Elder Scrolls Online makes me laugh, and that goes a long way

I’m setting the world on fire, one cart at a time. Viva la revolucion!

I know that last week I started in on Elder Scrolls Online’s combat system, and more specifically, why I am so unsatisfied with it. It’s not horrible, but I feel fairly safe in saying that the general consensus among players is that it could be so much better.

However, we gamers are always evaluating the merits of a game as a series of trade-offs. It’s bad over here, but it’s really good over there, so does that balance it out or tip the scales in the game’s favor? I can put up with some measure of disappointment if other aspects of an MMO exceed expectations. And I think that’s the case with ESO; it’s never going to be my mainline game, but it’s a very, very good game because its world, its stories, and its humor make up for having to slog through dull combat encounters.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve resumed my journeys through Elsewyr and haven’t been disappointed by a quest yet. I keep forgetting that John Cleese is in this game no matter how many times I encounter his character Cadwell, and I’m always filled with glee when he gets a minute or two of screen time.

There’s also something about the pace of this game that sits right with me. Unlike most other MMOs I play, I’m not scrambling to do a dozen or so smaller tasks in the same questing zone. Instead, I get the luxury of starting a quest and playing it all the way through its twists and turns. Elsweyr has a lot of good ones, ones that aren’t “let’s fight dragons and save the world entire!”

Probably my favorite quest bestowal — ever — came when I was running through a town and this NPC crashed through a second-story window and onto the cobblestones below. He snapped up, briefly introduced himself, and invited me to join him on a treasure hunt. I was hooked on that questline from then on, which had undertones of Indiana Jones without getting blatant about it.

Another absolutely hilarious questline involved helping a clueless but rather upbeat Nord ambassador try to charm the locals with various gifts and efforts. All of them go spectacularly bad, although the one where he gave the Khajiit a bunch of cat skins had me laughing out loud for more than one reason.

So yeah… good times. I find that logging in to do one full quest a night hits the spot for me, and while that’s not exactly racing through this expansion, I’m not in any particular rush to be anywhere else. Might as well enjoy what I purchased, yes?

5 thoughts on “Elder Scrolls Online makes me laugh, and that goes a long way

  1. I now what you mean. There’s many nice touches to the game. Some of them even operate on a meta-level. Like where you encounter the Barbas, the servant of Clavicus Vile. He is around in the shape of a talking dog. And a Khajiit comments that a talking dog is tottally unnatural… 😀

    Next to funny things, i also love the other touches. A good example is the singer near the crafting area in Rimmen. She actually has a number of songs in her list and when i first time noticed her, i spent well over half an hour there, just listening. And talking to other people who also just stopped by and were fascinated.

    Somebody went the extra distance to bring in these features. Nobody would complain if they were not there, but their presence just adds so much to the world.

    As a sidenote, as you referenced to the last posting: did you already consider or try running an addon which modifies the user interface? It will not fix all the problems you have with combat, but it might fix the “rubbery” health lines, which get used up from both sides, by replacing them with more classical “left to right” health bars which don’ have so much animation but react much faster. (I wouldn’t be aware of anything which would add more impact sounds and, based on how the games combat works, doubt that it would even be possible to add in hit-animations without doing a lot of damage, but at least one aspect you noticed as negative could be fixed. )

    I would be curious how much this would already make things better for you.

  2. I have to say that “funny” is about the last word I’d think of using to describe ESO. It’s probably the most relentlessly po-faced takes-itself-seriously MMORPG I’ve ever played.

    Then, I find all the examples above utterly unamusing. They sound like the kind of jokes politicians tell at party conferences, which they’ve clearly learned verbatim under the watchful eye of spin doctors, who have been unable to explain why the jokes are funny, only that “trust us, they just are”.

    Even John Cleese sounds like he’s phoning it in.

  3. Hmm. Tastes differ. Which also includes humor. I actually like what they do. Also, it might be just me, but i think some of the jokes only work in the generally serious and somewhat gritty setup of ESO.

    I mean, some people even found WildStar funny. And in the end, some of the jokes might actually have been funny. But in the scope of the “volume to eleven, permanently”, effect overload and something funny forced in every 30 minutes at least, often in crowbar style, it didn’t work for me any more. In contrast, ESOs humor is more of my personal taste.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s