Sunday, March 9, 2014

ESO - review pt 1: Introduction

Object: Elder Scrolls Online - Beta version

Reviewer profile: nox
I am a TES fan since Morrowind, but I won't hide that I am more interested in modding than gaming. TES appeals to me for its unique and deep lore. ESO was a first MMO experience for me. I was already angry over the little I knew about ESO lore (mainly the composition of alliances, and Mannimarco serving Bal) but I was still looking forward gameplay mechanics.

Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - How is the gameplay?
Part 3 - What does it look like?
Part 4 - Aldmeri Dominion visuals
Part 5 - Ebonheart Pact visuals
Part 6 - Daggerfall Covenant visuals
Part 7 - Story, quests and NPCs
Part 8 - How lore-friendly is it?
Part 9 - Conclusion

When Bethesda Softworks worked on Skyrim, they thought of it in matter of experience, and they blended the new gameplay mechanics (Word Walls, revamping of magic, etc) into the lore, expanding it (Dragon Cult, CoW...) but in respect of what existed already. Zenimax took no such care, with the idea that gameplay mechanics are superior to lore, trying to fit new bricks into an already existing wall for the sake of fitting them in. The video below illustrates this with humor.

This is obvious calculation, and this is what you will see all through playing ESO. Everything is obvious. Everything has a single purpose.

Because you have been patient enough to maybe read this, I will first answer the question you might be wondering about most.

Would I recommend you ESO?

If you like TES for its deep lore: NO.

If you like MMOs: NO. It's not worth the price, nothing here that a free MMO doesn't offer.

Todd Howard said:
"We can do anything, we can't do everything"
ESO aimed to please everybody: both TES fans and MMO fans, and is likely to end up pleasing nobody.

In which case would I recommend ESO?
Only if you really want to play an MMO that looks pretty, with poor story design, but has Skyrim Tamrielic playable races and locations reminiscent of TES games more by their name than a real "feel" of them. You might also not care a second about character naming for immersion, and meet Nyanknight, LastDragonborn, Lmao Twoplate or D'aeros Csha'alan. Some players might argue that ESO is such a rip-off of Skairym.

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