Zenimax Online Studios has released the first gameplay footage for The Elder Scrolls Online. The publisher posted a nine-minute behind-the-scenes video today (below), and in addition to showing off gameplay for the first time, the trailer reveals more of the game's environment, characters, and user functionality.
One of the most striking departures from other MMORPGs is that The Elder Scrolls Online will not feature shards. Instead, all players will be housed on one server. This has been made possible through Zenimax's "Megaserver" technology.
"All your friends are right there. You just create a character, click play, and you go," said game director Matt Firor. "The game is smart about where to put you. It puts you in gamespaces with your friends, your guildmates; it's a way to be connected with everyone and the game figures out where to put you."
The Elder Scrolls Online allows players to start off by choosing one of nine races and a class. But from there, Bethesda said, every choice players make with regard to quests and abilities will differentiate them from other players.
The Elder Scrolls Online will cover the entire continent of Tamriel, including the lands featured in previous Elder Scrolls games like Cyrodiil, Skyrim, and Morrowind. The game will be set 1,000 years before the events of last year's hit Skyrim and will put players into the world on the brink of demonic assimilation at the hands of the daedric prince Molag Bal.
The Elder Scrolls Online is due out in 2013. Its pricing model has not been announced, though the founder of game consultancy firm Gamesbrief, Nicholas Lovell, believes it will launch with a paid subscription but will eventually become free-to-play. For more, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.