The Elder Scrolls Online: Beta Impressions (Part 1)
One day of beta access down! While I didn’t get to play a tremendous amount, I did get to play enough to know one thing: betas make me sad. Why am I sad, you ask? Mostly because I know that my time in Tamriel could be over after Sunday. It’s not because I think it’s a bad game, either. It’s simply because I’m still torn whether or not I’m willing for fork over $15/month to continue to play. At any rate, I digress. Here is what I’ve gathered so far:
I honestly had a hard time reminding myself this was an MMO while I was developing my character. I mean, the character customization is outstanding. I will say this, however, I’ve never been a stickler about the looks of my character. For the most part, I would prefer there be a diverse selection of armor and weapons than hair choices anyday, because let’s face it, that awesome haircut will likely be covered by an even more badass helmet. However, if you are a player who really enjoys spending copious amounts of time creating a character, there are more than enough choices here to keep you happy. Honestly, I found the most impressive visuals of the character customization process to be the scarring that you can place about your character’s body; they look fantastic.
The Starting Area:
The area where players begin should be somewhat familiar to Elder Scrolls fans. We’re placed in an Oblivion-styled beginning where we’re asked to break free of the prison we’ve been rotting in. The only difference is that this area isn’t your normal prison, but instead seems to be infused with some kind of arcane energy with beaming lights flashing and sweeping overhead. While this small area does a decent job introducing you to the game, I found myself rushing through. If you’ve played any MMO, or Elder Scrolls game, you won’t have a difficult time figuring out the controls. For this reason, I wanted to make my way out of this hellhole and explore the open wild as soon as possible. In a way, I suppose this could be a good thing, because since your character has no desire to be left in chains, there’s no reason to think you should either. Regardless, while the beginning area is easy, you’ll likely rush your way through so you can really get into the beef of the game.
Oh, questing. You’re in every MMO and I have a love, hate relationship with you. For most MMOs, I approach quests in the following manner: accept (skip text), find marker, go there, kill x creatures, turn in quest, profit. That’s about it. However, The Elder Scrolls Online changes that for me. For the first time since Star Wars: The Old Republic, I actually found myself listening to the quest giver and actually caring about the decisions I made. While I love the fact that I find myself engaged with the quests, and I should considering it’s an Elder Scrolls title, it also kind of worries me. I worry The Elder Scrolls Online will end up like SW: ToR. I’m afraid players will approach it like a single-player title and ignore the party system entirely. As a matter of fact, considering the fact that players’ name tags don’t show above their head, it sometimes made it feel more like a single-player experience. While the lack of a nametag definitely immerses one more into the universe, it also causes some issues: I sometimes had trouble determining who was friend, foe, NPC, a real person, etc. This problem, however, did get better as the game went along. Although these concerns caused me to take a look into the future to see exactly how I would approach this game, I will say this: I’ve not experienced enough content to make an informed decision on party play.
Overall, I’m really enjoying my time in ESO, and while I’m constantly looking for the things I can’t do, I’m also impressed by the things I can. I’ll have more entries as I make my way through the beta. Stay tuned!