ZeniMax Online Studios has brought the Elder Scrolls Online beta servers back online. You can explore Tamriel for free until March 2nd at 11:59PM PDT.

Email invites were sent out earlier in the week along with instructions on how to redeem them. Each player who was invited also received a spare key so that they could invite a friend. The first key they receive is tied to their email address, though, so they can only share the second one.

If you don't have a friend with a spare key, you've still got a chance at getting into the beta. A ton of keys are being given out by various gaming websites this weekend. Here's the full list of sites handing them out: Though ZeniMax isn't planning an open beta, they're trying to ensure that everyone who wants to try out ESO can do so. The distinction between closed and open beta's a bit meaningless when you're giving out this many keys.

It's in their best interest to make the test as huge as possible. They need to be sure that the servers can handle the flood of new players on launch day. Furthermore, the beta's a good way to lure in prospective players. The monthly subscription and $60 purchase required for the full game means that players might be leery to try it after launch. These free play periods are key to convincing players to commit money to the game.

The beta allows you to create a character of any race and faction. There's no non-disclosure agreement in effect anymore so you can share gameplay videos and screenshots if you're so inclined. A lot of gamers will be sharing footage on Twitch as well. ZeniMax posted a list of suggested streams on their website.

By playing the beta weekend, you'll earn a special monkey pet. The pet said to be an exclusive so this is potentially the only chance you have to unlock it. The pet will be added to your inventory once the game is officially released.

Elder Scrolls Online will launch on PC and Mac in early April. ZeniMax has promised that they'll have at least one other beta weekend before the full game goes live.

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