The Elder Scrolls Online is a new MMORPG developed by Zenimax Online Studios. Taking place in the Second Era roughly 1,000 years before the events of Skyrim, you play as a hero attempting to stop the Daedric Prince Molag Bal from taking over Tamriel and recovering your soul that was taken by him. Things are also complicated by the fact that the Imperial throne has sided with the evil Prince, and now Tamriel is in an all-out war between Cyrodiil and three alliances vying for control of it.It was released on April 4th, 2014 for Mac and PC (with a 3-to-5-day early start for preorders), with the console versions set for release two months later.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: The Emperor is the only character in the game that can have the Emperor Armor. Since there can only be one Emperor per server, this will easily become the most exclusive armor in the game.
Artifact Title: Averted for the thirdgame in a row. Multiple Elder Scrolls can be found within temples in Cyrodiil which can grant blessings for all the players in a particular alliance that control them during PvP.
Badass Army: Every faction has one. The Ebonheart Pact appears to be in the lead, as evidenced by the "Siege" trailer. Even Molag Bal and his army of Dremora qualify, completely unflinching in their every action.
Battle Couple: The Rings of Mara allow you and another player to become this, and any married couple in a party with one another gain a massive EXP bonus for both characters.
Breaking the Fourth Wall Sheogorath is fond of this, casually mentioned the Stories of other Elder Scrolls titles or all but telling you a choice will give you "2 Skillpoints"
Bi the Way: Jakarn, the Breton thief you recruit for Kaleen, is a notorious womanizer, but refers to the player character as "Good Looking" regardless of gender, and when you first encounter him he states "If I found a handsome guy trapped in a cell, I'd free him."
The player Characters can be become this, as the Rings of Mara are not tied to character genders
Brick Joke: The Alliance Trailer begins with a Nord fighting undead Werewolves in a cave. At the end of the trailer, one of those werewolves bursts out of the ground in an attempt to flee, only to be quickly dragged back under by the Nord, who climbs out himself a second later.
Sheogorath, naturally, references all the previous games during his questline including name-checking the Staff of Chaos and Numidium. Which is odd considering that those events won't be taking place for another 1000 or so years. Archmage Shalidor is also a questgiver in this plotline.
A naked Nord sends the player on a quest to find the witch that robbed him.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The battle in the "Arrival" trailer. The three faction leaders that we saw in the "Alliance" trailer take on a platoon of dremora. The Breton ends up possessed and attacking the Imperial City with an army of undead while the other two barely escape with their lives. Pretty much almost the entire time all three of them are very hard-pressed to stay alive, and the only reason they live is because the High Elf woman brings down one of the chains attaching the Dark Anchor to the ground, causing a massive statue to collapse on top of the battle area.
Defector from Decadence: Imperials as a race, who can join any Alliance. They are described as 'outcasts' from Cyrodiil, who have turned against the Daedra-worshipping majority of their race, and would conceivable aid any alliance in order to 'free' their brethren from Molag Bal's influence.
Distressed Dude: In Coldharbour the player encounters a character named Stibbons, who has been abducted by a winged twilight who is attempting to seduce him. Upon being freed and trying to make his way to the Hollow City, he gets abducted by female daedra again.
Enemy Mine: The Ebonheart Pact is comprised of the Dunmer and their two most hated enemies, the Nords and Argonians. They are only working together because of the threat posed by their mutual enemies. Whether or not this holds true for the other factions remains unknown, though considering that traditional relationships between Orcs and Bretons and Redguards have been hostile to say the least, it seems likely.
There is also Eyevea, the Mages' Guild headquarters. You can be a ranking Ebonheart officer having a polite conversation with a top researcher from the Dominion, and that's the norm.
Dunmer: "The centuries of hatred between my people and... most of Tamriel seems somehow petty in a place like this."
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: At one point during the Riften questline, you need to make a ritual sacrifice in order to pass through a sealed door. You have the option to sacrifice a member of the Reachmen, a race of Chaotic Evil Hagraven worshipers. If you do choose him for the sacrifice, you have to trick him into thinking you're leading him out of enemy territory. On the way to the door, he will proceed to tell you about his eight-year old daughters, and how they cried when he went to war. There is horror in his voice when he discovers you're not there to free him.
Evil Empire: The Akaviri Potentate practices slavery and worships Molag Bal.
Expy: The three main factions (Ebonheart, Aldmeri, Daggerfall) are each roughly equivalent in theme to Dark Age Of Camelot's Midgard, Hibernia, and Albion (respectively).
Fantastic Racism: The game is riddled with it. The Ebonheart Pact consists of the Dunmer and the two races that were their worst enemies before the Akaviri Invasion. The Veiled Heritance in the Aldmeri Dominion see the Bosmer and Khajiit as lesser races (although they seem to hate every other race just as much). Many human members of the Daggerfall Covenant still struggle to accept that the Orcs are a sentient race. Those are just a few examples. Needless to say, most characters despise races from the other alliances.
Faustian Rebellion: The vampire coven that players can join is of the Cyrodiilic Bloodline, descended directly from Lamae Bal, the oldest vampire in existence, the Monster Progenitor of the Cyrodiilic Bloodline, and is believed to be the first Daughter of Coldharbour. She hates Molag Bal for certainreasons, and intends to turn the entire Cyrodiilic Bloodline against him. And she's still alive. At this point, her crusade against Molag has become a full-blown Roaring Rampage of Revenge, with her also hating Arkay, whom she believes abandoned her in her time of need.
Faux Affably Evil: While Sheogorath tends to present himself as all fun and games in previous titles (save for Shivering Isles), we see a particularly malicious side of him in TESO. It still doesn't stop him from being utterly hilarious, however.
Foregone Conclusion: The interregnum in the second era was notorious for having so many "Emperors", that history never bothered to record many of their names. And no matter the toss-up between which faction wins the throne, the closing years of the Second Era will see the rise of Tiber Septim and the Third Empire of Men, and the first truly pan-Tamrielic empire.
Honor Before Reason: The Redguards hold their ancestors in very high respect, included the corpses of ancestors raised as Undead. Most Redguards would rather run away before dishonoring themselves by fighting them. This becomes quite a problem thanks to a group of Necromancers who know that all too well.
Implacable Man: The trailers show the dremora as being this. Even in the middle of a pitched battle during the "Siege" trailer, a platoon of them aren't even slowed down by a group of Ebonheart soldiers smashing into the front ranks. Pretty much everything they do, they do at a slow, foreboding walk.
Insanity Immunity: Sir Cadwell is the only Soul Shriven of Coldharbour who isn't a hostile psychopath since he was already mad when he got there. In fact, he quite likes it there.
It's Personal: One of the reasons why Queen Ayrenn wants to take over Cyrodiil is to take revenge on Abnur Tharn, who had caused her great suffering several years ago.
Kill the God: Magistrix Vox attempts to do this to the Tribunal in the Deshaan questline.
Lockpicking Minigame: Similarly to the main series, you are shown five pins on springs and must press down on each one until the right moment (when it starts to shake slightly), and then release. If you push it down too far, the lockpick will break; if it is not far enough, then it simply will return to its normal position (although repeated attempts may still break the lockpick). It is also has a time limit based on the difficulty of the chest: the more difficult the lock, the less amount of time is given to open it.
Mêlée à Trois: The three playable warring factions in the game consist of the Aldmeri Dominion (Altmer, Bosmer, and Khajit), the Ebonheart Pact (Dunmer, Nords, and Argonians), and the Daggerfall Covenant (Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs).
As shown in various previews, this will be very common in PvP. Of particular note are sieges where the defenders may be attacked by two offensive forces but the two offensive groups may also start attacking each other.
Medieval European Fantasy: The entire game, but the lands and story arcs of the Daggerfall Covenant are like a love letter to the genre.
Merchant Prince: High King Emeric, leader of the Daggerfall Covenant, was originally a merchant lord from High Rock.
Mood Whiplash: There's a merchant called Elodinar, who, when spoken to, says mournfully, "My heart goes out to the many victims of this foul tragedy that has befallen Greenwater Cove..." before concluding with a cheerful, "... So! Do you need to buy anything!"
Neck Snap: Some of the dying animations have an NPC's chin directly over their shoulder bone while they fly in the direction you hit them in. When you're using a mace or an axe, it looks like you hit them in the head with so much blunt force, that you've snapped their neck. The fact that they simply flop over dead really helps this effect.
Nonindicative Name: The Daggerfall Covenant is led by the King of Wayrest, which is its capital. Similarly, the leader of the Ebonheart Pact is the King in Windhelm, and the Pact's capital is Mournhold.
Noodle Incident, Noodle Implements: On the Aldmeri Dominion side, Queen Ayrens and Razum-Dar's backstory seems to be full of these. Often in reference to the time they adventured together
Most of the playable areas of Tamriel would count since the game is largely an even mix of nostalgia locations and new areas. Stros M'Kai, for example, is one for The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard.
The game's logo has the three animals which represent the factions forming this sort of circle (lion for the Daggerfall Covenant, dragon for the Ebonheart Pact and eagle for the Aldmeri Dominion). This probably shouldn't be taken as an indication of the faction's respective advantages over each other.
In the Alliance trailer, the Nord, Altmer, and Breton leaders (representing Fighter, Mage, and Thief respectively) circle each other in the shape of the Ouroboros.
Player Versus Player: Players will be able to fight one another in battles for keeps and other such fortifications, with a particularly huge arena being the Imperial City itself, with 100 v 100 battles. This isn't surprising, considering the main creative talent were behind Dark Age Of Camelot.
Retcon: In The Elder Scrolls: Arena Cyrodiil was depicted as a tropical rainforest rather than a Medieval European Fantasy-standard grasslands-and-forests region as in Oblivion and Online. Oblivion and out-of-game sources justified it with Tiber Septim using CHIMnote Heimskr's speech quotes the pertinent part of the specific out-of-game source and the Mythic Dawn Commentaries part 3 gives the same explanation, but Online's calling it the result of Future Imperfect (a "transcription error"), to much derision from lore-minded fans. The game also changes many established elements of the main series both visually and story-wise in order to fit the game's vision.
Running Gag: The game continues some that have made regular appearances in the ES games: M'aiq the Liar appears once again, and you can bake sweetrolls and Fishy Sticks. And yes, The Lusty Argonian Maid also makes its return.
One running gag has escalated from previous games. Once again, the player character starts as a prisoner. However, the prisoner is essentially killed off in the introduction in order to bring them to Molag Bal's realm of Coldharbor.
Unusual Euphemism: Bretons are fond of this. In particular there are a women and a man talking about "seeing his collection of antique riding crops, *wink* *wink*"
Warrior Poet: Jorunn the Skald-King, the High-King of Skyrim and one of the leaders of the Ebonheart Pact.
Vivec, one of the Dunmer's living gods, is also said, in-universe, to be this.
We Are Struggling Together: Various warring races have had to come together in order to form the three different Alliances. This is best illustrated in a piece of lore on the game's website, with a note found on the body of a Dunmer slaver. Though apparently the enslavement of Argonians has been made illegal by the Ebonheart Pact, Dunmer keep attempting to find their way around the law in order to continue the trade.
Wide Open Sandbox: The game world is said to be even larger than that of Skyrim's and consists of most of Tamriel, though not all will be available at the start.
Vestigial Empire: The Akaviri Potentate is weakened following various wars, leaving Cyrodiil in a state of chaos.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Lamae Bal, the original Daughter of Coldharbour, qualifies. She's still alive, and is leading a Faustian Rebellion against Molag Bal with the intent of turning the Cyrodiilic Bloodline of vampires against him.