We had the opportunity to test TESO under exclusive press access allowing us to publish a preview of the beta up to level 15. The NDA remains in place, except for authorized sites.
For this beta phase, I decided to test an Altmer. These High Elves, originally from the Summerset Archipelago, are the dominant race of Domaine Aldmeri, under the tutelage of their adored queen Ayrenn ... well, adored ... not by everyone as we will see below.
It all starts in Ice Haven
After waking up in a jail in Ice Haven, Prince Daedra's Oblivion plan Molag Bal, I am contacted by the appearance of a man calling himself the Prophet. A wind of revolt follows and a runaway prisoner opens the lock of my prison. The escape begins. (It's weird in the Elder Scrolls, we ALWAYS start out as a prisoner, except in Daggerfall, but this one being the sequel to Arena that's okay)
Throughout the dark and cold corridors of Oblivion, I complete the in-game tutorial which teaches me all the basic features allowing me to gain some autonomy. Context menus and in-game help windows are sometimes overwhelming for players used to TES or MMOs, but there is a way to turn them off if you wish.
After meeting a Nordic named Lyris Titanborn who turns out to be an ally of the Prophet, and having managed to venture to the prison of this mysterious character, we manage to escape the Prophet and me, not without having to face the threats of a mental projection from Molag Ball just before we used an anchor to bring us back to Tamriel.
The arrival on Khajiit Island of Khenarthi's roost was a revelation ... Domaine Aldmeri is really very beautiful! This tropical environment in the south of the province of Elsweyr is really a place where I would happily spend my holidays. Very quickly I meet a very original Khajiit named Reason-Gift who turns out to have a rank of importance or at least has all it takes to be a master spy. Little by little, and from quests to quests (they are very numerous and superbly varied) I update a Maormer forces plot (sea elves from the Pyandonean archipelago to the south) which aims to prevent the signing of a treaty with the Aldmeri Estate and the queen Ayrenn.
I am led to investigate, infiltrate (with disguises) and put an end to the actions of these devious elves adepts of climatic magic who cause storms and thunderstorms in the open sea. My peregrinations therefore bring me to the city of Mistral, north of the island, where the Maormer embassy is located because ... the heart of the problem comes from the fact that there was a treaty between the Khajiit and these Maormers ... To tell you the plot would be too much long (and rob you ...)
If I have to retain game elements that I really liked during this session it would surely be the richness of the NPCs and the overall scenario but also theattention to detail and side quests. There is also a system of "treasure maps"that we can find in locked chests, randomly. These cards show us a handmade sketch of a landscape of the place where we are located with a cross indicated on the drawing. It is up to us to find this place thanks to this sketch, and to unearth the treasure hidden there.Note that the treasure has the appearance of an interactive mound of earth that only the owners of the treasure map can see! and then, the loot is yours!
But instead, let's continue our journey ... Once the Maormer threat has been eliminated, on our way to Auridia, the second most important island of the Archipelago of Autumn.
Auridia is certainly the most beautiful place I've seen in all of the Elder Scrolls, but that's a subjective opinion. His trees with red, emerald green, pink, or blue leaves make it an idyllic, almost surrealistic landscape.
We land in the port village of Vulkhel's Watch, and quickly, I discovered the two buildings of Guilds of Warriors and Mages. Each of them launches me on the path of an intrigue which will constitute the main frame of their quests:
- For the mages guild, the ghost of the great archmage Shalidor (who made the Maze in Skyrim) is looking for five great tomes of magic, but Sheogorath, the Daedra Prince of Madness doesn't hear it that way and challenges Shalidor. For our part, we will therefore have to lend ourselves to treasure hunts to find these books throughout Tamriel ...
- For the Guild of Warriors, the problem is more basic and mysterious at the same time. A wealthy secret sponsor pays dearly for any action taken to reduce the Daedra and undead population, and especially for the closing of all black anchors of Molag Bal who pose a real threat to all of Tamriel.
- Finally, in a bar, I meet a group of merry inseparable mercenaries, eager for adventures and great battles, who call themselves the Indomitable. After having offered to join them, I discover access to a whole series of group skills with an emphasis on dungeon collaboration, and proposals for missions to be performed dadungeons (instantiated for 4) begins.
But guilds aren't everything, aside from a few basic appetizer quests, I do acquaintance with Queen Ayrenn in person when I successfully defuse a plot to kill her. Indeed, throughout Auridia, a faction of reactionary nationalist Altmers aims to dethrone Ayrenn. They call themselves theVeiled Heritage, and they are led by the mysterious Veiled Queen... For them, only the Altmers are worthy of representing the domain. Bosmer savages or Khajiit animals are only sub-races unworthy of the queen's attention.
My adventures always take me further north, in the small town of Mathiisen then in the sumptuous city of Gardeciel or a festival in honor of magic and related to the Sloads of Thras Island (a race of necromancers who look like big humanoid worms) is in the works. Frankly worth the detour! But in fact a huge plot is brewing, involving the Veiled Queen (which we will unveil precisely), pacts and promises signed with Mérunès Dagon Prince Daedricus, but let's not say more so as not to spoil the fun.
All these adventures will eventually lead to the capital of Auridia, Prime-tenure, to the far north, which turns out to be in full invasion by the forces of Dagon (using portals identical to those in the game TES IV: Oblivion).
Has the last hour of the Veiled Queen struck? Will we see the mainland soon, because the adventure does not end there ... A much deeper evil is eating away at Tamriel, and the Prophet, once found, will tell us more about them. Five Companions and the betrayal of two of them: Thames and in denial ... Mannimarco !