that you'll be surrounded by enemies. The game does first-person, but without hands. You don't have your bearings. You can't fight well from it. It's no good.


I wrote about this last June. Look:

As I tried to kill stuff, I asked [Elder Scrolls Online developers Matt] Firor and [Paul] Sage about one of the big this-doesn't-look-like-Elder-Scrolls hang-ups. This game isn't in first-person. It's in third.


Well, you can actually zoom in and try to play, more or less, in first-person. It's a bit of a disaster. The developers pointed out to me that you want to be able to see characters in your peripheral vision. You want to see who is flanking you. In their more open-ended combat design, a third-person camera view is needed for this.

But Skyrim was open-world, I observed.

It is, they said, but its encounters don't involve the kind of surrounding crowds seen in an MMO. The other hang-up with first-person in ESO is that the first-person zoom you can use in the game doesn't show your character's arms, which you can see in the likes of Oblivion, Skyrim and similar off-line Elder Scrolls. It's hard to judge an enemy's distance if you can't see your arms. Adding the sight of your arms to that vew, the developers told me, is not something they're focusing on.

People complained. The devs listened. The result: you will be able to play the MMO from the same perspective you played Skyrim, Oblivion, et al.

Happy news! (Unless you're a grouch who wants to point out that we always want what we're already familiar with and get angry about things that are different. Oh, shush.)


To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo.

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Well, it's still gonna suck.