While Skyrim leverages Bethesda's Creation engine, The Elder Scrolls Online was built on a custom engine created specifically for this title. While ZeniMax Online Studios used the HeroEngine (of Star Wars: The Old Republic fame) as a prototyping tool, it's not what you'll find in the actual game.
To the developer's credit, its engine scales across an impressive range of hardware. The Ultra-High preset is truly worthy of a title called The Elder Scrolls Online, while the lowest settings look more like the original Everquest from 1999. Seriously.
The best-looking combination of settings is impressive, though it's definitely a step down from Skyrim, which I frankly expected. It is good to see that this title accommodates very low-end hardware, even if I don't think you'd want to play at anything under the Medium detail preset.
Ready to start stacking up the graphics cards and processors for a good old-fashioned round-up of PC hardware?