Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Get The Elder Scrolls Online - PC/Mac

Get The Elder Scrolls Online - PC/Mac




Let me first start this review by saying that I am a huge fan of past Elder Scrolls games - Oblivion being one of my most played games of all time. That being said, I have found Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) to barely resemble the games that I have loved so much in the past. I was ready to accept ESO as its own entity, even in the event that it diverged from the tried and true Elder Scrolls formula, but I feel that ESO does not have enough merit on its own to be worth the price. Yet.

I'm going to attempt to rate the main components of the game, please understand that this is just my opinion as someone who has played the game. I played the game for a solid week at least and made 4 characters during that time - at least one in each of the starting alliances, just to try a little bit of everything the game had to offer. I understood beforehand that this comes with a 15$ monthly subscription fee and I am 100% alright with that.

To list a few recent-ish MMOs that I've played for backstory - Star Wars galaxies, Star Wars: The old republic, Guild Wars, Guildwars 2, Tera, Rift, Lord of the rings online, Final Fantasy: A realm reborn, The secret World.. Etc.

One quick note before we get started - I did NOT experience any lag or login issues whatsoever in my entire time playing the game.

The UI (User Interface) - 3 out of 5 stars

The UI in ESO is similar to the typical UI in past Elder scrolls games such as Skyrim and will be familiar to anyone who has played those games, but somehow it feels.. Lesser. Like something is missing. It's a difficult thing to explain, but from reading other reviews I see that many others feel the same way that I do. I would suggest watching a few reviews on youtube if you're on the fence about this.

The Combat System - 1 out of 5 stars

This for me, was the absolute weakest point of my entire experience. I started my first character intending to be primarily an archer. I immediately noticed how.. Detached the impacts seem. You barely even need to aim your bow - Just point in the general direction of your target and they will home in for you. This may seem necessary for an MMO, but it causes major issues when you are facing multiple targets. Healing is the same way, you will often find yourself hitting the wrong target. Even worse, when your arrows hit the target, there is little reaction from it. You just keep firing until it runs out of health. I eventually gave in and picked up a couple swords, which were leaps and bounds better than the archery. If you are familiar with the MMO 'Tera' (Which is FREE now, if you're looking for something else to try) You will notice a similarity in mechanics. Left click for light attack, right click to block, Etc.. With such a simple system you would think that they would have nailed it, but it still feels so much less visceral than any other non-tab targeting MMO I've ever played. Also, first person mode is virtually unusable in my opinion. Maybe it just didn't click with me, but I couldn't handle it for more than a few moments.

Graphics - 3 out of 5 stars

This is a difficult thing for me to rate, and I'll tell you why. While the character models are beautifully detailed, most of the landscapes and town areas are extremely dull and boring, which is very disappointing since we've come to expect gorgeous worlds from Elder Scrolls games. When I created my first character, I was surprised at how detailed the creator system was. ESO definitely has that going for it, at very least. Unfortunately, the first 10-15 areas I made it to were unbelievably dull. Buildings were very poorly modeled, water effects were not great. Another thing that I didn't like was that It was almost as if the sky itself was acting as a ceiling, barely 20 feet up. It all felt very claustrophobic, especially in snowy areas. and yes, I cranked it up to ultra for a little while just to be fair.

Questing - 2 out of 5 stars

I've read quite a few reviews on Amazon and other sites, and many people seem to really enjoy the questing system in ESO, so take my comments with a grain of salt. The voice acting is very good, but there are only 5-6 voice actors, so things begin to seem very familiar very quickly, But that was the case in a lot of Elder Scrolls games, so no big complaint there. The quests themselves do seem to have a little more storyline backing them than many other MMOs, which is a welcome addition. However, I found that they are far too 'Instanced' to be enjoyable in my opinion. For example - Imagine standing in a room full of other players, when suddenly they all completely disappear just because you picked up a new quest, or continued a quest line you already had. This happened to me nearly every time I finished a quest that wasn't a token 'Collect 5 slime livers' type of quest. I found this to be very disruptive and immersion shattering. Another HUGE problem is that once you have finished these quest lines, you can no longer help a lower level friend or guild-mate complete them because the instant that they accept the quest, they will be phased away from you. Maybe later in the game this does not occur so frequently, but if It does than I'm glad I did not continue any farther than I did.

Overall - 2 out of 5

I really wanted to like this game, whether or not it felt like an 'Elder Scrolls' game, but what I found was a game that feels like a very weak attempt to cash in on a popular brand name without bringing anything new or noteworthy to the table itself. I'm sad to say that this is the only MMO that has left me so disappointed that I canceled my subscription within 2 weeks of starting. I don't feel like that I was mistaken in doing so. Maybe in 3-6 months this game will be a little more ironed-out, but as it is now I found very little to be enjoyable.

Miscellaneous comments -

In ESO, your characters are all linked by account in ways that I have not seen in any MMO previously. For example, you can join up to 5 guilds, but when one character on your account joins a guild, so do all of your other characters. This is actually an interesting concept and I think it could be a great one if done correctly. Bank accounts are shared between all characters on an account, leaving space concerns. Again, not a positive or a negative as the concerns have not necessarily been substantiated yet. (Not by me, anyway)

Another reviewer - Brendan Ross wrote this very well, I would like to share his words and encourage everyone to read his review as well.

Regarding the auction/trading system, Brendan writes -

"In ESO, trading is limited to trading guilds. Each player can join up to 5 guilds, and these guilds can have up to 500 members. This means that the total theoretical market, other than spamming general chat for customers, is 2500 players. Players, mind you, and not characters, because the guild membership is tied to the players account - all characters belong to the same guilds." - One of the first things I noticed when I started was the endless bombardments of sale-spam in the global/area chat. This needs to be addressed.

TL;DR - ESO is a game caught between two worlds - The world of the single player role playing game, and the world of MMOs. This seems to have caused it to lack a personality of its own. Wait awhile before trying this game unless you are the worlds biggest Elder Scrolls fan. And even if you are, watch a few youtube reviews first. In the meantime, try Tera, It's 100% free to download and play now.