Impressions Thread?

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So, understandably, the console release of ESO hasn't been receiving a ton buzz. Perhaps it's due to the mixed reception of it's original PC launch? Maybe choosing a release date sandwiched between two of the biggest AAA titles this year (Gerald Returns and Batfleck Knight) wasn't a great idea. It probably doesn't help that E3 is just so close, which means most game publications are much too busy with conference prep to check in to a giant time-sink MMO for a second time.

Anyway, as far my thought's go, I'm happy to report that it's actually okay!

ESO missions actually have a bit of substance, and there's quite a ton of them. I found myself interested in the quest lines I've played so far, mostly thanks to the solid writing and voice work that help to flesh them out. Of course, it's occasionally tempting to skip through chatter since there's just so much of it, but I can't fault Zenimax for that. It also helps that NPC character models during conversations are slightly improved from the likes of Skyrim, since the models somewhat animate when speaking. While it's still not great, it's an improvement from the robotic inhabitants of the series' past.

I feel that the combat quite solid as well. Mapping specials to the face buttons, not unlike Diablo 3, makes combat a bit faster and more reactive. It can still be kind of clunky however, as the hit reactions and sound design can certainly be better, but if you've spent some time away with Oblivion and Skyrim, you'll probably be as used to it as I was.

ESO certainly has flaws though. From a visual perspective, the game is an absolute eyesore. It's a noticeable step down from even the console versions of Skyrim, which even that itself wasn't all that gorgeous. I know this is probably due to the massive player count, but I still can't help but scratch my head every so often and wonder if I had accidentally activated some secret PS2 port of Morrowind.

Quest rewards is another negative. If you're familiar with Destiny, you should know the feeling of completing a mission and receiving almost nothing to show for it but some outdated gear that's worse than what you're wearing. Of course, unlike Destiny, the missions here actually interesting and enjoyable, but it's still a bummer to complete a lengthy quest line and receive a bow when you're going sword-and-board. It seems the crafting system is the way to go for enhanced gear, but I haven't quite wrapped my ahead around that aspect yet.

Now the biggest negative for me is actually the biggest part of the damn game, and that's the online component.

While it's fun to watch literally a hundred other unique player character just wander around town, I've found it detrimental to the actually game. Opening the door to a boss fight, only to see that ten others players have already taken care of him or her is a bit off-putting. To be fair, it only takes about two seconds for boss characters, or other enemies around the world, to respawn, but it does totally take me out of the experience. I haven't tried match-making into dungeons yet, so I can't comment on how well those system work quite yet. I feel like an offline mode would have been an excellent addition to the console release.

To sum it all up, I went in with absolutely no expectations whatsoever, and I'm finding myself positively surprised at how much I'm enjoying it. It certainly rough around the edges, it's ugly as the Daedra themselves, and it probably doesn't have to be "online-only" but I'm definitely having fun here.

Also, Kate Beckinsale is in it...

Has anyone else here given it a shot?

P.S. I've probably written way too much

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sparky_buzzsaw

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I've played about six hours so far, and I'm enjoying it. This is only my second MMO, after an on-again off-again fling with LOTRO from a few years ago. I'm surprised at how accessible this is - it's really about as easy to play as Skyrim, though there are a lot more crafting systems going on. The fonts are surprisingly readable, especially on the PS4 with the zoom, but even without it, I think the game would be manageable. The voicework is passable-to-good, but the story is the usual "you're the anonymous chosen one of destiny and fate and gods and devils to swordy sword sword the ultimate evil reawakened to plague the earth" bullshit. I guess asking for more than that from an MMO would be difficult, but still, it's the game's most glaring weak point.

The visuals are rough, yeah, but if you're willing to play something approximating some blend between Morrowind and Oblivion, it's certainly not a deal-breaker. Everything animates relatively well, though the NPCs don't really have much to do. The quests have been pretty standard fare, but they're plentiful enough that if you don't like doing one thing, you can easily go find another dozen or so.

I'm a bit disappointed that there's still a skeezy ass pay system in place in the form of crowns. Anyone who played LOTRO or pretty much any other "free" MMO knows the deal here. You get the quests and the classes, but extra stuff like costumes, horses, and a bunch of nonsense comes at the cost of a currency you can buy with real monies. The way they "get you" is through a very limited amount of storage. You can buy additional backpack space for in game currency, but the cost of this ramps up and it's frustrating as all hell.

I don't know. It's certainly a passably good way to kill some time before Fallout 4. Just don't go in expecting it to be on the level of Skyrim or Oblivion and you'll be fine.

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takayamasama

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@sparky_buzzsaw: If you find yourself lacking in game gold and are finding the inventory upgrade system to be a "get you" scheme, try spending some time pick pocketing in cities and leveling up the Legerdemain skill tree. Eventually you start selling stolen stuff for a lot of gold, and it doesn't become an issue. I never found the cost of upgrades to be that bad, throughout the different stages of my time with the game.

Also don't forget to utilize your bank. Crafting items stored in the bank can be used at crafting tables, you don't have to pull them back out and do a bunch of annoying inventory management.

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I think its entirely reasonable to expect a game on the level of Skyrim or Oblivion when you consider this game exists because people played those games and thought some online components would make a lot of sense in a world this big. And I agree, an online component would do something interesting in those games. But more like Borderlands or something, crewing up for real missions but you can still alter the world in irreperable ways. An MMO can't by its nature actually reflect your choices. Even as I understand you can kill people now, you'd probably still see people hovering around this invisible questgiver you killed.

Without the TES name attached, I feel like this game is something that brings nothing new to the table and also doesnt recognize some of the meta things successful games like WoW and FF14 did to keep people coming back month after month. With the TES name comes TES expectations that can't be delivered in a traditional MMO. So it cant really deliver on either level. Maybe plenty of people are fine with playing a kind of mediocre MMO if it takes place in the world they like, certainly did the trick with KOTOR (but KOTOR at least has a fully voiced story mode that's different per class and they're actually well told). And I played through KOTOR for a story and moved on and a lot of people did that and I think a lot of people might think powering through the story mode here would be worthwhile for similar reasons. But I've seen no sign of that either.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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@karkarov: I actually didnt know that, interesting. So if Im bothered by the community at large I can kill a few random NPCs and be in a zone with like 3 other people? Are there repercussions of any kind beyond killing quest lines? I guess if you do it enough the brotherhood might pay you a visit? If the game is layed out this way then they can do some really interesting things, but I understand NPC killing is fairly new so I wonder if I should wait a couple months for them to build more stuff based around that. The problem with the game now is I didnt feel like I was shaping anything really which is why I like TES games, but maybe the quests they make from here on out will take more chances in that way. Fingers crossed, I'll keep an eye out.

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takayamasama

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@babblerock: You can't kill quest givers, not 100% of the mobs are flagged to be attacked. Right now it's mainly just implemented as a way for NPCs to fight you back if they detect you pickpocketing them. There isn't, at this time, a brotherhood faction you can interact with, but that's in the works.

As to your previous marks, I'd say the quests are as good as KOTORS when it comes to voice acting and interest. There is the main quest and then the main campaign quest, of which there are 3, based on what faction you choose to start under. Those quests are massive, spawn the 5 zones your faction has presence in, and they are completely different.

ESO is a weird thing. It's not a full MMO, yet it's not a full TES game either, and takes parts from both to make itself what it is. That being said, in my time playing it, I had a heck of a good time, and I still enjoy messing around in the world. And now that it's B2P, it's really not a bad investment if you are curious. I feel like a lot of people have misconceptions about what this game is based on very outdated knowledge, sometimes tracing back from the games beta. It has turned around since them, and is one of only a handful of games where the devs worked hard to fix what people thought was wrong with it. I'd probably rank it as #2 game for positive post-launch support and change(#1 being Marvel Heroes)

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@karkarov: I actually didnt know that, interesting. So if Im bothered by the community at large I can kill a few random NPCs and be in a zone with like 3 other people? Are there repercussions of any kind beyond killing quest lines? I guess if you do it enough the brotherhood might pay you a visit? If the game is layed out this way then they can do some really interesting things, but I understand NPC killing is fairly new so I wonder if I should wait a couple months for them to build more stuff based around that. The problem with the game now is I didnt feel like I was shaping anything really which is why I like TES games, but maybe the quests they make from here on out will take more chances in that way. Fingers crossed, I'll keep an eye out.

No offense intended, but why is the ability to kill NPCs so important?

Don't get me wrong, it's fun to do in the likes of GTAV and such, but here? I just don't see the benefit.

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@babblerock:I feel like a lot of people have misconceptions about what this game is based on very outdated knowledge, sometimes tracing back from the games beta.

Great point.

It seems a good number people are going into this expecting the TES VI, but it totally couldn't be any more not that.

Perhaps a giant NOT ACTUALLY DEVELOPED BY BETHESDA sticker on the box would be wise

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#12  Edited By moyer78

Well, considering I've only been able to play the actual game about 20 minutes or so, my impressions are not to good. I have been been playing the game of being in the login queue, waiting a long time for my position to countdown, then getting disconnected, reconnecting, getting sent to the back of the line, waiting for my position to countdown, getting disconnected, then....well you get the idea. I played that part of the game for about 2 hours tonight. Apparently I am not alone: http://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/174711/stuck-in-queue-for-na-server-login-failed

I know this comes with the territory for a new MMO, but it's just disappointing that this is still happening in 2015. Looking forward to someday playing the game I paid $60 for.

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Hotspray

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ESO is a weird, weird MMO.

The Good:

The combat is terrific. It feels great, and is surprisingly open for customization in early game. It actually somehow feels like an Elder Scrolls game in this sense. A huge achievement. I can't overstate this - ESO in first person has the best feeling combat in the entire series.

The Bad:

Almost everything else outside of the combat, UI and voice acting seems 10 years out of date. And that is being generous. The great work with instancing and phasing that we've all seen over the last few prominent MMOs has really made ESOs failings that much worse. The quest design ends up feeling awkward and thin thanks to swarming players doing the same things, using the same items, etc. Much gets made of the voice acting, but I'm pretty unimpressed with it. This is no SWTOR, and the story thus far has not really registered with me. But, hey, at least it's there if you want it.

Normally I don't sweat the graphics of MMOs too much, but WOW does ESO look bad. The opening area is gorgeous and moody, so I was pleasantly surprised before dropping into Daggerfall. Then things get bad in a hurry. The art style is neither realistic or cartoony enough to click. Textures are PS2 muddy. Players, NPCs and mounts all look like stiff, dead eyed dolls. Third person animation is bad (It IS an Elder Scrolls game after all).

After about 6 hours of play time, I think ESO is a good addition to the PS4 library, and looks to be decent time with friends. But it's also a somewhat depressing time capsule of bad MMO design and lackluster visuals. But with no monthly fee, and what seems to be a relatively fair cash shop, I could probably recommend it to those looking for a solid fantasy time sink.

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Three things that turned me off of ESO (I played it mostly in the beta, but came back on a free weekend recently to see how much it had changed) were non-instanced dungeons, the hugely disproportionate ratio of skills available to skills you could actually equip, and the washed out color palette.

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I came back to try it again (after playing the original beta) when it went free-to-play and they gave beta users another shot at it for a weekend. Playing it a second time did not change my opinion of it at all. While its bland quests and world didn't really bother me, as many MMOs have the exact same problem, I just cannot understand how anyone can tolerate the combat. It feels completely flat and meaningless, with hits seeming to have no impact whatsoever. I always felt like I was swinging a wet noodle at my foes, leaving me completely unsatisfied with each encounter. Combine this with the odd ways the game tended to behave due to several players trying to complete quests at the same time and I just couldn't tolerate it.

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Yeah i remember it being really stupid in the PC beta them not instancing boss battles and you getting xp for a dead boss you had nothing to do with. Nothing about the game made a argument for it being an MMO, might as well have just gave the game to bethesda and made a real elder scrolls game out of it.

That said, i thought the beta was fun and did wonder how good it would control with a gamepad and now that the monthly fee is gone i may pick it up one day on sale.

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@babblerock said:

@karkarov: I actually didnt know that, interesting. So if Im bothered by the community at large I can kill a few random NPCs and be in a zone with like 3 other people? Are there repercussions of any kind beyond killing quest lines? I guess if you do it enough the brotherhood might pay you a visit? If the game is layed out this way then they can do some really interesting things, but I understand NPC killing is fairly new so I wonder if I should wait a couple months for them to build more stuff based around that. The problem with the game now is I didnt feel like I was shaping anything really which is why I like TES games, but maybe the quests they make from here on out will take more chances in that way. Fingers crossed, I'll keep an eye out.

No offense intended, but why is the ability to kill NPCs so important?

Don't get me wrong, it's fun to do in the likes of GTAV and such, but here? I just don't see the benefit.

Your questions speaks to a larger topic with this game. There are a ton of things that seem awkwardly bolted on in order to try and seem "Elder Scrollsy". Stealing, justice systems and killable NPCs all sound like features of a sandbox MMO. But ESO is very much a theme park. They aren't BAD, just... Out of place. It's things like that which make me think the development process must have been a very challenging and frustrating endeavor. On top of all that, there is also this very limp attempt at making "YOU part of the story!". ESO does things like have an NPC recognize that you completed some throw away quest while walking past them. "There goes the guy who did that thing!" It's funny, but also a little cringeworthy. Nevermind the fact that I barely had any context for this supposedly heroic action, did the quest with 4 other players beside me doing the same thing, and the NPC praising me outside would have had no way of knowing anything that just happened. Yet that bit of dialog is there to immerse me? Ouch.

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babblerock

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#18  Edited By babblerock

@mustainium said:
@babblerock said:

@karkarov: I actually didnt know that, interesting. So if Im bothered by the community at large I can kill a few random NPCs and be in a zone with like 3 other people? Are there repercussions of any kind beyond killing quest lines? I guess if you do it enough the brotherhood might pay you a visit? If the game is layed out this way then they can do some really interesting things, but I understand NPC killing is fairly new so I wonder if I should wait a couple months for them to build more stuff based around that. The problem with the game now is I didnt feel like I was shaping anything really which is why I like TES games, but maybe the quests they make from here on out will take more chances in that way. Fingers crossed, I'll keep an eye out.

No offense intended, but why is the ability to kill NPCs so important?

Don't get me wrong, it's fun to do in the likes of GTAV and such, but here? I just don't see the benefit.

Because they've decided to call this a TES game and that comes with the expectation that you can have a real effect on the world. But they've also decided to call it an MMO. If you're looking for just an MMO it probably doesnt matter that this thing is (or was) not at all an experience like the games. This game was in development for ages and when it first showed it looked like Warcraft or something. They got a bad response and alllllllllll of their press since then has been aimed at them convincing people this is a legitimate TES game. So when you ask me why things that are a staple of the series are important, I ask what you're coming to this game for at all if not for staples of the series. Cus that's all it has going for it in an environment with much more stable, better playing games with more content as its competition.

If you're being reductive, yeah killing NPCs is an arbitrary addition. But its in service of the larger goal, making a game where you can make enemies of factions, even whole kingdoms or races, to the effect of winning over another faction (like the Brotherhood). The best moments from any Elder Scrolls game are the ones where you have the option to make unconventional choices and its reflected in the world. If you want to make a paint by numbers MMO called something else, that's fine, but its not unreasonable to have baseline expectations of a game when it takes the franchise name.

The only reason a thing like this can exist when much better balanced and better playing MMOs exist is because its called The Elder Scrolls. That's the only reason its survived its first year, and only barely which is why they switched their model. Put this against most other big MMOs, even something newer like Tera and it looks like a bit of a joke, except people have a fondness for the TES universe. If it wants to survive much longer they're going need to continue adding things that make this feel more like the actual TES games. What they've done in the revamping so far is a good start but its not enough.

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moyer78

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#19  Edited By moyer78

Okay, after 3 hours of trying to log into the North America Server for Xbox One, I switch over to the European server and connected right away. Sooo....great? Well, at least I'll be able to play, wish I knew that 3 hours ago....

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Just started to play on the PS4. I had played quite a bit of the game on PC last year. I'm liking the game and have been quite excited to get to play it on the couch with a controller and voice chat with friends. Now I just need to find a nice European guild to join.

I try not to get to caught up in comparing it to the main TES games, I love them and can't wait for the next one. This should help with the craving until then a bit. It's a bit streamlined, but I fine with that. I don't have as much time as I did before, so this helps a bit when I want to play a bit. I also like being able to play solo when I feel like it.

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@mustainium said:
@babblerock said:

@karkarov: I actually didnt know that, interesting. So if Im bothered by the community at large I can kill a few random NPCs and be in a zone with like 3 other people? Are there repercussions of any kind beyond killing quest lines? I guess if you do it enough the brotherhood might pay you a visit? If the game is layed out this way then they can do some really interesting things, but I understand NPC killing is fairly new so I wonder if I should wait a couple months for them to build more stuff based around that. The problem with the game now is I didnt feel like I was shaping anything really which is why I like TES games, but maybe the quests they make from here on out will take more chances in that way. Fingers crossed, I'll keep an eye out.

No offense intended, but why is the ability to kill NPCs so important?

Don't get me wrong, it's fun to do in the likes of GTAV and such, but here? I just don't see the benefit.

Because they've decided to call this a TES game and that comes with the expectation that you can have a real effect on the world. But they've also decided to call it an MMO. If you're looking for just an MMO it probably doesnt matter that this thing is (or was) not at all an experience like the games. This game was in development for ages and when it first showed it looked like Warcraft or something. They got a bad response and alllllllllll of their press since then has been aimed at them convincing people this is a legitimate TES game. So when you ask me why things that are a staple of the series are important, I ask what you're coming to this game for at all if not for staples of the series. Cus that's all it has going for it in an environment with much more stable, better playing games with more content as its competition.

If you're being reductive, yeah killing NPCs is an arbitrary addition. But its in service of the larger goal, making a game where you can make enemies of factions, even whole kingdoms or races, to the effect of winning over another faction (like the Brotherhood). The best moments from any Elder Scrolls game are the ones where you have the option to make unconventional choices and its reflected in the world. If you want to make a paint by numbers MMO called something else, that's fine, but its not unreasonable to have baseline expectations of a game when it takes the franchise name.

The only reason a thing like this can exist when much better balanced and better playing MMOs exist is because its called The Elder Scrolls. That's the only reason its survived its first year, and only barely which is why they switched their model. Put this against most other big MMOs, even something newer like Tera and it looks like a bit of a joke, except people have a fondness for the TES universe. If it wants to survive much longer they're going need to continue adding things that make this feel more like the actual TES games. What they've done in the revamping so far is a good start but its not enough.

I agree with everything you wrote. The more I think about the game, the more I wish it would have just committed to being a a theme park for the Elder Scrolls world. Jump on, do some Daedric themed dungeons, equip huge looking gear and collect mounts. No fuss. But instead, Zenimax has doubled down on making ESO.... Something?

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@babblerock:

Fair enough points, I totally understand your stance now

For me though, I really never cared much about "making an impact" on the game's world. It's why I'm never one to complain about say, Telltale's illusion of choice. In ESO's case, I went into expecting to fight things, run quests, occasionally find some new gear, acquire new skills, etc. and so far, it's doing exactly that, and I'm totally okay with that.

Should it be doing more? With a series of such pedigree, absolutely. I'm actually very curious to see how Zeni supports this release. I feel like it's a much better starting point than Destiny was.

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@mustainium: Man, you hit the nail on the head! While I've been enjoying it and find it captures the feel of an elder scroll game, I can't help but think how much more I'd enjoy it if this was a single player game.

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#24  Edited By LawGamer

I've played through the tutorial and a little bit of the initial starting area. So some very early impressions:

1. The tutorials have been utter garbage so far. They fail to really teach you core concepts of the game at all well. Seems like a bunch of useful information is left out. For example, the tutorials about blocking/countering fail to mention the color coding of enemy attacks. Like how a yellow glow means a power attack is incoming or a red aura means an interruptible special is incoming. This took me a while to figure out.

And speaking of interruptible attacks, my interrupt only seems to work about 50% of the time. I can't figure out why. Lack of some resource? Bad timing? It hits and just fails? A more in depth explanation would have helped a lot here.

2. There needs to be more feedback during combat. It's difficult to tell when you are hitting/getting hit due to the lack of audio clues or rumble from the controller. I'd also like more of an audio cue for particular enemy or ally attacks since things can get hard to distinguish with effects flying around everywhere.

3. I like some of the (at least perceived) depth to a lot of the systems. Seems like it would be easy to fall down the crafting hole and that there are a bunch of ways to build a unique character. The breadth of non-combat skills in particular give this game more of an opportunity to have more of a living world than a lot of other MMOs. It seems like it could be totally viable to have a character who just makes and sells equipment or buffs to other players that isn't just a crafting alt.

Like everything else though, the game doesn't explain itself well. For example, the leveling system is poorly explained. So you've got skills that work like Elder Scrolls in that you get better as you use them, but unlike Elder Scrolls that doesn't improve your overall level as you seem to have standard RPG XP for that? And then you've got abilities attached to each skill line, which also seem to get better over time, but not with use? It's confusing and probably overly complex.

Overall, I think there's a lot to like here if you're willing to stick with it. A lot of the systems seem to have impressive depth to them, although the piss poor explanation of a lot of them makes the game hard to like at first. When you need to consult a wiki not for advanced strategies but just to figure out the basic gameplay concepts, there's a big problem somewhere.

While I'm going to stick with it and see myself enjoying it, I think the game might have trouble catching a lot of more casual/busy gamers who don't have the time or patience to teach themselves all the core systems.

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@lawgamer: You'll get used to it with a little more time in game. Everything is pretty much completely explained if you click the help button. The systems are simple if anything, not near as complex as most MMORPGs.

Anyway, I can't stop playing this. There are massive areas to explore with lots and lots of quests, some mundane and grindy and some pretty darn entertaining. The combat satisfies me(I'm slinging spells, heard the hit detection on S/B characters isn't great). Local voice isn't great compared to the chat box on pc, but the HUD is better for it too. Grouping isn't hard and guilds get decent support with separate chat channels and shops/banks. If you like the ES lore, and/or love to explore huge worlds, this game is great fun. Playing impromptu with strangers, in missions, delves, or instances is a bonus, let alone with your regular mates.

My only concern is some glitchyness, server issues, and freezes. Resetting the game is something you'll have to do too often, especially with the invisible quest givers. Queues have calmed down since launch, the stupid counter and timer even work now, lol. I think I'm set until some stuff in Sept. maybe, and maybe 'till Fallout 4 in Nov.

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I bought this liking Bethesda type games but never having seriously played an MMO and knowing that I was mostly going to be playing solo or just with strangers. I thought it was gonna be complete garbage but I've been pleasantly surprised. Level 29 now I think and there's a ton of content in the game. A lot of the quests have actually been pretty good too. Obviously not as good as Skyrim for how I'm playing it, but I'm enjoying it a lot.

Now for the bad. The last like 3 days I've been disconnecting a lot, mostly during late afternoon high traffic times. Everything else stops moving and I can't interact with anything obviously, but the game never seems to be able to recover from that and instead just crashes to the ps4 home screen. So yesterday I loaded in over and over again probably 5 times and it just kept crashing after a minute or two so I gave up. Hopefully that stuff gets better because it's really annoying.

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Lukeweizer

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Just started to play on the PS4. I had played quite a bit of the game on PC last year. I'm liking the game and have been quite excited to get to play it on the couch with a controller and voice chat with friends. Now I just need to find a nice European guild to join.

I try not to get to caught up in comparing it to the main TES games, I love them and can't wait for the next one. This should help with the craving until then a bit. It's a bit streamlined, but I fine with that. I don't have as much time as I did before, so this helps a bit when I want to play a bit. I also like being able to play solo when I feel like it.

Have you noticed a big dip in visual quality from PC to PS4? I'm debating which platform to get it for. Draw distances are kind of important to me in games like these, it entices me to keep exploring. Is the PC version way ahead of the PS4 version in that department?

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NTM

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#29  Edited By NTM

Geralt. And uh, I haven't played it, but my brother got my other brother it for his b-day since he's an elder scrolls fan.

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@lukeweizer: ESO isn't a looker it's visually the same on PS4 to PC. Theirs a pop in issue atm where scenery and npc's will fade slowly into view not game breaking but a little jarring which is a server isuue that ZeniMax said will be fixing. The console version has a group finder for matchamking dungeons and proxy voip but doesn't have text chat, theirs a big update coming Aug / Sept which will add new DLC content plus a host of fixes and gameplay tweaks.

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