Elder Scrolls Online is set to launch April 4 on PC, with
pre-order customers gaining 5 glorious days of early access. It's a big,
meaty game with a lot of history behind it - in fact, it serves as
something of a prequel to all the other Elder Scrolls games, being set
hundreds of years prior to them. But with the exception of one additional
god added to the pantheon between TESO and the later games, a lot of stuff
remains the same, and you might want to know what's what before you dive
To help with that, here's a list of 5 ways to fully immerse yourself in
the world of the Elder Scrolls, or to bide your time until the game
1. Play TES III: Morrowind
To my mind, this seems like the best starting point. It's the game that
got me hooked on the series, and I've probably spent more time in
Morrowind than I have in all the other Elder Scrolls games combined. And
this was back before I knew about mods.
I feel that Morrowind is a slightly closer experience to the Elder
Scrolls Online than the later, more advanced games. It's a bit more
"primitive" in terms of movement and combat, which will give you a better
feel for TESO than Oblivion or Skyrim would (though the "left-click
attack, right-click block" are more Oblivion-style; right-clicking in
Morrowind opens the character menu screen). It will also give you a good
feel for the Ebonheart Pact - or the early parts of it, at least.
Additionally, there are libraries everywhere chock-full of books
containing lore and stories about the Second Era setting of TESO.
The Morrowind Game Of
The Year edition is available through Steam for $19.99, and includes
the Bloodmoon and Tribunal expansions. You'll probably want to do
something about the 12-year-old graphics. They haven't aged particularly
well, so I heartily recommend the Morrowind
Overhaul by Ornicopter.
2. Play Dark Age of Camelot
The Elder Scrolls Online's PvP is often described as Realm vs Realm, a
term which comes from Dark
Age of Camelot. DAoC is even older than TES III: Morrowind,
but is evidently still going strong thanks to its outstanding PvP.
The Elder Scrolls Online's PvP all takes place in the central region of
Cyrodiil, and pits players from the three opposing factions against one
another. The three warring factions vie for control of keeps and outposts.
Capturing an outpost in just the right location can interrupt enemy supply
lines and quick-travel routes. These are also core elements of Dark Age of
Camelot's RvR also.
There are a few differences, though. A major emphasis in the Elder
Scrolls Online is placed on operating large siege weaponry - catapults,
ballistae, trebuchets and such, each of which can be loaded with different
kinds of armaments, from simple rocks to flaming jars of pitch to bundles
of rotten meat.
To be perfectly honest, I've never played DAoC myself, so I can't
personally vouch for its similarities. But it's a sensible comparison to
make: Matt Firor, the top guy at ESO, got his start at Mythic, and has
used DAoC as the basis for his new game's PvP.
The closest I've personally seen to TESO's PvP is the Ettenmoors in the
Lord of the Rings Online, playing as the Free
Peoples of Middle-earth. The Ettenmoors is also open PvP, but instead of
fighting other super-geared players of the same class, the Freeps fight
the Creeps - jacked-up monster characters from a limited palette with no
gear. And while there is some focus on capturing enemy-controlled keeps
and outposts, the really fun PvP in LotRO is the giant open-field battles,
and LotRO has no catapults and trebuchets. In that sense, it's kind of the
opposite of the Elder Scrolls Online's PvP game.
3. Watch The Teaser Trailers
If there's one thing that will get anyone amped up for some exciting
gameplay, it's the amazeballs teaser videos. It's kind of a running
serial, starting off by introducing the three warring factions by way of
representative characters: a giant, burly Nord representing the Ebonheart
Pact, a cool red-haired elf (I'm guessing Altmer) Sorceress representing
the Aldmeri Dominion, and a hooded super-ninja, probably Breton,
representing the Daggerfall Covenant.
The second video picks up where the first one leaves off, but jumps the
tracks on the story: the big showdown is interrupted by one of Molag Bal's
anchors, and the three foes end up squaring off against deadly Daedra and
a giant, nasty Flesh Atronach.
Hot damn. I get jazzed every time.
4. Read A Book Or Two
A writer named Greg Keyes wrote a couple of Elder Scrolls novels, set 40
years after the Oblivion Crisis. The first one, The
Infernal City, tells the tale of the appearance of a floating city
called Umbriel. The shadow of this floating city is particularly dangerous
- wherever it falls, people die and rise as undead. The second book, Lord
of Souls, is a sequel. Umbriel is still floating around, and all of
Tamriel is at stake. It pretty much always is.
While there is loads of lore to be gleaned from the books scattered
around the game worlds, those books are only a few pages long at most.
That's not what anyone would call heavy reading. These are 300-page
novels, soaked with lore and history and all that good stuff. The books
got decent reviews, and if reading isn't your thing, they're also
available as audiobooks.
5. Play TES V: Skyrim
No point in denying the obvious. Skyrim was the gateway into the Elder
Scrolls universe for a lot of people. It's big and pretty and weird and
fun, and is arguably one of the most successful RPGs ever made. If you
haven't played it.... aw, who am I kidding? Everyone has played it. Go
play it some more. Better yet, get some mods off of the Skyrim
Nexus first and then play it some more. You can get some real
game-changers there; some mods can completely change the whole game
Just be aware that TESO is not a continuation of the numbered series of
single-player Elder Scrolls games. It will feel familiar after playing
through one of the single-player games, but it's not an increment of the
single-player game systems. It's a different game engine with MMO
How will you be gearing up for The Elder Scrolls Online's April launch?
Let us know in our comments!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our The Elder Scrolls Online Game Page.