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The Elder Scrolls Online - A Beta Tester's Final Thoughts

2/10/14 3:40pm
tl;dr

An Elder Scrolls game without any of the mechanics or features that made The Elder Scrolls so special? How on earth would that work?! You guessed it. It doesn't. This is a generic MMO. That's all you need to know. My tip? Stay far away. This will be a money sink.

FIRST OFF!

I was hyped for this game. I was so excited that I got pissed off every time I didn't get a beta invite. Then, finally, one day... Beta invite email! I was so excited! That magical Friday finally came along. It being my birthday as well made it twice as awesome! I double-clicked that cool looking shortcut on my desktop and started up The Elder Scrolls Online Beta for the first time...


Now we fast-forward through two beta sessions and here's what's happened since that magical day on January 10th:

Generic. That's what it is. A generic MMO made to cash in on the now saturated and dying MMO market.

Imagine RPG Maker but for MMOs. That's what this game feels like. A generic MMO template with TES skins, textures and voiceover work. If you expect a TES game when you buy this you will be extremely disappointed. I would even go as far as to say that this game almost feels like a re-skinned version of Rift.
 
Oh, and NDA be damned. People need to know the critiques as well as the praise, seeing as how most of the hype comes from the developer itself. And yes, I know it's a beta. However, it's just a month to go before release and Bethesda/Zenimax won't make a 180 degree turn and change their entire game until then.

 
ZERO DIFFICULTY (SO FAR)

You run around through the world and you get easily bored with all these quests that give you little to no immersion at all. "Run here and do this then run back again". "Go here and talk to this guy then talk to me again then talk to another guy and me again". "Go to this inn and steal this flask of precious brandy for me all in less than 30 seconds because this game is way too easy and there's no way you can get caught!". This is not an exaggeration. It's really this simple. It's not a summary or an outline of how a quest is done. That's it. It takes you 30 seconds and the hardest part is to press down your sprint key while doing it.

Granted, it takes longer to level up in this game than in many other MMOs I've played, but that just makes it even more tedious. I was tired of this game before I reached level 7.
 
 
LACK OF FREEDOM AND EXPLORATION
 
Remember in Skyrim and Oblivion where you could run half-way across the map at level 3? You can just throw that out of the door! Exploration in ESO is nonexistent unless you're MAX LEVEL and can kill everything in the game world. Sure, if you don't mind dying a horrible death because you've entered an area that's 2 levels higher than you - in the same zone I might add - then you're welcome to explore all you like.
 
People were hyped for this game for one reason and one reason alone: they've wanted a co-op/multiplayer function in a TES game ever since the days of Morrowind. This is not it. This is FAR from it. Bethesda/Zenimax should've just made another TES game with online multiplayer mode or at the very least 4-player party support, kind of like in the same vein as Borderlands 2. This generic MMO crap is a waste of time and money, both for Bethesda/Zenimax and for you, the consumer.

Bottom line is that this game lacks a lot of the things that made The Elder Scrolls so good. There's no exploration if you get bored with the main quest line (or the side quests for that matter), there's no freedom as in stealing anything you want like in the previous games and then fence them to make money. I guess that's what I'm getting at... There's no freedom. There's no freedom to do what we were doing in the previous games. It feels like a hallway shooter but in MMO form with invisible death walls; there's only one way to go and if you stray, you die.
 
 
TRAILERS CONTRA REALITY
 
If you are one of those people who think that cool trailers equals a cool game you will be even more disappointed. The trailers and the game are even more far apart than day and night. It's like comparing a Michael Bay movie with me filming a rotten dog turd on a shitty cellphone camera from 1998.

Well, duh. Trailers are made to sell the game. I know this very well. The problem is that there are people who get pumped, don't get beta invites, still buy the game and get disappointed. That's why you should NEVER let trailers sell you games and that's why other opinions BEFORE launch are important.
 

CONCLUSION

The game is shit. This is my biggest gaming disappointment in a LONG time, probably the only big disappointment in the past 10 years, and I'm a guy who thinks that Oblivion was the greatest modern RPG ever made! I even liked the Star Wars MMO more than this game because at least it was an unexplored universe to me since I had essentially only played (and liked) The Force Unleashed games until the MMO came along.

There's no way I'm wasting money on ESO. And you know what the worst part is? This was going to be my WoW substitute, yet now it looks like I have to re-enable that WoW subscription simply because I have nothing else to do when I'm bored. I was hoping to never again waste money on WoW, but at least it's better than The Elder Scrolls Online. I might even pick up The Old Republic again. After this experience I'm starting to miss it.

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