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Zenimax Online Studios | Official Site
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/04/14)  | Pub:Bethesda Softworks
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Elder Scrolls Online Previews: On Fire with the Dragon Knight

By William Murphy on October 26, 2012

During my time with Elder Scrolls Online last week, I managed to climb to level seven or so in the three hours we spent inside of Morrowind and Bleakrock Island. During that time I found myself falling in love with the class I happened to pick because Garrett and I had to split the two available.  I didn’t expect to enjoy the Dragonknight as much as I did. I was actually sad that there wasn’t a ranged class to try or a magic user as I thought they’d be more interesting in comparison to Garrett’s Templar hands-on.  But by the end of the day I’d grown to enjoy burning people with my Dragon Armor and yanking them to me like Scorpion straight out of Mortal Kombat.  Let me explain a bit more, skill by skill.

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FIERY REACH

Fiery Reach is an interesting skill. I hate to draw comparisons to World of Warcraft, as it’s the last thing the game needs, but it reminded me a bit of the Deathknight’s pull.  At least early on, and especially without the use of a bow and arrow or other ranged weapon, Fiery Reach is a great way to yank an enemy into you, and it does fire damage and stuns them for a brief time as well. Graphically it looks like a massive fiery chain… think Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, and you’ve got the idea. 

SLAM

Slam is an iconic skill in MMOs and D&D-inspire games alike.  Here, it’s probably going to be one of the melee-oriented DK’s most useful abilities.  Not only does it stun the enemy, but it knocks them down and interrupts them.  If you see a mob or player charging up a heavy attack, you can use Slam to shut them down. It takes a good amount of stamina though, so it’s not something players can spam easily.  And it works with or without a shield… epic (or possibly overpowered?).

SPIKED ARMOR

As it stands now, I found Spiked Armor to the class’ least useful skill.  It’s a buff that only lasts for about nine seconds (but has no cooldown as with all skills).  It puts massive spikes all over the player that add damage resistance and return physical damage to any attackers.  So I can see it being useful in group fights where the attention’s on the DK, but in the early levels it was probably the least useful skill.

DRAGON ARMOR - ULTIMATE

Every class has several ‘Ultimate’ skills they learn throughout the game, which can only be equipped to the six key (so you can only have one at a time).  The first one players will receive at level five on their Dragonknight is Dragon Armor… and yes, it truly is “ultimate”.  Your entire character catches on fire, his skin turns to molten rock and lava, and for brief period any enemy that nears you catches on fire and burns.  It’s an insane amount of DOT damage, which is perhaps why the armor only lasts for a few seconds and then you can’t use the Ultimate skill again until you fill up its “ultimate” bar performing well in combat.  All ultimates recharge this way: use it when it’s most needed, because you have to recharge them by excelling in combat before they can be used again.

THE FEEL OF THE DRAGONKNIGHT

Because our build limited us in the armor we could wear, I only really got to try the Dragonknight with heavy armor and melee weapons.  In this fashion, he was a decidedly tank-like class to play.  With a shield he could withstand a ton of damage, and his ability to hamper enemies with slam and deal DOT with Dragon Armor was pretty wicked.  When I tried to use the big two-handed weapons, he lost some of his defense, but with the proper use of block he could still hold his own.  What you get in trade is some serious big hits when you give up the shield.  He just loses some of his survivability.

I’m really curious to see how the class will play in lighter armors, with ranged weapons, and perhaps focusing on a more stealth or magic-oriented approach with a staff.  The way the customization is built, ZOS promises that the Dragonknight can and will be able to act sneaky, or stay at range, and still perform.  Any class is supposed to be able to fulfill any role, so we’ll have to see if that’s true.  In any case, if what I played was the “tanky” version of the Dragonknight, I’m definitely intrigued.  He played like an absolute badass of fire and brimstone. 

What about you? Does the Dragonknight strike your fancy?  Do you think Zenimax will be able to turn what seems like a straight up tank class into a healer, a ranged DPS, and more given the freeform progression system we talked about earlier? Let us know in the comments!

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.

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