Monday, March 3, 2014

Elder Scrolls Online- An Impression and my kingdom for a mini-map!

So last weekend it was time for the Elder Scrolls Online (ESO from now on) Beta.  It was my third one and I got to play with the same characters. Which is a bit bittersweet. I've grown to like my characters, but they will be wiped come launch day.

As to be expected in a beta, the game is not perfect yet. There are several glitches. Bosses that don't spawn and getting stuck in a conversation are the most important ones. I did my part and reported those. Bug fixing wasn't the main goal however.

This was a stress test and I have to say, since last tester weekend, the log-in problems were minimal. I had no queues this time to get in. The only thing that remained was the lag in major cities, but that's to be expected. Many people in the same locale is bound to give some lag.

Let's talk about my impression then, all technicalities aside! I'm a long time Elder Scrolls fan. I started with Morrowind. Oblivion is still my favorite game, but I also love Skyrim.

Spoilers ahead, so if you want to start without any prior knowledge, stop reading now.

As in good ES tradition, you start in a prison cell.  The first voice that greets you is the Prophet's. Voiced by Sir Michael Gambon, what a start! The second voice you hear belongs to the wonderful Jennifer Hale as Lyris Titanborn. She is my favorite voice actress ever. Bastila Shan, my Commander Shepard, Samos, the list is endless!

This is her, in the back. In the first area, Coldharbour, which serves as a tutorial.

Click for full size, to really do it justice.

The scenery is impressive, throughout this game. It truly feels like a single player ES game, with the added perk of socializing.
Here are some more pics!

Beautiful Carpet detail.

Elves know how to build.

The sun!

My fierce Redguard Dragon Knight.

Red Plumbob? :D

Elven architecture.

So focused while blacksmithing.

Beautiful vista and Altmer.

Just wow!

A cave full of bats? Is this Pokemon? :D

Inside someone's mind. This was such a great quest!

The quests themselves were pretty awesome too. Full of tough choices and not a single moment I felt like "Fetch me 20 of this and those." Sure, there were some retrieval quests, but the story, the atmosphere, it all makes sense.  It makes for very good immersion.

The crafting system is also something else. You can dabble in all of the professions, you are not restricted to one or two. Takes a bit of getting used too, but pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

I liked the combat. I heard comments that it was too sluggish, but I'm not buying this game for the combat.  I'm in it for the adventuring!

A comment that I have is that the spells and abilities bar could be a little bigger. Five spells and your ultimate ability just isn't enough. It would also be nice to be able to click your abilities during combat rather than pressing your numerical buttons at the top of your keyboard. 

And the most important thing. A mini map floating in a corner somewhere please! I'm not good with roads, not in real life, not in games. A mini map would save a lot of time while questing.

Lastly, I love, LOVE the multiple quest tracker. It was easy to use and I just loved it.

I can't wait for the next beta and the launch. Keep it coming!

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