Elder Scrolls Beta Impressions

#1 Posted by Seppli (10250 posts) -

Since the NDA is lifted now, we can openly discuss our experiences with the game. It's my first beta weekend. I've as of yet only created a character and played through the intro.

Like:

  • Production Values
  • First Person Perspective
  • Elder Scrolls Setting

Dislike:

  • Class System

The one thing I've instantly disliked is how ambivalent the 4 classes are. What's a Dragon Knight for example? Every class reads like a more advanced class. Like a prestige class I've first got to earn to be.

When I start out a game, I want to select a clear archetype. A warrior. A ranger. A rogue. A priest. A mage. None of the four classes available really tell me what archetype are, respectively include. Counter intutitive. I mean what the fuck is a Dragon Knight? What does that even mean?

Opposed to the ongoing FFXIV Beta though, I've liked what I've played enough to delve deeper. At the very least it feels quite fresh at first glance. Also - the whole entry experience was like a million times better in comparison.

#2 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

Just played the my first post-opening questline. I had to free a thief from a prison, then find his hidden gem, so that he'll join a boatcrew for a future heist. Combat is fun. One-shotting goblins out of stealth? Doesn't ever get old. The game flows well. The story is well written and voiced. There's loot everywhere. I dinged a couple of times. Got a couple of new abilities.

By my standards, ESO seems pretty darn great for an MMO. Definitely will play more of this beta. If this positive impression lasts, I will definitely give the game a shot when it comes out next month.

#3 Edited by Hayt (339 posts) -

I'm interested you listed the Elder Scrolls setting as a plus because based on what I have seen they have gone out of their way as much as possible to bleed the interest out of it in favour of mass appeal designs. I linked a friend screenshots of the game cold and asked him to guess what game it was. He guessed it was some DnD or LotR game.

I'm not saying you're wrong but listing a thing that actively pushes me away as a positive is interesting.

#4 Posted by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@hayt said:

I'm interested you listed the Elder Scrolls setting as a plus because based on what I have seen they have gone out of their way as much as possible to bleed the interest out of it in favour of mass appeal designs. I linked a friend screenshots of the game cold and asked him to guess what game it was. He guessed it was some DnD or LotR game.

I'm not saying you're wrong but listing a thing that actively pushes me away as a positive is interesting.

It's the music and interface. The lore. The overall art direction. Everything just feels *Elder Scrollsy*.

#5 Edited by Hayt (339 posts) -

@seppli: the UI only looks like Skyrim's though, the music isn't being composed by Jeremy Soule and the lore is being done by a new guy who doesn't understand the setting which is why we end up with an alliance of Argonians, Nords and Dunmer who are bitter enemies. There is an image macro floating around which captures some of the nonesense but it eludes me. Beyond the points you raised the class system is entirely at odds with Elder Scrolls. To me it's hardly Elder Scrollsy at all.

#6 Posted by OurSin_360 (947 posts) -

Only played a few minutes, but it's pretty good so far. A few glitches like seeing the backs of your eyballs in first person mode but nothing major yet. Textures seem a little bad even at ultra settings, but of course it's an mmo. First impressions are way better than that Final Fantasy mmo i tried last weekend(sucked IMO) but i wish it had controller support I don't feel like the first person melee combat is suited for the typical hot button MMO gameplay and it pretty much feels like oblivion and skyrim otherwise. Probably wait until it turns F2P in a year

#7 Edited by SecularBaron (192 posts) -

I played a couple beta weekends. I fear I just may just be burnt out on how most MMOs play. I enjoyed the combat being more like Elder Scrolls, it made it a little more interactive then WoW or EQ. However I was still mashing on 1,2,3 to activate the skills on my toolbar against a selected enemy... which was basically playing any MMO again.

Also the nature of it being an MMO lost a lot of what I love about ES games (especially Morrowind). Where I would wander into some old ruins, somehow defeat an enemy I had no business fighting yet and emerge, over encumbered, with a set of ebony armor and epic loot. Robbing a shop blind is good too.

The stream of 50 people running from point "A" to point "B" to turn in their "Collect 10 rat tails." quest didn't immerse me much. But when you think of ES games I guess that's what a lot of the quests are like, only single player. It had some moments I enjoyed. Overall it was alright, I would definitely play it before going back to WoW or a similar MMO. But for now i'm not going to buy it.

#8 Posted by SlashDance (1843 posts) -

Elder Scrolls games butchering the Elder Scrolls lore is pretty much a trope of the series at this point, but they've outdone themsevles on this one. Nothing about the setting or the story makes sense. Not from what I've seen anyway.

Gameplay-wise it's a crappy version of Skyrim that wants to be an MMO, or maybe a crappy MMO that wants to be Skyrim. Or maybe both. I didn't hate it, in fact if it was cheaper I would totally play it, but even then I don't think I would stick with it for more than a week or so.

#9 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

I don't like how the game rewards XP. Almost none for most things, and a lot for quests. What if I just want to explore and kill mobs? What if the quest I'm doing is bugged, and I'm killing mobs just so? Wierds me out. I like killing monsters. Why they wouldn't make it feel rewarding is beyond me. Also, there's kinda not enough loot from kills, both money and gear-wise, and vendors are overpriced. The whole *rewards* feedback loop is rather bad. Hell, it doesn't even surface XP gains by default (I'm sure I can turn that on somewhere).

I prefer Guild Wars 2's approach so much more in this regard. Everything rewards XP, no matter what I do. That's the stuff!

#10 Posted by Demoskinos (15131 posts) -

Funny because my experience was the polar opposite. I hated Elder Scrolls Online and loved Final Fantasy XIV. Then again right up front I hate everything associated with Elder Scrolls. Skyrim pretty much was the nail in the coffin for that franchise as far as I'm concerned.

#11 Posted by Tajasaurus (969 posts) -

I would pick this up if it weren't subscription based. I enjoyed the last beta for what it was, but I was definitely into it more for the Elder Scrolls trappings than the gameplay. If it were a single purchase I would buy it without question, but I don't think I would feel good pay fifteen dollars a month.

#12 Posted by Seppli (10250 posts) -

Funny because my experience was the polar opposite. I hated Elder Scrolls Online and loved Final Fantasy XIV. Then again right up front I hate everything associated with Elder Scrolls. Skyrim pretty much was the nail in the coffin for that franchise as far as I'm concerned.

I've a much easier time relating to a more grounded world, like the one of ESO. In almost all Asian-made MMORPGs, the worldbuilding just turns me off - with its unrelatable outlandish monsters just standing there, their only reason to exist so apparent - for players to kill them - it hurts. Western MMOs generally put up a much better effort to make their gameworlds cohesive.

Also - I find ESO's combat to be snappier, and much more involved. FFXIV felt detached, almost JRPGish. It lacks kinetic energy.

#13 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -
@tajasaurus said:

I would pick this up if it weren't subscription based. I enjoyed the last beta for what it was, but I was definitely into it more for the Elder Scrolls trappings than the gameplay. If it were a single purchase I would buy it without question, but I don't think I would feel good pay fifteen dollars a month.

It's a shame ESO and Wildstar didn't follow Guild Wars 2's example. *Pay 2 Play* supposedly works out splendidly for ArenaNet, and as a player, I didn't feel like my experience with it suffered because of it, unlike with F2P MMORPGs.

I really don't see how developers can still stand for the subscription model. At this point, it's an almost certainly doomed gamble to create a WoW-like cash cow. There's no good reason for players to want a subscription MMO. The only good reason are insane profit margins for the developer/publisher, if they hit it big like WoW.

In a post-GW2 world, we should expect our *Premium MMOs* to deliver what subscription MMOs did deliver thus far, just buying the client without the need for a subscription, because obviously, if you make a good game that sells well and you skim IRL-money off the top of the game's economy, you'll still be plenty profitable, even without subscription.

Supposedly the Gold Farming business is currently generating 3 billion bucks yearly. So really, if you're still working with the subscription model, you're just doing it wrong.

#14 Posted by Demoskinos (15131 posts) -

@seppli: See that is exactly the opposite what I want. I want crazy fantastical monsters. Trotting out Wolves and Giant Spiders and Goblins is just so token fantasy stuff at this point that its about as vanilla and boring as you can get to me. Which is exactly why I still think Morrowind is the peak of the franchise that world was amazing and alien.

#15 Posted by joshwent (2340 posts) -

I really like it and think that it excels at a few specific things that make it feel unique; quest choices, in-depth crafting, and actually satisfying stealth in an MMO. But the simple fact that it is an MMO is why I probably won't buy it. The allure for me in the Elder Scrolls games is the lone hero wandering the lands, so despite all of the things that I think it does well, seeing a bunch of people jumping around for no reason and doing the quests that I'm doing just instantly takes me out of the experience.

@hayt said:

I linked a friend screenshots of the game cold and asked him to guess what game it was. He guessed it was some DnD or LotR game.

Would he have been able to guess if it was screenshots from any other Elder Scrolls game? Games that I think are visually unique and beautiful like The Witcher 2 or Dragon Age: Origins could still easily be misidentified as a D&D or LotR game. Unless they have a specifically non-realistic style like WoW, when it comes down to it, almost all medieval fantasy games look pretty similar. I don't think that's really a valid criticism of ESO specifically.

#16 Posted by Seppli (10250 posts) -

@seppli: See that is exactly the opposite what I want. I want crazy fantastical monsters. Trotting out Wolves and Giant Spiders and Goblins is just so token fantasy stuff at this point that its about as vanilla and boring as you can get to me. Which is exactly why I still think Morrowind is the peak of the franchise that world was amazing and alien.

Games like WoW manage to be plenty fantastical, without creating a *disconnect*. Morrowind is part of ESO. Why wouldn't it be just as outlandish as it was then?

#17 Posted by Seppli (10250 posts) -
@joshwent said:

I really like it and think that it excels at a few specific things that make it feel unique; quest choices, in-depth crafting, and actually satisfying stealth in an MMO. But the simple fact that it is an MMO is why I probably won't buy it. The allure for me in the Elder Scrolls games is the lone hero wandering the lands, so despite all of the things that I think it does well, seeing a bunch of people jumping around for no reason and doing the quests that I'm doing just instantly takes me out of the experience.

@hayt said:

I linked a friend screenshots of the game cold and asked him to guess what game it was. He guessed it was some DnD or LotR game.

Would he have been able to guess if it was screenshots from any other Elder Scrolls game? Games that I think are visually unique and beautiful like The Witcher 2 or Dragon Age: Origins could still easily be misidentified as a D&D or LotR game. Unless they have a specifically non-realistic style like WoW, when it comes down to it, almost all medieval fantasy games look pretty similar. I don't think that's really a valid criticism of ESO specifically.

It being an MMO is definitely what turns me off as well.

#18 Edited by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

I was pretty surprised by the game. After hearing so many negative comments, I expected the game to be really bad and it's not, there's some genuinely pretty good stuff in here and it deviates enough from typical MMO tropes to not just feel like a WoW clone with an Elder Scrolls skin on top.

That said, it does just feel like a really low budget Skyrim. Everything is much more restricted, the gameplay mechanics are clunky, the exploration is severely limited by the genre and you'll lose any sense of immersion as soon as you enter the first town and see a hundred other people standing around naked, jumping up and down on the spot or running into a wall trying to figure out how to get to the other side of a building.

But to sum it up, I think it's going to be hated by the majority of people, but will probably sustain itself with a small group of dedicated players who really love it. The monthly fee is definitely the biggest stumbling point, I expect a F2P transition quicker than Old Republic.

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