Weekly Screenshot – First Person Combat

This week, it’s lucky number six in our weekly screenshot dissection series. Every week I meander through the wilderness of ESO video footage to pick the most interesting single screen capture I can find, breaking it down to provoke community discussion! This week gives us an initial look at the implementation of first person combat in Elder Scrolls Online.

First Person Dwemer Spiders

While the fidelity of this image may not be as high as it’s ancestors in this series, it’s significance should not be understated for a large portion of Elder Scrolls fans. The immersive first-person interface and control scheme is a major selling point of the franchise, and it’s original omission from Elder Scrolls Online was enough to get the fan community up in arms. The folks at ZeniMax were able to conjure up a compromise between their internal design requirements and the desire to have a fully functional first person view in the game. Their artists and animators have been working hard to adapt the game’s items and attacks to look fluid and realistic in first person view. This still image stolen from a few seconds of The Escapists interview with Paul Sage depicts one of the first samples of their progress.

This screenshot displays a player in the heat of combat with two Dwemer Spiders. These mechanical sentries prowl the hallways of ancient Dwarven ruins, automated to defend against intruders of all sorts. I selected this particular frame out of a number of possibilities as it demonstrates a few interesting features of the Elder Scrolls combat system. First, we see that the player is wielding a one handed mace and shield. This allows him to take advantage of special weapon attacks in the “sword and board” skill tree. In addition to the weapon attacks available to the player based on their current weapon set, you are able to cast a variety of deadly spells while simultaneously wielding your weapons in combat. As demonstrated in this screenshot, the player is in the midst of hurling a magical projectile at the closest spider, while it returns the favor by electrocuting our hero.

We can see two other Dwemer constructs in the background. It is difficult to make out, but a centurion sphere advances through a gap in the stone wall towards the rear of the picture. In the more immediate vicinity, a second spider construct starts to “supercharge”, surrounding itself with a electrified sphere of energy. This is a great example of one of the many synergies which enemy groups will utilize against the player in ESO. When a Dwemer Spider deploys a charge field, other constructs in the area can enter the area and become supercharged, gaining increased speed and damage. As an additional hazard, if a supercharged construct is slain, it’s remains will explode! The only safe way to combat these foes is to prevent constructs from obtaining this charge in the first place!

The artists at ZeniMax are still working on developing high-definition textures for hands, gloves, weapons, and objects to accommodate the changed perspective. Hopefully their hard work will pay off with a rewarding first person experience that has the potential to redefine the way gamers think about MMOs. For years the industry standard for MMO gaming has been a third person, over-the-shoulder perspective accompanied by an busy user-interface. Could ESO’s first person gameplay and minimalist UI be successful enough to change people’s minds regarding the fundamental nature of MMOs? Let us know what you think about this week’s screenshot, and the potential for first-person gameplay in the comments below!


86 responses to “Weekly Screenshot – First Person Combat”

  1. Profile Photo


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    Dunmer Dragonknight


    In my opinion first person is fine for solo players but as soon as you group up you better go 3rd person and be aware of your surroundings. Personally I’d like to see more footage of the third person gameplay as that is how I will primarily be playing. We haven’t seen any good third person footage since the first string of videos back in PAX if I remember right.

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    Dunmer Templar

    The Daggerfall Brovenant

    I like how even when you have both hands occupied with two weapons or a weapon and shield you still cast spells with a bare hand. Really shows the attention to detail and ZOS not being lazy and just making it so spells shoot out of your hand while also holding a weapon. Shows they wanted it to look and feel just right.

    Bro’s before Necro’s

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    Argonian Dragonknight

    Finally! I was waiting for this since i first saw ESO – some normal-working first-person-view – that’s what RPGs are missing nowadays – and if the camera would be shaking while fighting / running, that would be even more nice & realistic, giving the whole scene more ‘material’ & adrenaline feeling.

    If i look at the shitty ‘flying/swimming’ animations and engines of any other MMOs, specially WoW, then it cannot be even compared with this!

    All MMOs have got one property – all of them are focused on massive amounts of players rather than on the look and mechanics of one player (e.g. any elder scrolls single-player game till now) – when i first saw how the characters in the ESO are moving, i was like ‘omg, another cheap MMORPG animations, they could more focus on having it more a TES game with less players than MMO with huge amount of players’. Now, i see that it’s getting better! I hope they will continue with TES-style improvements like this.

    I was hoping that they will make it more RPG style rather than just an MMO – this fulfilled my hopes and they actually surprised me!


    my greetings,

    ~Mike ”nikes” H.

  4. Member Avatar


    Total Posts: 94

    Argonian Nightblade

    I personally have always been a fan of 3rd person anyways even in Skyrim and Oblivion.  I like to look at my character and his ability to slay his enemies, but that was not always convenient when I needed to be attentive to detail and or concentrate on defeating a strong opponent.

    ”Hail, Marshfriend.”

  5. Profile Photo
    Mister Pie Guy


    Total Posts: 44

    Altmer Sorcerer

    I’m happy that it actually looks good and similar to that of Skyrim/Oblivion. Ive seen some MMOs that have first person but not that i would actually prefer over the third person.

    I <3 Pie…

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    Dunmer Dragonknight


    nikes said on May 29, 2013 :

    All MMOs have got one property – all of them are focused on massive amounts of players rather than on the look and mechanics of one player

    That is kind of the core concept of an MMO. If you’re going to make an MMO make an MMO. For those players that just want another single player game can wait for TES 6. I’m not arguing what they’ve done so far, it looks great. I just hope they don’t appeal to the single player attitude so far that it ruins their MMO.

  7. Profile Photo
    Umaril the Unfeathered


    Total Posts: 3414

    Altmer Sorcerer

    Definitely looks great so far.

    Keep up the good work, Zenimax!

    *Formerly known by the username ”GarlasMalatar”*

    ”What is better? To be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?”Paarthurnax

    ”Shanta, ehlno.  Tyavoy balangua!” ~ Umaril the Unfeathered

    ”Welcome, Nerevar. Together we shall speak for the Law and the Land and shall drive the mongrel dogs of the Empire from Morrowind.” ~ Dagoth Ur

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    Breton Nightblade

    As an avid player of the MMO Genre since as far back as the branch over from MUD’s, I’d say that I welcome this. I’m tired of the same system of MMO’s that use the same console’esque viewpoint and move away from immersion, discovery, role playing and exploration.

    After the end of the 2nd gen MMO’s (2002) it became a power gamers trend to cycle through content quickly for a tournament style gameplay. MMORPG’s then simply became MMOG’s and the McDonalds-ification and Walmart-ization of the genre became the social norm to the kids of that era.

    In regard to first person view (with a proper FoV), I like how much larger the world looks when I’m not forced in a downward looking position (general 3rd person) with the ability to look up, down and around me easily. I played Everquest for 8 years (all 8 years as an Enchanter) amongst my many MMO’s during that segment and usually kept in 1st person unless I was grouping and not in tight rooms or raiding (where we had 40-150 people).

    I would say that 40% of my time will be in first person, whereas 60% is in third person. Both have their niche and the fact that both are being worked on, it only adds to my desire to continue with this game not just now but in the future.

    V14 Breton Nightblade Healer
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    Breton Nightblade

    To piggy-back my above statement…

    I like to taste my food, experience its every flavor, texture, experience, then swallow. Too many people today simply chew and swallow.

    V14 Breton Nightblade Healer
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    Total Posts: 1262

    Altmer Sorcerer

    The first thing I thought was this is Skyrim First Person combat, which is a great thing!

    Death is a guarantee;  Life is not.

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    Total Posts: 30


    I am glad to see that they took the direction of 1st person view but hope that their is an option for 3rd person as well  I.E. Everquest. I love playing in first person view when soloing but when grouping I want to see whats going on around me. Especially with the synergy aspect I wouldnt want to miss out on an opportunity to get the extra xp or drops because I count see the area in time to capitalize on it.


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    Revan said on May 29, 2013 :

    The first thing I thought was this is Skyrim First Person combat, which is a great thing!

    I agree!

    Also, I think that regardless of how first person works in battle, there are certain things which I much, much prefer to do in first person. Such as crafting and viewing scenery.

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    Imperial Sorcerer

    Entropy Rising

    LurkingShadows said on May 29, 2013 :

    I am glad to see that they took the direction of 1st person view but hope that their is an option for 3rd person as well

    There is definitely third person view! In fact, it is sortof the “default” perspective for the game. First person view is just an alternative for people who prefer it.

    Founder, creator, and developer of Tamriel Foundry.


  14. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 60

    Breton Nightblade

    I think people are going to get to have both 1st and 3rd person now, but I have to say that it will likely make the game experience different for each group.

    Good 1st person puts the player into his character – seeing through his eyes.  If you’ve never played an MMO this way, you really can’t understand the level of excitement it can create as you try and find your group members to assist them in the middle of a dungeon while trying to protect yourself from the various undead (or whatever) trying to kill you – which you cannot always see coming.  In some ways, it may not be as “efficient”, but it is certainly exciting and realistic.

    Are there some situations where 3rd person is a good idea?  Absolutely.

    Truth is I am likely to move back and forth most of the time to get the larger view of the world and the more intimate personal experience as well.

    The best of both perspectives.

    - Finneon

    ”…Not all  Those who Wander are Lost…”
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    Finneon said on May 29, 2013 :

    Truth is I am likely to move back and forth most of the time to get the larger view of the world and the more intimate personal experience as well.

    The best of both perspectives.


    I completely agree, I feel that the majority of the time I will be in first person but there will be those certain instances where third person may be the most beneficial for the situation.


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    Total Posts: 10


    First person combat is what makes TES the game it is. As a MMO, I’m sure I will be in 3rd person for the most part to help awareness, but the fact that I will have the option while questing says a lot to me as a fan of the series.

  17. Profile Photo
    Daedheldvir Caras Naafinrah


    Total Posts: 152

    Altmer Templar

    Wow! I really appreciate the effort ZeniMax has put into making this game a TES game. Even though I might see myself playing in third person, I simply can’t wait to see how first person works.

    Too much magic can be dangerous. M’aiq once had two spells and burned his sweetroll.” Wise words.

  18. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 515


    Whooo! I feel silly going all fan-boy, but this looks spectacular!

    Pretty much all of the first-person shown in the video was spectacular, I can’t wait to start hurling fireballs… It’s a shame we didn’t see any archery or staff spell-casting.

    We’re coming for you in every one of your quarters, Sons of Shezzar. None shall survive.

  19. Member Avatar


    Total Posts: 6


    Thank you Zenimax! Super excited about a 1st person view. While I might not stay in 1st person it definitely helps me with immersion within the game world while exploring.

    Pain is Natures way of saying you screwed up.

  20. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 144

    Altmer Sorcerer

    Zenimax is doing a awesome job, and I love the first person view

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