ESO Beta: The picture is starting to clear up

Developing opinions about ESO continue to… develop!

Overall I’m coming out of this weekend more positive about the game than I was going into it, and going in I had already pre-purchased the Rich White Man edition.

The good; my character from the previous beta weekend had to be shelved, as I think I gimped him. A Breton duel-wielding Dragon Knight in light armor did not seem to work. Now why is this a good thing? Because if you can gimp a character, that means character development has some actual choice to it and those choices matter. If you can’t gimp, everything is ‘good enough’, and that kind of design sucks IMO.

What’s even better however is that while talking to a buddy, he let me know that light armor Dragon Knight is a thing, but you use a staff to dish out heavy ranged dps. Apparently it works really well in PvP. I don’t want to get too ahead about this, but right now I believe ESO will offer a large range of builds, some more viable than others of course, with some great in one area vs another (PvP, PvE, group, solo, etc). If that actually happens, that will be a huge plus for the game.

The further I got into the game (up to lvl 11 this time), the better the difficulty feels. I’ve had a few tricky/interesting solo boss fights, I’ve gotten some public dungeon experience, and overall I still feel the game is opening up and getting more interesting rather than hitting a plateau. It really is an interesting mix of solo RPG ala Skyrim, and improved MMO themepark content. I can safely say we will see some ‘reviews’ where the reviewer only plays for 30 minutes and calls it hyper-linear or something silly. Those should be enjoyable in terms of blog content.

The bad: Bugs. Oh the bugs. /reloadui was used constantly to get out of buggy NPC conversations, and our small group ran into more than one boss/encounter that wouldn’t spawn or was broken. The game has a month until the 4.4.14 release date, so while there is still some time to get things fixed, I’m not expecting a bug-free release. What I am hoping is that they fix all the major stuff, like bosses not spawning, because those really sour the experience. Getting deep into a public dungeon only to have the game cut the experience short on you and others is not cool.

Those are the big points. I also got into crafting a bit more and liked it. Nothing crazy different, but again tweaked and expanded beyond what I’ve seen in the themepark space before.

Ultimately I think that is where ESO will either just be another title or something special; if most of the tweaks and changes to the standard formula ESO has work out (and I’m leaning towards that right now), the game will be successful. I don’t know if that means retaining 500k subs for over a year or what, but yea, successful.

I will say this right now, all the comparisons to SW:TOR are comically wrong. Worst case scenario ESO will do better than the Tortanic, because structurally it’s a better game, and more importantly, it’s a better MMO. I just can’t tell HOW good, in part because I’ve seen promising titles destroyed in beta or shortly after with ‘accessibility’ patches.

15 Responses to ESO Beta: The picture is starting to clear up

  1. kiantremayne says:

    Some of the solo boss fights are bastard hard, especially if you’re stuck in a WoW-esqe mindset of standing there (unless there’s a convenient red circle to step out of) and concentrating on hitting the hot keys in the correct rotation. I found myself doing a lot better once I trained myself to actually use the left and right mouse buttons properly, but some of the fights are still nasty enough that I expect them to get toned down before going live because too many people will find them frustrating.

    On the plus side… Cyrodiil. I got to go there this weekend. I had keep assaults, keep defences, a milegate fight like I haven’t had since the glory days of DAoC, and a hilarious skirmish between about a dozen of us crouching stealthed in the long grass and a similar enemy force. Every so often one of us would spot one of them, pop up to attack, making nearby enemies pop up to hit THEM, which would get more people to pitch in… then after a few deaths everyone would be back down creeping around and looking for the next victim. Good times.

    • SynCaine says:

      Yea I really, really hope they DON’T tone down some of the harder encounters; you don’t need to finish them to progress and they break up some of the faceroll that can be solo questing.

      I’ve heard similar stuff about the RvR, has me interested.

    • KennyG says:

      “I expect them to get toned down before going live because too many people will find them frustrating”

      this is the problem we live with today casuals will dictate how the game develops, there is no point for me unless its meaningful

  2. Mobs says:

    There is also apparently a 5 gig patch or so on the private test server that has well over 1000 bug fixes. Judging from internal testers, the version they are playing is really ready to roll as far as release date goes. This patch is said to be applied to the next beta phase coming up this month before launch.

    I really like RvR, as I mentioned the fact that crouch sneaking is a real tactic and it works and can also be expanded on was a gigantic relief for me. I do not much like siege warfare aside from the spectacle of it all, but roaming around cyrodil with a small crew getting in medium/small skirmishes was just awesome.

    The combat mechanics are tight and I was able to truly rogue it and 1-2 shot people if I prepared correctly. Loved it. I do hope that cyrodil at some point gets more fleshed out environmentally:

    I may of just not seen it all, but is is a huge area and so far as I have experienced not alot of meat in it as far as points of interests. I was really hoping to see the towns that I remember from oblivion and be able to fight in them and visit them.

    Maybe they are in and I didn’t spread out enough? That is my only complaint as far as PvP went and it is only about exploration hah

    • Mobs says:

      Also being able to hide behind a tree while an entire seige zerg runs by you and does see you is some seriously classic mmo feels. I was real pumped on that

  3. JJ Robinson says:

    Is there no respec feature in the game? Has its pluses and minuses, but if I spend 3 weeks building a tank mage which turns out to suck, it would also suck to have to start from scratch as the only fix.

  4. zaphod6502 says:

    I’ve tried three classes in TESO and they have all been frustrating. This probably has more to do with the combat mechanics in TESO which seem to be a weird hybrid of action/dodge/targeting and none of it seems to gel very well. I’d rather it be a full on Darkfall combat or an MMO combat and not something in between.

    The dodge mechanic is just weird. It seems to have some very strange limitations and doesn’t work well at all.

    It’s my biggest problem with TESO at this time and stopping me from pre-ordering whcih is a shame as I do love the world building, the stories, and the graphics have that same detailed gritty Skyrim look. The sound/music is excellent.

    I hope the next beta will incorporate all the improvements and bug fixes as this latest beta was awful.

    • Mobs says:

      The next build is supposed to incorporate all the combat improvements from what I can tell and have heard. It includes a ton of fixes and improvements to combat across the board.

    • Mobs says:

      You can find the closed beta test patch notes it is apparently like a 5 gig patch

  5. KennyG says:

    whats the world coming to when you are mostly positive about a theme park even more so than tobold or keen!

    • Mobs says:

      It is not really a theme park, it has theme park elements (instanced dungeons), but I would say less theme park then not. There may be actually more public then instanced group content. The game doesnt feel like a virtual lobby where you sit around and que to play,

  6. lostforever says:

    Maybe you can gimp your character in the early stages but you can easy “max” out all the stats at higher levels due to soft caps on stats and very harsh diminishing returns. Anyway thats what people in closed beta are saying.

  7. Rob Basler says:

    Nice you got to play. I ran into insurmountable bugs in ACCOUNT CREATION. http://onemanmmo.com/?TurnBackAdventurer

  8. Long Shanks says:

    Whats up guys been awhile since DFUW. If any of yall are playing this beta weekend the 14-16th we should try to meet up

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