When we sat down to play Elder Scrolls Online we had the choice of two classes for the demo: Dragonknight and Templar. Bill chose the Dragonknight, so I decided I would go the Templar route. I also like the idea of a healing style defensive fighter and thought it would be cool to try the different skills available to us when combined with the TES combat system.
The Templar draws all of their skills from the sun. They are solid fighters that wield attacks and heals for themselves and other players. The great news about Elder Scrolls online is that all of the classes can use any of the weapons or armors. With a combat system that mirrors other Elder Scrolls games it is important to remember that. You do level up your weapons as you use them which unlocks abilities specific to each. The team explained that you can eventually level up and use every weapon in the game.
I started as an Argonian Templar and really liked the look of the character. There is plenty of customization even in the build we played for us to be creative on how we made our characters. As part of the Ebonheart Pact, the Argonians fight along side the Nord and Dark Elf races. Yes that is a super cool combination. The Templar started out with a two-handed hammer and I got used to fighting with that style. Just like in Skyrim you can move and dodge in combat. You also control your attacks with the mouse to target like in other TES games, but more on that can be found in Bill’s overall gameplay article.
For the Templar you get a group of attacks which all are sun or light-based. The first was a simple Sun Strike which looked like a staff of light that I smacked into the wolves I was fighting. This was a basic damage attack and took Magicka energy to use. You have three bars like in all Elder Scrolls games and can choose to build up each one of them with level progression. Magic, Stamina, and Health all allow you to play the character you want. If you’re going to use a lot of magic-based skills, you should probably focus on Magic, people who use a lot of weapon-based attacks want to focus on stamina, and everyone should spend a little in health too… to stay alive and all.
The next skill I unlocked was a blast of sunlight that looked like a fireball called appropriately Sun Fire. This is a medium ranged attack which worked great for pulling mobs into fights. It also was great if I was low on health to use as an attack when backing out of combat. It gives the Templar some range and can be used in both offensive and defensive situations. I found myself using this in most fights. It did eat up more magic than the others, but was definitely a more effective skill.
The next ability I unlocked was a healing spell called Rushed Ceremony. This could be used to heal yourself or others around you. The great part is that it’s not tied to party members only. So you can run by fellow players and heal them. What I liked about this skill is that it gave me a lot of benefits in a close battle. I was able to crush foes with my hammer and heal myself to keep swinging. The heals worked great in group fights as well, because it is not limited by a cooldown. It allows you to cast it as much as you can with the magic reserves you have available. It really helped us when fighting a mini-boss in the public dungeon.
Finally at Level five I was able to unlock a sweep attack which hits all of the foes in a circle around you. Sun Strike it was called, and it also healed me when it connected. This sweep attack alone made me switch my weapons to dual wielding. One I had a sword and axe in hand, I found the whirling attack to be very effective. However, like in all Elder Scrolls games I gave up some defense without a shield. You can however block with two weapons in the game.
One thing about each ability is that as you increase its power through using it (effectively meaning every skill, spell, and weapon has its own leveling path) it splits into two different paths to choose from. So no two characters are ever really going to be alike. I mean in any MMO you will get builds which rise to the top among players, but I found all the skills I unlocked on the Templar very useful. Sadly I only got to about level six in the time allowed so we were not able to explore all the options.
Overall, I loved the Templar class. As an Argonian I just felt cool running around with heals and attacks given to me by the bountiful sun, especially in the cold bleak landscape of Skyrim. The game is extremely fluid in combat and fighting with all types of weapons was fun. Though I’m anxious to see how the bows, staves, and others will work as I didn’t discover any in my time. The class skills unlocked as I went and helped me to define my character as a defensive fighter with some great attacks but also potent heals. The combo of the Dragonknight and Templar proved strong when we were out-numbered and fighting tougher mobs. I’m not sure if it will be my final choice, but the Templar certainly proved himself last week.