Elder Scrolls Online Beta Review

Feature video by Angryjoe on youtube
The Elder Scrolls Online Ebonheart Pact Beta Review by Team666
Levels 1-9. The First 10 Hours of Gameplay.
 
The Quest direction is Woeful.

An NPC dialog snoozefest with non-combative fetch quests.

If you are lucky your path may be blocked by a single bear or wolf but it will take 32 hits to kill you.

There is no sense of accomplishment in adventuring from one safepoint to the next as your character will not be contested along the path between them so wayshrines along with the strength and abilities of your character have little value and feel unimportant.

Within the starting villages there is no special point of interest such as an Inn or rest mechanic and there are too many random structures and NPCS for any one thing to be meaningful.

Overall the map design is too cluttered with an overuse of environment detail and not enough aggressive creatures.
 

Levels 10-15
 
The Quest direction is significantly improved but its still not badass.

NPCS will finally ask you to kill a creature or request you travel to a dangerous location where you will have to fight something notable.

This is much more enjoyable than the earlier non-combative missing villager or flute playing levels however most of the areas are still too thinly occupied by aggressive monsters so that players can easily avoid or outrun them as they travel from one location to another.

The quests themselves feel too short and do not involve having to progress past multiple tiers of enemies. There are few lengthy challenging Quests where you may die multiple times in attempting to reach a boss or new safepoint and this is because without soulgems you cannot easily resume your progress at the point you died and will find yourself all the way back at a wayshrine with everything respawned infront of you.

Soulgems should be more available to players but with a cooldown so they cannot be used too often and we could then have areas occupied with more dangerous creatures and more involved Quest objectives. As an added feature if you die you should have to recover your soul at the point you died to recover all of the XP earned since the last wayshrine visited. This would increase the importance of wayshrines and instill more fear into players.

You may find yourself grouping with other players on some of the more difficult Quests and that is great however when there are many players in the same area they will not bother to group or interact they will just overpower and steamroll everything in the vicinity.

This is because individual phased loot tables offer no incentive or requirement to be in a group to receive the loot, xp or Quest objectives.
 

Combat
 
The real time action combat is fresh for MMOS and looks and feels more interactive at first although it doesn’t take long to notice that the white attack animations just have you swaying a weapon from side to side like your arms are wet noodles and many of the better hotbar abilities are actually not action combat abilities but more traditional MMO abilities with multiple animations per keypress or are simply buffs or debuffs with durations.

The real downside to the action combat abilities with 1 action per keypress is that latency is more noticeable, possibly unplayable in larger groups and you cannot have a crosshair and a cursor available at the same time. This makes for an uncomfortable toggle war between the crosshair and cursor if you are trying to interact with something other than your current target.

There is also an issue with tab targeting in 3rd person where a higher camera view is preferable but that pushes your crosshair downward and tab targeting will not pick up mobs infront of you. Without full physics with player/monster collision and minimal hitboxes I don’t think the action combat is worth it.

A traditional cursor targeting system with player/monster collision and long range tab targeting would play smoother and allow the cursor to be freely available at all times to interact with more things.
 

PVP
 
PVP is only available in Cyrodill and is hard to judge at this point. Your dead about 10 seconds before you see anyone. However that might just have to do with server lag or individual computers.

Cyrodiil is just a battleground instance map with 18 keeps. The concept is great for a battleground. It may even be the best battleground ever, but it should never have been at the expense of true open world contested areas.
 

Graphics and Customisation
 
The Graphics quality, character customisation and theme are all totally amazing for an MMO. But I dare say they are too good.

Stylized graphics and shaders would make for smoother more interactive gameplay than HD textures and this does not mean the game has to look like a kindergarten wiggles cartoon. The graphics should just be stylized to look like Skyrim artwork with set races and fixed attributes unique to each race not each player.

These limitations help increase the online multiplayer smoothness and responsiveness and allow for more involved combat strategies. When your playing on a server in another state or country with ten or more players and monsters onscreen at the same time there are technical and geographical limitations that cannot be avoided.
 

Addons
 
In an MMO the name plate over your head and your items or skills are what make you an individual. Only single player RPG lore noobs are against nameplates and want to be forced to move there crosshair individually over 30,000 other players every day to see who they are.

Damage numbers also are the only way to receive real time feedback of your new sword or enchant as you chop into a monster along with friends. There is no other way to know your contribution to the encounter or how you fare to others. Your player level and experience bar are also important indicators that should be onscreen at all times while leveling.

The inclusion of addons may destroy the interface but they also increase the MMO experience 100 fold.
 

Classes
 
The greatest innovation with ESO as an MMO is the freedom a player has to wield any weapon, wear any armor and learn almost any skill. While you can only fulfill 1 role at a time you can always change things up without having to redo every Quest in the game and that is excellent.

However is that going to work well in an MMO when classes are jacks of all trades? I think it lowers the importance of each class to the extent that they may aswell just have 1 class for the entire game and let people pick and choose their abilities.

I also think it will create a poor experience for the acquisition of loot in endgame. With individual and private loot tables the chance of receiving the item you want to have drop is going to be very low considering you have only 1 personal roll from the entire loot table. Your time will be spent trying to barter with 24 other people in your group instead of actually combating the dungeon. Most people will have to just buy their items in a store and that’s really not what an end game raid experience should be about.
 

Conclusion:
 
:/

ESO should have been purely an MMO set in the Elder Scrolls Universe. By trying to cater to RPG single players and console platforms they have weakened the game as an MMO. It would be like taking the nextgen sequel to Skyrim which is intended as a single player game and adding MMO elements just to sell a few extra copies to MMO players. The single player RPG noobs would be up in arms so they should understand why we want them to gtfo out of ESO.
 

  1. maillot psg
    06th Feb 2014

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