First thoughts on The Elder Scrolls Online

Here’s what I think of The Elder Scrolls Online so far. It’s such a vast game, a proper review will take a good few weeks of playtime. So I thought I’d just keep you posted as to what I thought after a week or so of playing. I can tell you this for sure, I can’t wait to play more of this game! As a fan of The Elder Scrolls series, I’ve had my eyes on the online version, arduously titled “The Elder Scrolls Online”. Steps into MMO-land are taken by some franchises, but very rarely does it work out well. As a huge fan of the World of Warcraft adventure as well as taking steps within the Lord of the Rings version.

I do consider myself lucky to get this early glance into what could become one of the biggest releases of the year – as well perhaps being able to mount a challenge to WoW in regards to the MMO crown … but I can’t help but think that I’m pretty much playing WoW under a disguise. The set up of the game is very similar to WoW, which is understandable – imitation of the world’s most successful MMO makes sense if you want success.

Levelling is very similar, obviously, but I must say I found the bar a bit lost at times – especially in comparison to WoWs. Warcraft is renowned for its simple progress bar; both in terms of level and progress of quests. Finding my level up progress took a bit of time, but I didn’t notice when I levelled up either – which I personally like as it shows my progress in the game. The progress bar of missions is easy though; but the map is probably one of the most friendly parts of the game I’ve experienced so far. Its simple design is good and shows the objectives clearly.

The choices of classes and races is fairly good – there are 10, in 3 factions. The choice there is good; I like the idea of 3 factions instead of the usual 2; good and evil. Three factions should lead to a good level of fighting, but I’m sure it will get confusing who’s who, and will take longer to learn the different factions’ abilities, locations etc than in Warcraft. I’m sure the number of races will increase with the expansions that will no doubt be released in the future. There are only 4 classes at the moment. The four are Templar, Dragon Knight, Sorcerer and Nightblade; which is essentially Paladin, Warrior, Mage and rogue. Elder Scrolls has a deep history that will put it with a huge chance of fighting for the top MMO crown.

I’ve talked a lot about Warcraft, I know; but there’s a reason – it’s the biggest MMO out there. ESO has got many unique selling points though, and I should stop emphasising the difference between what was one of the most important games in my childhood to what could be one of my favourites in the future. ESO starts off like many Elder Scrolls games; in a prison. The game sees you escaping the prison to find someone to help you throughout the rest of the game, whilst seeing messages from the ‘Ghost’. The choice of weapons and equipment is huge, as you would expect with an Elder Scrolls title, as well as any MMO.

One of the biggest points in favour of this game for me was the amazing ensemble cast they’d been able to get together to voice and bring the characters to life – John Cleese from Monty Python, Michael Gambon from Harry Potter, Bill Nighy and Kate Beckinsale from the Underworld series, to name but a few. The game’s been in development since 2007 and early on it’s clear to see that this game’s world is vast. Bethesda went on record early on to say that the whole of the continent of Tamriel will be available to play – and I can’t wait to get digging into this game even more. Attempting to create an MMO game is difficult enough as it is; but to do it to the level that Bethesda and ZeniMax have attempted is even harder, but they somehow have pulled off a game that is brilliant when judged on it’s own … we’ve all heard of subscription levels dropping for World of Warcraft, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it fell even more as people join this competitor – The Elder Scrolls series has a huge devoted following, rightly so, but this game could also be set to expand it to an audience of MMO players who haven’t entered this series before.

My laptop might not have done this game enough justice in all honesty, but that’s fine – I’ve already decided I’m going to purchase the console version in June when it is released then. To bring it to the next gen consoles was a wise choice, one that shows the ambition of the teams involved, but I hope that they don’t have too many server issues come June. Sorting servers for PC games is one thing, consoles are a totally different ball park. Many people have asked me about the costs – how much do they put me off? Well, I’m always going to have a Gold/PSN account no matter what, so that’s no bug at all. The 30/60/180 day system is tried and tested when it comes to online subscriptions so that’s fine; but I must admit the monthly fee could be lowered a bit. We’ll see what happens in the near future. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the monthly cost is lowered at some point, as with many games.

Anyway, enough from me, I’m diving back in; I need all the practice I can get before June!