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Elder Scrolls Online Previews: The Way of Progress

By Garrett Fuller on March 20, 2013

Leveling up your character and building him or her through a game is one of the most important elements in MMOs.  It’s what ties us to the world, more than anything. Elder Scrolls Online has fused the best possible systems from both MMOs and the Elder Scrolls RPGs to make progression fun and interesting. I will do my best to break down how you will want to spend your points. There are respecs and morphs available to make decisions important. The system is open and makes for some of the best character progression in an MMO I have seen in a long time.

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Magicka, Health, Stamina

The classic Elder Scrolls line up is available to you right away. Deciding what to put these points into is critical as every character will grow differently. Remember that every character can use magic so having some Magicka helps a lot. Stamina is all about your combat moves especially the dodge mechanic which allows you to move away from attacks and spells. You can never go wrong with health either, as it’s how you stay alive. Finding the balance between these three attributes is going to be a tough one.  

Class, Weapon, Armor

This is where you start to break out the specs of your character. The classes break down as:  Dragon Knight, Templar, Sorcerer, or Nightblade. Please remember the classes do not necessarily define how you play your character. Just look at them as a set of skills and figure out how you want them to play into your overall build. They do fit certain roles, but in a very general sense. As Paul Sage said, the game’s goal is not to take away the trinity, but to make it flexible. That begin said, the Dragon Knight is the fighter style class, the Templar has some healing, the Sorcerer is about magic, and we have not seen the Nightblade, but you get the idea.

When I played my Sorcerer during the demo I was running around with a sword and dagger fighting two weapon style. This brings me into the Weapon styles. There is: Great Weapon, Weapon and Shield, Two Weapon, Bow, Destruction Staff, and Restoration Staff. You can choose how you want to spend points in the weapons and these will unlock skills for each set. These skills level up based on how much you use them. For example, I had a slash attack with my Two Weapon style. The more I used it the better I got at it. That special attack coupled with my Mage’s Fury lightning attack really made my Sorcerer awesome at ranged and melee combat during the low level demo (thanks for the build Brian Wheeler).

For armor, and this is where it begins to get really tricky: you have the choice of Heavy, Medium, or Light. As in most Elder Scrolls games these armors allow you to move, sneak, or dodge out of the way in several different forms. I asked right away what is stopping players from being a heavy armored sorcerer, and Matt explained that you get better magic bonuses with lighter armor. There is a lot of mixing and matching with armor as well. You did hear a lot of people talking about an early build of Templar with medium armor and a bow being really good in PvP. However, that was only during tests, and Paul Sage explained that the “hot” build in the office could change tomorrow. 

Skills, Skills, My Skills

Now, once you choose your spec, as Sorcerer I chose Storm Calling (but must confess Dark Magic looked pretty awesome); you then unlock both active and passive skills. The active skill of Mage’s Fury was my first choice. It cast a lightning bolt down on NPCs and built up into an explosion. It was great for finishing off mobs with a bang.  This skill levels up, so the more you use it the better you get at it. At one point the skill Morphs, asking you to make a choice on how you want the skill to continue. I wish I had more detail to give on this front. I am sure as we get deeper into game coverage we will learn more about it. The thing to remember about all of the skills is that at level fifteen you will get a weapon swap which will allow you to put five more active skills on your screen, a la Guild Wars 2.

Racial, Guild, AvA… There are more!

Yes, there are a lot more skills to learn in the trees of Elder Scrolls. You will get some racial skills depending on your choice. You will also get a list of Guild skills, we did see these in the demo, but they were mentioned in the briefing afterwards. It would not be a Matt Firor game without having a host of PvP rewards to spend on various skills as well. So you will have a lot of ingredients in your “character soup bowl”.

This article may make progression sound intimidating, it is not. If anything it is easy to handle and really does give a lot of options to the player. You can respec certain parts of your character as well just in case you don’t like how it is going. The team also explained that there will be enough skill-points so that you can learn everything, it may just take time.  By the time you hit the level cap of 50, you’ll still have a long way to go before maxing out everything available to you.  I also like that you can find Sky Shards around the game to collect which give you those extra skill points you want to spend especially early on. I think that we will have a ton more articles on Progression as we continue coverage here at MMORPG. Debates and comparisons are a given with this system. From what we have seen so far it is one that rewards the players for just playing the game, and that’s always welcome.


Read all of our terrific Elder Scrolls Online previews:

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