Zenimax Online Studios

Giveaway: we have even more Elder Scrolls Online weekend beta keys for you

Tom Senior at

Why it seemed like just yesterday that we were giving away access to this weekend's beta test for The Elder Scrolls Online, because it was. But earlier a portal to the plane of Oblivion opened, spaffed another thousand keys onto our laps and then disappeared, leaving only a faint hint of Draenor aftershave hanging in the air. It is our grave duty, then, to pass this sudden boon onto you with another beta key giveaway! Read on for details.

Giveaway: win access to this weekend's Elder Scrolls Online beta test

Tom Senior at

Bethesda and Zenimax Online Studios will be testing The Elder Scrolls Online this weekend. Would you like to wander the world of Tamriel before official release? We have 1400 beta keys to give away right now for Argonians quick enough to pluck one out of the e-hat below.

Update: this particulay giveaway is over! Thanks to all who entered.

The Elder Scrolls Online video is all about crafting

Phil Savage at

I've never met a crafting system that I liked, even in MMOs that I otherwise love. As such, I'm not the best person to judge The Elder Scrolls Online's variant of the system - it being an MMO that I didn't particularly care for. You collect resources, you make some things, you pretend like there is meaning in a cold and indifferent universe of uncaring mathematical variables. All pretty much the norm, so far as I can tell.

The Elder Scrolls Online video preview: a quick tour through a dungeon quest

Cory Banks at

The recent press beta weekend for The Elder Scrolls Online left us concerned about the game's mix of Skyrim-like action and MMO-like mechanics. Phil criticized the combat, while Evan and I lamented the lack of exploration in the game's early areas. But just saying that we're worried isn't enough—it's better to show than tell, with this video of a typical TESO dungeon delve.

The Elder Scrolls Online has a new CGI trailer and some pre-order pricing

Phil Savage at

Ooh, I get it. Bethesda are doing Brewster's Millions. They've got to spend all the money they have for complicated reasons possibly involving an inheritance. So in addition to The Elder Scrolls Online's star-studded voice cast, they've also released another CGI trailer to showcase how the game won't play. Interpretive it may be, but it's still a nice way to spend the next eight minutes. Assuming your idea of "nice" involves flab-monsters, demons, fantasy smackdowns and swishy green spells.

The Elder Scrolls Online voice cast announced, includes people you might have heard of

Phil Savage at

Bethesda have announced the voice cast for The Elder Scrolls Online, and it's a list of vocal talent that contains more than a few surprises. The biggest, of course, is the absence of Nolan North, who thanks to a necromantic blood pact involving a lesser demon and Cam Clarke, is now contractually obliged to appear in every game. Luckily, Bethesda are using Jennifer Hale, which should go some way to restoring the mystic balance of mandatory game voice performers.

Elsewhere, the Elder Scrolls MMO has secured some Big Names™, Bethesda seemingly having poured money through the letterboxes of some recognisable figures. Celebritalkers set to show up in this online Tamriel include John Cleese, Bill Nighy, Kate Beckinsale, Michael Gambon and Malcolm McDowell.

The Elder Scrolls Online's game director explains how to become Emperor, and why you'd want to

Phil Savage at

My Skyrim character is simultaneously the head of the Mage's Guild, top dog of the Companions, a mid-tier operative of the Thieves Guild, vaguely acquainted with the Dark Brotherhood, the saviour of the entire goddamn world, and a werewolf. And yet, for all of those many achievements, I don't have any actual power or respect. Despite housing vastly more players than a sole person's Skyrim campaign, The Elder Scrolls Online will offer a role hitherto unachievable: that of Emperor.

The Elder Scrolls Online's Brian Wheeler details PvP, map size and more

Phil Savage at

Faced with an overwhelming prevalence of quandaries in regard to upcoming Elder Scrolls Online, some clever soul raised their Illusion skill high enough to cast "Infodump". Doing so summoned the MMO's PvP developer, Brian Wheeler, to the Elitist Jerks forum, where he went about answering all sorts of questions - from the grand to minute - that fill in the blanks of its inter-player battling.

The Elder Scrolls Online release date announced; new trailer is live and shouty

Phil Savage at

Here is my impression of the new trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online. *ahem* "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA- *clink* -AAAAAAAAAAAA- *scrape* -AAAAAAAAAA- *smash* - ARRGH!" *Whatever the noise if for a big fireball. Fwoosh, maybe?* If that sounds appealing to you, know that you'll be able to play the game - and so presumably make all of those noises - on the 4th April, 2014.

The Elder Scrolls Online trailer bigs up character progression, ability morphing

Tom Sykes at

Not a day goes by when I don't rue my inability to 'morph' my skills into more powerful or useful ones. I'd evolve my Lv.1 Writing talent into the far handier Lv.1 Plumbing skill, while on second thoughts I regret maxing out my Hypochondria stat. The Elder Scrolls Online will let you do much the same thing but with magic and powerful special moves, as revealed in Zenimax's latest trailer for their upcoming MMO. We already know what sort of characters we'll be able to make; now we know how we can turn them from weak little adventurers into fiery apocalyptic deathmages (or whatever other builds you had in mind). Video after the break.

New Elder Scrolls Online dev Q&A details faction battles and siege warfare

Patrick Carlson at

Elder Scrolls Online developers are counting, at least in part, on the power of underdog alliances to help balance faction battles in their upcoming MMO, according to a new Q&A with the team at ZeniMax Online Studios. An important part of the RPG's meta-game will involve conflicts between the three alliances for control of Cyrodiil and the dev team maintains that a three-sided fight often has a way of balancing itself.

The Elder Scrolls Online will tailor dungeons to group play, offer "rare locales" for solo players

Phil Savage at

Despite series-standard flourishes like first-person combat, The Elder Scrolls Online is still firmly lodged in my head as an MMO, which means I'd always assumed that its dungeons would be created with group play in mind. But then I remember the TES connection - and running around through dusty tombs, mossy caves and abandoned shacks with nothing but a bow, a quiver of arrows, and a companion who handily points out traps by activating every damn one of them. Does that history mean the game will lean towards solo supported content? The game's developers have revealed their plans in a recent Q&A.

The Elder Scrolls Online expands closed beta with a new round of invites

Phil Savage at

The world of the lonely, contemplative Khajit pictured above is about to get just a little bit busier. Bethesda's autonomous email bouncers are letting a few more people into the still incredibly exclusive closed beta for the Elder Scrolls Online. This is another expansion to the MMORPG's early testing schedule, in which weekend events help the team to gather feedback on specific features.

New Elder Scrolls Online dev video shows new monsters, first-person camera

Patrick Carlson at

A short new development video from the team behind the Elder Scrolls Online teases us with yet another glimpse at how combat looks from a first-person perspective in the upcoming MMORPG. Released this week by developers Zenimax Online Studios, the video introduces the Kwama, a monster sure to torment us all—in first or third-person view—when the game launches next year.

The Elder Scrolls Online video interview: Matt Firor and Nick Konkle on not making 'Skyrim 2'

Chris Thursten at

While I was in the USA to see The Elder Scrolls Online I chatted to game director Matt Firor and lead gameplay designer Nick Konkle about their experience making the game, the thinking behind the class and combat systems, and why they've kept first-person mode under wraps for so long.

You can also check out my hands-on from earlier today for a detailed breakdown of all the game's biggest features.

The Elder Scrolls Online Q&A details combat, party mechanics

Omri Petitte at

If there's a significant element The Elder Scrolls Online picks up from its predecessors, its fighting. Lots of it. That, and players completely disregarding the story and running off to some nearby ruins right after character creation. But that's an entirely different story—the latest round of answered community questions on the official website deals solely with combat and party composition, a pair of mechanics critical to most MMOs. ZeniMax studio members provide answers for both topics.

The Elder Scrolls Online beta invites to be sent out end of March

Phil Savage at

Bethesda have announced the finer details of their planned beta process for the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online, with invites due to be sent out at the end of the month. The first few tests will take place through March and April for "smaller groups of focused testers". So don't worry if the month rolls by without a golden ticket to Tamriel; the ancient beast of server stress testing will awaken and grow stronger in the coming months. So sayeth the learned prophets the official site's new FAQ page.

Elder Scrolls Online won't include the series' traditional first-person perspective

T.J. Hafer at

Since Morrowind, the default way to play any Elder Scrolls game has been in first-person, with your weapons and/or sizzling magic hands visible in front of you. In an interview with Digital Spy, Game Director Matt Firor revealed that this will not be the case in The Elder Scrolls Online. While zooming into first-person will be possible, as in most MMOs, your hands and gear won't be visible, and the game isn't designed to be played from that perspective.

The Elder Scrolls Online now taking beta sign-ups, new trailer to celebrate

Phil Savage at

Bethesda Softworks are today taking beta sign-ups for forthcoming Tamriel set MMO, The Elder Scrolls Online. Those interested in participating must perform a dark and ancient blood pact, binding their soul to the corrupted realm of Oblivion... no, wait, you have to register at ElderScrollsOnline.com. That's much simpler.

No date has been given for the beta period, but successful applicants will be informed of the test schedule at a later date. In the meantime, Bethesda have unleashed an action-packed cinematic trailer, showing off the game's three factions. And some werewolves.

Real life human wizard lays down the lore in The Elder Scrolls Online dev diary

Tom Senior at

Do you have to look like a wizard to become a lead loremaster, or do you gradually transform into one once you've accepted the position? I'd ask Elder Scrolls Online lead loremaster and wizard, Lawrence Schick, but he's too busy discussing the delicate socio-political situation in Tamriel. There's a power vacuum in Cyrodiil and challengers to the throne are popping up in every other town. Sit back, take a sip of mead and hear a grand story of kings, necromancers and armoured lizards courtesy of the latest Elder Scrolls Online developer diary.