Zenimax Online Studios and Bethesda have announced The Dark Heart of Skyrim, a year-long live update for The Elder Scrolls Online. Over four chapters, players will battle in the icy western lands of the Nords and the underground kingdom of Blackreach. There’s a vampire lord running wild, and bad Viking accents abound.
The Dark Heart of Skyrim will also add a new Antiquities system to give players more baubles to collect. You’ll finally be able to say “This belongs in a museum!” in an Elder Scrolls game.
Windows and Mac players will be able to start their Greymoor adventure on May 18th. Console players can join in the fun on June 2nd. Google Stadia players won’t have to miss out. Greymoor is coming to Stadia later, so all six of you can play too.
The Dragon Bones DLC and Update 17 is now live for the PC version of The Elder Scrolls online. Dragon Bones includes a quest story that culminates in a fight with a skeletal dragon along with the usual extras like a couple of dungeons, cosmetic accessories, pets, and mounts for 1500 funny money bits or about $15 in real-world cash. If bony giant lizards are your thing, then this DLC should be pleasing, although I think Zenimax Online really whiffed making an “Elder Bones” pun somewhere in here.
It’s Update 17 that should be of interest to everyone. This free base game update comes with an overhaul of combat, a home storage system, an outfit feature, and a sort of dynamic Skills Advisor to help guide players when leveling up and allocating character points. This could be huge because one of the primary obstacles for new players is the complicated skills system that asks them to choose where to allocate precious points without much in-game information. It’s been a longstanding criticism of the game, in fact, one could say it was an elder bone to pick. (Worth it!)
Dragon Bones and Update 17 will be available for the console versions of The Elder Scrolls Online on February 27th.
Vvardenfell is coming to The Elder Scrolls Online. ZeniMax Online Studios announced The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind expansion. Parts of the dark elves’ territory have been available to players in ESO, but the Morrowind addition will open up an area the developers say is equal in size to the MMO’s base game. It’s full of giant mushrooms and volcanoes. Luckily for everyone, The Elder Scrolls Online is set about 700 years before the Red Mountain exploded, so there will be plenty of Cliff Racer action. Along with the new play space, Morrowind will feature a new character class in the form of the Warden. The Warden gets a War-Bear and uses druid magic to fight enemies. He’s like Grizzly Adams with spells.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind expansion will cost $40 for current players, or $60 for a new player bundle that includes the base game. The expansion is set to launch on June 6th for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
When ZeniMax Online Studios first announced that The Elder Scrolls Online would require a client purchase and a monthly subscription to play, gamers weren’t shy about expressing what they thought of that. Many an MMO vet proclaimed that the pricing scheme was doomed to fail and that it wouldn’t be long before the studio would be forced to drop the subscription. Less than a year since it’s April 2014 launch, that prediction has come true. The Elder Scrolls Online is dropping the subscription requirement.
The game becomes The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited on March 17th. At that time, the subscription requirement will go away. People that want to play the game going forward will need only buy a copy of the client and make an account. Players will have the option of paying a subscription to upgrade their accounts to ESO Plus status, giving them some “premium” benefits like more in-game gold, buffs to XP, and some of the virtual cash which regular players can purchase with real-world money to support the game.
ZeniMax Online Studios wants to remind everyone that their favorite MMO set in the world of the Elder Scrolls is totally coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Someday. Game Director Matt Firor posted a look back at the work done since launch and a peek at the next update that will add a new “justice system” that will allow the kinds of larcenous behavior Elder Scrolls fans love. Stealing from vendors, pickpocketing, and facing the consequences for being a thief in Tamriel will be possible in the January update. Beyond the upcoming improvements to the PC version, Firor pointed out that work continues on the console versions.
It’s also important to note that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of ESO are not just ports of the PC/Mac game. We have completely replaced the PC user interface with a console-specific UI designed from the ground-up with a controller and a living room play experience in mind. We’ve also added voice chat and full integration with XBL and PSN.
The Elder Scrolls Online for consoles was first announced in June 2013 during the Sony E3 press conference.
ZeniMax Online has announced that the adventure zone, Craglorn, will be added to The Elder Scrolls Online tomorrow. Craglorn is skewed towards groups of veteran player characters and adds much-needed end-game content to the MMO. ZeniMax Online had expressed a desire to add content to the game on a four to six week schedule. Craglorn’s release tomorrow would arrive at the end of six weeks from the game’s launch.
In related news, parent company ZeniMax Media has filed their formal lawsuit against Oculus in a Texas court. Earlier, ZeniMax had claimed that former id Software founder John Carmack had given proprietary ZeniMax technology to Oculus while working with both companies. The filing (available as a public record) accuses Oculus of benefiting from ZeniMax’s intellectual property and parlaying that into a $2 billion Facebook buyout.
The PlayStation Blog revealed that playing The Elder Scrolls Online on the PlayStation 4 will not require a subscription to PlayStation Plus. Yay! Shortly after that news update, Bethesda confirmed to Joystiq that Microsoft will require players to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold before they can play the MMO. Boo!
So there you have it. The Elder Scrolls Online will cost $14.99 a month for players on PC and PS4. Xbox One players will need to pay that plus the Gold subscription fee. No one is playing on one of these next-gen consoles without paying the multiplayer tax anyway, right?
Bethesda and ZeniMax have revealed some of the actors they’ve hired to supply voices in The Elder Scrolls Online. It’s a suitably impressive cast for a big-budget MMO. John Cleese, Bill Nighy, Jim Ward, Alfred Molina, Kate Beckinsdale, Peter Stormare, Jennifer Hale, Michael Gambon, and Malcolm McDowell will be lending their distinctive voices to the game. Lynda Carter will reprise her role as Azura, the Daedric Princess, from Skyrim.
Is it enough to get me to pay for the client and then a monthly subscription? Probably not, but Peter Stormare can “un-pimp my auto” any time.
Historically, being an emperor came with its own set of rewards. The guy sitting on the throne got unlimited power, the adulation of his subjects, and access to special perks like getting seated first at the local Cheescake Factory. In The Elder Scrolls Online, getting crowned Emperor in the player vs player portion of the game will give the victorious character a true advantage over everyone else. Game director Paul Sage explained to OXM why people may want to take over the Imperial City.
“Players who become Emperor will get a full skill line that they keep throughout the rest of their lives in The Elder Scrolls Online. It won’t be easy to become Emperor, but we think people will be glad they worked for it.”
The Elder Scrolls Online is scheduled to launch on April 4th for PC, and in June for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The Xbox 360 Mincraft Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Mash-up Pack features wintery Nord terrain textures, Elder Scrollsy crafting objects, a revamped user interface, and music from Skyrim squashed into Minecraft. It’s two games with aimless wandering and player-driven stories combined into one mega-open-world DLC!
Pre-made World recreating the area of Whiterun, Riverwood and Bleak falls Barrow (on a smaller scale in order to fit with technical constraints of the games map size limits)
Okay. Maybe it’s not so mega-sized. The pack will be available on Wednesday for $3.99.
PAX Prime is an odd experience when you go with a family. Everyone has different interests, so you have to split up at times if the party is going to get the most out of the exhibitions. “Oh, you want to see Ubisoft’s The Crew before we grab some lunch? I want to see Ryse: Son of Rome.” Sometimes, you have to be willing to compromise because every bit of the show floor looks like the image above. It’s just a crowded mess.
Yesterday, PAX gave us some big-budget gaming. For the final day, let’s wrap things up with a look at some other games.