Fresh from having won a clutch of awards at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, including Game Critics Award for Best Role Playing Game and even Best Booth Carpet from the Yogscast, "The Elder Scrolls Online" prepares for an early 2014 release with a third wave of invitations to its private beta.
The previous release in "The Elder Scrolls" swords and sorcery series was "Skyrim," released in November 2011, and amassing 10 million sales across PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in its first 8 months on sale.
Though it's a steadfastly single-player experience, many a virtual adventurer shared stories of dragons shouted at, mountains conquered, guilds infiltrated, buckets worn on heads, and cheeses hoarded.
"The Elder Scrolls Online" treads similar ground to other well-established, massively multiplayer online roleplaying games such as "World of Warcraft" "Guild Wars 2" and "RuneScape."
Despite that, "ESO" represents the first time that the core series will incorporate multiplayer -- outside of the low profile 1997 Nokia phone release "The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey" and atypical 1997 spin-off "An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire" -- and has been announced for Mac, PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
"We'll select testers based on different criteria for each beta event depending on our needs for that test," explained ESO staff back in March.
"For instance, we may invite players who indicated a preference for a certain type of content or who reside in a certain territory for particular events, and for others, computer specs may play an important role. We're not only looking for one type of tester or only for testers with top-of-the-line PCs; a broad range will be selected."
Even at that stage, the crew had already seen "many video, e-mail, and website scams pretending to offer access to The Elder Scrolls Online beta" owing to the project's popularity, advising fans to check elderscrollsonline.com for official announcements, and copy-and-pasting any "ESO" email links rather than clicking directly.
Official website: elderscrollsonline.com