Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Get The Elder Scrolls Online [Online Game Code]

Get The Elder Scrolls Online [Online Game Code]




Here it is, the next big entry in the MMORPG genre -- also the next big Elder Scrolls game.

This almost needs 2 reviews. One for Elder Scrolls and one for an MMORPG...

As an Elder Scrolls game, you have to ask yourself one thing: "Do I want to play an Elder Scrolls game with a bunch of other people?" If the answer is "yes, at all costs!", skip the rest of this review and click "buy". If the answer is "Yes!....wait, what costs?", then read on.

The first cost, of course, is the actual monthly subscription fee. What this gets you is a multiplayer world and (we all hope) regular content updates included as part of the subscription. The other cost is a bit more do you have an Elder Scrolls style world where everyone can go everywhere while still customizing all content to YOU? The answer is "you can't", or at any rate, they didn't make any new big innovations here. ESO is more linear than other Elder Scroll games, far more like other MMORPGs. When you are level 15 you need to be in an area that's appropriate for level 15. The game isn't totally linear -- it's not Half-Life 2, for example -- but it's no Daggerfall or Skyrim either. You need to move through the world as is appropriate for your level. Consequently this has the same problem as all PvE MMORPGs, which is that if you want to play with your friends, you need to work to stay in synch. If someone runs ahead and plays 8 hours of quests without you, you can't just log in the next day and join them where they are (not unless you want to die a lot because you're in an area too high level for you).

So that's what being multiplayer does to Elder Scrolls. If that's acceptable to you, buy away. If you were looking for a single player experience, though, you may be disappointed.

For people already familiar with MMORPGs (and may not be familiar with Elder Scrolls) probably the biggest surprise is going to be the combat system, which is, in my opinion, far more immersive and engaging than a lot of games. You are expected to actively swing your sword and actively block and actively dodge. This isn't WOW where you target something and eat nachos while mashing "Shadowbolt" over and over. You need to get involved. And it works surprisingly well. The lag seems to be invisible and the game's performance is actually amazing.

I really mean that. I dunno who they hired to do their network code and graphics engine but they're not paying them enough. The game handles hundreds of players on screen in crisp, high resolution graphics and it is frankly better and more amazing than any other MMORPG I have ever played, and I've played most of them. From high end machines to low end, all of my friends and guildmates are amazed at how well this game runs and how good it looks.

Character design is more akin to Elder Scrolls than regular MMORPG tropes too. Don't look for a "tank" or a "healer". Decide what role you want to play, decide which class looks like the most fun and then figure out how to build that class into that role. All classes can be any role, in their own way. I'm playing a Nightblade, which on the surface looks like a rogue, but I'm playing him as a tank. One of my friends is playing a Nightblade healer. It basically means we both have some decent abilities for burst damage and escape but I am very tanky and he is very healy and our character builds don't look much alike, despite being the same class. You could be a sorcerer tank or a dragonknight archer, etc. The class/role system is pretty wide open.

PvP? Elder Scrolls offers probably the best PvP we've seen since DAOC. It follows the DAOC model, which is somewhat like the GW2 model but with some important differences:

Most of the world is PvE but the 3 teams come together in the middle of the map. The middle zone is, we estimate, on the order of 15 times larger than GW2's "Eternal Battleground" (search YouTube for the travel time comparison video someone made), and that's the 3-team PvP area. There are keeps to fight over, PvE quest hubs (where enemies can and will gank you, but the XP is great if you can avoid getting murdered), "Elder Scrolls" to steal from enemy keeps, small public dungeons (where enemies can and will gank you), LOTS of open space to hunt in and, "coming soon", the Imperial City, which is a huge PvEvP area in the middle of the PvP map (not yet implemented, though you can SEE it...)

Will this game have legs to go long term? I dunno. At worst, I think it'll be the next Rift -- alive and kicking for a year or two before the new wears off for everyone. I don't think it'll be another SWTOR -- which was closing servers due to lack of players less than a year after launch. Whether it's the new WOW, exploding onto the MMORPG scene and there to stay, remains to be seen. It may depend on how popular the PvP is (which sustained DAOC for years) and how well they can deliver new content.

All things said, I'd vote "go ahead and get it". The only people I think will be unhappy are those who expected another Skyrim with an open world meant for soloing. This is not that.

For me, it's fun. I dunno if it's long term ("Magic 8-ball says: "Ask Again Later") but it really has its moments and is not a flash in the pan.