The lights are on
The preview opportunities I’ve had to check out The Elder
Scrolls Online (ESO) over the past year-and-a-half have been largely confined
to a single beginner area – Stros M’kai. While visually appealing, the areas
and aspects of the game that I explored felt stale and linear to a fault. The combat encounters
were bland, as were the abilities I had access to. Today I’m going to talk
about a more recent preview opportunity that let me out of the sub-par new
player experience and into the actual open world of The Elder Scrolls Online, into
the teen levels and the actual game.
Let’s get this out of the way. I think the new player area
of Stros M’kai does the game a great disservice by presenting a rather drab
introductory experience. I was absolutely delighted to find that this
experience rapidly changes as characters move into the world and explore areas
such as Daggerfall and beyond. The contrast is a stark one; it’s almost like
two different games, and changed my outlook and expectations for this title
significantly. This rapid shift occurs for a number of reasons.
First, you actually get the sense of a genuine open world.
There are tons of places to explore, actual monsters to fight that require more
than button mashing, opportunities for group play, and a feeling of finally
being untethered from the handholding of the entry-level zone. Daggerfall is a
genuine hub of activity that feels like a real city, not the sterile vendor and
repair paradise that many MMORPG town hubs have become. The zone is huge, and
players are free to explore as they wish and unlock surprises,quests, and even
Yes, this is another part ZeniMax Online Studios hasn’t really
touched upon in the early areas. Players can unlock actual new ability trees through
exploration and participation in quest chains and zones, leading to even more
customization options far beyond the classic race/class options. Want to become
part of your guild (Yes, it’s a lot like Skyrim!) and learn new associated
abilities? Go ahead! Want to join a group of tough-as-nails adventurers that
plan adventures in the bar? Go ahead! There’s dozens of things to do and
experience before you even set foot outside of Daggerfall’s borders.
The experience was overwhelmingly positive in the new areas
from levels 10-15 that it honestly feels like two different games. Combat
becomes interesting and involved, with many abilities to choose from. Monsters
become more exciting than the same humanoid in a cowl shooting fire for three
hours. The characters that were annoying to meet in the beginning area begin to
ooze flavor. Things get fun and interesting fast.
It’s important to note that this is all still beta and
things could change a lot from now to release. I’m hoping that the new player
experience doesn’t turn players off to ESO. While certainly we still need to
take into account what will surely be some of the biggest factors – endgame and grouping – the areas after
around 3-5 hours of gameplay are vastly superior to the trite beginnings and
offer a glut of challenges, fun, and exploration.
Email the author Daniel Tack, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Stop making me want to play this.
If the game is going to be 15 a month for all systems then they should make the price of the game 15. A lot of people won't buy it just to play it for a month, that's what I think. It might be a good game and I love elder scrolls games but they have to consider xbox and playstation players who have to pay extra for their service.
Will have to give the Beta a try today and see how I feel about all this. With the amazing quality of F2P MMO's nowadays, it's hard to imagine one expecting constant payment would flake on the 1-10 levels
I'm glad to hear the experience gets better after the intro area. But I do hope that area is fixed, at least little, to keep subscribers wanting to play. I know not many people are like me who's willing to trudge through the intro stuff to get to the open world.
It's a shame the first 3 hours aren't at all representative of later levels, because that was enough to turn me off of ESO totally. It wasn't fun and it didn't feel like Elder Scrolls in the slightest. Maybe I'll experience the vastly improved teen levels when the game goes F2P in a year or two.
I have to admit, my initial impressions of the game were based on those early areas and I was not impressed. But this article gives me hope.
There is a huge part of me that want's to play this game simply because its TES, but I just can't bring myself to pay that subscription fee.
I can tolerate boring starter areas in MMOs. I can even tolerate the pricing if I thought the game was going to be great. What I can't tolerate is a TES branded game that looks absolutely nothing like TES.
Cool timing I just checked my email and got invited for this weekend. Only got lvl 6 last time. Maybe i can get to 10+ and finally try cyrodil and some pvp.
I agree completely!! It is an amazing open world once you get out of the starting areas.