Elder Scrolls Online is one of those games, I’m finding, that never strongly compels me to log into it, yet when I do, I’m often satisfied with the experience that ensues. I have to kick myself a little to get into gear and play it, knowing that once I do, it’ll be worth my while.
There’s certainly plenty left for me to explore and do, since I’m still just in the early stages of Elsweyr. There are dragons and necromancy and more dragons and cat-people and necromancy. This expansion knows the beats that it wants to hit, and it hits them very often. I’m not that thrilled (or awed) at the dragons here, even though they are animated and voiced rather well. It’s just that I’ve seen them too many times in fantasy games, you know? I don’t even hate dragons the way I do elves; I’m just tired of how they’re all samey and uninteresting.
I feel as though my character concept is finally starting to gel after a lot of experimentation. I know that I’m going to be sticking with heavy armor and a weapon-and-shield set up, so it’s nice to start bending my skill points and gear collecting to that aim. I like the added protection and don’t feel as though I need a lot of magick after winging a few early spells in a fight. There’s something relaxing in the simple art of swinging away until something is dead. Thwack, thwack, thwack.
So if dragons don’t thrill me, what does about Elsweyr? As I’ve said before, the African-inspired landscape is really cool to explore and photograph. The warm, bright lighting helps from making this place seem desolate, which is a real danger when you get into craggy canyons and go for a while between seeing trees.
In one quest, I met a cursed NPC who had the most meta explanation for why he never moves. Maybe that’s why all NPCs are nailed to one spot? That’s some sort of horror I don’t want to contemplate, right there.
I’ll be happy to see this expansion through, I think, but I need to be diligent in keeping up a regular habit of logging in. My new gaming system certainly helps in this regard, as it doesn’t let me neglect any one game on my list for too long. And at least I can remind myself that, unlike some other MMOs I play, ESO is a title that I haven’t rehashed to death. Everything in front of me is brand-new to me, and there’s enough to keep me going for well over a year even if this was my only game.