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Default Decent Elder Scrolls Online review

February 15th, 2014, 18:40
http://tamrielfoundry.com/2014/02/es…ensive-review/

Seems to mirror my own thoughts about the game, pretty much.
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February 17th, 2014, 04:26
Yes, a very good and comprehensive review. This last beta where we finally got a chance to continue playing a character into the teens did a ton to improve my view on this game, which was already in the "pretty decent" category.

The bottom line for those who are looking for honest opinions about this game: Ignore anything that anybody says about the beginning areas, or who didn't get past level 7 or so. These are nothing more than several-hour tutorial areas and are not representative of the game IMO.

The thing I think I'm most excited about are the character build possibilities. After a few weekend betas under my belt, I found myself starting to think outside the box, and getting excited by the possibilities. I found that making a sorcerer with a Destruction staff ended up getting a bit redundant in terms of skill abilities; same with a Templar with a Restoration staff. So I played around a bit with an armored, sword-wielding Sorcerer, as well as a bow-wielding Templar, and was having a grand time using spells for a finishing blow on the sorc, or switching between DPS and healing with the templar. What also made this interesting is that I was utilizing two different resource pools (mana and stamina), so I felt like I often had options during combat. I also tried out a weird healer build using a Nightblade with a Restoration staff, and specializing in the Nightblade's Siphoning tree to augment the healing, do damage, and provide CC. That was also fun.

And I never even got into any of the various in-game-guild skill trees.

If only I wasn't an adult with family responsibilities and limited gaming time, I'd be all over this. Unfortunately my play-time is too inconsistent to justify a monthly fee, so I'll likely sit this out unless the temptation becomes too much to bear. But for thos inclined to sinking time into an MMO, I give this a thumbs up.
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February 17th, 2014, 07:20
I'll trade you my life without a wife and kids - and you can play all you want. Is she hot, btw?

Seriously, though, yeah - the game is looking better every time I play, and though I'm trying not to be petty - I'm getting the feeling that quite a few people will quietly be converted in the coming months.

Obviously, no one will admit to having been wrong, but that's human nature for you
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February 17th, 2014, 07:34
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Seriously, though, yeah - the game is looking better every time I play, and though I'm trying not to be petty - I'm getting the feeling that quite a few people will quietly be converted in the coming months.

Obviously, no one will admit to having been wrong, but that's human nature for you
Well this happens with every game that people say they hate. We secretly play them, and wont admit it. Though in my case I'm not buying the game.

So hello my name is Kevin and I have played Dragon Age 2. I can hear the outcry already. Feels good to get that off my chest.

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February 17th, 2014, 07:42
Well good to hear it gets better, my experience during the beta was pretty poor. I still have no plans on shelling out a monthly fee for it but, based on that review, I don't think the people saying it will be F2P in 6 months will be right.

I played DA 2, and I liked the story =O Some other mechanics and massively reused art work drug down the enjoyment a tad though.
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February 17th, 2014, 08:06
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Well this happens with every game that people say they hate. We secretly play them, and wont admit it. Though in my case I'm not buying the game.

So hello my name is Kevin and I have played Dragon Age 2. I can hear the outcry already. Feels good to get that off my chest.
There's a difference between playing and enjoying, though

I think we all played DA2 - but I can't say I enjoyed it much.
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February 17th, 2014, 08:13
Originally Posted by greywolf00 View Post
Well good to hear it gets better, my experience during the beta was pretty poor. I still have no plans on shelling out a monthly fee for it but, based on that review, I don't think the people saying it will be F2P in 6 months will be right.
WoW might go F2P soon, so it's not like it's the touch of death.

It's just a business model that's not good for the long-term, but people do enjoy their short-term gratification.

I'd love for ESO to be able to sustain enough subscribers and for the developers to make good use of that support, but that's impossible to predict.

All I know is that the actual game and its content seems very strong right now, and I don't think I'm being all that subjective about it.

That said, bad word of mouth can ruin a good thing before it even gets started. I'm hoping that's not the case here.

I'd rather a lot of people let themselves convert on the QT, than stubbornly refuse to play a good game that would otherwise appeal to them.
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February 17th, 2014, 10:48
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'll trade you my life without a wife and kids - and you can play all you want. Is she hot, btw?

Obviously, no one will admit to having been wrong, but that's human nature for you
Is she hot, btw?! Way to cheer him up then bring him instantly back down.
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February 17th, 2014, 10:58
What can I say, I have a gift
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February 17th, 2014, 11:33
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
There's a difference between playing and enjoying, though

I think we all played DA2 - but I can't say I enjoyed it much.
I did NOT buy or play DA2, because I trusted the reviews of my fellow Watchers.
In fact it is one of the very few western CRPGs I don't own.

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February 17th, 2014, 11:42
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
I did NOT buy or play DA2, because I trusted the reviews of my fellow Watchers.
In fact it is one of the very few western CRPGs I don't own.
You didn't try the demo? Be honest now
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February 17th, 2014, 14:48
I got DA2 in a Steam sale but haven't played it yet. Felt I would play DA1 again and then continue to DA2 but that's not happening, just thinking of going through the dwarven underworld again kills any desire to double-click that icon, so might as well just go straight to DA2 or it'll sit in my library forever.
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February 17th, 2014, 15:35
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Seriously, though, yeah - the game is looking better every time I play, and though I'm trying not to be petty - I'm getting the feeling that quite a few people will quietly be converted in the coming months.
The opposite happened to me, but I'm in the long term beta and sort of "burned myself out" at this point by restarting too many time. The more I play the more some of the little quirks get annoying as well.

Saying that I love the new crafting system (yes new, in last summer beta it was different), the combat and general "art" of the game.
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February 17th, 2014, 15:45
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
The opposite happened to me, but I'm in the long term beta and sort of "burned myself out" at this point by restarting too many time. The more I play the more some of the little quirks get annoying as well.

Saying that I love the new crafting system (yes new, in last summer beta it was different), the combat and general "art" of the game.
That's why I stay away from long term beta testing

You burn yourself out at a stage where most things aren't complete - and you end up with the worst of both worlds.
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February 17th, 2014, 17:46
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
That's why I stay away from long term beta testing

You burn yourself out at a stage where most things aren't complete - and you end up with the worst of both worlds.
ESO haven't changed much since last July (first time I got into the beta weekends, long term testing started later). They opened more content, fixed some bugs, polished some stuff, tweaked the balance and crafting was overhauled but the core didn't change.

I burned myself out because I kept restarting characters for various reasons (none of them were character wipe by the way, I re-roll a lot by nature). The starting zones get old fast and I tend to go a bit "that was more fun in Skyrim" once in a while and it's not even my favorite Elder Scroll game.

While the open world zone are very good design wise (environment/art), the open dungeons are not: way too short, way too circular, no sense of discovery in them. There is one dungeon I though was going to be large, but it ended up to be another run in a circle thing. The combat is fun, mostly, there are a few things that annoy me in how it is handled though: too much focus on spells, lack of ranged weapons that use stamina (bow + silver bolt is all there is). Zone design is too linear for me as well, because of the story arcs. I'm starting to think that having overarching storylines for zones isn't a good idea.
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February 17th, 2014, 18:46
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
ESO haven't changed much since last July (first time I got into the beta weekends, long term testing started later). They opened more content, fixed some bugs, polished some stuff, tweaked the balance and crafting was overhauled but the core didn't change.
Well, the betas I've been in for the longer haul were full of annoying polish issues, lag and crash bugs until a few months before release. Server instability and stuff like that has been the order of the day in other games. I've been part of almost all major MMO beta tests since early 2000.

Stuff like that pulls me out of the experience rather quickly and I can never settle into a game that's not reasonably polished. I don't want to, either.

If ESO has been stable and polished for more than 6 months, then it's pretty impressive - I must say.

I burned myself out because I kept restarting characters for various reasons (none of them were character wipe by the way, I re-roll a lot by nature). The starting zones get old fast and I tend to go a bit "that was more fun in Skyrim" once in a while and it's not even my favorite Elder Scroll game.
Yeah, that's kinda what I mean by worst of both worlds. You get the bugs, the lack of polish - and you get repetition that's not really supposed to happen until the game is ready and you re-roll by choice.

Character wipes, for instance - is like the kiss of death to me.

That said, I do have a very low tolerance for repetition.

But if what you say is true, and that ESO has been more or less release ready for at least 7-8 months - then I guess it's a different thing.

While the open world zone are very good design wise (environment/art), the open dungeons are not: way too short, way too circular, no sense of discovery in them. There is one dungeon I though was going to be large, but it ended up to be another run in a circle thing. The combat is fun, mostly, there are a few things that annoy me in how it is handled though: too much focus on spells, lack of ranged weapons that use stamina (bow + silver bolt is all there is). Zone design is too linear for me as well, because of the story arcs. I'm starting to think that having overarching storylines for zones isn't a good idea.
I've only really played one large zone enough to comment, and it didn't feel at all linear to me.

Then again, I more or less ignored the main story and just went off looking for landmarks and the associated quests that you find. It was pretty obvious to me that they designed the open world content around these landmarks - and I don't think I've found a single landmark without SOME kind of unique content associated with it. That's more than enough for me - and I'm used to the standard MMO paradigm of everything being wide open spaces with ultra generic mob patterns and some randomly generated loot in a chest at the end of an ultra generic cave.

It seems to differ a LOT from person to person, based on what I've read.

Roughly half the testers are talking about how unusually open the game is, which was my experience - and the other half is talking about how linear the zones are.

I guess it depends on how you approach it.

I would never just follow the storyline - as that's not my style in a game that's relatively freeform.

However, that said, you can't leave zones until you're level appropriate or you pass a point in the story - I take it - which is to be expected.

Maybe that constitutes linearity to some, but I don't think it's a big problem in an MMO. Then again, I never expected a fully open and scaled game like TES - and I'm used to the MMO way of gating content.

To me, it's one of THE most open MMOs I've played that also happens to reward exploration a lot.

I've only seen a couple of open dungeons. One was with some goblins that you could communicate with. It was not terribly interesting - but I don't expect much from open content like that. Vanguard, which is hailed as the king of open dungeons - has even less unique content in a dungeon. Oh, some of the dungeons in Vanguard are HUGE - but they're essentially just open spaces with mobs. ESO, at least, had some unique stories and things to explore. I prefer that over huge open spaces.

To each his own, though.

However, par for the course in modern MMOs is that you get most of the scripted and "meaty" content from the instanced dungeons. Those are like little set pieces in a movie.

It's very hard to do properly scripted dungeons in an open environment.
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February 17th, 2014, 20:39
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Then again, I more or less ignored the main story and just went off looking for landmarks and the associated quests that you find. It was pretty obvious to me that they designed the open world content around these landmarks - and I don't think I've found a single landmark without SOME kind of unique content associated with it.
Landmarks are like mini-quest hubs (or open-world bosses/anchors and dungeons). Most of them are connected to the zone main story too. The linearity is more prevalent on replay of the same zone, because their isn't that much "level-appropriate" landmarks in reality. I really suggest people avoid alts in ESO, the game isn't alt friendly from my point-of-view (can master almost all the skill lines, access to all zones with the veteran ranks, bank is shared by all so it reduce space a lot, etc).

Saying that, I find ESO quests interesting in general and much better presented and implemented than what I've seen in other MMOs, downside is that they make the game feel more solo-oriented.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
However, that said, you can't leave zones until you're level appropriate or you pass a point in the story - I take it - which is to be expected.
You don't have to be level appropriate or pass a story point to leave a zone (you need to be added in a group with someone who already move beyond the zone for the starting area though). You will probably be underlevel which has its own problem. The only quest line that is level depend is the main one with the Prophet which isn't zone related anyhow and all instanced as far as I know.

The game has 3 types of dungeons: solo public dungeons, group public dungeons and the instanced group variety (never done this one).

The solo public dungeons are the circular variety, some are used by the mage guild quest line. The group public dungeons have quests with bosses that require a group (or to be over leveled a lot), you can leave them at anytime and complete them later, they aren't that long though. I haven't done instanced dungeon yet, so I can't comment.
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February 17th, 2014, 21:49
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Landmarks are like mini-quest hubs (or open-world bosses/anchors and dungeons). Most of them are connected to the zone main story too. The linearity is more prevalent on replay of the same zone, because their isn't that much "level-appropriate" landmarks in reality. I really suggest people avoid alts in ESO, the game isn't alt friendly from my point-of-view (can master almost all the skill lines, access to all zones with the veteran ranks, bank is shared by all so it reduce space a lot, etc).
Yeah, but when I played - I didn't do them in any specific order. I just roamed the land looking for something to do, and I didn't pick up on the linearity of the story.

When I'm talking about linearity - I'm talking about doing things in a sequential order.

SWtOR, for instance, had traditional quest hubs that made your questing feel very linear, and you were obviously guided from hub to hub - taking away that feeling of freedom that I so enjoy.

Also, in ESO - I was finding all sorts of stuff that wasn't specifically quest related, like books, notes and skyshards.

Unlike SWtOR datacrons, skyshards are a BIG deal in terms of power - so exploration is even further incentivized.

As for replaying and alting - I get what you're saying. I've been following development quite a bit, and the developers have been very clear on not designing the game around alts.

I'm very thankful for that, because not only do I think it's a cheap way of extending your content - I don't enjoy making alts very much. I'm very much a person who enjoys a very specific way of playing, and I'm very excited by the possibilities of the ESO character system.

Saying that, I find ESO quests interesting in general and much better presented and implemented than what I've seen in other MMOs, downside is that they make the game feel more solo-oriented.
Yup, I would agree with that. I'm a little worried about how phasing and the dynamic nature of quests will affect the party experience - but only a little. That's because I intend to enjoy this game solo for the most part.

But I can see it being a pretty big roadblock if you intend to level up with friends.

You don't have to be level appropriate or pass a story point to leave a zone (you need to be added in a group with someone who already move beyond the zone for the starting area though). You will probably be underlevel which has its own problem. The only quest line that is level depend is the main one with the Prophet which isn't zone related anyhow and all instanced as far as I know.
Really? That sounds great. I would have expected them to gate the larger areas through quests.

That said, I do intend to exhaust content on a zone by zone basis, but it's nice to know that I don't have to.

The solo public dungeons are the circular variety, some are used by the mage guild quest line. The group public dungeons have quests with bosses that require a group (or to be over leveled a lot), you can leave them at anytime and complete them later, they aren't that long though. I haven't done instanced dungeon yet, so I can't comment.
Yeah, I know about the various dungeon types. I haven't done an instanced dungeon either, but I've seen some videos involving them.

They look pretty good and resemble the better examples of instanced dungeons, like those you see in WoW and Secret World.

Personally, I'm mostly going to be exploring all the zones at as casual a pace as I can manage.

I'll probably go through all the non-veteran dungeons at least once, eventually - but it's not something I'm all that excited by.
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February 17th, 2014, 22:16
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Really? That sounds great. I would have expected them to gate the larger areas through quests.
I think the higher level mobs do the gating fine personally…

There isn't any good reasons to go to higher level zones unless you want to re-spec at lower levels anyway (ZOS put the shrine to do that in a single higher level zone per Alliance. It might change before release).
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February 17th, 2014, 22:21
Gating means preventing access, not making areas hard to explore. I was afraid they'd close off the later zones because of the main story - and I'm glad they didn't.

I'll see when I get to play it more. I tend to prefer completing the main story in one extended go, if I can. So, if it's possible - I'll level all the way up to 50 before doing the main quest.

Seems to me the character system means power is less rigidly tied to your level than most MMOs, but I guess that depends on how they scale the numbers.

I'm certainly going to try and build an efficient character. It's kinda my thing
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