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Dabbling in ESO Again

Keen in ESO

You may recall from my last post on ESO's Morrowind expansion announcement that I said I would be willing to try ESO again. I'll reiterate my position on the game once again: ESO is not a terrible game. ESO's greatest problems stem from it straddling that line between RPG and MMO, and not quite being able to figure out what to actually embrace.

I decided to jump back in (since it's free) to ESO this past week to solidify my feelings.

Playing for a bit this week emphasized a few points for me.

ESO Combat is Really Fun

ESO Combat

I genuinely find the combat to be fun. I think it's a great blend between actual Elder Scrolls style and something that makes sense for a MMO setting. I like my skills being limited to ​6 abilities (or 12 with 2 weapons) instead of having 30 skills on hotbars stacked all over the place.

ESO's Skill System has its Ups and Downs

I love a skill system. I think it's so much better than a generic prescribed character. ESO's skill system straddles a line, though.

ESO Skills

Pros: 

  • You get to choose what you want to put your points into
  • There's at least the opportunity for more diversity, despite things inevitably falling it popular "builds"
  • There's more control over when and how I evolve my character

Cons:

  • Over time, or perhaps all along, ESO's skill system devolved into more of a "learn almost everything" system
  • Stats (which I'll lump into the skill system) are too easily gamed into "put all into magicka" or "put all into stam"

Questing is the Worst Part of ESO

You guys know that I have absolutely no love for a questing system that has me running back and forth from one quest hub to another. ESO, although less about picking up a dozen quests and doing them all, heavily favors leading players by the nose.

ESO Questing

I wish gameplay in a zone was less about sprinting around the map to knock out objectives and more about sticking around in one place to skill up a character. Putting things into a frame of reference some of you may understand: More EQ, less WoW.

In its defense, I won't pretend the quests are are that worse than the bulk of typical Elder Scrolls quests. But most Elder Scrolls games have a larger sandbox world to ease or almost eliminate that sense of running from one quest to the next to complete the hubs on the map.

Passing Early Judgement

I'm going to let ESO be my "play when there's really not a lot else going on" game. I need one of those. What causes me to log off is a mix between feeling like my existence is futile in the game, and sheer boredom from the questing monotony. 

ESO would be much better with a regular group that decides from the beginning to make their progress about grouping together to explore and fight enemies over a solo or duo grinding quests. I can't think of anything more boring.​

With Morrowind still a ways off, I'm uncertain how long I'll keep dabbling in Tamriel. I need to feel like there's a goal. I also need to feel like there's a way to "catch up" and play with the rest of the larger body of players. As of now, I feel too minuscule and alone which only feeds the sense of futility. 

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Michael - February 12, 2017

Hey Keen, I used to see your group in Oasis a few times when Everquest opened Phinney. I been thinking of heading back to ESo but just don’t know if I want to. I did enjoy it a lot when I played it at launch. I just started a youtube channel and ESO might make a good game to start streaming with.

I just wonder if I can get back into it like I was.

    Keen
    Keen - February 13, 2017

    I think it depends on how much you’re affected by the new game smell. Can you comfortably and confidently jump into a game where everyone else around you is already maxed out? I struggle with that.

SineNomine - February 13, 2017

I’ve been taking it super slow since I got the game in late December, but my Orc StamDK alt has spent way more time running around and picking up skyshards and lore books and PvPing a little and running delves and public dungeons (and some questing, but I havent really focused on the questing) and is 42. I love how the scaling of One Tamriel just frees up the world completely and I can just go wherever I want, whenever I want.

I don’t hate the questing as much as you do, but it’s nice how I can just pick up or drop it whenever. I’ve had zones I loved the overarching story of that I do quest a lot, as well as some zones I might pick up a quest as I run around but don’t really care about hunting them all down. I’ve also not really touched the group dungeons much.

How do you feel about the crafting system in ESO? I’d figure it’s probably closer to a style you like since everything is so piecemeal and with research taking so long, there are at least minor opportunities for specialization, though at this point in the game all the long time players have all traits and motifs…

    Keen
    Keen - February 13, 2017

    You make a good point. I haven’t really thought about moving around the world with complete freedom.

    Is it correct that I can go to any zone, even at level 10? Does it all truly scale to me?

      SineNomine - February 13, 2017

      Yup. The world is your oyster. It’s not even limited by faction anymore, you can be an Altmer that starts on your native Auridon, finds it too humid and so heads to Alik’r Desert in Hammerfell, then decides to relive some skyrim nostalgia in The Rift.

      The only zone that you can’t just waltz into and be able to do at any level is Craglorn, which apparently used to be the top end zone? It’s designed primarily for group questing and grinding, although it was also changed to be a good difficulty for duos instead of a full 4 person party. From what I know though, people in top end gear can also solo there fine. I’m still new so this is more second hand info than experience however.

Bhagpuss - February 13, 2017

I find the combat in ESO about the worst I’ve ever played in an MMO. It was by far the main reason I stopped playing. But then I’ve hated the combat in every Elder Scrolls game I’ve tried.

    Keen
    Keen - February 13, 2017

    What are your thoughts on the questing or the other gameplay mechanics/features? Interesting how we’re flipped on this one.

bathoz - February 14, 2017

Black Desert has become that MMO for me. One in which I’m not murdered for chasing the ‘end ‘game’.

nukethesitefromorbit - February 17, 2017

“I wish gameplay in a zone was less about sprinting around the map to knock out objectives and more about sticking around in one place to skill up a character.” By this do you mean you actually prefer just going to a set spot and grinding mobs to gain xp over actual story content as a way to level? If that is the case with the changes made with One Tamriel you technically never have to go anywhere else to level as everything will scale for you. You could literally find a spot you like and just grind your way up through the levels without ever really going anywhere in the game. Does not sound like much fun to me but we all enjoy our gaming in our own way. What I love about One Tamriel is that even with say a level 40 character I can go to the 2nd zone in another faction and run their quests and still get valid XP. What I don’t like about One Tamriel though is sometimes I just want to mindlessly trash low level mobs for loot and now that is not really viable because of the battle leveling.

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