Elder Scrolls Online: A Modest Review About The Best MMO EVER
Let me preface this blog with the fact that I will be presenting a completely, 100% unbiased opinion.
That being said…ESOISTHEBESTGAMEIVEEVERPLAYEDOMFGHOWDIDILIVEWITHOUTIT.
True to Bethesda Form and Functionality
Now, I feel that I should start off by mentioning, I also run my own business at home, so I haven’t gotten as much game time in as I would like. But having
played Arena through Skyrim, I feel that my opinion is clearly one of solid footing. (Read: Because I am always right and can do no wrong.) The Beta alone from day one showed pretty extreme promise for the game. The scenery is beautiful, even with the game on medium settings, which I then cranked to extreme settings like a BOSS and had my computer slaving away like Kent’s family in a Nike factory hopped up on Red Bull*. (no offense.) Walking around in this game is LITERALLY like entering a fantasy landscape…and in all seriousness? If you play this game? Look UP. No one looks up in a lot of these games, and the astounding detail of the night sky and the moons and suns and stars is like watching a UNICORN MAKE TENDER LOVE TO A 3DPRINTER ON A RAINBOW OF SOFT SERVE ICECREAM OF YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR. In other words, it’s full of magic, and coolness, and it’s FUCKING DELICIOUS.
I can’t even HANDLE how customizable this game is as far as characters go. The only thing I would have liked to see is a slider for hair/eye color as opposed to predetermined colors. BECAUSE I WANT TO BE AN ORC WITH PINK HAIR SO WHAT. One thing I like a lot is the sliding scale for the starter body. You can then fine tune details, but to begin with it’s a triangular chart that slides between thin, muscular, and large. Anywhere in the field of the triangle changes the body type of the character. It’s very well done. Then you get into the details like leg and arm size etc. So essentially I made my Orc somewhere between muscular and large, giving her the dimensions of a moss-green Khloe Kardashian. You can
even decipher chest size and “Posterior Dimensions” (which is snooty English for “Dat Ass”). So like any self loving vain female, we minimize the gut and belly, max the thighs and ‘posterior dimensions’ and chest and TA DA! You have an Orc who is perfectly suited to fill Tamriels next episode of “The Anna Nichole Smith Show.
Also on the gen screen is your class. Much like Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim you have your typical ‘races’. Elf, Nord, Orc, Dark Elf, etc. If you preordered the game you also have the choice of playing an imperial who can play in any of the three factions (all 9 of the races are split up between three factions that are currently at war which comes into play for some awesome PVP stuff). Then you have your classes, which are really simple: Templar, Dragon Knight (fighter/tank), Sorcerer (magic/DPS), and Nightblade/Rogue (stabby stabby). These get way more in depth as you level up you unlock new abilities as in any MMO, except this one allows the abilities themselves to level as you use them, they morph etc, which was a cool way to keep the Elder Scrolls star chart mechanic (in a way) without completely unbalancing the game.
SNEAKING GETS ITS OWN PARAGRAPH
If you play Elder Scrolls anything like I do, you are a sneaky, backstabbing, murderous lech who loves to steal anything that isn’t nailed down. I was REALLY worried this game wouldn’t keep those mechanics, and while thieving isn’t an available option (yet. I suspect that might be remedied in the future), sneaking, very much is. It’s actually useful too.
Much like any of the sneaky Bethesda games, when sneaking, you have the eye in the center of the screen telling you how visible you are. This allows you to choose to do some missions differently than others. A lot of missions, not unlike most ES games, are “collect the thing from inside this cave/town/tomb, and bring it to me”. Fortunately they give you several options in these missions. You can choose to kick in the door like Chuck Norris and serve everyone a hot steaming plate of your broadsword, you can sneak around behind every ones backs, and occasionally the NPC giving you the mission will give you the option of dawning a disguise to wear. So long as you’re not a shit starter you should be able to complete your mission unscathed. There is a downside, you get the XP for the mission, but you don’t level any of your abilities. So yes, you finish missions faster, but you don’t really get the added benefits of actually fighting people.
Leveling Is Fucking Different. Deal With It.
Leveling in ESO isn’t like other MMO’s. You can’t just go down to the beach and go for a stroll committing casual genocide on thousands of harmless Mudcrabs to level up. (I mean, you can, but why would you? Who the fuck are you, Mudcrab Hitler?) You can gain experience with whatever weapon/attack you’re using, but it only adds minimal XP to your over all level. I kind of like this mechanic as it means if you want to level? You actually need to play the fucking game. Yeah, I’m looking at you Korean farmers.
Another thing I wanted to mention…a lot of people I know were bitching about the First Person view of the game. I don’t know about you, my dear reader, but I love the first person view in all the elder scrolls games. I also loved the first person view in games like Thief. I think a lot of people like the 3rd person because you can see around you and thus take a more strategic stance on the game. In ESO you CAN play in third person view, but I always liked the challenge of not being able to see shit behind me. Get on my level, son.
Playing With Your Friends Makes A Difference
There are some really cool play mechanics when it comes to playing with friends, or in a guild. Essentially when it gets to PVP time (which I haven’t experienced yet, like I said, work from home, not quite the level I want to be), you and your buddies can run around together in a fucking WAR ZONE like a platoon of super dangerous nerds, fighting the oppression of your pixelated people brought on by other platoons of nerds fighting the oppression of THEIR pixelated people. The PVP in this game deserves a lot of credit, and though I haven’t played with it as much as I would like to, it certainly seems to be an animal of its own. I PERSONALLY have yet to see an MMO with PVP to this extent. The use of ballistas, fire, and scenery really make the situation seem imperative, unlike some games (Yeah you, WOW…) where you just run around jerking off your little panda monk at whatever low level character was dumb enough to get near you at the bank. Basically, there is a REASON for PVP in this game other than just “I’m from the Alliance, and I’m from the Horde”. It’s more in depth and the lore of it is backed up with all kinds of books (yes, I read the books, so sue me.), random NPC’s comments, letters you find haphazardly laying around, etc. The immersion in this game really stands up to the Bethesda standard of game making, which of course, makes me insane as a completionist.
Aside from PVP there are some cool abilities, such as “Dark Talons”. This ability shoots some fuckin’ crazy ass dragon claws out of the ground and GRAB the target pinning him in place. Not only is this ability cool as fuck, but it essentially gives another PC an attack of opportunity. That is, they can interact with this attack, which shows their toon launching into the air and stabbing the bejesus out of the target. Once I saw that badassery I never wanted to use another ability ever again. Unfortunately, I need friends to use it. I wonder what those Korean farmers are up to….
There are still the basic aspects of MMO’s regarding friends as well. Teaming up and having a guild that you run etc. are all still part of the game. Guilds are separate from faction groups, but you can fight in a faction PVP zone with your guild. Essentially, you can do what you fuckin’ WANT. THE WORLD IS YOUR BURRITO KID, GO EAT IT. Just…you know…try not to shit yourself. (Now I’m lookin’ at you, Erik.)
Did I Mention The Horses In This Game Also Level The Fuck Up? Get On Our Level BLIZZARD.
Okay, so thus far I’m obviously a little biased and in ridiculous favor of this game, HOWEVER. That being said, I am a girl. A WHITE one at that, so any game where I can ride a pony is pretty much sold to me on impact. I ordered the Imperial Edition Limited Edition Crazy Ridiculous Swag version of the game (Because I hate money…JUST KIDDING, my fiance got it for me for my birthday because I wouldn’t stop whining about it. #Victory). But what the ever loving fuck does this have to do with the HORSES, Mika? TELL ME OF THE FUCKING HORSES. I will oh, impatient reader. I will.
So the Imperial Edition of the game comes with an Imperial Mount, so you don’t need to save up the HEINOUS LOW LOW PRICE of 14,000 fucking gold. The horses can be brought to a stable and fed for 200 gold. Depending on what you feed them it levels their Speed, Stamina , or Carrying Capacity. Speed helps you move faster (so mounts are not a set speed, they can go fast, faster, ultra fast, or Kenyan), Stamina determines how many times they can get hit before it dismounts you and forces you into combat that you were most likely trying to ride through because you want nothing to do with that shit, and carrying capacity is pretty self explanatory. This means, that instead of having a house carl like you do in Skyrim, you have a helpless animal carrying all your bullshit that is too important to put in the bank, but not important enough to carry your damn self.
So yes, I bit the bullet and forced my fiance to buy me the Imperial Edition for my birthday. “BUT WHY?” you ask? Well. Simple fact is, I am a huge Elder Scrolls fan, and I missed out on the collectors edition of Skyrim, so I really wanted it. Also, this bitch comes with a figurine of Molag Baal (who is the Daedric Prince of Domination and Enslavement), an awesome leather bound art book full of awesome back story about the world, beautiful art, and all kinds of cool info. Did I mention it was leather bound? The game itself is in a metal tin, it comes with a poster of the world, and all of it neatly packaged in what felt like a 50 lb. box.
OVER ALL THOUGHTS BECAUSE WHAT I THINK MATTERS
My over all thoughts? Buy this fucking game. I personally think it’s worth it to pay the monthly for it so that new content keeps getting released. A lot of MMOs have been feeling like glorified versions of Farmville as they have turned very point and click. Retrieve the thing, bring it back, get the prize. Go get the other thing, bring it back, get the prize. The story is minimal or lack luster, and doesn’t pull the player in. ESO is filled with tasks that will test your morality and shape your character and decisions, beautiful scenery for a fully immersive session of game play, stunning voice acting (including familiar voices from Oblivion and Skyrim), and over all is just a good fucking game. So go get yourself some Taco Bell, a 2 liter of Mountain Dew, saddle up and get ready for the most awesome MMO ever.
*Kent is Chinese.