ESO: Initial impressions, again

Since time has recently allowed it, Aria and I looked for a new game to play co-op. Previously we played and enjoyed FFXIV, but once we got too busy, I continued to level my character to finish up the original story, making returning to FFXIV a problem. I couldn’t think of a good non-MMO co-op game to try, so we settled on Elder Scrolls Online, in part because I already had accounts, and because I’ve heard it’s much improved since launch.

TLDR: ESO still isn’t a ton of fun so far.

The core gameplay of ESO remains, both good and bad. Combat doesn’t feel that different from launch, meaning it’s still not great but decent-enough. The graphics are OK, but no longer a standout or something to marvel at. Character faces still range from pretty good to monster-factory, for example.

What I really dislike is the One Tamrial system, where everything scales to you, meaning players from all level/gear ranges mix together in zones. One of the strengths of ESO was the world/setting and its immersion factor, and nothing breaks that faster than your fresh-off-the-boat character adventuring and fighting the same enemies as someone in end-game gear, with said enemy challenging both characters equally. It’s just dumb, and makes zero sense on any level other than a game needing more content but not wanting to create it.

This also applies to stats and items. A level one character has thousands of hit points, and gear has stat values in the hundreds, which is a jarring and confusing first impression for the game, and makes the already somewhat odd learning curve of ESO steeper. When early on in the game you somewhat stop caring about gear upgrades beyond the most obvious stats (dps, armor), that’s not good.

Then of course there is all the usual F2P garbage like in-game pop-up ads and in-game reminders that you don’t have access to everything because you haven’t paid, or haven’t paid enough. It feels second-class, because that’s what F2P is compared to a sub MMO.

We will continue in the hope its gets better, but so far ESO is off to a rough start.


About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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