|Post Date: 17:16 22-04-2014
Comment: The fact that The Elder Scrolls Online is becoming an online role playing game was only a matter of time, it has always struck me as a logical evolution for the series and now the time has finally come. Even before it was released, the emotions are mixed. Many did not want to see a MMO with the fear of a generic product that would just fall on our faces as many others have done before. Fortunately, worried souls rest now – The Elder Scrolls Online looks like Skyrim, played like Skyrim and feels like Skyrim. Except that it’s online with hundreds, sometimes even thousands of players. There is quality throughout.At first, The Elder Scrolls Online offers a decent character customization. I even tried to recreate myself – if I was Dwayne Johnson’s younger brother with a bushy beard and thick cornrows. Afterwards I tried the exotic races available, elves of various hues, Argonianer and Khajiiter. So there is plenty of variety.
In the end, my first character became Dwayne Johnson Junior. With the epic Elder Scrolls music in background, it’s off to the prison – of course. Fortunately ZeniMax Online Studios listened to the beta-feedback which now made it possible to skip this introduction after the first visit which undeniably had become tiring after a few times.
As the usual Elder Scrolls tradition, you’re not in the prison dungeon for a long time. With the help of a blind man we manage to break out, then it’s off to Tamriel; a large and impressive world to explore. The graphical part is very impressive to me, especially given its size and how well the game flows on. But even the wide variety of landscapes makes me pleased, because if there was something that Skyrim could be criticized for, it was its somewhat monotonous terrain. Several different areas was visited during a relatively short period and then later return to it.
With my allegiance to Daggerfall Covenant, one of three different factions, I begin my adventure for real when I reach its capital Wayrest located in a lush green landscape with many hills and trees. The other factions are; Aldmeri Dominion, whose members will find themselves in deep forests, and Ebonheart Pact, whose country stretches over for instance Skyrim and Morrowind. And in the middle of Tamriel, Cyrodiil – a gigantic province for proper fights between the three factions.
If you have played The Elder Scrolls V, you will feel at home in The Elder Scrolls Online. With the help of established game mechanics from Bethesda’s popular role playing game Skyrim, ZeniMax Online managed to create a unique MMO and the result is a healthy and necessary change. For some years now, role-playing games have put some more weight on the skills with a dynamic gameplay, a trend that The Elder Scrolls Online continues. It calls for active blocking, the interruption of the opponent’s special attacks and somersaults to avoid injury.
The Elder Scrolls Online deserves much praise for its combat system, which is well done and entertaining, even several hours into the game. Unfortunately, it feels more like a classic online role-playing game than I had hoped for – projectiles are a little too homing and regularly ignores blocking terrains and hits me against all logic. I have also experienced times where my attacks are not met, even though they should.
With this modernization, there are also reforms in both character levels and missions systems of Lutheran proportions. Since ages now, online role-playing games have stuck to steep experience curves and chores with repetition as keyword, something that has given this genre a bit boring reputation. Newer online role-playing has been pretty good to introduce variety and the latest one to join them is The Elder Scrolls Online, that’s serving a large plate of mixed tasks and data that would get the food pyramid to turn green with envy.
Obviously, good old favorites are returning where a specific number of something is to be collected or killed, but these are clearly in the minority. First of all the missions are handed out relevant and doesn’t make you wonder why the client didn’t do them himself. We all know these lazy missions where someone asks someone else to slay five hamsters that are a couple of meters away, while the task giver just relaxes and watches. No – instead I help Captain Farlivere to rescue hostages from bandits or evacuate residents from a burning village, just like it should be.
What defines a MMO for many is its repetition when it comes to advancing in levels. This so-called grinding is something that many developers of various kinds have tried to get rid of. In some games, the experience curve is straight (instead of the usual steep hill which build up to the Mount Everest), while other games have simply tried to hide or downright escape character levels.
The Elder Scrolls Online uses Skyrim’s proven model The Elder Scrolls Online uses Skyrim’s proven model in related skills and allow unlocking of other skills. Each weapon type has five active skills and two passives to unlock, these can also be modified subsequently to fulfill various tasks. Then there are about 30 skills for each of the four classes and four passives for each race.
Personally, I complement my rock hard visage with a two-handed weapon – beard and big sword is a decent combination. The general level plays a minor role, the skills that are unlocked determine what role you fulfill, no matter what you start as, so that you can shine with all kinds of weapons. It is irrelevant if you are a Templar or the Nightblade.
That all races and classes can implement such a nuanced way of playing, The Elder Scrolls Online misses the wide range of classes at the beginning of the game like many other competitors boasts with. My sorcerer can carry the same heavy armor as my Dragonknight and it’s the same with their weapons. If I want to walk around with a useless stick, it’s completely up to me. Of course, race-and class-specific skills cannot be ignored. If you want to fiddle with magic, the Sorcerer class is to prefer, but The Elder Scrolls Online has the potential for exciting combinations.
Whether The Elder Scrolls Online is worth the monthly fee is a question that is left unanswered, the future is something that I do not have insight in. Before the game was released it was declared as a flop from many places online that just seems to believe in the widespread free model. But you must not forget that The Elder Scrolls Online is an online role-playing of very good quality that doesn’t mimic the Titans, but instead leans against the acclaimed Skyrim. The result is an online role-playing game of top class, which can be enjoyed either as a group or on your own. Now just to see if The Elder Scrolls Online gets the audience it deserves.
If you are looking for a new online role playing game, The Elder Scrolls Online is an excellent alternative. Tamriel is a huge and vibrant world with a background story that surpasses most in the industry. This is packed with engaging missions thanks to a skillful pen and relevant objectives and the battles are exciting and challenging, thanks to skilled gameplay. The Elder Scrolls Online is a successful recipe.