I like video games. That's no secret. If you see me on a daily basis I'm more often than not plopped right in front of my computer, back bent at an unhealthy angle, furiously tapping my keyboard like I'm trying to beat it into submission. Damn I need a life...
Anyways I have started playing Elder Scrolls Online, or ESO for short, and I thought I might talk a little bit about it. Keep in mind this is not an in-depth review or game play walk-through. Just simply my thoughts about the game as of right now. Perhaps this will aid someone's decision about whether or not to get the game. In any case, I just wanted to talk about it.
So first things first... money.
|You can buy a mount as soon as you log in.|
The game costs $59.99 or $79.99 for the Imperial edition which I bought for a few added goodies. On top of that there is a monthly recurring fee of $14.99. Purchasing the game also gives you 30days included game time free. (Although they charged me for my first month. Trying to get that figured out.) A lot of people have a big issue with a subscription fee. Most people do not like this model anymore for MMOs. (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game MMORPG) Me personally? I don't mind it, and I actually like it for a number of reasons. For one I have been playing MMOs for a long long time and I have simply become accustomed to a subscription fee. I feel $15/mo. is a fair price to pay for a good game, but that's just me. Anymore though and I don't know how enthused I would be about it. But I like this model for a few reasons beyond being accustomed to it. I think that with a subscription being paid per month you are kind of buying into a contract that says, "Hey, I am giving you my money every month, I expect you (the company) to provide me with new content, customer support when I need it, and some sort of guarantee against hackers messing up the game." I have seen too many times where a game will go free to play and all those things will go straight out the door with the fee. As soon as the fee drops they stop caring about the game and hackers have a field day with it. How Guild Wars 2 keeps on top of this with only micro transactions, I have no clue. But that brings me to my next point. Guild Wars 2 doesn't draw me back every week. See it how you will, but a sub fee actually makes me feel like I need to log back in at least for a few hours out of the month in order to get the most out of my $15. In doing so I fall in love with the game all over again and end up back in my hunchbacked vitamin D deprived state.
Ok so enough of that. I just figured I would get that much out of the way. My first impressions? I like the game. Why wouldn't I though? I played the other Elder Scrolls console games. This, however, is different. I personally am not a big fan of console games. In my household there are two xbox 360s and a PS3 (I plan to get the xbox one and PS4 still) and they are all mostly used as dvd/blu-ray players. I like computer games best, and more importantly, I like MMOs. Everytime I play an RPG on a console, I always think, "Wow, this quest would be awesome with another player." In MMOs I get that. I also like to play a support role more so than anything else, and in single player RPGs that's basically impossible. So here we have a meeting of both worlds. A great single player franchise, meeting the world of an immersive MMO that can be shared with fans throughout the world. That being said, it is definitely not geared solely towards the Elder Scrolls veteran. There is tons of back story to catch up on and lots of new stuff for even the most seasoned of players to learn. It really is a different game.
|Sunsets look really nice|
Surprisingly enough first day launch was very smooth. That's all thanks to the way they have designed their servers and their early access opt-in. They did a really good job on this, far better than any MMO launch I have ever played. There were no ques (that I experienced), no lag, and very few bugs. Yes guys, there are bugs. But what do you expect? It's a new game, and the amount it has is very tame compared to other MMOs in the past. Plus most of the bugs you encounter are just minor nuisances like quests not being able to be completed and so on. I did however find one which was really annoying and made me run at half speed.
|Short ques for PVP but not guaranteed to get in!|
As far as PVP goes, I'm probably not the best to ask because I prefer PVE far more in any game I play. However, ESOs PVP feels a lot like Guild Wars 2. The map is VERY expansive and you have a lot to do. I felt no lag what so ever even in the middle of huge sieges. All I really have to say about it is that it is really fun, even for a PVE minded person like me. That's saying something. However, trying to get into a full server for PVP is a nightmare. They really do need to do something about it. You get sent to a que which is fine, but once your turn is up, sometimes you get stuck on the loading screen. No bueno. I did that for like an hour and a half last night. Once you get in though, as I said before, there is no noticable lag and there are daily quests and stuff like that.
Right, so questing. Questing is a lot of fun in ESO. There is A TON of story that goes into the quests and you find yourself actually wanting to read every single one. Even if you don't want to read it, they hired really good voice actors to read it for you lazy fools. Some of them are even famous movie stars! This is really nice because it feels just that much more immersive as a whole. Quests are fresh and new. Sure there are the classic, "Kill 10 of this," and "Bring 5 of these," but even those quests feel rewarding to do. They did a good job making you feel like there is a good reason you are collecting 5 herbs and killing 10 lady bugs. Plus you don't have to grind for 20 minutes to find these 5 herbs, and you don't have to travel across the map either. Beyond those classic quests there are a lot of other really fun and interesting ones. There are also occasional options to intimidate and persuade an NPC to get them to let up on having you gather 10 squished lady bugs while killing 5 herbs. Did I mention story? If not, the story is absolutely fantastic.
Graphics, as to be expected, are really nice. Armors, weapons, character models, creatures, and animations all look great. Even weather changes look really awesome. Rain even SOUNDS nice. I had to turn around one night and ask my brother if it was raining outside while I was playing. One thing I don't like, and I know many many other people will disagree, is the UI. Call me crazy but I like a cluttered UI. Yes, I said it, I miss the old MMOs where you had tons and tons of skills to choose from all laid out right in front of you. But for those of you wanting a very clean sleek UI, ESO did that nicely. Everything goes away when not in combat, even the chat box if no one has said anything in a while and all you are left with is the little compass up top and the current quest objective which I believe you can toggle off as well.
I guess that's about it for now. I am not getting paid to say any of this and I doubt Bethesda/Zenimax gives a damn whether I write positively or negatively about this game. But my honest opinion is that the game is really good. If you are on the fence about getting it, my vote is for it. I am enjoying every minute I have played it so far. Give it a shot, I don't think you will be disappointed. Here are some more screen shots. Hope you enjoy them and I hope to see you in the game!