Posted in Elder Scrolls Online

Four things I love about Elder Scrolls Online — and two I hate

With minutes to spare, I managed to wrap up the entirety of the Morrowind expansion (minus Clockwork City’s DLC) before the month of January was out. Great romp for the most part, although I am eager to get off the mushroom isle and see what the rest of Tamriel holds (maybe fewer elves?).

Now that I’ve got a month under my belt and am starting to get my bearing in this game, I thought I’d make a quick list of four things I really do like about Elder Scrolls Online — and two things that don’t really do it for me.

LOVE: The graphics

I’m not always a pure eye candy gamer, but I do appreciate striking visual scenery in my MMOs. It helps prompt exploration, as the landscape can make me want to see what else is out there. ESO does wonderful in this department. I’m often caught taking screenshots of the various locales and like the fact that this looks as good (if not better) than the graphics I praised over at FFXIV.

HATE: The combat

Our guild got into a discussion of this the other night, with some long-time vets saying that they enjoyed the fast-paced action combat. Me? I’m not the biggest fan. It’s serviceable but not that fun to engage with for the most part — a lot of fast clicking and moving about and watching slippery bars dwindle from both sides (?). I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different weapons and builds, and ultimately I just picked a dual wielding setup so I could rapidly hack down enemies and move on. It’s better than some other action MMOs, but it does make me miss tab targeting setups.

LOVE: Immersive systems

I’m really impressed how ESO manages to work in some more immersive systems into its overall design, such as the justice system or pushing deeper into guilds to earn new dialogue options. It’s not quite as immersive as, say, Project Gorgon, but it is a step up from many MMOs that have settled into a combat-only atmosphere.

LOVE: Questing

With loads of voice acting, scripting, and multi-stage events, ESO’s quests feel more significant and engaging than I’ve seen elsewhere. I generally have enjoyed the dialogue, found a few quests hilarious or memorable, and think that the fewer-but-better approach works very well here.

HATE: Housing limitations

I was super-excited to get my Elder Scrolls house and start decorating, only to find out very quickly that I had hit some sort of arbitrary “traditional furnishings” limit. Hey, if I paid $20 for an instanced house, I should get to put whatever I want to in there!

LOVE: Freedom of travel and direction

While there is a main storyline path to follow, ESO really excels in allowing players to go wherever they like and do whatever, thanks to the level scaling tech. As a result, I’m never worried about whether I’m of an appropriate level for a zone — I just travel, quest, explore, and unwind!

9 thoughts on “Four things I love about Elder Scrolls Online — and two I hate

  1. I agree with all of these! By the way, if you subscribe, you get double housing space, so you could grab that free trial this week and dump all of your furniture in your house. You can move everything around later (just don’t remove it or you won’t be able to put it back until you get back under your new cap).
    I would also add the lack of a central auction house. Yes, you can join a trading guild and list on their vendor, but most of them have a weekly fee to be part of it and the ones that don’t are always spamming you for donations. Plus, when I want something, I have to use a third party site that aggrigates prices and then wander all over Tamriel if I want to find the best price. It just seems like an outdated way of doing things.

  2. Graphics are so-so, combat is awful, questing is souless and bland, voiceover work is lackluster…

    I don’t dislike ESO but it’s almost exactly how I’d imagine a Western version of the Eastern imports we’ve been getting for years would be. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but I’ve actually had more fun in most of the imports, and played them for longer.

  3. I also agree to this review. I know that some people love the combat system. It’s very Elder Scrolls style. But I also think that tab targeted might be more of my taste.

    On the housing: now oki. I personally don’t care. I am not into housing so much. But for those who care, yes, the limit exists. But as Chaosconstant just said: use this weekend with the ESO+ trial. As long as you have ESO+ active, you can store more things in the house.

    And @Chaos: I personally actually like the trading guild system and merchants all over the world. It feels more “real” than most auction houses, so it adds to the atmosphere. And there are actually some trade guilds which don’t have the requirements you list. I am in one. Sure, the merchant is not at a prime pick spot, but it still sells things. What I actually dislike about the guild traders is the interface. You currently really need to use an addon to be able to properly search for things. Without that, it’s a chore.

    And yes, we were promised a rework there. Time will tell when we get that and how good it’ll be.

    And actually that would also he some negative I would state: the UI is not all that great. You can turn it into a great UI with some addons, but all by itself, it’s somewhat lacking. It would be nice if some of the features of a number of addons, especially for the chat window and some combat information, would actually be worked into the game itself.

  4. @Bhag: sorry man. But you really seem like they stole your candies here.

    I could answer a lot, but actually really: I already more than once commented on your “voiceover is lackluster”. That’s not true. It’s the animations which are lacking, the voice acting itself mostly is rather good. I’ve written this in more detail in previous blogs about this game, so I don’t want to repeat it again. Check back there.

  5. That is a good point on the housing limitations. With the house prices what they are, locking any of it behind a subscription as well seems a bit much.

    One thing I just learned is that a new character’s starting area depends on the content on the account. So if a new player comes in today and buys all the content, characters will start by being dumped into Summerset rather than the normal starting areas.Which seems very strange and apparently causes confusion when it comes to finding/starting the “main” story.

    As much as I like the freedom since One Tamriel, this takes it a bit far. the quest journal does not have the tools needed to direct a new player to the original storylines in any kind of order once they start in one of the expansions.

  6. I find the graphics of ESO to be a really mixed bag. Interiors seem to be really high detail, amazing lighting — exteriors are much more hit and miss. I haven’t tried out any of the shader mods though, not sure if you are @Syp?

    Otherwise I’m pretty much in alignment with you, except I haven’t got first-hand experience with the housing setup just yet.

  7. I enjoy the combat in short spurts, but tire of it if I’m mostly playing just that game – one advantage of non-action combat is that it’s just less tiring to play more of it. The storytelling is certainly to my tastes, the longer quest chains are really nice.

  8. Agree with you on all points. They could really use some combos in combat or styles that chain off each other or work off blocks or evades – just something to mix it up a bit. I’ll add one thing – the color palette used on buildings in towns is totally bland. Even the main city in Summerset is grand but bland because it’s all white with little to make it look appealing color-wise, even though the architecture is pretty cool. Same goes for the Orc expansion main city (forgot the name). Just a lack of variety in color and clutter I guess in cities makes them dull as heck.

  9. A very beatifull game, exploring is great. Questing for me was good and bad. Main story was good while a lot where too grindy and repetative for me. Combat is not stellar but some builds are ok.

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