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There are many similarities and there are many differences in The Elder Scrolls Online compared to the previous games in the series. If that sounds suspicious, perhaps a turnoff for you hardcore Elder Scrolls fans, know that since its alpha version, ZeneMax has been inviting hardcore Elder Scrolls fans like yourselves to test the game and they have praised highly how similar the Elder Scrolls Online feels to Skyrim in controls and combat. It will also be wise to remember at this point that Elder Scrolls Online will also have mounts just like in Skyrim. Before I get into the big differences, let’s refresh what we know and what is similar about the Elder Scrolls Online’s combat system. I’ll be using Skyrim as a demonstration point.
As you have probably experienced for yourself, the Elder Scrolls combat system involves using the WASD keys for movement and your mouse for aiming and attacking. There is no auto-attack. Your weapon attacks by clicking the left mouse button and you can block by holding the right mouse button. Physical attacks and blocking consume stamina and magicka for spells. A quick click of the left mouse will perform a light attack and holding will perform a heavy attack. Unlike in Skyrim, there is no extra resource cost with heavy attacks in the Elder Scrolls Online.
To achieve a successful attack or block with your ESO weapon, you must be facing your target and have the aim cursor in the middle, relatively close to your target. Failing to do so will result in you missing completely. This applies to all weapons, including projectile attacks, like spells and arrows. One of the differences in the Elder Scrolls Online is how projectiles work. Instead of straightforward unguided attacks, your projectiles will have a slight lock-on and will seek your target even if your target should move. If your target moves a little to the left or right, the arrow for example will follow. It’s not a perfect lock-on though. Your enemy, especially if they dodge, will most certainly be able to avoid your attacks.
By double-tapping a movement key, your character can perform a dodge maneuver which will consume some stamina but will allow you to avoid incoming attacks. There exists a second targeting system similar to Tab-targeting. It’s not a full lock-on either, and will still require you to aim your attacks carefully. The Tab-targeting simply exists to help you to specify which enemy out of a crowd of enemies is your focus. It does not lock-on your camera and you will still have full control to attack other targets.