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Mar 08

1st glance at Elder Scrolls Online

eso-hd

Everyone knows Oblivion and Skyrim, if you’ve played the games or not. There will always be at least one person in your circle of trust that either has played the game or wouldn’t shut up about it. I’ve had several persons doing both which ended up with me actually spending my hard-earned money on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.. After spending 112 minutes in Skyrim, I closed it and cleared it from my hard drive. This was seven months ago and up until now, I still haven’t felt the need to re-install the game and continue my quest. It’s safe to say that I simply don’t like the game, at least for now. However, I like to test games out before actually saying “Nay!”, so when I received my key to enter the stress-test weekends for the Elder Scrolls Online, I was more than skeptical seeing how I disliked the previous games. Sure, I was hyped about the game since most of my gamer friends had received the same invite which meant we could have a blast together while testing out this brand new game but I still had my doubts.

Creating a character took me about 15 minutes, mostly due to the fact that my knowledge of the classes was nihil and I refused to make anything that wasn’t an Archer.. Finally figuring out how to get my hands on an Archer, it was time to fire up the game. Safe to say, as a noob, the first half hour was merely an introduction where I mostly went like “How the ****?!” but the more you played, the more pieces of the puzzles came together and suddenly it didn’t matter if I had any background knowledge of the previous games.

Graphics & Game Play

eso1Simply put, the graphics in ESO are outstanding. There has not been an MMO where I truly felt like I was in that world, wandering around in detailed foliage. Even the ripples in the water looked real, which is something a lot of MMO’s can’t even get right at all. As for the mobs, they are varied but perhaps not varied enough. In the first island, there’s a high density of mobs but all-in-all most of them are re-occurring across the island. This might just be me or the fact that the first island is quite small when you’ve ventured your way to the 2nd island which is a lot larger in size but holds even less wandering beasts. There’s still plenty of mobs across the island but most of them you have to kill for the large amount of quests you will receive once you get there. In this aspect, I feel that the game is perhaps slightly unbalanced but it’s not something that would make me hate the game. It’s just an observation really.

As for the game play, ESO feels and looks like Skyrim, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I could see the similarities but there were also other aspects which didn’t make me think nor feel that I was playing Skryim. The UI has been altered to match the feel of an MMO and that’s fine. I do wish that they would have added a mini-map though because I hate to just stand somewhere randomly and pop up the map to figure out where I’m going while there’s a Skeleton Raider attacking me from behind.

Since I barely played Skyrim, I wouldn’t know if the crafting system is the same but I can say that there are many professions, from Enchanting, Alchemy and Cooking to Leatherworking, Blacksmithing and even.. woodworking! Most of the mats are gathered by just looting corpses but there are some materials that require a more clear eye to your surroundings such as finding the Jute-plants for Tailoring or finding fallen trees to chop for your woodworking. Everything is sellable though which makes up for the fact that quite a few items in ESO are incredibly expensive. On top of that, all of these materials are also tradeable. This is a good thing! Not only can you sell it to your guildmates, you can also just trade for other materials with your closest friend and help each other level professions this way. Just make sure you focus on leveling your character first though because I figured out that you can spend countless of hours just running around gathering materials and still not have enough.

Community

eso2I’ve played several MMO’s and I’ve always felt that the community was largely made of trolls and flamers. You know about the trolls, right? You ask a question as a new player and suddenly you get hundreds of answers that just throw your off your actual path. They ruin the game play for a lot of people so when I had a few questions, I was somewhat reluctant to even ask them but when you’ve been running around for what seemed like an eternity, you ask. I was met with helpful responses, people who actually cared about your questions. No matter how stupid they might have been. They’ve made it clear to me that not all MMO communities are filled up with douches and I fell in love with the game even more.

Beta

ESO is still in beta and with that comes bugs and glitches and even more trouble. It’s suspected and while many moan, others actually try to help Bethesda in their search to make the game perfect. So far, every time there was another beta weekend, you could see the changes they’ve made. One of the best changes I’ve seen so far is the tutorial-like information that now pops up when you want to craft. They didn’t have that at the start and it really took a while to figure out what you’re supposed to do with it if you haven’t played the other games. The game is still not completely done, or at least the bits and pieces I have been able to test in the beta but so far it looks very promising and I cannot wait to pre-order my Imperial Edition so that I can get married.

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