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  1. #1
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    [PS4] Elder Scrolls Online - The First 50

    In any MMO game, it takes weeks to months to truly get a chance to experience what the game has to offer. Covering every facet of an MMO would be a daunting task, instead I cover the typical experience one would have if they went from Level 1 to 50. As any MMO goes, this is covering the game before the ‘real’ game begins. But is it really worth sinking countless hours to get there?


    ESO delivers an interesting dynamic of melding the story telling you are used to in a typical Elder Scrolls game with the twist of a typical MMO. The experience is a game that you will be all too familiar with if you have played an MMO or any Elder Scrolls in the past. Once you pick your race and class (which is dependent upon one of three factions), you begin by being busted out of a prison. My character is a Dark Elf Nightblade that supports the Ebonheart Pact, so once I was out of the tutorial I found myself in a place reminiscent of Morrowind. The feeling was great, I could freely go in and out of First or Third Person perspective, I could loot bins or even steal items from dressers. If you get caught pickpocketing, you can try running away or find yourself dead by violating the law. I found myself spending a good amount of my time ignoring the initial quest line stealing and crafting. Like any Elder Scrolls game, it pays off to invest in things like Blacksmith or Enchanting.



    The Good and the Bad


    In most other MMOs, you pick a class and that class typically one of the holy trinity (Tank, Healer, or DPS). In many circumstances, that class can either be one or two of those choices based on specializations. You are usually locked into using a certain weapon like a staff or sword, and forced to wear heavy armor or a robe as a mage. In ESO, you get a lot more freedom of choice. Picking a class does not mean you are picking one of three roles, all classes have different abilities and does not automatically make you a heavy armor wearing tank using a sword and shield or a mage using a staff wearing cloth robes. The Nightblade, for example, has an ability to go ‘Hidden’ so they can get behind their target for a surprise attack. Many moves are geared with this in mind, but does not stop the player from using other strategies, weapons or armor than the typical rogue type player.


    The freedom of choice is where ESO excels. Where veterans of previous MMOs may stick with mages in light armor or rogues using daggers, ESO lets you mix and match class abilities with choice. It’s here you can see healers running around in heavy armor and tanks swapping out some pieces for light armor depending on how it affects their combination of moves. For me, I tried using light armor for a magic based Nightblade at first, but then found myself using a bow with stealth by late game. Like any Elder Scrolls game, if you want to level up Heavy Armor or Bow, you simply use them in battle and any ‘perks’ that you wish you learn will use up skill points that you get throughout the game. While perks are replaced with skills in ESO, the skills are specialized moves that use up Magicka or Stamina. Any veteran MMO player knows this mechanic well. These are the moves on the hot bar that are spammed consistently.



    While ESO laid down a decent foundation with a mix and match approach for class and customization, just about everything else falls short. The game features a single player main quest line and six major zones for questing 1-50, the grind is just an all too familiar grind for anyone who has played a single MMO in their life. Every five levels brings a new single player mission so while you wait for the next quest, you have a lot of grinding to do in the six zones available to you. The Fighters Guild and Mages Guild are key components of the story as well, they each have a storyline that ends before the final questing zone. While the main story is actually quite good, questing in the first five zones is not.


    The first five zones are gigantic, and to ESO’s credit, these five zones are completely dependent on the faction that was chosen. If you are not in the Ebonheart Pact, do not expect to see Skyrim or Morrowind on your path to 50. While it is great all of Tamriel is represented in ESO, the stories that take place in these zones are completely bland. Each zone has its own main quest that needs to be completed in order to access the final zone, as well as complete the main story. As you travel to each part, there are smaller side quests you can take to help others out and level up. It is here that ESO feels like any other MMO. Kill this guy here, collect these items there.


    In each zone you will see places familiar to previous Elder Scrolls games which is great, but without a compelling reason to enter the evil ruins, you find yourself just going through the motions. ESO tries to fix this by including public dungeons and small instances that players can enter throughout the zones. The public dungeons are a nice touch as it allows the community to play together without having to create a formal group, and instead just whack on some dremora while having fun. These instances are a lot of fun in contrast to dungeons.


    Dungeons as of right now are the worst part of ESO for console. Without keyboard support, there are no chat logs of any kind. While there is voice chat and voice chat channels, the dungeon experience on my path of 50 was filled with obnoxious people yelling into the mic, people with music just too loud or sound so loud I had the pleasure of hearing their game sounds through mine. As sometimes people play games late at night, using voice chat isn’t always ideal. While this can be mitigated, the find a group tool in-game is completely thrown in without a second thought given to it. If you wanted to queue for a specific dungeon, you will most likely not find a single group.


    With the way the group finder tool is set up, if a group is created, you are not even teleported to the dungeon that was picked. The group must teleport there and if you haven’t made it to the place yourself, someone must go there so everyone else can get there. The worst is if you select ‘Any Dungeon’ for the queue. Here, instead of finding an open spot or place you in a dungeon with others, it simply auto creates a group of people around your level or zone you are in. It is then up to the group to decide what dungeon to do. Because of the poor attempt of a Group Finder tool, many ESO players use outside websites or other sources to create groups. Simply spamming voice chat in a major city tends to be ignored more often than not. In the end, grouping up for content should never be a chore. As many major MMOs make it easy to join specific queues and group others together, ESO ignored it.


    The Battle for Cyrodil—PVP


    The Empire is defeated, all imperials are scattered and the throne is empty. The three factions battle for supremacy to crown the new king. ESO really had a clever way to create a constant battle throughout an entire zone. As all factions are present, you will fight your way through other players with forts, siege weapons and convoys of players escorting Elder Scrolls from place to place. While on paper the PVP portion of ESO is better than most, the execution is less than ideal. All players receive a stats buff so everyone is on the same page, but if you are Level 15 walking into Cyrodil to help the fight, you will be killed very easily. As everyone else will have a gigantic advantage based on buffs and skill point allocation. I only spent a few hours in PVP, but I can see the brilliance behind it. Unfortunately, killing others, taking over forts and pushing the enemy back does not yield great experience for the time you will put into it. You are better off leveling to 50 by questing.


    ESO as a Single Player Game


    You can easily go from 1-50 without doing a single dungeon or ever stepping foot into Cyrodil for PVP. The game will cater to questing in each zone and practically doing that over anything else. Getting through the zones without grouping is very achievable, as none of the quests will be overly difficult as long as you are leveled for that area and spending skill points. The majority of the game is spent doing the zone quest line, side quests that crop up as you discover them, discovering areas in the zones and any public instances. Unlike other MMOs, ESO does not force you to participate in dungeons or raids to complete the story. All story missions are solo only, so you cannot have a friend by your side. Here is where ESO feels like a typical Elder Scrolls game and makes you wish more of the game quests played out like this. Instead, you spend most the time doing mundane quests in each of the zones waiting to get back to the good story content.


    When I had ultimately beaten the storyline, I was very content with how the story played out. There were a lot of events leading up to the final boss fight and it was a satisfying battle. Unfortunately, the majority of the game is plagued by typical boring quests supported by a broken group finder and PVP not being a viable alternative for leveling up. Overall, the experience is just not there for those looking to try a different MMO or get their next Elder Scrolls fix.



    Overall Experience: Pass. Wait for more changes/content


  2. Likes Duffman likes this post
  3. #2
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    Great review, was looking to pick this up soon but sounds like I need to give it a little more time to mature with some decent content before taking the plunge!
    PSN ID: Duffman19864

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    Same, definitely going to get this but I think I'll wait a while. Nice write up.

  5. #4
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    Appreciate it, Guys. The game has some decent moments, but unless you find a nice deal, it really isn't worth the long grind to get to the "good stuff". I know with time there will be some tweaks to help offset the current issues, but I wouldn't expect them any time soon.


  6. #5
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    I'll wait for a discount. Seems like something I would play but only for the right price and/or my backlog is shortened.
    Be Together - Not the same.



  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duffman View Post
    Great review, was looking to pick this up soon but sounds like I need to give it a little more time to mature with some decent content before taking the plunge!
    Me and Tom are playing it and loving it. We have our werewolf abilities now. Capt. Coke wil be joining us too.

  8. #7
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    Hi, sorry I am a few months late xD But I really enjoyed your review, I can completely agree with you on this. I am a low level but I am grinding with my friends.

  9. #8
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    So, I had a crack at this this weekend on PS4 after playing it to death on Pc/Xbone. I like some of the stuff they've changed up but my goodness the lag is seriously bad in some areas. It used to be pretty good. Maybe because it's a free weekend?

  10. #9
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    yes most likely

  11. #10
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    Another pop today, worse. Dolmens were crazy (but easy lol). Probably settle down tomorrow (I bought it again so now own on all 3 systems).

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