As you’ve heard by now, Zenimax Online Studios and Bethesda Softworks will be bringing the next Elder Scrolls game to the players, this time as an MMO. While it seems a natural fit for the gameworld: open, sprawling vistas, mountainsides full of lootable and craftable items, and play-how-you-want game systems, it remains to be seen whether or not the game will be able to pull off the magical feat of pleasing both Elder Scrolls’ fans and fans of more traditional MMOs.

Last week, Bethesda and Zenimax released the following announcement trailer:

While the video is cool, it doesn’t really tell us anything. For facts, you have to do a little digging.

According to reports, the game will be set a millenium before the incidents of Skyrim, and will have the player facing Molag Bal’s attempt to pull the entirety of Tamriel into his own evil and demonic realm.

Additionally, The Elder Scrolls Online—TESO for all of us who love shortening the name of MMOs—will feature nine playable races, spread over three major factions. Here is a breakdown of the specific race/faction pairings that you’ll more than likely be able to choose from. Also, like Dark Age of Camelot, I’m sorry, DAoC, the game will feature three-faction PvP, answering my wishes of updates to the over-used two-faction-fighting that we’ve all become accustomed to.

More details will surely be leaked onto the internet over the next few weeks, as its online hub will be managed by Game Informer. The June issue has a ton of details, including the heretical fact that it won’t be entirely built on the real-time combat system that has been integral to the franchise’s success over the years, one of many changes to the existing formulae that we’ve come to expect from an Elder Scrolls title, including, but not limited to:

  • Not being able to contract porphyric hemophilia and lycanthropy (i.e. no player vampires and werewolves)
  • A new AI system, more in line with traditional MMO NPC schedules and behavior
  • No plans to include player-owned real estate
  • No NPC romances or marriages
  • Full voice acting

—Blessner, Adam. (2012, June) From Skryim to Morrowind, and Everything in Between: The Elder Scrolls Online. Game Informer. 230, 46-57.

The game is expected to release in 2013, and we’ll keep abreast of the situation, letting you know of important information as it comes available. Until then, what are your thoughts about this? Is it exciting news? Horrible news? Meh news?