The Elder Scrolls Online Review (PC) [Closed Beta]

John Cleese as seen better days and roles.
John Cleese as seen better days and roles.

I have heard the Elder Scrolls Online is not very good and I am not really expecting much from it seeing as I am basically over MMORPGs at this point. I am a fan of the Elder Scrolls games but from what I have seen they should have just added co-op to Elder Scrolls: Oblivion or Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and more people would probably enjoy it. My overall view of the game is mixed but this is My Scrambled Thoughts on The Elder Scrolls Online.

I don’t really play MMORPG anymore except World of Warcraft when new expansions get released as a sort of obligation, but World of Warcraft is still the best one you can play and value for money. It be nice if the Elder Scrolls Online was successful and good but it isn’t looking very promising at the moment with it being a pay monthly game (should be a free-to-play and will likely be that in less than a year) and not really doing anything new. For example castle sieges and the like have been a concept in MMORPGs for at least thirteen years with many games already providing good examples of it. The problem with MMO games is that they take years to build so by the time they come out they are already out of date.

(Click an image to see a larger version. I lost my Warframe images):

Why don’t you come down here and kill me? It save me having to play this game.

Early Impressions: I played for a few hours and from what I saw it was more fun than I was lead to believe. It helped that I was playing a Khajiit rogue type that I usually play in the Elder Scrolls and their area is fun to mess around in. I haven’t tried any of the other classes or races and I am not sure how long they keep up the talking NPCs and whether the latter levels are good. However from a first impression its kind of ok but I have no interest in the PvP and castle warfare mode. I might be tempted to give it more of a chance if it wasn’t a pay monthly game but because it is I am not sure I will play the game after the beta.

Some Later Impressions: I played a bit more of the beta earlier and it still seems ok but I can see its charm slowly wearing of and its full of bugs and glitches.

Combat in Elder Scrolls Online is terrible for a MMORPG.

Impressions After the First Beta: The game costs too much to get into and the subscription fee is too much. A lower fee or a free-to-play model would make the game more successful. The game costs the way it does because the developers are cynically trying to recoup their expenses for making the game. That is fine but trying to do that before the game even comes out with overpriced digital products is pretty lame.

The game features many British voice actors. Their names are now tarnished.

It’s a MMORPG but having people running and jumping around everywhere ruins the immersion and hearing the same NPC say “I’m free” about a hundred times in the background as each person saves him is annoying and strange. The story tries to take into account that their would maybe be a lot of heroes/heroines but one of the first lines The Prophet say is something like “you are the chosen one”. A few minutes later you enter a cave type area with about fifty other players doing the same things as you. They couldn’t even keep up the façade of a single player driven story or that you matter in the grand scheme of things for at least a minute. If you play with friends then its fine but watching an old man slowly paint a park bench is fun with friends. If the game uses instancing, it’s not that noticeable or meaningful because most quest areas don’t use it.

I did the instinctive thing and jumped off and died. This sums up the game.

The combat in the Elder Scrolls Online is an active combat system and it works mostly well but in the game you can clip through enemies meaning all impact in the combat is lost when fighting. When fighting in first person view as a melee character it is near unplayable as some enemies are so big that they take up the whole screen. Therefore you will end up using the third person view mostly with only going into first person view when you want to pretend you are playing an Elder Scrolls game or to take a closer look at the scenery.

The character customisation is quite deep but with my Khajiit I couldn’t make the same one as I did in Skyrim which means I would say its more limited than that game. I couldn’t make a black cat with white fur. Most people will end up keeping most of the sliders on default unless you want to make something odd looking. While you are creating a character you can see what they look like with only their underwear on which is completely pointless and has no value in gameplay terms seeing as when will that ever be needed? It’s not like you will need to sneak around in your pants in a quest. Its only their for immature people. You can argue it’s for roleplaying but you can argue anything is for roleplaying.

My beloved sneaking in the game is bad as enemies can detect you when not facing you.

In terms of PvP, I don’t want to play PvP in a Elder Scrolls Game. It can be the best thing ever but it just doesn’t feel worthwhile or suit the Elder Scrolls experience everyone is use to and from I seen isn’t anything special or new for an MMORPG. Having three warring factions just makes the game feel unfocused.

Maybe the most important question in the game does it play like an Elder Scrolls game? At first glance it does but by playing it for a few minutes you will realise it all just feels wrong. You go from first person to third person and the game even starts in first person view but it has no real use seeing as third person provides all the same benefits and more. Playing in first person view is like playing the game in a tight tunnel. Anyone who has played an Elder Scrolls game will know that it’s all about hoarding and looting containers, well the Elder Scrolls Online features plenty of barrels, chests and other containers but from I have seen contain nothing of worth. Sometime you might find a skill book but hardly ever with the containers mostly only containing crafting ingredients such as meat even in chests that you would think should contain weapons or armour. The Elder Scrolls Online punishes all types of Elder Scroll players. It punishes the types who like to go crazy and kill all NPCs and guards in cities. It punishes players like me who like to stealth, steal and backstab enemies and NPCs. It punishes people who play the game for its story and quests by having a terrible main story and mostly lackluster side quests. In other words it punishes any previous Elder Scrolls gamer by not allowing anything that you would want to do in an Elder Scrolls game or what makes those games so popular and special.

Things like this seem funny but just show the poor quality of design in the Elder Scrolls Online.

Last but not least I don’t care about the overall story. It revolves around one of the Daedric Princes Molag Bal who wants to try and pull all of Tamriel into his realm of Coldharbour. Sounds interesting but from what I have seen isn’t very good. He has a chance to kill and stop you at the start of the game but refuses to which is completely stupid. As always the side quests are the most interesting things in a Elder Scrolls game but in Online they aren’t up to the usual standard.

Impressions After Second Beta: I created a new character and notice a few changes such as the beginning quest is structured a bit different as before you could pick up any weapon in the prison but now you can only get your class specific weapon and also I believe you start in a different area as a Khajiit but you can take a boat to the old beginning island.

There are some books and skill books to read.

I tried playing the game in a more traditional Elder Scrolls style by leaving the town and running around like a two-handed sword wielding maniac and it was more fun because of this but the usual problems still crop up such as poor AI, big empty areas devoid of life and activity and other players doing the same thing which reins all immersion or fun.

The game features many things from the Elder Scrolls franchise but fails to fully implement them in any meaningful way. For example a lot of items can be picked from the scenery such as bottles and food but the game is so inconsistent in what can be picked up and not. You might see a table with three bottles on it but only one can be picked up while the other two are just for scenery, it’s a big disappointment. One thing to stop you taking anything that isn’t bolted down approach in the usual Elder Scrolls game is that most people don’t like you taking their stuff and therefore you need to discreetly take items or gain a bounty and be arrested. However in the Elder Scrolls Online none of this is in place which means you can blatantly steal items from important NPCs and they don’t care and seems to encourage such behaviour.

A Kahjiit fishing just seems wrong. I should be in the water catching them.

That is some of my thoughts about The Elders Scrolls Online which are mostly negative. I was initially surprised that it might be good after hearing bad things about the game but the more I played it the more I could see the cracks. It just makes you want to play Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Oblivion or Morrowind. If the developers wanted an expensive marketing tool to get people to play their old games then they have succeeded.

Don’t but the Elder Scrolls Online, it will be free-to-play soon and then you can try it then. You could also just buy the whole Elder Scrolls franchise for cheaper than several copies of the Elder Scrolls Online or a Korean blowjob.

My Other Scrambled Thoughts: