I am one of a very lucky few who has beta access to ESO. Now with the gloating out of the way, I can carry on with my report.
Let's begin at the beginning. After the game has started, you feel the overwhelming sensation you get from an Elder Scrolls game. The character creation screen feels like a proper TES game, only better. The graphics, the navigation, the different options to mod you character are fantastic. I love creating characters in any game and take my time doing so, but I found I was rushing the whole thing just so I could get the game started. So I haven't had a proper look around all the different options on there, and there is loads. So I've added a screen shot of my character for you to enjoy.
Once the game play has started out, you find yourself in a prison cell as you normally do in Elder Scrolls games, the only difference is that rather than awaiting execution, you're already dead. The prison is pretty dark and the first thing you notice is the graphics - they are quite simply stunning for an MMO. I know everyone is talking about how good the graphics are but trust me, they are better than that. (Although I must admit I was running most of the settings on high) First up, you meet The Prophet (well, his ghost anyway) who's voice is instantly recognizable(Professor Dumbledore - Harry Potter) he gives you some information and you come out of your cell and meet Lyris Titanborn (Jennifer Hale) again, you'll be familiar with her voice too as she has been in many games (Mass Effect, Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to name a few) she tells you that you have been sacrificed to a dark god named Molag Bal and now you are a soul-less Shriven, you are trapped in the underworld called Coldharbor. You learn that she is alive and here to save The Prophet and return your soul to your body and return you to Tamriel.
Incidentally, it is her arrival that kick starts the riot that is happening in the prison which enables you to make your escape. After all this, she starts to follow you. You continue on your way, pick a weapon (from a selection in the armory) and head outside to save The Prophet from his cell with Lyris still behind you. Once outside, I first saw other players playing the game just as I was. (although not as good as me though) Here you will encounter new enemy creatures and bump into NPC's. One NPC that you will have to go and find is a chap by the name of Caldwell and he's non other than John Cleese. You eventually free The Prophet with the help of your companion Lyris and end up in Tamriel (without Lyris).
Where in Tamriel you land will depend on what race you have chosen. There are four maps in total (one map belonging to each race) which are all taken from previous TES games. Elder Scrolls Online is the first game that includes all the maps from the previous games into one game meaning that the world of Tamriel is HUGE. Once you get to your map, you are pretty much free to go and roam around in your new world or begin taking up missions and leveling your character up. Set a very long time before any of the Elder Scrolls games, there is major war going on between all the factions for the control of Tamriel's throne called the Ruby Throne situated in Cyrodiil, which is in the center of the whole continent - the one who controls the Ruby Throne - controls all. Without giving too much away, you will find there are certain missions you must do and certain people you must meet right from the word go.
This, if you play like me, can take an age because I like to have a good nosy around everywhere. The character moves around really swiftly (when there's no lag, which wasn't bad at all) the screen pans around smoothly and quickly. I've played certain other MMO's where moving the screen around feels like a freeze motion video effect. From the way your character levels up (you choose where to distribute your skill points) to how the game looks, feels and plays, this game is epic. So much so, that I'm sure ESO is enough to convert WoW and other MMO fans when they have a go on this. Roll on April!
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