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Windows 7: Elder Scrolls Online opinions.


18 Feb 2014   #1

Windows 7 Home premium
 
 
Elder Scrolls Online opinions.

The game isn't out yet but many of us have been playing the Beta. The NDAs have been lifted meaning those of us who have been playing the Beta are now free to talk about it.

My impressions are good. It's a nice medium between MMO and Elder Scrolls game. There were a few sacrifices made to do that though. The way magic and powers work has changed as you have WOW style actions with a cooldown for some [ultimate attack and healing items] and a magic and stamina bar for the majority of offensive skills and buffs. I found it's a good idea to include at least one of each and alternate while the other bar regenerates. Items can be used to speed it up a bit, but I rarely even used healing potions and never used a stamina or magika potion.

The combat is real time and it's interesting, though I found myself rarely using my regular attack once I had a few offensive skills in my skillbars. Only when things got hectic and I ran out of both stamina and magika. Blocking also drains stamina, so it doesn't pay to try and turtle against enemies and just stand with block held down. You're better off timing block to blows and laying off it as much as possible I found.

There is a dedicated healing key and an 'ultimate attack' that can only be bound to a specific key. Unfortunately, it's the same key as the 'Take all' command. Hopefully I'll be able to bind it elsewhere, but the Beta lacked that feature and I often wasted it trying to interact with containers. It has a long cooldown as well. The basic controls are close to other ES games and those who have played previous titles will be familiar with them with a short period of adjustment. It's no worse than going from Morrowind, to Oblivion, to Skyrim. They all play similar, but slightly different and this is no worse in that regard.

Not every object is interactive as in previous ES games. You can pick up more than the average MMO game, but the majority of items seen lying about are decorative and can't be taken. It's enough that it's worth running your cursor over to check though.

The story is decent, I won't get into details. I played as a part of the Daggerfall Covenant. I always play as a Brenton on my first time through an Elder Scrolls game.

The opening is fairly impressive. You start out as a prisoner, which isn't a spoiler because it's Elder Scrolls and that's always how you start out. Anyway, you go through a tutorial area that I won't ruin and end up on a different place depending on your faction choice. As a member of the Daggerfall Covenant I ended up on a small Desert Island south of Hammerfell, which is the Redguard [black race] homeland.

It's fairly unimpressive and there is some basic questing as you run about. As with many MMOs it starts off slow. I'm to understand the starting place for the Dominion faction is the best starting area of the three and the other two are somewhat unimpressive. I haven't tried that one yet.

The thing about this game is that it takes a while to get good. The starting areas aren't exactly boring per say, but they are lackluster and unimpressive compared to the rest of the game and the plot moves slowly. It's a safe area to be a low level character and run around getting a feel for the game, but not much more than that. There are other players about, but they are spread somewhat thin.

You are also somewhat limited as to where you can go by your level. It's not extremely linear, but you can't just run into an advanced area and expect to survive long. Though, clever players can get by exploring, you'll likely not finish many quests in these areas before you reach the proper level for them. Grinding is possible so you can ignore quests, but completing quest in the area appropriate for your level is the fastest way to grow strong enough to start tackling quests in other areas. Progression isn't exactly hindered, but you are pushed through certain areas by way of your level limits. That's fairly standard in MMOs though, but ES players may need to adjust as they are more used to leveled enemies being more common and more freedom to explore initially.

I didn't really do any sort of grinding, though I could have. It wasn't necessary really. You do gain small amounts of xp just by doing things, killing monsters, crafting, etc, but the lion's share comes from completing quests. So it's in your best interest to pick up any sidequest you come across. There is no running about killing bunnies and chickens in ESO. The enemies are at least a small danger to you and are something like large desert insects, goblins, and pirates. The other starting areas have different creatures, but no one has to run around hacking at harmless forest critters for the first ten levels.

The mainland is where the game really picks up. The story starts coming together and the enemies become more varied and interesting. There are a lot more other players, but no PVP anywhere but in Cyrodiil, the area where Oblivion took place. You're safe to run around questing and don't need to group up. I went solo pretty much the whole time and only hit a wall a couple of times in the form of a nasty boss creature. Though, even then I was able to get by eventually by putting on a few more levels and learning specific weaknesses.

I did help out the occasional player along the way and they would often help fight some of the tougher enemies. However, when going solo there are some dungeons that you should go in with a group or not at all. A cave filled with nasty spiders is one good example. You have to join a group before tackling that area or it dumps you in on your own. There is a system that lets you form groups quickly if need be so it's not too much trouble, and you are free to leave at any time.

Other dungeons make you go solo if you don't enter attached to a group, but are manageable even solo. I never ran into an impossible situation while playing.

Chat is what you'd expect. The subscription will keep FTP trolls at bay while it lasts. It was mostly friendly with a few Beta players being jerks because the Beta is free and they managed to get in. They'll likely mostly disappear in the main release once it costs to play.

The servers were stable. I didn't get dropped for anything but server maintenance.

The environments definitely improved once I got on the mainland, creatures became more varied, and there were a lot more other players. The towns had a lively bustle about them and crafting stations allowed for multiple people to be using them at once. They don't get blocked because someone else is crafting on them. Shops were mostly places to dump off items, but you could buy things if you wished. As with most ES games, the stuff I found while running about tended to be better and got me through. You could buy potions and such if you wished.

Fast travel can be done at any point on the map to any of the wayshrines you've found, but there is a gold cost to do so. However, the waypoints themselves allow you to fast travel to any other waypoint you've found for free. There are enough that it's generally not worth the cost to travel without using them.

Dying causes your armor to degrade. You can repair it at any shop for a price of course. I'm not certain if skills allow you to do it yourself later with the right materials or not. I wasn't focused on crafting, though I did dabble a bit in all of it to get a feel for it. I was fairly pleased with what I saw. Some crafting items can only be obtained by breaking down found weapons and armor, so it's best to not sell them if you want to build up your crafting stats and break them down instead for materials.

I'm not sure if it will work in the final release, but dying sends you to the nearest waypoint, even if it isn't one you've already found. Dying will cost you the gold of repairing your equipment and that tends to be more expensive than fast traveling. So it's best to cough up the gold and get away rather than die on the main map. You can also use a soul gem to resurrect yourself on the spot if you've got one. They are no longer used for enchanting and are replaced by runes that can be harvested from small statues with a colored flame inside them littered around the map.

You can also mine and dig in appropriate places, as well as fish when you've got a bait item. Plants can be harvest and and water can be collected in certain spots for making potions. It's standard ES stuff, but things work a little different due to the MMO environment. It's pretty intuitive I thought. I never had trouble figuring out what I needed to do with a little experimentation, and there's enough resources that you don't have to worry about using items to mess around and figure out what works.

Also, be aware that you do -not- have access to all of Tamriel. You've got High Rock, Hammerfell, Part of Morrowind but not Vardenfell, the large island off the coast of Summerset, Valenwood, A small part of eastern Skyrim, and a very small portion of northern Blackmarsh. Oh, and Cyrodiil for PVP.

The rest of the continent is to be released later on in updates and possibly in a later expansion. Sooner or later you'll have access to the other areas, but at the moment not all of Tamriel is available.

Don't get me wrong, the area available is huge. This is not a small game and has a 60GB install requirement. The beta is 30GB and I'm not sure if the 60GB requirement is factoring in later expansions as well or not.

All and all I was impressed. I ended up preordering it myself and I'm waiting on the next Beta to start. It starts off slow, but so do most MMO games. I got the Imperial Edition against my better judgement, but mostly because I wanted the mount that comes with it. I probably won't ever play as an imperial. I can also play as any race in any faction. A pre-order of either the standard or Imperial Edition nets you the ability to choose your faction with any race without having to buy it. However be aware that it is a feature that will be behind a paygate at launch as I understand it. A lot of people don't care for that, and I understand that, but I could have easily done without it and don't really care myself.

I didn't bother with PVP this time and I'll be checking that out in the next Beta as that is the focus of it.

So far the game is looking good. I want to emphasize that I played a mostly complete Beta, so things may be different in the actual release. I really enjoyed it though and it's kept my attention longer than any MMO I've ever played before. I got 30 hours in the game in the last Beta alone and I expect to be sitting on my butt through pretty much the entirety of the next one as well.

So far, it's win for me. It may go FTP at some point in the future and some people aren't happy about the pay gate for the content on top of the subscription fee and initial cost for the game.

The way I see it, I pay as much for Netflix and I'll get a lot more entertainment hours out of this than I would Netflix in a given month. To me it seems worth it even though it's not everything it was initially advertised as and all of Tamriel. It is a sizable portion of it and you have to expect them to leave room for expansion in future updates and expansions.

I think this will keep my attention for a couple of months at least, after that I may drop the subscription and play other things until an expansion or update drops. I'm not sure yet, but as I said, my impressions are good with the mostly finished Beta I played. It's been worth my time so far.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Feb 2014   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Thanks for the synopsis.
I've really been doubting about getting it because of the subscription, but it may be worth it, at least for the while.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2014   #3

 
 

Long story short - if you like Oblivion/Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls in general then you should like this. It certainly captures the Elder Scroll feel. The MMO changes are easily adaptable to.

Or to put it another way - I have never played a MMO in my life and have always flatly refused to do so, never mind pay a monthly sub as well, yet I like the series and the game itself is certainly enjoyable enough whilst retaining the core of what makes the Elder Scrolls appealing that I've pre-ordered the Imperial Edition (For the horse as well since you can say goodbye to fast travel as you know it)

Besides, you get the first month "free" which should be plenty of time to decide whether it's worth to keep paying to play. Worst case scenario, you play for a month - shelve it and then pick it up again in a year or two when it becomes free to play.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Feb 2014   #4

Windows 7 Home premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by smarteyeball View Post
Long story short - if you like Oblivion/Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls in general then you should like this. It certainly captures the Elder Scroll feel. The MMO changes are easily adaptable to.

Or to put it another way - I have never played a MMO in my life and have always flatly refused to do so, never mind pay a monthly sub as well, yet I like the series and the game itself is certainly enjoyable enough whilst retaining the core of what makes the Elder Scrolls appealing that I've pre-ordered the Imperial Edition (For the horse as well since you can say goodbye to fast travel as you know it)

Besides, you get the first month "free" which should be plenty of time to decide whether it's worth to keep paying to play. Worst case scenario, you play for a month - shelve it and then pick it up again in a year or two when it becomes free to play.
I kind of hope it doesn't go FTP to be honest. The subscription fee keeps out the FTP morons. I've not played any FTP MMO for very long because of the flood of idiots that play for the sole purpose of ruining the game for everyone else.

Most trolls aren't going to pay $15 a month to ruin a game for other people. FTP just invites it.

There will be trolls of course, but a subscription fee keeps them at a manageable level. I'd rather pay $15 a month and not have to deal with what would basically amount to 4-chan taking over the servers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2014   #5

windows 7 ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Stendarr's tester here....

If you like to play in a large group....then this is the game for you....If you like to solo, not so much.....

I hope the game does well, I also hope that this is not the end of the single player......
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2014   #6

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Contrabardus View Post

I kind of hope it doesn't go FTP to be honest***
Ah yes. Very good point. Trolls will always be unavoidable but a whole server full of them would turn me off for sure.

As you say, a paid sub would most likely keep them manageable and hopefully leave the majority of normal users who want to enjoy the game and not just ruin it for all.

Plus there is also the incentive for the devs to keep supporting the game properly and keep the servers running smoothly etc



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ivan the SoSo View Post
If you like to solo, not so much.....
I didn't manage to level up to PVP during the beta so I essentially played it like a solo game. I didn't mind it so much. although I'm sure over time groups/guilds will become a larger priority for me.


Quote:
I hope the game does well, I also hope that this is not the end of the single player......
I sincerely hope there is room for both as it would be a crime to kill off the singleplayer aspect of this series but I doubt it will come to that.

Since it's a different developer behind TESO, Bethesda should be working on the next Fallout and Skyrim follow up so hopefully there will be plenty more SP goodness to come.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2014   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit
 
 

Simply way to keep out trolls, Premium member servers and for FTP obviously FTP servers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2014   #8

Windows 7 Home premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by smarteyeball View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Contrabardus View Post

I kind of hope it doesn't go FTP to be honest***
Ah yes. Very good point. Trolls will always be unavoidable but a whole server full of them would turn me off for sure.

As you say, a paid sub would most likely keep them manageable and hopefully leave the majority of normal users who want to enjoy the game and not just ruin it for all.

Plus there is also the incentive for the devs to keep supporting the game properly and keep the servers running smoothly etc



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ivan the SoSo View Post
If you like to solo, not so much.....
I didn't manage to level up to PVP during the beta so I essentially played it like a solo game. I didn't mind it so much. although I'm sure over time groups/guilds will become a larger priority for me.


Quote:
I hope the game does well, I also hope that this is not the end of the single player......
I sincerely hope there is room for both as it would be a crime to kill off the singleplayer aspect of this series but I doubt it will come to that.

Since it's a different developer behind TESO, Bethesda should be working on the next Fallout and Skyrim follow up so hopefully there will be plenty more SP goodness to come.
Fallout 4 is next on the list. It's not a huge secret even though they've not officially announced it yet. Word is it's set in New England with the central location being Boston and the Commonwealth will be prominent. [The guy who gave you the Android mission in FO 3 was from the Commonwealth.]

Also, it is definitely not the end of SP Elder Scrolls. Bethesda has said the next ES game will be a single player game. ESO is something more similar to Final Fantasy XI and XIV than a 'new direction for the franchise'.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2014   #9

Windows 7 Home premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ivan the SoSo View Post
Stendarr's tester here....

If you like to play in a large group....then this is the game for you....If you like to solo, not so much.....

I hope the game does well, I also hope that this is not the end of the single player......
I went Solo for thirty hours and had no trouble. I ran into one dungeon I couldn't get through on my own. That would be the Spider Dungeon. Every other quest I managed on my own with very little if any help from other players who happened to be in the same areas. I even killed a few of the bosses on my own, though I did have to level beyond the "suggested" level for the quest to do so on two occasions.

I didn't do any PVP, and I'll be checking that out in the next Beta because that's the focus of that beta. It's the reason why you'll be able to use your characters from the previous Beta in the next. I think the level cap was around 15-20 in the Beta and PVP unlocks at lvl 10.

PVP can be completely ignored if you don't want to do it. It's entirely optional and actually takes place outside of the main quest story. The only issue with not doing PVP is that you'll miss out on seeing Cyrodiil.

From what I played, ESO is very solo friendly, more so than FFXIV. I got through all the quests it was possible to get through in the Beta for my faction area as well. There may be a few dungeons that require grouping, but as far as I know they are optional. There may be an area or two that requires grouping at some point in the main quest beyond the demo's cap, but the devs have said that you can do the majority of the main quest, if not all of it, on your own. In my experience with the game that's true.
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