Weekly Screenshot Dissection – Electric Feel

Hello again ESO followers, it’s time to conjure up another screenshot for us to break down together. Each week I channel my ESO media spirit guide in order to divine the best single screenshot to share with the Tamriel Foundry community from that week. This time around, it’s an Ogrim who is charging menacingly towards the player. What makes this interesting is the beast seems to have developed a peculiar case of….electrification?

Electric Ogrim

Now before anyone jumps to the conclusion that Molag Bal is mating Ogrim with Storm Atronach to build an electrically charged army (which would be a good plan for world domination, I think), I believe that I can explain what is going on in this image. I believe the player shown here dual wielding a light hammer and a war axe is a Sorcerer, and we are witnessing the precursor to one of the signature Storm Calling skills, Mages’ Fury. As the baseline spell in the Storm Calling tree, Mages’ Fury allows the sorcerer to unleash an electric charge, which slams down on it’s target a second or two later. I think this screenshot shows the beginnings of that effect building up around the Ogrim, if my experience using the Mages’ Fury skill at PAX was any indication, this daedra is about to be in for a world of hurt. It’s to see how the light-sourcing in the environment changes as this spell builds up, and I think the lightning particles themselves look fantastic.

Mechanically, the skill is fairly interesting, not only is there the slight delay between when it is cast and the bolt of lightning which eventually hammers your target, but it also deals increased damage to nearby foes if your target is already low on health. I think this is a good example of how there are multiple layers to each skill in ESO. In many MMOs a typical caster class would have a generic instant-cast single target nuke, but in ESO since skill slots on your hotbar are so limited, ZeniMax is trying to create a lot of versatility in the usefulness of their abilities. While Mages’ Fury is the bread and butter nuke of the Sorcerer class, it also can serve as a great AoE tool for clearing lots of trash. In group PvE encounters, a skilled sorcerer will have tactical awareness of the health of all nearby enemies, so he can cherry-pick the low health foes and trigger cascading AoE damage when Mages’ Fury strikes them. Also, let’s not forget about the potential morphs of the skill, which will let the player add an additional layer to it’s effects, either further focusing it’s usage, or perhaps making it even more versatile.

Regarding the screenshot itself, I also think it’s interesting to note the marketing approach being used by ZeniMax lately. They have been showcasing a lot of first-person footage, which I think can mostly be explained by the fact that it’s a newer feature that they are currently polishing the textures and animations for. I wonder, however, if they might not benefit from a more even-handed approach. It seems like popular opinion tends to fluctuate wildly between thinking that ESO will be an MMO that butchers the Elder Scrolls franchise and that it will be an online single-player game that has no appeal to MMO fans. Clearly both reactions are wrong, but I hope that at the upcoming PAX Prime we’ll see some more finesse in the way they market the game as a genre-blending experience.

As far as immersion goes, one thing is missing in this screenshot, and that’s the intense red silhouette denoting targeted enemies that we saw from the QuakeCon gameplay. While I’m sure it’s a useful gameplay tool to keep track of who you are targeting in an action-MMO style context, I certainly feel like the world (and the creatures in it) are much more beautiful without a neon halo. I was relieved to hear from their official weekly “Ask Us Anything” column that this can be disabled at the player’s discretion, although I hope there is an “intensity” slider rather than a simple on/off toggle.

Will there be an option to turn off the glow around enemies? – By Nate Collins

Yes, you will be able to turn it off. I will say that the glow is much more apparent when you’re watching than it is when you’re playing. It’s very effective at helping with target selection, and you may find it useful in some situations, but it’s up to you whether to enable it.

Anyways, let us know what you think about this screenshot, the potential for versatile skills like Mages’ Fury, the marketing approach being used by ZeniMax in recent media releases, or anything else that springs to your mind. Drop your thoughts in the comments section below!