Elder Scrolls Online: The Not So Fun Review

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Gaming Grunts’ Samantha Earwood recently had the opportunity to play Elder Scrolls Online and decided to share her thoughts on the game.

Whats Wrong With ESO?

Elder Scrolls Online is a 21GB install. You must download the whole thing before playing.

Once the install is complete, you have unimpressive character creation. You choose from 3 factions, which have races such as: humans, orcs, evil, good, etc. The customization seemed lazy.

Because all classes can wear any armor, it becomes difficult to tell what class they actually are in the game. An example would be, a caster can have plate and a two handed sword.

After you jump into the game you are presented with a training instance mission (the usual escape from a dungeon type quest). Its function is to show you controls, combat etc. The mission is the same for all characters you create, and you can’t skip it the second time. It’s very generic, totally lacking the interesting start from Oblivion and Skyrim, and it gets tedious fast.

It did not hold your hand too much with quest markers. You actually have to look at the landscape and map to figure where to go next. It forces you to look at the world and figure out where things are.

Graphics

The graphics are quite good. The problem is the world is just not as well realized. There are no wolves hunting stags or mobs interacting intelligently with the environment like Skyrim, which is a huge disappointment. Quest givers just stand there. Everything seems static except for other human players running or jumping around.

Gameplay, Quests, And Mob AI

The quests are horribly generic: kill this, deliver this to there, escort that druid to save the plants. While you are doing these quests, you have monsters spawning and attacking in groups. There are no mobs healing another mob, or any strategy, they just rush you one or two more at a time. The archers don’t rush, just shoot. The rest just rush.

Monster behavior AI is actually worse and less interesting than EQ1 (10+ years old). In EQ1 when a monster was about to die, it would run, and then call other monsters when it ran into their vicinity. Crowd control was important, but not in ESO. In EQ1 you had necro, shaman, and enchanter mobs. They would heal each other, charm you, curse, or fear you. There’s not much of this in ESO.

The chat interface is rudimentary with no chat bubbles, so you don’t know who is saying what. It was as if chat really didn’t matter.

It feels like everyone is an archer, as its ranged and quite good at early levels. Everyone can use any weapon, sorcerers can use bows, all classes can use any armor, and classes can train different spells or abilities unique to their specialization.

When you level up you can train the usual Health, Magic, or Stamina. The stats on the armor, like strength, seem disconnected from your leveling up with no obvious indication of what effect they have on your character. Itimization and actual items that drop look boring. They’re small looking with a simple inventory to assign to you via the character screen.

There are no player buffs, so you cant give a strength buff to another player.

Healing is AOE (area of effect). You heal people within a range around you. This is because you don’t target players or mobs like WoW or EQ. You have to aim at them just like Skyrim, and it seems it precludes healing single players as this might require skill. The other player would need to stay still and wait for the cast timer. This had never been a problem in Skyrim as youre the only player, but its a big problem in ESO.

The information on the HUD is non existent. You can’t tell how much health your pet has, and you can’t tell how much damage you’re doing. It works similar to Skyrim, showing damage relative to monsters’ total health, however this does not work as well in ESO. When you level up and attack a higher level mob, you do the same relative damage percentage, so you don’t feel any stronger (even though you’re actually doing more damage).

PVP

PVE felt like such a chore just to get to the “interesting” PVP “real game.”

Conclusion

ESO is a big miss-fire. It’s almost like none of the game designers have ever played a massively multi-player games before. ESO seems to have taken the worst from Skyrim (the combat) and decided to make it even worse. ESO is painfully boring to play, with no feeling that there are other players there working together to achieve quests or goals. If I wanted to solo play, I would play Skyrim, not ESO, and I would absolutely not pay a monthly fee in its current state.

Rating: 3/10

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Samantha Earwood

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Gaming Grunts
She has worked with many gaming publications in the past and has helped create character designs for several video games. She has played on almost all of the gaming systems and hopes the gaming industry will improve in the years to come.
  • Lynx X

    This from Bethesda who once tried to sue over the use of the word “scrolls” now somehow have managed to make the game that they once feared. A cheap, uninspired, knock-off MMO with a TES-like coat of paint and a far, far too fancy trailer.

  • fantasygmrdiscussion

    Totally agree with this review
    Some things I could not put my finger but you captured so much that is wrong
    I never really played get so this prompted me to go back and try and wow – they capture what am mom should be
    The only thing Sky…et ESO offered was the awesome pop model
    (3 factions with a middle territory) but I could not stick with the game to get to it – even on the final beta weekend
    Looks bad plays bad – those that praise it probably don’t know what else is out there