Tom went to visit Zenimax Online Studios recently to take an early look at The Elder Scrolls Online. He sat down with game director Matt Firor to talk about the challenges of bringing The Elder Scrolls into an MMO setting, with reference to character building, skills and more. To hear more from the designers of The Elder Scrolls Online, check out our 20 minute video interview with Maria Aliprando, Nick Konkle and Brian Wheeler. Check out our post on everything you need to know about The Elder Scrolls Online for more details.
It's the first trailer for Skyirm's first expansion, Dawnguard. Vampires. Holy crap. Castles, crossbows, severe anti-sun sentiment. A lot of these things were picked out when fans datamined some recent patch notes, but here they are in motion. Exciting stuff.
High level MMO play is typically associated with stacks and stacks of ability icons lighting up and flickering in and out of of cooldown animations. Zenimax reckon that modern technology and improved latency means there's no need to rely on those flashing icons when you can accurately see how the action is playing out in the game world. You'll still have combat skills, of course, but they'll be tucked away in a minimalist interface designed to bring the player further into the world.
Lead gameplay designer Nick Konkle explains. "I think a lot of the previous generations of MMOs a lot of the game is looking at that UI and playing it. Technical restrictions were such that we couldn't have that sort of fully immersive battle experience because people weren't where they were, where you would see them, they were somewhere else.
"But we wanted to create an immersive experience because that's the modern game, that's the modern RPG," he says. "One in which I look at the world, not at my hotbar. Not at numbers that are flying up."
That'll be the only way to see some of the massive fights that will feature in The Elder Scrolls Online. "If you're looking at your UI when there's 200 people on your screen fighting each other you're kind of missing out on one of the big things that we're trying to do which is these huge battles," says PvP designer Brian Wheeler. "If you're looking at the UI then you're missing all the fun of just seeing people jumping in and beating the crap out of each other. It's really cool."
Even beyond The Elder Scrolls Online's big PvP plans, the reduced UI is intended to help players confront Tamriel's monsters. Zenimax suggest they'll be tougher than your typical MMO trash mobs. "We want monsters to be a challenge to the player every single time you fight them, not a speedbump for the player. We don't want fighting monsters to be boring or you can eat a sandwich or do five other things while fighting a monster," says gameplay designer Maria Aliprando.
"We want to reward you for executing moves and fighting against monsters as well. So when monsters present their dynamic behaviours we don't want to confuse you with UI all over the screen we want you to be in there fighting with the monster at the moment."
Game director Matt Firor mentions another reason for the slimmed down interface. "We made a lot of choices to make it very accessible to the player who's only experienced the console versions of The Elder Scrolls."
"Things like the interface is very minimalistic and it lets you concentrate on the world, not on the interface, so we made it feel much more like a console game from the interface side than an MMO, just for that reason, to make sure that everyone feels comfortable when they play it."
To find out more about how combat works in The Elder Scrolls Online, check out our article on how combat works in The Elder Scrolls Online. You can also check out how Skyrim and Oblivion have influenced The Elder Scrolls Online, or head over to our everything you need to know about The Elder Scrolls Online page. Our chums at Edge also have plenty of exclusive info on The Elder Scrolls Online if you're looking for more.
So, we've put dozens and dozens of hours into Skyrim, and we'll put in many more. The Dawnguard expansion is coming up and the Steam workshop is turning up new places to explore every few weeks. Why would we want to hop into The Elder Scrolls Online? For studio general manager, Matt Firor, the answer is simple. It's Tamriel. "It's a world you've always wanted to explore with friends, and now you can."
Zenimax Online Studios haven't had to sit down and draft an entire world from scratch. 18 years of Elder Scrolls games and expansions have poured oodles of detail into the lore of that world. From Morrowind to Oblivion and Skyrim, each game has sketched more detail onto that grand world map. The Elder Scrolls Online will let us wander those lands and discover new ones. "You've been able to explore parts of each province before, but now you get much more of the world," says Firor.
Zenimax are taking steps to ensure that The Elder Scrolls Online delivers an accurate rendition of Tamriel. They're modelling Cyrodiil using Oblivion's height map to ensure it feels right, and they're basing much of the northern lands on Bethesda's vision of Skyrim.
"With the height map for Cyrodiil, which was our PVP zone, we took the height map pretty much right out of the game Oblivion just to make it feel familiar to other players," Firor explains. "That's mostly because it's such a huge area, we wanted to put in the towns and villages that people were familiar with.
"For our Skyrim province we're a thousand years in the past remember so we have a little leeway on what we can do. But yeah you still find Winterhold, you still find Riften, the topography is very similar, the rivers are in the same place and so forth but we have different stories to tell in that time period."
He also said that the world designers "held up our version of the Skyrim province until Skyrim had shipped and everyone knew what it looked like."
The Elder Scrolls Online is set in the second era, much earlier than the other Elder Scrolls games. During that period, the Daedric lord Molag Bal tries to conquer the world, the mage guild is still young and the Dark Brotherhood is in the process of being formed. Zenimax have already told us a bit about how combat will work in The Elder Scrolls Online, for more, here's everything you need to know about The Elder Scrolls Online.
The days of slowly getting off your horse to kill a wolf and then slowly climbing back on to get where you're going in Skyrim are OVER. Fans asked for it in Oblivion, but it never happened. Then we thought Skyrim's muscly chargers might be able to handle a bit of rider combat, but it hasn't happened, until now. The Bethblog mention that mounted combat has been casually added in the latest beta patch. You can opt in and try it out right now by selecting Skyrim from the beta participation list on the accounts tab in your Steam settings menu.
The patch also fixes a few glitches with the recently added ranged and magic kill cams, another feature added in a post-launch patch. We expected a bunch of post-release bug fixes, but these bonus features are a pleasant surprise. Grab a glance at the beta patch notes here.
Mounted Combat - Skyrim now allows you to do melee and ranged combat while riding a horse
General stability and memory optimizations General AI pathfinding optimizations and bug fixes Optimizations and crash fixes for data leaks Fixed rare crash with lighting Fixed crashes related to loading and saving games Fixed crash with summoned creatures/NPCs Fixed rare issue where saves would be corrupted Improved logic for when ranged kill cams are played Fixed issue with ranged kill cams while killing a dragon Fixed rare issue with certain ranged kill cams not playing properly Fixed issue with nirnroot lighting not properly cleaning up Fixed issue where bow damage was being calculated incorrectly Fixed rare problem with werewolf kill moves would not finish animating properly In “The Break of Dawn” fixed rare issue where Meridia’s Beacon would disappear from player’s inventory Fixed occasional issue where followers would disappear after player pays off a bounty after committing a crime Fixed issue where certain creatures and NPCs would fail to respawn properly Fixed rare issue with dialogue subtitles not displaying properly Fixed issue with water appearing blurry when loading a saved game after creating a save underwater
Back in our Skyrim Console Commands post, we told you how to give yourself items using the in game console, simply by typing player.additem and the correct code. Of course, that only works if you know exactly what command to type. That's why we've researched all the codes for all the weapons and armour in Skyrim, just find the code for the item you want and you can produce it easily. If you're interesting in spawning NPCs, check out our list of Skyrim NPC Codes instead. Click through for the full list of codes.
These are the items that are awarded by completing quest for the different Daedric princes of Skyrim. They include some very powerful items which have unique enchantments and effects.
00063B27 - Azura's Star 00063b29 - The Black Star 0002ac61 - Savior's Hide 0004E4EE - Dawnbreaker 0004A38F - Ebony Blade 000233E3 - Mace of Molag Bal 000D2846 - Masque of Clavicus Vile 000240D2 - Mehrunes' Razor 0001A332 - Oghma Infinium 0002C37B - Ring of Namira 0001cb36 - Sanguine Rose 0003a070 - Skeleton Key 00035066 - Skull of Corruption 00045f96 - Spellbreaker 0002ACD2 - Volendrung 0002ac6f - Wabbajack
These items vary in power depending on what level you are when you first find them. I've included the codes for each different version, hopefully this will come in handy if you find an item at a low level but want to keep using it.
0009dff7 - Amulet of Articulation 1 (NB: This item is bugged and is handed out at random instead of at a specific level) 000f6904 - Amulet of Articulation 2 000f690d - Amulet of Articulation 3 000f690e - Amulet of Articulation 4 000f690f - Amulet of Articulation 5 000f6910 - Amulet of Articulation 6 000f6911 - Amulet of Articulation 7
0009e023 - Shield of Solitude 1-17 0010eb62 - Shield of Solitude 18-24 0010eb64 - Shield of Solitude 25-31 0010eb63 - Shield of Solitude 32-39 0010eb65 - Shield of Solitude 40+
Other Unique Items
0006A13C - Keening 00035369 - Staff of Magnus 000956B5 - Wuuthrad 0010F570 - Archmage Robes 00052794 - Ebony Mail 0002D773 - The Gauldur Amulet 000C891D - The Necromancer's Amulet 0002AC60 - Hircine's Ring 000e41d8 - Shield of Ysgramor 000FC5BF - Targe of the Blooded 0003AEB9 - Blades Sword 000d2afe - Aegisbane 0009ccdc - Blade of Woe 000a4dce - Bloodthorn 000c1989 - Bolar's Oathblade 000ab705 - Bow of the Hunt 0008ffdf - Eduj 00017059 - Firiniel's End 000c0186 - Froki's Bow 00094a2b - Ghostblade 000ae085 - The Longhammer 001019d4 - Notched Pickaxe 0008ffde - Okin 000ae086 - Poacher's Axe 000ab703 - Red Eagle's Blade 0006af63 - Trollsbane 000b994e - Valdyr's Lucky Dagger 0006ea8b - Windshear 000f494e - Ancient Helmet of the Unburned 000c5809 - The Bonds of Matrimony 000c72e8 - Charmed Necklace 000f9904 - Diadem of the Savant 0010a06a - Gloves of the Pugilist 000295f3 - Helm of Yngol 00107e2d - Kyne's Token 00096d9b - Morvath's Boots 0006b218 - Muiri's Ring 00109c11 - Mythic Dawn Robes 00068b83 - Nightweaver's Band 000a4dcd - Predator's Grace 000233d0 - Saarthal Amulet 000f1b33 - Savos Aren's Amulet 00024cff - Silver Blood Family Ring 000f5981 - Tumberlane Gloves
00102019 - The White Phial (Magic Resist) 0010201a - The White Phial (Increase Stamina) 0010201b - The White Phial (Reduces Detection) 0010201c - The White Phial (Increase Magicka) 0010201d - The White Phial (Increase One Handed Damage) 0010201e - The White Phial (Restore Health)
00012EB7 - Iron Sword 00013790 - Iron War Axe 0001397E - Iron Dagger 00013981 - Iron Warhammer 00013982 - Iron Mace 00013988 - Iron Warhammer 0001359D - Iron Greatsword 00012e49 - Iron Armour 00013948 - Banded Iron Armour 00012e4b - Iron Boots 00012e46 - Iron Gauntlets 00012e4d - Iron Helmet 00012eb6 - Iron Shield 0001394b - Banded Iron Shield
If you enjoyed our list of Skyrim Console Commands, you'll know that a lot of need reference codes for NPCs and items. Well, good news! Now we've compiled a list of those too! We already gave you a list of Skyrim Item Codes but now we're bringing you references for all the NPCs and enemies in the game. The Base ID is used with a 'place at me' command to spawn new creatures, that's how we managed to summon the horde of dragons in the video up above, while the Ref ID is with the 'move to' command to take you to an existing NPC. Click through for the full list.
We've listed the NPCs on this page. You'll find the enemies on page two.
Valve have announced that the Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative puzzle maker has seen more than 35,000 levels published to the Steam Workshop since its release on Tuesday - and they've been downloaded over 1.3 million times.
In order to celebrate these really very large numbers, Valve have decided to make some other numbers much smaller: namely, the prices of Portal 2, Skyrim and TF2 Workshop Items on Steam. The 'Weekend Workshop Sale' will run until Monday and you can pick up Portal 2 for £5.09 and Skyrim for £23.44.
You can check out our first hands-on with the puzzle maker here, and if you're picking up Skyrim this weekend be sure to browse the PC Gamer mod collections for the best additions to the game.
Elder Scrolls Online has just been announced, to the pretend shock of people who definitely didn't already know that was happening. It's being made by Zenimax Online Studios, the studio founded by Bethesda's parent company to develop massively multiplayer games. There have been a lot of rumours that Elder Scrolls Online was going to be their first game, but this is the first time we've heard anything concrete.
This will also be the first time the Elder Scrolls universe has been the setting for anything other than a singleplayer game. We know very little about it so far, though Game Informer have started to trickle out the details. So far they've revealed that it's "set a millennium before the events of Skyrim as the daedric prince Molag Bal tries to pull all of Tamriel into his demonic realm." The game will also include vast PvP conflicts between three factions, in which players will fight for the Emperor's throne, as well as "solo questing" and "public dungeons".
Most exciting: the first teaser trailer is due to hit tomorrow morning. Read on for a bit more mad speculation.
That still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Will there be long queues to enter instanced oblivion gates? Will there be a crafting system that relies on every player stuffing hundreds of lettuces and calipers in their pockets? There's bound to be more information in the coming weeks as everyone prepares for E3. And for now, we can stare at the image we made above and let our imaginations run wild.
If you're one of the many who aren't yet done venturing through Skyrim though, try out our best Skyrim mods story.
Are you excited at the chance to play a Skyrim-style game with your friends, or would you rather venture through Bethesda's worlds on your own?
Bethesda tweeted a tidbit today to make our Skyrim-playing console brethren even further jealous: a Thu’um-worthy 13.6 million PC mods have been downloaded to date, through Steam Workshop alone. That’s almost as many dragon bones as I have gathering dust in the front cabinet at Breezehome!
In recognition of this colossal milestone, here are some of the most subscribed mods from the last month in Steam Workshop. Also, remember to bookmark our ever-updating list of the 25 best Skyrim mods!
1. Dragon Bone Weapons CompleteEver wondered why you can’t take that huge stack of dragon bones you’ve already crafted a full set of armor for yourself and your housecarl with, and put them to further use? This mod lets you craft blunt and pointy objects of all shapes and sizes with them, to match your fashionable hauberks and pauldrons. According to the mod’s creator: “The purpose of the mod is to make the Dragon Bone Smithing perk worth getting after Deadric Smithing and the weapons are meant to fit in as seamlessly as possible with Bethesda's original Dragon Bone armor.”
2. Sabre Cat CompanionLong-time Skyrim adventurers likely remember those moments at lower levels when one of these nasty beasties would jump out of the brush at you, and you would be forced to promptly turn and run for the nearest clean pants merchant. Wouldn’t it be great to have one that fights for you for a change? Well, with this mod, you can has! Your loyal sabrecat will meet up with you at Jorrvaskr in Whiterun, complete with follow, wait, and go home commands.
3. Dovahkiin Relaxes TooFor those always looking to wring a little extra roleplaying immersion out of Skyrim, this mod allows you to engage in many of the idle animations previously restricted to NPCs. Using a new, context-sensitive shout power called Dovahkiin’s Relax, you can lay down in a bed, pantomime eating a shank of something while sitting, lean up against a wall, warm your hands at a fire, and much more!
4. Pure WatersThis mod seeks to make all of Skyrim’s lakes, streams, and coastlines look nicer, and more accurate to what you would expect to find in the cold, mountainous region the game is named for. The description touts color enhancements, unique textures for different water types, removal of “too glossy” water in some areas, and better underwater perspective filters.
5. Plant Trees For the environmentally-conscious Dragonborn, this mod adds a new vendor outside of Whiterun selling tree seeds. Once placed in the world, they will sprout as saplings and steadily grow larger over time. Fully-grown trees will even drop seeds of their own, and eventually die.
6. Helmetless WarriorI always find it a shame to hide my strapping Nord’s mane of luscious, flowing, golden hair behind some ugly piece of dragonbone that looks like it fell off of a Power Rangers villain. This mod adds an extra set of helmets to the smithing menu that have the same stats as the existing ones, but don’t show up on your character model. Now you don’t need to choose between protecting your head from incoming projectiles and being a hit with the ladies!
Is popularity of a mod a good indication of quality? How do you find cool, new mods to spruce up your Skyrim experience?