I feel like playing The Elder Scrolls Online has been a lot like courting someone through online dating. We’ve all been there (right?); she’s cute, she’s got a good story, but she’s never been quite ready to meet up. Maybe she’s been busy with work, maybe she’s still getting acclimated to the new town, but for whatever the reason, it just hasn’t lined up. We were able to spend a few hours running around Tamriel over the past week to get some impressions on the beta, and while our girl may still need a bit of time to find her feet, it’s looking like she may be worth the wait.
Right off the bat, The Elder Scrolls Online launches you into the fray. Choosing a high elf sorcerer, whom I affectionately named Jeaun Pierre once I discovered the over-the-top mustache options, I started my journey locked inside one of the prison cells found in Coldharbor. After a very brief conversation with the spectral projection of a man known as The Prophet, I found myself involved in a massive jailbreak filled with hundreds of NPCs and a few players starting their characters at the same time. This prison break not only introduced the story to me, it managed to serve as a tutorial as well, delving into some of the mechanics that separate The Elder Scrolls Online from other MMOs.
The first revelation that showed me that this wasn’t just going to be another standard World of Warcraft clone was that I was allowed to pick up and be adequate with any one of the starting weapons waiting for me in the armory. Jeaun Pierre, not being the sharpest of all sorcerers, chose a massive two handed maul before charging deeper into the prisons. It’s a very small detail that is going to mean the world to fans who aren’t the usual MMO connoisseurs. I was allowed to start playing my character my way, even if in just a very tiny way.