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 main difference here is that in an online RPG, enemies can spawn in a 360 degree radius around you, especially in PvP," Frior told Digital Spy. "So third-person view mode, if you use it, will give you a far greater ability to see enemies behind you. In many situations, this will be the difference between living and not surviving a combat sequence."
I'm still a little baffled by traditional MMO design decisions like this, which make it seem more like an MMO with the Elder Scrolls license rather than an Elder Scrolls MMO with the emphasis on the franchise's history. If you'd like to investigate the game for yourself, you can still sign up for the beta on the official site.