Elder Scrolls Online

Discussion in 'Other Games' started by Haldurson, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Well, since the NDA has been lifted off of everyone, I thought I'd now share my impressions of the game.

    First of all, I will say that my opinion of it changed from my first impressions from the first two betas. My opinions were largely based on bugs (such as having your UI lockup after talking to certain NPCs or using a crafting station), the removal of crafting from the game due to bugs (I really like Crafting in some games and that was frustrating), as well as a couple of broken quests. Also, Archery was totally underwhelming (I found out I was not the only one frustrated with it). And the voice acting was primarily filled in by computer-generated voices, which lent an unpleasant air to the game.

    Anyway, things got much better in the last two betas. I started to enjoy exploring and gathering resources and dabbling in crafting. I didn't get as far as I wanted to with the game as my time was limited (especially the last beta, where due to family health issues, my time was VERY limited). I found that I loved playing a Breton Sorceror in the game, even though there was a quest that was particularly poorly suited to ranged combat where consequently I died several times before finally succeeding). Also, the voice acting was very good, and I discovered that the skill progression actually had a lot more diversity and customization to it than I had first experienced at lower levels.

    Crafting seems simple at first, and I didn't get into it as much as I had intended. But once I figured out some of its hidden aspects and depth, I think it has a lot of potential. Granted, the drops have to be tweaked a whole lot in order to make it more fun. But you can pretty much specialize in crafting if you wish. There's a lot of depth to it, which unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to actually see.

    One thing that I like is that as you progress, you can unlock more areas where you can invest skill points. Join the Fighters Guild, and you unlock a new skill progression. Every race also has different skill progressions. And if you want to learn how to use a specific weapon or class of armor... just pick up that weapon or armor and you'll start learning.

    The graphics are certainly not as good as Skyrim's (no surprise there, as it's an MMO), but the art design does have the flavor of Elder Scrolls. Combat is fun, but simple, and the style of the UI encourages immersion (the UI disappears when you are not using it). Let's get this straight, it really is not a single-player game, so it's unreasonable to think that it would have the feel of a single-player game. But I was having fun so I'll take the graphics.

    I didn't really have any problems with lag, btw, and at first there would be this long transition when entering an instance or logging on, but that seems to have gotten a lot better. I've still had my UI lock up at times while leaving a crafting station or talking to certain shopkeepers. , but it happens a lot less, and seems to now fix itself after a couple of seconds. There's also a slash-command to reset the UI which I learned about (but now for the life of me can't recall lol -- /resetui or something similar) which fixes things immediately. Hopefully that, and the other minor issues will be resolved before release. There's still one or two nagging quest issues for very specific types of quests with scripted events (mostly linked to the fact that multiple people can be trying to do the same quest at the same time). But it now seems that you can work around them, or at worst, log out and in to fix the issue. Again, hopefully this will be working by release.

    Anyway, it's not a perfect MMO, but I'm having fun with the betas, exploring and learning crafting and the skill progression.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  2. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    BTW, stress test for the game starts at noon today. I have a spare key here. If you use it, please post a reply.
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  3. Xyvik

    Xyvik Member

    I have been unable to make any of the betas despite invitations to them (yeah, I'm swamped and Fridays/Saturdays are unusually overwhelmed lately)

    I guess my biggest question about this game would be: "how badly do the other players ruin it?"

    In other words, I think Bethseda went the wrong route. People clamored for multiplayer in TES and instead of giving us co-op, small-server-ala-Neverwinter-Nights styles they went whole hog and decided to drop thousands of players into my world. Immersion in TES is a huge deal for me and I always wanted to share it with my wife, but not necessarily The Internets At Large.

    So to rephrase the question: how many idiots are there running around with horrible, immersion-breaking names, striding about in their underwear, swinging their weapons wildly at random wildlife?
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  4. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    There's always a few, but not many. Remember also that since this is a beta, everyone knows there will eventually be a character wipe, so not everyone puts a lot of thought into the names. I've seen a few immersion-breaking names, but nothing offensive. (I don't recall exactly but there was someone named something like 'killyalater' or something in that same spirit (I can't recall exactly).

    I will say that they make it so that it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between a player, a friendly npc, and a hostile npc until you get close enough to get a reaction. What that means is that if someone swings at you, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are being stupid. It could just be nerves.

    I mostly played my sorceror, but I think I made a mistake in the build (I put too many skill points towards crafting). So by the time I hit level 7, I was having problems (also at level 7 I far too quickly ran out of level 7 quests so that didn't help either). I think there is a way to change your skill points but rather than spending time figuring out what that was, I started a Nord Dragonknight and swore that I would not invest ANY skill points for that character into crafting.

    What's interesting is that I COULD have made that dragonknight work very similarly to my sorceror,i simply by wielding a staff instead of a 2-handed weapon. I wouldn't get the specific sorceror abilities, but I'd still have my destruction staff, etc. There are classes, but each class only gives you one skill line, which means that your class choice doesn't tie you into any specific role -- it's your gear that mostly does that. Of course things might be slightly easier if you choose a synergistic combination of class, race and gear, but you don't have to, and it's not THAT big a difference.

    The worst thing about this beta (well this particular beta weekend) is that I started having some connectivity problems. Most of the time there was no lag whatsoever, but particularly Saturday night, I had a lot of issues. Unfortunately some of those issues it seems have nothing to do with the game, as even firefox has been stalling out intermittently. I'm not sure exactly what's going on.

    At first I thought it was Windows Media Player because I saw that it was for some reason, taking up a bunch of cpu, so I ended that process and that seemed to help a great deal. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the entire issue.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
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  5. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    I'm boycotting this one on principle for their triple-dipping and collectors edition shenanigans. It's not that I can't afford it, I'm just disgusted by the bare-faced greed and price gouging and voting with my wallet. Not even going to bother with the beta.
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  6. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    TES is fine. But once it has that O stuck on it like a cancer, I am no longer interested.
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  7. jadkni

    jadkni Member

    I think Bethesda's big misstep here is more in treating an online game like a console release. $60 for the "box", whatever. Preorder bonuses and a collector's edition? Come on, guys.

    I wasn't really interested to begin with, Skyrim didn't appeal to me and that's what I hear it compared to most often and I'm not looking for an online game to devour my free time, but there are some very head-scratching decisions that seem to be going into this one.
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  8. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I have no problem with the pricing. If you don't like MMOs, you probably will not like this game. Other than the setting, and a few details (eg. alchemy) it's not very much like an ES game. I DID do some exploring in the game and to my surprise, I stumbled upon a secret crafting instance where I could (if I had had the proper mats at the time) have crafted some nice set gear (especially good for a stealth character), as well as the rare treasure chest, and dungeon (although I suspect that the dungeon was for a quest that I just didn't have yet, as I was not the only one there).

    Things that I like the most about it:
    1. deep and flexible crafting system -- Crafters will be able to distinguish themselves based on what they've unlocked as far as styles, research, and so on.

    2. interesting skill system -- still have no idea what kind of character I will start with (though there's lots to try). On the other hand, I am doubtful that the skill system will be as robust as, for example, Rift's. But since I've only gotten to level 7 on one of my characters, I'll reserve judgement until later. It certainly is flexible, in any case.

    3. Voice acting is (sometimes) great, although admittedly my a.d.d. has me not always registering the content. I'll be doing quests and occasionally not really knowing why, but that's usual for MMOs (less usual for ES games though).

    Things I'm not sure of yet:
    1. Combat/difficulty curve -- I have fun with it, but I know I'm doing something wrong. Sometimes it reminds me of TSW in that I'll come across a combat that I have no idea how to win, though others don't seem to have similar problems. Maybe I should be with a partner or group???

    2. Leveling -- I don't understand why I seem to be leveling so slowly once I hit around level 6 or so. I'll notice that I'm on a quest, and everyone else around me doing the same quest is higher level than me (probably the same reason why combat sometimes seems to be difficult for me).

    3. Lockpicking minigame -- it's not bad actually. But all the locks I've been picking have been rated 'easy' and I just know that this will be an issue for me later on (with my lack of manual dexterity/hand-eye coordination). Some people (in the videos I've seen) seem to like it a lot though.

    4. Economy -- this is very odd. Instead of having a world AH, or a faction AH, You can only buy and sell to fellow guildmates (BUT you can be a member of up to 5 guilds). I'm very unclear right now if this will be a disaster, an interesting experiment, or a surprising success. Technically, you can always do private transactions, which may result in lots and lots of unwanted trade spam.

    Things I don't like:
    1. This is related to the difficulty curve, and it may be the faction ( was in (Daggerfall Alliance(?)) but at level 6, all I had left were level 7+ quests, when I hit level 7, I had only 2 level 7 quests, and the rest were 8+. Then again, I know that not EVERYTHING in the game is in for the beta (thieves' guild to name 1) so maybe that will change.

    2. Flaky quests -- this may be fixed by the time it goes live (if not, people will be pissed). But there's several quests that in order to complete, I've had to log out and back one or more times, because in the particular 'world' (or whatever they call it), either some npc/mob won't spawn or some scripted event gets stuck or something similar. Rumor has it (ie. nothing official) that it has to do with multiple people trying to trigger an event while someone else is on a different part of that quest, or too many people doing the same quest at the same time. In the last beta, I didn't find a single quest that COULDN'T be completed, but some just took logging out a few times. Not sure if the broken quests I've experienced in my first Beta have been fixed or not since they were for a different faction than I played this time.

    3. Connectivity issues -- granted, I had no connectivity issues on the previous betas, and this WAS a stress test...
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  9. Nettle Soup

    Nettle Soup Member

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    MOOMANiBE Ah, those were the days. Staff Member

    Ouch. Harsh.
    (Speaking personally, the combination of upfront fee + sub fee + cash shop killed it for me.)
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  11. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Yes, that's a bit harsh. What I wrote above was based on the beta, btw, and the game has only improved since then. It certainly isn't a perfect game, but it does do a lot of things right. I have some updated impressions:
    1. I was skeptical, as I said above. But the market system (ie. guild stores) actually works for the best in the game. What I've seen happen in other games is that except for the rarest of high-level items, prices tend to sink down towards the point where a crafter cannot make a profit. I've seen crafters in other games actually sell at a loss, sometimes for LESS than they would get from selling to a merchant (as odd as that sounds). With the guild stores, you have a lot less undercutting (well, so far) and prices seem to be a lot more rational. In fact selling things on the AH is the best way to make money -- even level 1 crafted items will sell, if only for research. That said, everyone needs to belong to at least 1 trade/crafting guild for that purpose (which is why you can join up to 5 guilds).

    2. The reason why I was having difficulty with the difficulty curve was that you HAVE to explore. There are only minor quest hubs (like your starting city). You really have to search for quests, some of which are hidden in dungeons that you can stumble across (like in single-player ES games). For example, I thought I had finished the Auridon zone, but when I returned to do a bit of exploring, waiting for a group for the final dungeon there, I discovered SEVERAL dungeons that I previously was unaware of, a couple of quests that I had completely missed, a couple of named boss-mobs in the wilderness, and a geographically fixed, but temporally random event that can best be described as the ESO version of a Rift (Molag Bal attempting to gain a foothold on Nirn). If you are brainwashed by other MMOs to simply look for quests at quest hubs, you probably will have similar issues to what I was experiencing. I've learned to be a lot more thorough in my explorations. Furthermore, there are other reasons to explore (like hidden skyshards, treasure chests, rare mobs and crafting nodes, as well as treasure map 'puzzles', which I've only been able to solve one of so far).

    3. I've actually learned to not only enjoy the lockpicking minigame, but almost to have mastered it. I've yet to fail to pick a lock (even those rated 'advanced'), in my last dozen attempts or so. That said, because my main is a nuker (sorceror), in dungeons, it's the melee people who tend to get to the treasure chests first. Fortunately, all other loot is personalized (each person can loot from the boss or mobs and other kinds of containers without affecting anyone else).

    4. Most of the quest bugs seem to have been fixed, and for the most part, the ones that haven't , can be 'unglitched' by logging out and logging back in. That said, there is one nasty one, the Aldmeri Dominion's low-level group dungeon has been unreliable from the start, and I have still been unable to finish it (though you still can kill 3 out of 4 bosses, and get some decent rewards out of it, which I've done twice).

    5. Gold spammers are rampant, BUT there are addons that you can get that will auto-ignore the most rampant of them. Since installing "SpamFilter", it hasn't really been an issue (though I do still get an almost daily e-mail from one that keeps renaming itself, so ignore has not managed to eliminate it).

    6. Quests (overall) are pretty great. The dialogs are actually worth listening to, and there's this interconnectedness that tells lots of little (or big) stories, which tend to have humor, drama, and so on. The voice acting is not the only thing that sets them apart from other games (and is not ENTIRELY uniformly good, but is mostly good), but the writing is excellent compared with most MMOs I've tried. Then again, most MMOs have really pathetic writing, so that wasn't a difficult bar to raise. While there are the occasional courier or kill X mob quests, they tend to have more coherent reasons behind them that tie into these mini-dramas or comedies, and generally, those are merely steps in the whole story (quests are often broken into segments, kind of like chapters).

    7. The art design can be incredible, but the zone design varies a bit. My main is in the Aldmeri Dominion, but I have an alt in each of the other two factions. The Dominion's zone design is pretty darned good. As some reviewer pointed out, you have a lot less running around to get to places of interest than you have in other early zones. The Ebonheart Pact zone seems to be the worst, bringing back my worst memories of Morrowind (granted, if you were a huge fan of that game, you probably have a different impression of it, but I hated maneuvering around lava and so on, and I hated how much of the game looked. Well all of that is back, but with better graphics. IF you liked that in Morrowind, then you'll probably love it here. But for me, the look of much of the game was the worst part of Morrowind. At least you aren't constantly being attacked by those annoying Cliff Racers (they still exist, but they don't attack you in this game, thank god).

    8. Crafting is a game in itself, and I love it. It's deep, it makes you make hard decisions, but it's rewarding, even at lower levels. It's the best crafting I've encountered in any MMO (challenged only by Fallen Earth, but so far ESO wins because of its MUCH superior economy). Furthermore, it forces you to make hard decisions as to whether to put that new skill point into

    9. Things that need the most work: the game needs more robust banking and guild store tools (they pretty much are bare-bones atm). A group-finder tool would be nice as well, though most games settle for a bad one, which would be a tragedy. Some public solo dungeons seem geared more towards groups, which will prove to be problematic as populations fall in newbie zones. Certain items, like pets and trophies and treasure maps need to not take up the all-to-valuable inventory space. There needs to be a more complete key for the maps, as it took me a while to figure out simple stuff like where the bank was, and so on. The game really needs a manual because there is a depth to it that causes the same damned questions to be asked in newbie zones EVER hour or so (where is the bank, where is the AH, where can I get a horse). Quickslots need a VAST improvement to make them more obvious and easily usable (I didn't know for the first couple of days that if you actually want your quickbar item to be accessable quickly, you need to put it in the bottom center slot, and I STILL don't know how to access items in other slots other than to reslot the items, which you can't realistically do in the middle of combat. The game has tons of emotes, but figuring out what they are, and how to do any or all of them is a chore. I've seen one addon that partly addresses this, but not sufficiently.

    10 building your character up takes forethought and studying where the various skill lines take you. While mistakes are not unfixable, it still is optimal to not make any mistakes in the first place. The number of choices doesn't really hit you at low levels, but at level 17, for my main, it can get overwhelming, as there's just so many possible choices (many of which are non-combat skills). While a lot of people want a respec, the problem with that is that it would be too easily exploitable. You could use a skill point to craft the best item and then respec out of it, but you'd still have that item, or you can respec to have a hireling then drop the hireling skill once you've exploited the hell out of that hireling. (Hirelings are 'gathering' helpers, not actual lackeys that follow you into combat).

    Anyway, I rate the game 8 out of 10, and I will say that people's perceptions of it are affected both by which faction they played, and by how far they got into the game, and if they craft, and if they rushed through it or actually paid attention. But most importantly, your experience will vary by your expectations of either a stereotypical polished veteran MMO, or of a sequel to Skyrim. It's neither one, and the game should be treated as a stand-alone entity without false expectations. That will help you understand it a lot. It didn't grab me from the start, but grew on me the longer I played the beta, and the higher levels I achieved. It certainly has a learning curve as well, and figuring out how things actually worked, helped me to no end. I just wish I knew a lot of the stuff I know now, back when I started my current characters.
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  12. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    An obvious tribute to Morrowind. You may not like the graphics quality, but let me tell you, sometimes you long for the days of 16-bit graphics:

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  13. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

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    MOOMANiBE Ah, those were the days. Staff Member

    Let's be clear though; every one of those reviews is from a minor / obscure press outlet. The big guns like giant bomb, gamespot, IGN, Polygon and the like are all holding back to actually put 30-40 hours in before rating it. Once they put in their scores we could see that metascore DRASTICALLY change.
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  15. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    Giant Bomb were basically "eh, it's a pretty typical mmo I dunno" from the gameplay videos they released so far.
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    MOOMANiBE Ah, those were the days. Staff Member

  17. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

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  18. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    And still, I'm having more fun with this game than most any other MMO in a while -- from what I've seen, there seems to be a very wide range of opinions on the game, especially the quests and so on, which I believe has to do with a lot of risks that the devs took with the basic design, and because the ES series has created all sorts of hopes and expectations about it. It can't help but be devisive.

    But I'm going to keep on playing it until I no longer am having fun with it, damned with others opinions. It feels like it's the most fun I've had with an MMO in AGES.

    I'm now in 3 guilds -- 1 medium-sized casual gaming guild (59 unique members -- alts aren't counted because of how the game is set up), and 2 trade guilds, one really funone with nearly 600 members, the other seems... quiet and I'll probably drop it eventually. It feels odd being in 3 guilds, and knowing that one day, I know I'm going to broadcast the wrong message to one of them, intended for the other lol. That's just one of several odd choices that the devs made. But when I say odd, I don't mean that in a bad way. We need more companies willing to try new things. In any case, you DO really want your trade guilds to be big.
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  19. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    BTW, I discovered another new thing about the game just yesterday. I'd seen things like this before, but it didn't register until then as something really interesting.

    As I was riding along a path in the forest of Grahtwood, I saw a Bosmer chastising a Kahjit, and he looked like he was about to beat him. There was no quest marker or anything like that. I was able to intervene in the altercation, sort things out and stop the Altmer from beating him), and it felt kind of nice. There was no experience reward, and had I been too focused on where I was going, I'd never have had that encounter. There were other small things like that, like helping a couple start a fire when they were freezing, and so on. They aren't even quests, but they are small things that make the world seem real and alive and make you feel more like a real person in the world than just the hero.
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  20. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    A couple of recent pics:

    My favorite crazy daedric prince

    Welcome to Mournhold -- my Dunmer Nightblade rides into town.
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