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Video Game Review: The Elder Scrolls Online

Through Azeroth, to Paragon City, I’ve played a number of MMORPGs in my life. All of them adhere to vaguely similar rules; create a character, run through a huge open world and do some quests. Get coins, do a few professions – If you’re a fan of MMORPGs, you’d know the drill. I’ve played so many, that I was trying to look for one that could potentially replace the massive void that World of Warcraft left in my heart. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before I picked up Elder Scolls Online – But what did I make of the world of Tamriel? Read on to find out more, along with a screenshot gallery of my journey.

Overview

Developer Bethesda Softworks
Platforms PC (Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Worldwide Release
April 2014
Genre MMORPG
Price
£14.99 (Base game, ESO Plus subscription, Steam purchases or ‘Crowns’ to buy further DLC)

Review

Story

The protagonist, the Vestige, is killed and has their soul taken by the evil Mannimarco. The Vestige is thrown in the Oblivion plane of Coldharbour, where they are found and freed by Lyris Titanborn and The Prophet. With the help of The Prophet and the rest of the remaining good Companions, the Vestige must fight their way to Mannimarco to defeat him, ending his plans to replace Molag Bol.

At the same time, the three alliances of Tamriel are fighting it out in a hopes for their alliance to take the Ruby Throne. The Aldmeri Dominion, the Daggerfall Covenant and the Ebonheart Pact are locked in a three-way war. They will duke it out in hopes to take the throne, securing a brighter future for their alliance.

Gameplay

Like all other MMORPG’s, you start by creating a character. You can choose any of the playable races in The Elder Scrolls, including (but not limited to) Nords, Dunmer, Khajiit, Argonians and more. In these races, you also get five classes to choose from: Dragonknight, Sorcerer, Nightblade, Templar and Warden. You pick a playstyle that suits you, use the relatively extensive character creation system, because it wouldn’t be an Elder Scrolls title without one and bang – You’re in the world. I started the game by going to Vvardenfell, the setting of Morrowind, which just so happens to be my favourite Elder Scrolls setting.

As you start, you learn about all of the different screens, including the Character, Inventory, Journal, Guilds and more. It takes some time to get used to all of the different windows, but it’s worth spending some time to get used to it. Anyway, you follow a tutorial that gets you to understand how combat works, which is pretty straightforward. You have 6 slots to put skills (1-5 & ‘R’) and 1 item quick key (Q). You have 5 normal skills that you can slot, along with 1 ‘ultimate’ skill. I picked the Warden and my first ultimate skill was my bear companion, which has been great to have on hand.

You can do professions, you can do quests – But all of your skills are collected as one big section. In other words, if you want to get some skill points in your combat, you decide whether to place it in combat, or if you want to put it in professions. This might sound limiting, however there are a plethora of ways to get skill points. You can find waystones in the game, which, upon finding your third waystone, you get a skill point. You get at least 1 skill point per level typically and you get skill points sometimes just for reading books or handing in quests. All in all, there are a lot of skill points, but you need to think wisely about when you use these points. I also mentioned about the 6 skills – You can slot a further 6 when you reach level 15, when you get to use a “backup weapon”, which gives you a second bar.

You increase only one of three stats: Health, Mana or Stamina. This simplified stat process means that you don’t need to worry about how you increase your damage – You get natural points in your damage increases, along with damage mitigation, but you also do rely more on armour and the buffs on the armour. Thankfully, the game is quite forgiving, as it’ll give you a lot of good gear throughout, but unlike a title such as World of Warcraft, the reliance on armour isn’t nearly as important as the reliance on your playstyle. Once you get past level 50, you do get more ways to skill up, by getting Champion points, allowing you to develop your character further.

Professions are unique in this title – You have to build pieces, which are used for Writs for money, or you can build for your own armour. The best way to skill up your professions is to “Deconstruct” pieces, but not ones that you made. For instance, you get a lot more experience in your profession by Deconstructing pieces that you earned on drops, or that someone else sells to you. There are six main professions and you can learn all of them: Blacksmithing, Tailoring (Known as ‘Clothier’), Woodworking, Alchemy, Cooking and Enchanting. You can do all of these if you want to.

As a last lot of odd information, bag space is limited, but you can increase your bag space by visiting a Backpack Merchant, who will increase your bag space for an ever increasing amount. For instance, the first time might only be 400 gold, but then the next one is around 2,200 gold. You can keep all of your crafting materials in a special backpack if you pay for an ESO Plus membership, however I’ve yet to find that I need this membership for the game to be well paced on your inventory space. As well as increasing backpack space, you can earn emotes, costumes, unlock achievements, get houses where you can place trophies and beds – and much more.

Basically… There’s a lot to do.

Graphics

MMORPGs are known for having to cut back on graphics somewhat, in order to keep the intensity of the game down. Whilst you can tell that the game has had to undergo some changes to typical Elder Scrolls styles, the game does not look bad for it. Indeed it looks, in a word, awesome. As ever, we believe that seeing is believing, so check out our gallery below:

Audio

The opening of the game is the ever familiar opening to the Elder Scrolls titles, just updated. The music throughout is very familiar, if you’ve ever played any of the Elder Scrolls titles. Different areas of the game, such as different parts of Tamriel, all have different zone music. Even the combat music is unique to Elder Scrolls Online. All in all, if you enjoy previous Elder Scrolls music scores, this is no exception. It’s high quality, great listening, which keeps in theme to each area.

Overall

I am loving every minute of Elder Scrolls Online. I bought the title on Sunday 21st October and by Sunday 28th October, I had already reached 50 hours on Steam. Oops! I might need to remember to come off of the game occasionally so I can get on with some work! I joined a guild who have all been really nice, I have got the old bug for MMO’s back. All in all, if you’re a fan of MMORPG’s, this may be one for you, but there’s one big difference… This plays a lot more like an Elder Scrolls title than it does a typical MMORPG. For £15, without needing to pay a subscription, if you’re looking for a premium quality MMORPG to try out – This is the one. Go get it, it’s worth it. As ever though, if you’ve ever played ESO, share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.

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3 responses

  1. When ESO first released it was horrible. It was nothing like an Elder Scrolls game even though it was advertised to be and you didn’t have the freedom you have now in the game. The developers really turned this game around. I gave it another change when the One Tamriel patch released and I’ve been a big fan ever since. I have a maxed out LV 50 Nord/vampire Dragon Knight and I’m still a regular player. I’m an ESO subscriber because I need my crafting bag and having access to all of the other DLCs without paying for them is nice too.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 30, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    • I certainly applaud it’s efforts. I too had heard the negative, so I stayed away initially. Indeed, the only reason I knew it was any good was through our good friends over at Later Levels.

      I like how you certainly don’t -need- to subscribe, but I like the convenience of it. All in all, I like their MMO model most of all recent MMOs. F2P is nice, but quality often suffers (my experience of DC Online in a nutshell). ESOs is just better. Also. £15? Bargain.

      Liked by 1 person

      October 30, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      • I agree. And you were smart to stay away from the game. I was invited to participate in the beta and give feedback. I wasn’t invited to another one because all of my feedback was negative lol.

        Fast forward to today and ESO is currently my favorite MMO. I place it, slightly, above Guild Wars 2. I love that it’s not pay to win and you can play this game for hundreds of hours without ever feeling pressured to buy anything. I’ve gotten so much free stuff just by playing the game. Another perk to subscribing is that you get 1500 crowns a month to spend on whatever you want. Save up those crowns and you can just buy the DLC or get something super nice from the Crown Store.

        Liked by 1 person

        October 30, 2018 at 4:51 pm

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