Bethesda Toolworks’ Elder Scrolls: Skyrimwas the breakout fantasy gaming hit of 2012, no question about that.  What was missing was the multi-player experience.  As fun and amazing as it is, Skyrim is a single player game.  So was every version of Elder Scrolls Bethesda has ever done. So what is Bethesda doing for 2013?

TheE242_elder_scrolls_online_topy’re taking it online.

Bethesda is taking its 18-year-old Elder Scrolls RPG series and opening the gates of Tamriel to the world as an MMOG. The game sets players as members of one of three factions, blending a singleplayer campaign in Tamriel’s outer provinces with player-versus-player battles raging across Cyrodiil.

The developer of the actual game is Zenimax Online.  The setting is 1000 years before the events of Skyrim, and the game opens huge public raid dungeons for many players to tackle at once.

The signups for the beta testing cycle for Elder Scrolls Online opened Tuesday of this week, with the usual fanfare and a flurry of attention from the media.  As with all beta’s, you have to apply, and they have criteria they apply to your application to see if you’ll be accepted and do ask for a fair bit of information – mostly about what other RPG’s and MMO’s you’ve played. Unusual is a section at the bottom where you have to put into words exactly why you think you’d be a good beta tester.  It’s all optional, but the site warns that filling everything out will significantly increase your chances of being chosen for the beta.

While you wait to see how your luck holds up, you can take a look at the new Elder Scrolls Online “Alliance” trailer, a short featuring three heroic types, presumably one from each of the Aldmeri Dominion, the Daggerfall Covenant and the Ebonheart Pact, taking on opponents against huge odds to gain something they all want, then preparing to fight one another it.  Exactly what this epic thing is is something you’ll have to play the game to find out.

Good luck signing up for the beta – we’d love to hear how it goes.  Come back and comment on your experiences if the click-through contract allows you to.

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