I’ve been playing The Elder Scrolls Online for a while now – though not as much as I would like; stupid work. Anyhow, from what I’ve played so far, I can definitely see myself being absorbed by the game for some time to come – so I thought that I’d write a series of articles looking at the game, and discussing the finer points of the experience. Like a rolling review, I guess.
I’m going to start with the basics; the basics being graphics, game world, and story. Over the course of further articles, I’ll move on to things like character creation, combat, crafting, questing and PvPing. The first few articles will just act as introductions, but hopefully I can share some hints, tips and pieces of advice that I have picked up whilst playing the game, as the series of articles goes on!
A lot of emphasis has been put on game graphics over the past decade, particularly as the machines that we play those games on have been getting more advanced. For me, graphics are relatively unimportant – provided that they’re not offensive to the senses, I’m a happy guy. Elder Scrolls Online is most certainly not offensive to the senses. I wouldn’t say that it’s a visual marvel, though; I’ve definitely seen prettier games on the Xbox One. But, at the same time, it looks good enough to immerse you into the vast world – and that’s all that you really need from such an expansive game. On the Xbox One, I do notice the occasional texture buffer, where the finer details on buildings, trees, clothes and sometimes faces take an extra second to load. It’s noticeable, but not game-breaking. In all, it’s a pretty game, but I wouldn’t call it stunning – although I can’t vouch for the PS4 or PC.
Elder Scrolls Online’s biggest success is probably its game world. The game is absolutely gigantic, it’s vibrant, and it’s alive. I’d dread to think of how long it would take you to walk between the two furthest points of Tamriel (excluding loading times and Cyrodiil), and as an adventurer who is yet to purchase a mount, I can tell you that it’s a journey I wouldn’t want to make. Having a big game world is one thing, but making each area feel different, un-repetitive and individual is another, and ESO does this pretty well. In general, the few areas that I’ve visited so far feel pretty damn unique. Each is different, from the sandy beaches and desert terrain of Stros M’Kai to the grassy fields and idyllic waterfalls of Stormhaven. Each area is also richly populated with people, animals and enemies, as well as plenty of wood for chopping, ore for mining and plants for picking. Oh, and fish for fishing. In all, Elder Scrolls Online feels alive, and vibrant, and rich in depth of both terrain and characters. Although, I must admit that some of the buildings, caves or dungeons within the certain areas can feel a little repetitive, as you get a feeling of “I’ve already seen this”, as there is a bit of repetition in layout for some areas.
For me, the story is the neat little bow that ties all of this together. The main story is quite interesting, and it’s developing quite nicely from the little that I’ve played so far. But for me, the biggest draw is the little stories that you encounter in your travels. From people trapped inside mirror worlds, to explorers looking for ancient swords – you’ll stumble across something interesting every ten to twenty minutes – perhaps even more often than that if you’re actively looking. I love interacting with the world and watching these various stories unfold – the only thing that I’d like is a little more loot/gear for doing so, but I’ll probably get to that in another article. They’ve really hit the nail on the head with the various quests in the world, and they’ve done a fantastic job of emulating that winning Elder Scrolls formula for an MMORPG.
So there are the basics! I’ve just brushed over them for now, as I’m sure that I will cover the finer aspects of the basics within later articles. If you haven’t done so already, I really suggest that you go out and purchase ESO for your console or PC, and dive into this exciting world. It’s well worth the story, especially if you’re an Elder Scrolls fan! Next time I’ll be writing about character creation and customisation (my favourite part of any RPG/MMORPG!).