Category: "Elder Scrolls"

ES:Legends: What We Know, and Alarra’s Impressions

  01:18:00 pm, by Alarra   , 882 words  
Viewed 5273 times since 04/24/16
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, News

At long last they’ve finally given us some solid info on ES:Legends!  Earlier this week, they updated their website, released a gameplay video, and launched the closed beta. They’re also at PAX East this weekend, and had a short segment on PAX’s stream discussing and showing the game.   So since I’m excited for it, I’ve decided to summarize what we know so far, and share my thoughts.

 In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the trailer:


Before I discuss the game, let’s address the two main things that seem to keep getting brought up in comments on Youtube/etc: 

  • No, it’s not slowing down ES6; this game is by a completely different studio, Dire Wolf Digital, not Bethesda Game Studios, so it has nothing to do with the development of the main series.  And ES6 isn’t really “late”, either, based on the pattern of their last few releases: 2.5 years between Oblivion and Fallout 3, 3 years between Fallout 3 and Skyrim, and 4 years between Skyrim and Fallout 4. (If you’re wondering why I didn’t mention New Vegas, that was by a different studio, like ESO, Dishonored, and this card game.)  My personal estimate for ES6, therefore, is 2019-2020.
  • Lots of accusations about only being made because of Hearthstone.  They didn’t decide to make this game just because of Hearthstone’s success; it’s been in the works since before Hearthstone went to beta.  I certainly imagine it might have influenced some of its aspects, but considering that Dire Wolf’s staff includes professional-level Magic: the Gathering players, it’s likely that there’s plenty of inspiration from Magic as well.


From what we’ve seen so far, the base gameplay is similar to other games in that you gain 1 “magicka” per turn that you can spend to play cards, and can attack either creatures or the other player.  It also has some gameplay mechanics of its own:

That’s what the battlefield looks like.  The field is divided into two halves, called “lanes”.  If you play a creature in one of the lanes, it can only attack other creatures within that lane, or the other player.   The lanes may have “conditions”: the standard setup is that the left lane has no conditions, while the right lane is a “shadow” lane, meaning that your card cannot be attacked by the other player’s creatures until after your next turn.   Every time you lose 5 health, you lose one of the blue “runes” around your avatar, and draw the top card on your deck. If it says “Prophecy” on it, you can play it immediately for free, during the other player’s turn, and shake things up a bit. 

Each card is based on one or two of five “attributes” (Strength, Intelligence, Willpower, Agility, or Endurance), and decks are built around classes that consist of two of these attributes.  As far as your avatar/race, rather than choosing a hero with a hero power, your avatar simply influences which types of cards you earn more quickly.

There’ll be a couple types of gameplay: story mode (which is sort of like a tutorial), single battles against the AI and other players, and “Arena” matches, in which you choose a class and are given cards to put together a deck on the fly to last you through a number of consecutive matches (also against either other players or the AI). 

The game will be free-to-play, and card packs and arena tickets will be available for purchase, although they also can be earned through normal gameplay as well.

That’s about all I can think of so far, except that there have been around 200 cards revealed so far between the gameplay video, official articles, and other promotional material.  Someone's put together an album with most of the ones we've seen so far, if you're interested in looking at them before we get card pages up and running on the wiki. And if you want a bit more detail on some of the game mechanics that hasn't been mentioned by an "official" source yet, but was reported by a fan who went to the PAX East booth, check out this thread on the subreddit.

If you'd like to discuss the game, feel free to do so in our Legends subforum!

My thoughts:

Now that we’ve actually seen what the game and gameplay look like, I think my “cautious optimism” after the announcement trailer was both justified and rewarded, and I’m really looking forward to it.   Scratch that, I’m extremely enthusiastic about it at the moment.  I enjoy Magic: the Gathering (admittedly I’m not great at it, but I have fun nonetheless), and I’ve played a bit of some digital card games as well (a bit of Hearthstone, a lot of Rage of Bahamut, and the closed beta of Shadowverse).  Strategy card game plus Elder Scrolls art/lore? Heck yes.   From what we’ve seen so far, this looks like it’ll have some interesting strategy, especially with the whole "lane" thing.   And of course the art, I’ll admit, is one of the things I’m most excited about.  The original teaser trailer didn’t even scratch the surface: it’s absolutely gorgeous, and I always love seeing the Elder Scrolls world brought to life in this way.

So, all in all, I’m pleased with what we’ve seen of it so far, and I can’t wait until it comes out!

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Damon's Adventures #3 - At the Summit of Apocrypha

  11:50:00 am, by Damon   , 924 words  
Viewed 3225 times since 02/25/16
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to what will probably be the last post of the Adventures series, as it was supposed to be a series of "first impression" posts for the three Skyrim expansions.

In my last update on my Skyrim save, we witnessed the death of the Skaal shaman at the hands of Hermaeus Mora to fulfill his deal to get the Skaal's hidden knowledge in return for the power to kill Miraak. And then, of course, we left Solstheim to find a dragon soul to unlock the last word of Bend Will with, we faffed arounded for a bit, and now we are back to finish the job!

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Damon's Adventures #2 - Homecoming?

  01:49:00 pm, by Damon   , 1422 words  
Viewed 3916 times since 01/30/16
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, Analysis

Hey, blog reader, it's Damon once again, with a new update on my adventures in Skyrim and the expansions that I am blindly playing. I'll admit that I didn't expect to be writing up a blog post about my Dragonborn experiences so soon after the Dawnguard one, but here it is.

It took me so long to play Dragonborn because my first Elder Scrolls game was Morrowind, and I have really fond memories of my times on Vvardenfell and in Mournhold and Solstheim. It's really hard to not try to compare the same locations when they are in different games, and I didn't want to know what Dragonborn's version of Solstheim was and end up completely disappointed with what I saw. There are things I like, there are things I dislike, and we'll get to those here in just a moment.

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Damon's Adventures #1 - Defending the Dawn

  01:48:00 pm, by Damon   , 1579 words  
Viewed 26481 times since 01/28/16
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, Analysis

Hey, readers! It's been a while since I made a blog post, as I've been busy with stuff and haven't done anything on the wiki in some time, aside from chatting with our peeps in the IRC. I've decided to brush off my old blogging account and make a new post, since I've got something related to The Elder Scrolls for once, instead of blogging about the other crap I usually blog about!

Back in June I bought Skyrim Legendary Edition. Ostensibly, this gift was for my brother, who loves The Elder Scrolls (albeit not as much as I), and he hadn't played the expansions on his Playstation… Neither had I! Coincidence? No! I've been putting a good bit of time into Skyrim lately, and I'm finally starting to do all the DLC with my Imperial character that I made. I've decided I'd do a little series detailing my adventures through Skyrim with my first time doing the expansions, and this first entry will cover Dawnguard's first playthrough and my opinions on it.

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Revision History: The Future

  02:01:00 am, by   , 2546 words  
Viewed 7282 times since 01/24/16
Categories: Elder Scrolls, Analysis

There was news a couple days ago regarding TES VI and its release date. Not actual news, of course, just a lot of misleading unsubstantiated clickbait on an apparently slow news day. This one seemed to be the most responsible of the various articles I saw. The unabashed speculation is 2019. I think that may be optimistic, and my unabashed speculation on why is at the bottom.

From the release of the Champion System in March of last year to the debut of Wrothgar last November, ESO underwent an extraordinary evolution. Whatever reservations one may have about the Crown Store and its contents, it's proven to be an acceptable trade-off thus far. ESO has gone from a game about which I was very pessimistic to a game which is a jewel of the TES franchise. Zenimax has walked some slippery slopes trying to appease the various factions of the community while also figuring out their business model, and I think they did a wonderful job overall in 2015.

PvP is always going to need tweaking, but I believe they've demonstrated their ability to adapt and address extant issues. It remains playable and entertaining, with more improvements planned. PvE has plenty of content. Persistent bugs are getting addressed. I have complaints, but on balance, I think ESO was saved in 2015. And 2016 promises to make it even better, as discussed by Matt Firor in The Year Ahead. Yes, spell-crafting and a PvP Justice System are getting shelved, but I, for one, was never optimistic about them. The way is clear for new and better things ... plus console text chat.

As far as I can tell, ESO is thriving in the face of increasing competition. Maybe they're channeling a smaller population into fewer instances or something like that, I wouldn't know, but it seems in my personal experience that people continue to scamper around in the most unlikely places, and the typical congregation spots are still packed. Merchants are still practically standing on each other in various banks. Pixel violence is still being plotted in Belkarth or the Imperial Sewers. Drunken gamblers are still blasting terrible music over area chat in Wayrest. I've heard a few anecdotes that ESO was "dead" for a couple days after Fallout 4 was released, but most people have trickled back, and new blood comes in. Guilds rise and fall. Daggerfall Covenant is pretty stressed in PvP, but what else is new. The game goes on. And in 2016, it will go on with the Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild, Gold Coast, Clockwork City, PvP duels, etc. They mentioned in the last ESO Live that they're working on Tamrielic holidays, and I nearly had a stroke. The current economy is threadbare, but it sounds like they have plans to revitalize that, too.

Anyway, in 2016, ESO will continue to get better by leaps and bounds, and Elder Scrolls Legends will be out ... sometime. Maybe eleven months from now, maybe five minutes ago, who knows. I just hope the UESP is well-situated to cover it when it drops. Bethesda just opened a new studio in Montreal in December, and based on the Studio Director's resume, it will likely be focused on mobile gaming. It's presumably related to Legends, or possibly additional projects.

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