ESO Bugs and Inventory Management

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Keen and I have been putting a lot of time into ESO lately, and have mostly great things to say about it.  The story is engaging and the atmosphere is immersive; however, there are several aspects of the game that we both find to be very frustrating.

Nope, not that kind of bug.


When MMO’s first launch, they usually have a lot of stability and performance issues, but it seems with ESO it is mostly things like broken quests. It is not just a few either. We rarely go a day playing without encountering at least one quest that requires rebooting the game, a creative work-around, /reloadui, or just giving up because the quest is just unable to be completed.

I understand that MMO’s are usually pretty buggy, but the amount of broken content in such an early zone makes it seem like this stuff was barely even play tested. Aside from that, neither of us have run into many performance issues and the game stability has been great so far. So it’s kind of interesting, but aggravating, how things seem to be a little flipped when it comes to bugs.

Another thing that may not be a bug, but is still annoying, is how monster spawn rates seem to be all over the place. Some dungeons won’t spawn monsters very fast at all, while other dungeons and areas will spawn monsters so fast that it’s impossible to keep up. This greatly affects some areas that require you kill everything before the important boss spawns.

World Size and Instancing

I have never liked instancing because it kind of feels like it breaks up part of the immersion of the game. But in the case of ESO, I actually have started to feel like I wish they would instanced the game more. For the most part ZOS did a good job of dividing players into these invisible phases and there is usually a good spread of people around the zone. However, when you get to public dungeons and dark anchors, things start to get very over crowded.

In small numbers, these places can be difficult but very fun and exciting to do. For instance, the other day, Keen and I, along with maybe one or two other people, completed a dark anchor and it was probably one of the funner experiences we had. We also got some pretty good loot from it too! Just today, we attempted another dark anchor, but as soon as it started, what seemed like 20 other people showed up. All of the enemies died super quickly, and by that I mean it was basically impossible to even get a hit off something before it just disintegrated. In the end we didn’t get to loot anything and barely got to contribute at all.

I don’t know how they can fix this problem with dark anchor events, but I imagine they could put a lower cap on public dungeons or something. At least that way you experience the dungeon boss dying before you get there.

Inventory Management

A remarkably large portion of our play time is actually spent managing all of the stuff in our inventory. We constantly have to go back to town to sell and trying to hang on to anything for crafting purposes ends up being a ridiculous juggling act. Earlier today, after we had wrapped up some questing, we spent at least 20 minutes handing items back and forth to each trying to manage our inventory and bank space, while making room for crafting supplies and breaking down items. Requiring real hours to research items seems like a good idea at first, but when you have a backlog of 15 plus pieces, which each require 6 to 12 hours to get rid of, things start to really pile up.  I will say that being able to store it all in your bank helps instead of having to carry it around with you everywhere.

Still Fun Despite the Flaws

I don’t mean to come off incredibly negative, because I’m actually enjoying my time in ESO way more than I have in any MMO in the past several years. These are just some of the larger annoyances that keep rearing up during our play time. All in all, I’d have to say that the good still vastly outweighs the bad, and I’m excited to see more of the game as we continue our adventure through Tamriel. Hopefully there won’t be many more bumps along the way.

  • The inventory management is so true – you definitely have to make frequent runs into town and load off loot/ sell it and juggle everything that is in your bank and inventory until you have enough empty space to go back out.

    However, it did remind me of the days when you had to prepare in town to go out on the hunt…which can be a cool feeling if done right. In ESO, I dont care for the the type of preparation you have to do in order to go out and hunt but I generally do like a preparation phase for going out and then coming back with your bags full of valuable loot. I guess I don’t find that whatever I come back with is that worthwhile and it then just becomes tedious to manage it.

  • +1 on the inventory management, but It has kind of become my fun admin part of the day, when I’m in the zone and questing hard, I sometimes don’t even look at what I pick up, don’t even see the items I get.

    When my bags are eventually full, then it’s time to go back and craft, sort and plan which I am enjoying surprisingly 😉 But I have also stockpiled items I want to research and the backlog is simply to long now, taking up lots of space.

  • it was the same in the single player games, but one you buy extra space its better, also you can mail stuff to a crafting alt,

    that feeling of maybe i’m missing something in a zone a quest a chest etc is very unnerving very cool

  • Really bugs with quests… I have not had a single problem it runs fine. I have had no problem with any quests.

    my only real problem is the horrible horrible internet we get here in australia I have to wait till 9:30pm-10:00pm before i can attempt any sort of mmo as the ASDL is so congested I am lucky to get 20kbps

  • First up, hi and thanks for the blog. I applaude you and Keen for propogating such a great environment of mature and intelligent discussion of exactly the kind of games I love 🙂

    As for (T)ESO… I just don’t know what to make of it. It feels very much like a dodgy Chinese to me – while I’m eating it I’m constantly thinking ‘this is crap’ but a few hours away and I get an itch to give it another go. A few thoughts on what annoys me about it, and a few things I like.

    1) The world is soulless. Yes its an MMO and its going to be static, but trying a few different areas, everything has the same generic sheen to it. I’ve done a few interesting quests, but most of them boil down to has a problem with , go to and deal with it. I go to said place and it requires an awful lot of imagination to persuade myself I’m actually in a bandit camp/abandonded crypt/royal palace because it all looks the same. It feels like a case of quantity over quality.

    2) Rewards are unexciting. I don’t get the feeling when getting a quest reward or looting a chest that I might find something interesting. I think this comes from the over-symmetrical nature of items, progression and crafting. If you look at crafting station you can already see how items are made – they have a base stat which increases numerically, you have a quality grade (green, blue, purple etc) and you have a number of traits. So you already know all possibilities for every item slot from the start. This means that I will never be surprised by loot, which means there’s never that little thrill of excitement when I come to loot to see what might be inside. I had the same problem with Diablo 3 and Skyrim, but oddly not with Diablo 2 or WoW. Maybe I’m a freak 🙂

    3) Combat feedback is unsatisfying. I’m slightly more sure of myself on this one 🙂 Graphically and sonically there isn’t enough going on when contact is made to feel like you’ve actually hit something. Also, their decision to hide numbers from the player (even though I understand it) doesn’t help. I like the feeling in other games where I press a skill, I get a nice noise and a big number. If I’m lucky, a crit. It makes me feel powerful, and the feedback makes me feel connected to the action. (And that comment makes me feel fickle!). Mods such as Foundry Tactical Combat help a little but not enough.

    4) Classes are too open. Probably not a common complaint, but I like the specificity of choosing a particular class and race and feeling a little unique. I’m playing a Breton Templar, but because every combination can basically do anything, I don’t feel that’s particularly relevant to my experience. I don’t feel like a Templar, because a Templar isn’t a well defined class.

    I could go on but I won’t. It feels like I’m being harsh, and reading what I wrote it seems like my complaints could apply to a number of games I love. But I still can’t shake the feeling.

    For balance, I do like the way tagging works – if you struggle with an outdoor mob you can wait till someone else comes along and team up without having to group up, and you still get kill credit. It gives the benefits of teamwork and the feeling of MMO-ness without the awkwardness of having to group then disband (unless you want to). I wish more MMOs would use this.

  • You can download mods that give scrolling combat text, minimap, skyshard tracker, and better inventory management. It’s all there.. Just use ui mods

  • You are looking at classes wrong. You shouldn’t identify as a nightblade or a sorcerer or a rogue. Like other ESO games you should identify based on what your character concept is. Examples are

    The nightblade healing build Keen is using is commonly called a Bloodmage.
    Nightblade tank build is Shadowknight.
    I have my DW build which is would be a Ninja.
    Sorcerer’s using their abilities to buff weapon skills – Battlemage
    Dragon Knights that use ranged fire abilities and destruction staff – Firemage

    Those are the ‘classes’ not what the game is actually calling classes. Basically like most ES games it lets you design your own class from a starting point rather than just giving you a class.

  • @Argorious: I’m not as bothered by the lack of space as I am the inconvenience of the interface and truly digging through the bags to find a way of emptying them out. Bartillo brings up a point in another comment here about UI mods. An inventory mod might be the first one I download.

    @Joy-Energiser: My first few days in ESO I picked up everything. Pressed E on a corpse then pressed R immediately to loot all. Now I hand select every item I pick up. Graev and I do have a crafting session every time we go back to town, though, which is really neat.

    @KennyG: Graev and I both upgraded our bags and bank. We quickly realized that’s the fastest way to bankruptcy. 🙁

    @FreeQuest: I stopped counting the number of broken quests we’ve run into. The first 4 days of launch it was almost 1/5 were in some way bugged or requiring a workaround. I’m glad to hear your mileage has varied.

    @Asparagus6000: Thanks! Welcome to our blog. I agree with the combat. It can be a little wonky at times, but it has improved since beta. The classes being too open is a funny one because that was my source of angst and stress for the entier first day of launch. Once I embraced it, I was able to make a CHARACTER I like. Emphasis on character because I think the term ‘class’ should not have been used in ESO at all.

    @Bartillo: The bag mods might be nice. The other stuff is too ‘Wow’ for me. I’ll give them a try.

    @Drathmar: You’re talking to Asparagus6000, right?

  • @Drathmar Interesting way of looking at it and yeah I do agree with you but for me that requires more imaginative effort than I want to put in for this game. I’m playing a game, I want them to do the creative work not me. I want them to create interesting things, and for me to discover them. Otherwise it’s like doing a treasure hunt when you know all the prizes… It’s why I’ve never got on well with ES games, they put a lot of onus on the player to immerse themselves in a world and make their own adventure.

    That’s not to say I’m averse to doing it sometimes – there are plenty of games where I’ll happily fill in the creative gaps myself but that tends to be for more abstract type games. But these are more about learning the systems and exploiting them.

    I know that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, I’m still trying to work out exactly why I don’t enjoy ESO. I should like it, and I even want to, it’s just not doing it for me.

  • So far only quest I had that is really broken is the Spindel quest, for me it does not clear the first area.. which means I can not get a skill point you get from that quest 🙁 which does suck

    Thing with “classes” is that you don’t even have to lock yourself into 1 path most builds endup being some sort of hybrid Ranged/melee of sorts but how its done depends on particular base class. NB tank is very different DK tanks and is weaker in sme ways while it is stinger in others

  • Guess I have been lucky so far as bugged quests go. May have had one but that is all. I have a love/hate with inventory right now. I had the lack of space sometimes but I like having to think about what I keep and what I get rid of. I did make a bank character that unloaded a lot of excess from the shared bank so I can keep it mostly for crafting and such. He now holds the vast amount of maps I stupidly unpacked from the boxes you got for pre-order. As for crafting I am liking it more now that I have decided Enchanting does not have to be my main crafting choice. Runes are simply way way to hard to find out in the world. I find 50x the amount of ore and jute as I do runes. It is wickedly unbalanced. So I am leaning towards metal weapons and armor as well as light and medium armor.

    I agree classes are not really needed. I do like that I can go any route I want with my character be it melee or ranged, damage, healing, or tank. I started with a Templar that I was going to go 2 handed but the healing never felt right so I ended up with a Sorc that duel wields swords. So far much more fun. Plus he has pets which I like. 🙂

  • I have to say I haven’t encountered a bug, but I’m running 4 alts across 3 zones and they all are just level 12. There might be less polish the deeper you go, which wouldn’t surprise me.

    There were certainly compromises to the UI and inventory management to make the release console friendly. Fortunately the bank is account shared but I still feel like I’m playing the Diablo 2 inventory management mini game. The ESO dev team definitely needs to examine some quality of life issues in the game. I would like to spend more time exploring although I enjoy my time in cities…they really nailed the mmorpg city experience for me but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

  • The most annoying bugs so far have been the infinite loading screens. Last night, I convinced my friend to take his level 12 nightblade for his first experience of PVP. For the next 2 hours we were stuck zoning in to Cyridil.

    I like the game enough to overlook these issues, but I do think Zenimax needs to make it a priority to fix this particular problem.

  • Bugged quests were one of the “dealbreakers” I encountered in the 2 Betas I participated in.

    And there’s the rub: some of the bugged quests seemed to be common knowledge and I reported the ones I found as did others.

    So the testing did highlight at least some of these but it seems they just launched it without fixing them.