Elder Scrolls Online Beta: Impressions From Tamriel

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Elder Scrolls Online Beta: Impressions From Tamriel

Several members of the Escapist Staff got their hands the beta of The Elder Scrolls Online and came back from Tamriel with a look at their experiences.

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I think this is some of the only good press I've seen come out for ESO.

Nearly every person I've talked to who has gotten a beta invite generally responds to the question of how is it with a resounding "Meh."

I've have several friends who are major MMO players. They have been trying out the beta for Elder Scrolls for months, they've watched the graphics improve, heard voice actors change, experience improvements to the controls and UI.

They all have come to an agreement that they would much prefer that the company produced another single player game over this MMO. I mean, these are super heavy MMO players that are always trying to drag me into every new MMO that comes out under the sun, but I never catch on because I am just not an MMO player.

They say that it's not offering anything to really stand out amongst the MMO's that are out there and is only riding off the series name. They are all really pissed about this Imperial special edition thing to boot, believing it's completely unfair to reserve a in demand class for more money. In fact many of them have returned to Guild Wars hard core as a result of playing Elder Scrolls and when they got invites for this weekend most of them don't even want to bother.

I feel like at the most this will be like SWTOR and in a year we'll be hearing about all kinds of server mergers and several drastic drops of subscriptions. At the worst, perhaps Elder Scrolls will finally be the total bombing of an MMO to kick developer's greedy thirst for creating so many subscription MMO's and online games requiring frequent payments.

If people had money to throw around here in the US, I'm sure several subscription based MMO's would be doing better, but the economy and lack of jobs just isn't allowing it.

PirateRose:
*snip*

Pretty much spot-on. "Decent, but not great, no lasting appeal, nothing but the name to set it apart."
The only bright side is, it's being made by Zenimax Online, not Bethesda, so at least it won't tank the single-player games when it falters.

Still, it's improved to the point where I can at least say it's a decent game, and not froth at the mouth over this "travesty parading around in an Elder Scrolls skin." It's not the game TES fans want, but at least it's no longer an insult to the brand.

Captcha: "Know the ropes"
Heh... you'd think they would by now, wouldn't you Captcha?

Yagami_Kira:
You'll notice Jim, Yahtzee, or Shamus weren't listed as reviewers here, and they're the only ones on escapist staff who aren't required to stroke the site's advertisers. And zenimax is a common advertiser here. Do the math.

Because I had such glowing things to say about it in my write up.

Yagami_Kira:

shintakie10:
I think this is some of the only good press I've seen come out for ESO.

Nearly every person I've talked to who has gotten a beta invite generally responds to the question of how is it with a resounding "Meh."

You'll notice Jim, Yahtzee, or Shamus weren't listed as reviewers here, and they're the only ones on escapist staff who aren't required to stroke the site's advertisers. And zenimax is a common advertiser here. Do the math.

Here's Shamus' glowing review in his column from today in case you'd like to accuse him of false things as well.

JonB:

Yagami_Kira:

shintakie10:
I think this is some of the only good press I've seen come out for ESO.

Nearly every person I've talked to who has gotten a beta invite generally responds to the question of how is it with a resounding "Meh."

You'll notice Jim, Yahtzee, or Shamus weren't listed as reviewers here, and they're the only ones on escapist staff who aren't required to stroke the site's advertisers. And zenimax is a common advertiser here. Do the math.

Here's Shamus' glowing review in his column from today in case you'd like to accuse him of false things as well.

Like I said. Shamus isnt required to stroke them. he didn't. He said its resoundingly meh.

Yagami_Kira:

Like I said. Shamus isnt required to stroke them. he didn't. He said its resoundingly meh.

You really are reading what you want to read and not what is actually written, aren't you?

"Still, I showed up expecting a boring mess of unoriginal ideas and left impressed and hoping it works out for them."

He says he's "impressed" and you read that as "meh". How strange.

Li Mu:

Yagami_Kira:

Like I said. Shamus isnt required to stroke them. he didn't. He said its resoundingly meh.

You really are reading what you want to read and not what is actually written, aren't you?

"Still, I showed up expecting a boring mess of unoriginal ideas and left impressed and hoping it works out for them."

He says he's "impressed" and you read that as "meh". How strange.

He said he was expecting boring mess of unoriginalness and was impressed. I was impressed by the game too. With how it managed to be unique and still be Meh. Its not great, its not terrible.

Yagami_Kira:
He said he was expecting boring mess of unoriginalness and was impressed. I was impressed by the game too. With how it managed to be unique and still be Meh. Its not great, its not terrible.

I don't honestly think ESO is going to make a lick of money, but it is still fun, at least for the 7 or so hours I put into it. That's exactly why this is an "Impressions" piece though. It's impossible to judge an MMO from 7 hours.

Also, ESO is marketing itself EVERYWHERE right now. Doesn't really mean anything that the suits bought advertising here too.

Greg

Yagami_Kira:
but most game journalists at least have the integrity to pretend they aren't completely bought by the advertisers.

Confirmed for didn't even read the article? In no way did this article strike me as a recommendation of the game.

OT:

Not surprised by the bottom lines, and not interested in `retreading` old MMO shtick. FFXIV ARR does the retreading as well as it can be done, and TERA and other FTPs are more innovative (not to mention sexier). I'm going to pass.

I will play it once it goes F2P, but other than that can't say more because of NDA bs.

I got a beta invite and I've been trying to download the Launcher but it keeps getting up to like 2 or 3 GB before literally going backwards, going through KB and GB again. I have a Macbook Air, any help? Please? I really want to get this to work before my beta time ends on Monday.

Why on Earth would you base your first impressions of a new game on a couple of co-op sittings with people you know and work with? Apart from the fact that doing something with friends will always be better than doing the same thing without friends (except, maybe, sex) and thus skew the impression the activity itself has on you, you can't seriously expect to deliver a first look people can relate to when you start from a position most people just won't be in when they will start out on TESO.

At best that is a terrible oversight and a disservice to your readers and at worst it's disingenuous.

Also, funny how Yagami_Kira got a warning there. I wonder why.

PirateRose:
I feel like at the most this will be like SWTOR and in a year we'll be hearing about all kinds of server mergers and several drastic drops of subscriptions.

The latter is not only possible, but likely. I did want to point out however that the former won't happen since TESO isn't using multiple servers. It will use a similar "single shard" universe like Eve Online, Champions Online, STO, etc.

From what I understand, there will be two "mega servers", one in the US, one for EU. But that's it for different server farms. Within the world, there will be instances, but at any time any player can switch to any instance, and even between the US/EU servers. As such, there won't need to be any server merges since there will only be the one from the beginning, which is flexible, scalable and IMO, they better way to go.

SWTOR's issue was the time it took for a response from BioWare. They didn't expect a) the faction population differences or b) that people would leave after the first free month/first three months. By the time March came round, the servers were mostly empty, and in April/May, at peak times on Imperial fleet, you still couldn't get a team of 4 players together to do any dungeons except the level 10 and level 50 ones. It took them till June/July to start merging and it was too late by then. It took them 3 months of bleeding players who would've gladly continued but for the lack of people with whom to play. If BioWare had responded that March, or maybe even April, the game would be in a very different state right now.

I imagine that TESO will have fairly balanced faction populations, though why MMOs still insist on faction bullshit (yes yes, I know, because WoW did it so everyone has to copy them) is frustrating. Warring factions is one thing I think Eve did very well. In my opinion, dividing the player base in two or three is a terrible mistake.

I just haven't seen anything that will get me interested enough to fork out $15/month. If it worked like Guild Wars and it was an upfront $60 and no subscription I would be considering playing the game at release. I think the paywall Imperials is another knock against a subscription as well, but that is another story.

I've put some time into the beta as well. I'd really like to give a detailed explanation of why I won't be buying this game, but I'm unsure of the legality regarding the NDA, so instead I'll leave it at; "I won't be buying this game."

Surprised at the generally glowing reviews from the Escapist staff, but then again Yagami had a point in his original censored post before he went full tin-foil hat in the rest of his replies.

shintakie10:
I think this is some of the only good press I've seen come out for ESO.

Nearly every person I've talked to who has gotten a beta invite generally responds to the question of how is it with a resounding "Meh."

To be fair, some of us that do Beta take the NDA portion of things fairly seriously. I do occasionally let some things drop, but for the most part I wait until closer to release or until we see a lot of other leaks, then I usually come out and explain that I was a tester (and honestly I do betas for a staggering number of things it seems) and what my impressions were.

To be honest with you, the ESO Beta has not been the best conducted affair I've ever run into. It's following the now fairly typical format of only being up at very specific times for very specific purposes, asking testers to pretty much plan their lives around it. Generally not a big deal since I don't have much of a life anymore, but it can be annoying when responsibilities like taking my father to the doctor or whatever come up since missing the window might knock me out for a week or so and you know... priorities. What's more their testing has generally been things like "let's overload the character logins to see what happens" so your "beta testing" in that two hour window is sitting there trying to login to the game, which would be fine (it has to be done) but made incredibly frustrating when they don't mention this bit. On one test they annoyed so many people I guess that they told us all we were getting a free static monkey pet when the game is finally released. Another time I left the tutorial area and saw like 50 people crammed into the starting arrival house/hut and nobody could open the door, apparently it seems the devs were trying to see how many models they could cram into that area.... very little in the way of respect, coordination, or information. On some levels I'm surprised they having gone the Inexile route of asking people to pay $10 for the honor of being their beta testers and guinea pigs.

As a result I am in no way shocked to hear it said that the reaction of a lot of beta testers has been "meh" truthfully I've expected a lot more overt fire breathing hostility.

The game itself is decent, but not without problems. It's pretty much a clone of "Neverwinter" in terms of what they are trying to do with the combat and style of skill usage as far as needing to aim a crosshair, and use buttons to swing your weapon, aim a shield, and having your special moves on hot keys, albeit they are doing it with a somewhat more realistic "low fantasy" vibe similar to the art you've seen in other Elder Scrolls games. It has the potential to be a big MMO but that's largely going to come down to the endgame, which they are keeping really close to their chest, and that's NOT a good thing given that they plan to release in a little under two months. What's more with this being the first set of tests where they aren't wiping characters I can't see very much testing in terms of progression and how the endgame will play in practice.

As The Escapist points out they seem to be banking on a 3 faction PVP endgame to sustain it. If that's the case, you can pretty much expect ESO to be a high quality "Dead Man Walking" much like Shamus predicts. Especially seeing as the competition, games like "Wildstar" have made a much bigger deal about their endgames not just involving PVP, but also bringing back things like "real" raiding including 40 man raids and the like, the kind of stuff that got hardcore players invested and kept them early on with WoW and the like. That said I am hoping that contrary to the usual pattern Bethesda has something ready to surprise us. Right now it seems they are banking on the players creating their own endgame through endless PVP, hoping that something like "Dark Age Of Camelot" can be achieved. While DAOC was inspirational I do not think triple realm warfare is going to sustain a game for long, especially seeing as the needs of an MMO prevent much from being achieved, if one faction is allowed to dominate for the long term nowadays the people on the losing sides are liable to just leave for other games (or servers where the faction they want to play is winning), if the game itself is set up to force a restoration of balance... well even that becomes pointless. At the best things will keep going until people have achieved the PVP gear/titles they want and realize there isn't much else to do and leave. What's more with all the options out there your not likely to see people who aren't into PVP/solo players/duoers paying a monthly subscription fee simply so they can have the honor of being curbstomped thousands of times.

In short it's not really a "WoW" clone it's following the pseudo-action/RPG niche of Neverwinter and a few others, which isn't quite as overfilled. It also has some really good ideas, and will definatly keep people occupied for a few months with what is there. As far as a lasting MMO success story, it has the potential, but it remains to be seen if it will fill it fast enough, and/or how it's going to fare against it's upcoming competition from Wildstar which unlike most MMOS has been seriously hyping it's endgame and long term potential (which you rarely see), and of course "Everquest Next" which despite the failure of EQ2, seems like it also has some serious potential, and at the very least seems to be blowing everyone else away in the technology department. If EQ: Next is putting half as much work into their endgame as they are into their graphics and technology system, pretty much all of the current games are doomed, but again EQ:NExt is still in the hype phase, and all games look awesome at that point, so you know... the odds are still greatly in favor of it being another refried SOE turd.

I could give more specifics, but I don't want to say much more, I'm largely just elaborating on things that are already out there from other sources. Races, classes, specific abilities and gameplay, what little I know about crafting, etc... that's all pretty much under wraps.

AldUK:
I've put some time into the beta as well. I'd really like to give a detailed explanation of why I won't be buying this game, but I'm unsure of the legality regarding the NDA, so instead I'll leave it at; "I won't be buying this game."

Surprised at the generally glowing reviews from the Escapist staff, but then again Yagami had a point in his original censored post before he went full tin-foil hat in the rest of his replies.

To be fair their review wasn't all that glowing, and it seemed pretty accurate to me. It's a mess, they had trouble getting the tutorial to run properly for most of their characters it seems, but they eventually managed to get through it with persistence. That's overwhelmingly negative. Once they got out into the game world, the system was pretty cool, workable, and quite different from the usual "Wow" clone style of play, which it is. They didn't make the Neverwinter comparison I usually do (it's not exact, just a similar style to me) though.

To be honest I'm surprised they got in, half the time I can't due to login testing, I tried a bunch this latest test but gave up. I could tell you about my exciting adventures with glitches, but I'm still keeping with the spirit of the NDA, and trying to avoid things that haven't been mentioned elsewhere (like here). I will say that in reading these descriptions of starting the game once you login I had an uncanny feeling of deja vu.

As far as whether Greg is right in his later comments about it not making a lick of money... well, a lot depends on quashing bugs, and of course the endgame. The core gameplay is pretty decent. As someone who has put a pretty good number of hours (and a chunk of change) into Neverwinter, I can say that this game seems to be delivering something a bit more like I hoped that game would be... that is to say more open zones and exploration, Neverwinter tends to be incredibly linear in the way it's set up, you really don't have a wilderness you can go plowing off into and get lost
in for hours.

*IF* they fix the bugs, and *IF* they can come up with something decent for an endgame rather than mass PVP, this game could be quite successful. To put it into perspective through ARC (new PWI client) alone Neverwinter had 3 million downloads last time I checked. That isn't considering the people playing who didn't put ARC on since it's not currently mandatory. You run around Protector's Enclave you see plenty of people who are obvious hardcore "free" players but also tons of people showing off their $30-$40 premium mounts and $15-25 premium companions, not to mention you'll find the AH glutted with stuff from chance boxes people are selling for AD (and people looking to sell it for gold via trade channel) which means they seem to be doing a hefty business selling keys for $1.25 a pop like they do with Star Trek Online. In short it's no WoWkiller but Neverwinter seems to be doing very well. ESO seems like a much more ambitious, deeper, and more open world oriented version of the same thing. $15 a month is a heck of a lot cheaper than what it can cost to get the "full" Neverwinter experience, something I think a lot of players there and in other games are starting to realize. As a result while ESO will almost definatly never be some WoW-like monster with 8 million active subscriptions, I think it has the potential to do well and maybe hold a million or two people if it's taken care of properly. A lot of it also depends on them making that $15 worthwhile as well though, if they keep providing new content like "Neverwinter" does (festivals, new companions, mounts, etc...) and it's included with the price of admission it becomes a great deal. If they just charge you for the honor of playing and don't do anything to keep people interested and simply go "meh, entertain yourself you plebe" then no, that might not go well. It's also likely to be borderline suicidal if they decide to double dip and say charge you $15 per month, and then on top of all of that expect you to pay for every new thing they add into the game (or turn it into a huge grind... with shortcuts available from the cash shop! don't forget you can take a break from fishing and get your lights of simiril from the trade bar store....). If they decide to say "We are Elder Scrolls, our name alone means the fans will devour any steaming pile we shove their way" I imagine it will backfire before too long.

Thanks for those that read this far, this is my analysis... and I just wanted to say that I didn't think The Escapist was being too positive (the main point) rather I think they are right on the money. As I said, I'm not sure how "I had to make a bunch of characters before I could get out of my cell and properly start the tutorial" remotely counts as positive... and uh.. yeah... let's just say Deja Vu. Indeed it was more positive than my tutorial comments which as I mentioned would also include "after half an hour of waiting for my character to finally login to the game...".

In playing the Beta, while I have enjoyed my time so far (up to the point that a broken quest completely halted mine and several other players from carrying on, but they should fix it soon), I've seen nothing to justify the several different ways to pay for it. It is decent, but there's yet to be a moment that I've been completely lost in the game.

I'm not sure how detailed I can get with the NDA, but essentially the quests have been disappointing for me.

Haven't touched the beta yet but everything I'm hearing is just reinforcing my expectations.

The IP is continuing to drag this game down.

Everywhere I read about it, it's nothing but comparisons to 'skyrim' even though the game is being made by a different development team and is another MMO, not 'Skyrim but with other people'.

I foresee soo many people buying it then dumping it after the first month when they realise it is in fact an MMO and not some make-believe online single player experience that could never exist (at least not with the current hardware and tech)

Instead of comparing it to Skyrim, people should be comparing it to Wildstar or Guild Wars 2 or any other new MMO titles.

I also think this game looks set to suffer the same problems that Warhammer Online did. I.E: Too much of a split between the PvE zones, the RvR lakes and the Battlegrounds. They should have just made the entire game one giant RvR/PvP lake and added in dynamic PvE content that could be tackled while also having to fend off enemy players.

In warhammer, there was such a disconnect between the PvE and PvP modes that it felt like two separate games pasted together rather than a cohesive experience. And crap like the pre-order bonus (allowing people to play as any race in any faction) just sucks away the sense of competition and immersion from the PvP. I mean, why even bother having the convoluted back story for each faction if you're going to completely ignore it anyway? =/

TL;DR It's looking like Warhammer Online 2.

From my experience in game, it has strong potential if it moves to F2P, but as a P2P model, it will fail hard. There are a number of reasons I can't list due to NDA, but the primary one is this, with so many F2P or B2P options out there, you would have to make an unbelievably good game to get people to want to pay you $15 a month. That is the flat out truth. We are well beyond that payment style anymore (with very few notable exceptions).

As for the game itself. I've had fun with it, but I don't think I would be able to get into it enough to play regularly (much like most MMOs), so I won't be purchasing it (since I don't have any interest in paying to maybe play a game).

Overall the game is just average to me. Nothing about it stands out and I get bored easily. That said, when and if it goes F2P I may pick it up to pass the time but the game has lost my interest.

With the beta keys released yesterday, I spent some ten hours on it. It feels like a TES game for the most part, but it's not different enough to bother with. It's a "good" game on paper, it has all the basic stuff, the visuals are great and it flows pretty good for a first person view game, but there's nothing really to it and it's full of useless junk mechanics, like looting every box within sight just for the hell of it.
Looting is like a minigame, like it's been in other TES games, you just click on stuff out of habit, but at least in the SP games, you occasionally got something useful. In TESO, it's just there to give some instant gratification, without actually giving you anything.

The promised exploration seems to be either missing or not well implemented. You can enter an area and get quests, but you can't really hit a random direction and find anything interesting. As soon as we got out of the tutorial zones, we raced out to see what we could find and gave up after a few hours. Apart from the occasional hidden chest, there's not much to see and you keep hitting invisible walls, which is the bane of explorers. This was just for one faction, but honestly, if it doesn't work right off the bat, I doubt it'll work at all, especially seeing how zones are bordered off.

The first person perspective works for the most part, though it is pretty disorienting, especially in combat.

I think the game will tank, hard. It doesn't set itself apart enough to warrant an MMO. If it'd been a co-op game and had far more polish and mechanics that you could justify putting in a single players game, but not an MMO, it would've been a huge success.

I don't see what I can get from paying a subscription to this game. I play MMO's because you get to set your mark in the world and meet other people, not to play a boiled down singleplayer game with others. This was why SWTOR was a novelty, it was fun while it lasted, but there's no way I was going to keep paying for a subscription to it.

It's just another rollercoaster MMO's that don't mean squat in the history of gaming and it'll likely take the IP down the drain with it. In my opinion, that's fine. TES is a good IP, but I'd rather see something new and creative.

barbzilla:
NDA

There was half a million beta keys on curse yesterday, how does NDA still apply?

Smilomaniac:

There was half a million beta keys on curse yesterday, how does NDA still apply?

YES. Yes it does. I suggest you remove/edit your post immediately.

soooo

wait wait wait

the NDA doesn't apply to the Escapist reporters or something? How am I even supposed to discuss this with any kind of depth?

Augustine:

Smilomaniac:

There was half a million beta keys on curse yesterday, how does NDA still apply?

YES. Yes it does. I suggest you remove/edit your post immediately.

I'm not sure what you mean. I didn't sign any NDA myself, I just jumped in with the beta key I got from curse.
Unless you're reffering to some forum guideline I don't understand?

The NDA is packed into the terms of use megadocument the first time you start the game, I think.

Smilomaniac:

Augustine:

Smilomaniac:

There was half a million beta keys on curse yesterday, how does NDA still apply?

YES. Yes it does. I suggest you remove/edit your post immediately.

I'm not sure what you mean. I didn't sign any NDA myself, I just jumped in with the beta key I got from curse.
Unless you're reffering to some forum guideline I don't understand?

All the content of the closed beta is still under NDA. It has been stated explicitly by the developers. I cannot know the specifics of when and where you accepted the agreement, perhaps when you use the key you presumed to have agreed to abide by NDA.
Not knowing the rules does not absolve one from responsibility to follow them.
If you want to take your chances with Bethesda's lawyers - its your call. You have been warned.

Augustine:

All the content of the closed beta is still under NDA. It has been stated explicitly by the developers. I cannot know the specifics of when and where you accepted the agreement, perhaps when you use the key you presumed to have agreed to abide by NDA.
Not knowing the rules does not absolve one from responsibility to follow them.
If you want to take your chances with Bethesda's lawyers - its your call. You have been warned.

Ah, good point. At any rate, I haven't discussed major plot points, mechanics or anything crucial to the game. If they feel the need to go after me, I say let them. It'll be a cross continental lawsuit and clicking agree where I live is not a real legal binding, especially when terms are buried in four pages of legal speak. It'd not only be futile, but detrimental to their company.

weirdguy:
soooo

wait wait wait

the NDA doesn't apply to the Escapist reporters or something? How am I even supposed to discuss this with any kind of depth?

You're not, thats the basic point. Honestly its terrifyin how close we are to the game launch and they're still under such a heavy NDA on the beta.

The only reason to have an NDA last this long with it being as close to the game launch as it is would be if you have absolutely 0 faith in your product.

shintakie10:
I think this is some of the only good press I've seen come out for ESO.

Nearly every person I've talked to who has gotten a beta invite generally responds to the question of how is it with a resounding "Meh."

Ya that was my experience. Now i had really bad lag and couldn't get past level 4 or so but my reaction to that was "oh well. I felt no pull to going back. The combat was interesting the first couple of times but it ended up being something between traditional mmo and TES style combat which became boring quickly and like the article said you don't really unlock skills quickly enough to keep things interesting. I think it would have been better for the game if they had used to skyrim tier system rather then trying to make skill unlocking a similar thing to talent trees we see in WoW and other MMOs. For a single player game having to have a certain skill at a certain level to get a new one is fine but the game is built around that but if you end up having to use the same 2-3 skills all the time, not because you want to but because those are the only skills that you have then it just doesn't work. The graphics and voice acting were good and the storyline seems interesting. As for quests i think its impossible to have a MMO without standard fetch quests/ kill X things so i don't really mind as long as the rest of the game makes up for it. In the end i think that while the game looks pretty and seems to have thought behind it, its not really worth it and it certainly isn't worth a $X/mo fee to play. But these are just my thoughts, i wouldn't be too surprised if the game as a small cult sub-section of TES fans.

I put aside a day to play the TESO beta recently and I've gotta say it's kind of meh for me
(Note 5/10 means average for me, no major improvment, 1/10 means major decline, 10/10 means amazing improvment

the combat is awesome as far as MMO's go but not as awesome as skyrim with a good deal of abilities you can only use while in combat and while targeting a viable source + when you hit someone while sneaking you break sneak making it next to impossible to assasinate multiple targets, little things really not enough for me to say I hate it. 9/10 compared to WoW, 6/10 compared to most elder scrolls games

The character creation is again pretty cool as far as MMO's go but otherwise shitastic as far as an elder scrolls game goes, you're options are pretty much bulky, thin, or somewhere inbetween in all things, you can never take any of your sliders high enough or low enough to make your character look particularly different and each of the races only seems to have 8 or so preset hair do's all of which look about as good as the human hair cuts from WoW with only one or two semi decent haircuts and everything else looking like you're trying to be a modern age weirdo, something that doesn't really fit with the adornments they give that are all significantly better and make you look like you're trying to be a 18th century manly man. 7/10 compared to most MMO's, 3/10 compared to most Elder scrolls games

the exploration has good looking environments but again not something I would look for in an elder scrolls game. I was very disappointed that I couldn't drop items to decorate the environment in anyway like in most Elder scrolls games but I accepted that would lead to to much trolling in an MMO. what I really didn't like was that most of the plants I saw weren't able to be harvested, most of the random props laying around were NOT interactable, when creatures died they didn't drop what they were holding but instead dropped stuff from a randomized list, most often 1 GP but occasionally I would kill an archer and get some linen pants or whatever.
Basically it has the loot system and environment interactivity of WoW with an environment skin somewhere between Skyrim and oblivion. Overall 6/10 exploration compared to most MMO's and 2/10 exploration compared to most Elder scrolls games.

The Immersion also sucks nuts, the storyline is essentially another 'you're the chosen one and the only one capable of saving the world' shtick where as soon as you step out the door you're greeted by 100 other chosen ones doing the exact same thing. Then once you're done with that and you enter into the world it's not uncommon for you to have to queue up behind a quest giver and wait for them to keep respawning so you can turn in your quests. Oh you want me to kill 5 rats? ok done, oh you're congratulating that guy on killing five rats, ok, I'll wait. oh hey there's 15 other guys that killed 5 rats... oooooooh boy better wait my turn (This might be fixed but still the positions of the quest givers+The scope of what you do kind of takes out the excitement of the thing, not to mention the 6 or so guys with mohawks that will inevitably be in the middle of every quest)... 4/10 compared to most other MMO's, 3/10 compared to most TES games.

All and all as an MMO it's pretty good 6.5/10, cool combat system but otherwise another WoW clone.
All and all as a elder scrolls game though 3.5/10 it's no where near as good as the norm and it doesn't offer that sense of being there that morrowind through skyrim have offered in the past. It just doesn't feel like a big exciting world for you to find your place in.

PS. Screw Race based factions, Why are we still doing race based factions? Those are super dumb and it's annoying as hell that it's like oh, do you want to play with your friends? Of course you do! here's the three races capable of playing with your friends! oh you want to be a mage? WELL CONGRATLUATIONS you're friend is a Khajit and the race that gets a bunch of benefits for a being a mage on this faction is a weird looking elf so your race is pretty much chosen for you!

(I'm aware you can go against the META and decide to just ignore all those extra bonuses but I'm also aware that every MMO I've ever played has very quickly ended up leaning heavily on the end game and that the developers either have to choose to make it so that the people that minimax their stuff are so ungodly powerful they blaze through all the end game challenges like butter and upset the balance of the in game economy OR they have to choose to make it so that the people that do not minimax are absolute garbage and can't do anything in the endgame, with the only way around this being to make it so your options aren't for statistical bonuses but rather situational abilities.
That being said none of the racial abilities they've shown so far are situational.

also I understand this game is still in Beta but I'm highly skeptical even a quarter of this stuff is going to change the final release.

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