I had the chance to play about an hour of Elsweyr during GDC, and I did, in fact, encounter a dragon, although the experience wasn’t exactly what I imagined. After a short mission that required me to blow a horn atop a tower to slay a dragon circling the skies above a Khajiit temple, I and a handful of allies swarmed the beast, swinging swords and casting spells in bursts.
Unfortunately, if ESODragons are meant to be epic and terrorizing enemies, that’s certainly not what this first encounter conveyed to me. The dragon seemed to be a little shabby, with jerky animations that kind of sucked the whole spectacle out of the experience. It didn’t necessarily look BAD in terms of presentation, but it’s hard not to compare the encounter to my epic memories of dragon battles in Skyrim.
That being said, this battle was a scripted part of the tutorial and is probably not indicative of what most dragon encounters in the game will look like (also worth noting that the version of the game I played was clearly unfinished, plagued by wonky issues with textures, lighting, and sound, and the presentation of the final game will likely be greatly improved). In the larger game, there will be dragon world events happening randomly across the game map, where groups of players can team up to slay these beasts and collect rare loot. Unfortunately, I was unable to experience these epic ground battles during my time with Elsweyr. Again, dragons are supposed to be the toughest enemies to find, so we’ll see if they live up to that hype in the final game.
Aside from the dragons, the other major feature of Elsweyr is the addition of the Necromancer class, which allows players to summon undead minions and revive dead humanoid enemies to aid them in combat. Playing as a necromancer was a lot of fun, as there was a kind of sadistic glee to my little brigade of undead guys and gals doing my bidding before disposing of them once they had achieved their goal. .
Further Reading: 5 Facts You Should Know About The Elder Scrolls VI
“You feel like you’re the master of the undead,” Lambert says of the new character class. “You summon minions, then you’re done with them. You don’t have that happy interaction with a permanent pet. You don’t love them and don’t feed them. It is very different from other classes.