Here we are are, with less then two months before the official release, talking about one of the most controversial MMO of 2014, The Elder Scrolls Online. I finally managed to get a Beta glimpse during this weekend Stress Test, so I decided to share my thoughts and first impression with you.
IS TESO A REAL MMO? From the start, I want to tell you that if you are looking for a Skyrim vs TESO preview, you can skip this article because I treated this game like any other MMO out there, without having any expectations to match a previous Elder Scrolls experience. You should already know that the big “gaming market players” will always use a good franchise name to further advertise their title. Sometimes it works and they deliver, as Blizzard did with Hearthstone, but sometimes the fans are left with just a bad taste in their mouth and all their hopes and expectations shattered.
The Elder Scrolls Online is indeed an RPG shaped into an MMO that managed to balance both genders style, without altering any core features. The RPG touch adds a unique flavor and turns it into a hardcore MMORPG, not by adding the grinding part, but by concentrating on the world exploration. Don’t think about the GW2 type of exploration, imagine an MMO where you need to discover the world around you in order to survive.
IMPERIAL RACE ANYONE? So I began my adventure, as a Dark Elf Templar (not the best race for a tank, but I didn’t pay attention to the class description), member of the Ebonheart Pact alliance. Here, at the creation panel, starts one of the problems that made many people rage, the Imperial race that is currently locked behind the Collector’s Edition “pay-wall”. You have all the reasons to complain about this feature, especially that The Elders Scrolls Online will be a subscription based game, but on the other hand, I saw a lot of people crying that some CEs have cheap rewards such as random pets or unique avatars, so I guess that in the end there will always be someone that feels betrayed. The character creation is decent, giving you enough customization options to make your character unique and you will also find various ways to further customize it once inside.
THE ROAD TO TAMRIEL. From the beginning, I was surprised by the graphic quality. Visual and lightning effects are well done, perfectly creating the atmosphere of the game. The “lack” of the UI such as skill bar, character name and level will suck you right in, making you a part of the living world, further enhancing the gameplay experience. Every quest has voice over and the sound is almost perfect (I didn’t feel the need to turn it off even after several hours of playing). You start the game in first person mode, a sign that Bethseda did listen to their fans, and you can swap to third person view at any time.
There is no real tutorial, so you will have to learn all the things by playing the game, and I say finally … a game that doesn’t treat me like a retard. The only problem that I saw during the first hours of playing is the lack of collision between characters. I always feel like I’m a ghost or something when passing through my fellow adventurers and it’s also altering the combat mechanics. Come on, it’s 2014, I played games that solved this problem back in 2003. I can leave with it, no problem, but it takes away the feeling that they worked so hard to create and polish.