WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD
This review is based off my personal experiences in the beta and the 5 days of early access before the game was released.
Let me start off by saying “The Elders Scrolls Online” is not “Skyrim” in MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online ) form. I have seen too many people giving this game a bad reputation just because they were expecting a game that was exactly like “Skyrim“. In turn of people giving this game a bad reputation, I have talked to and heard of a lot of people saying they are not going to pick this game up because they heard it wasn’t all that great. First off, a lot of people who are criticizing this game have yet to even play it. Second of all, it annoys me that people are bashing Zenimax Online Studios for making a bad game just because it isn’t like “Skyirm“. It’s impossible to make an MMO that exactly copies “Skyrim” due to the sheer volume of content that was in “Skyrim“. “Skyrim“, not being an online game, allowed Bethesda to focus all of it’s attention onto the world itself and how it looks and plays rather then having to worry about the online aspects of a game such as being able to house thousands of players on one server at a time. Zeninax did an amazing job creating a world that mirrored “Skyrim” and other previous Elders Scrolls title such as “Oblivion” and “Morrowind“.
With that rant out of the way we can get to the game itself. “The Elders Scrolls Online” is an MMO that really doesn’t build off of what other successful MMO’s have done. In fact, they have done some things that are extremely questionable and that has effected this games reputation in a bad way. Along with people bashing this game for not being an exact clone of “Skyrim“, Zenimax has taken a lot of heat about their exclusive collector’s edition, called the Imperial Edition, and their choice to make this game a $15 a month subscription on top of the $60 you have to shell out just to purchase this game. I personally hate both of these marketing decisions by Zenimax along with just about everyone else besides, well, the people at Zenimax. The Imperial Edition is offered both in physical form and and digital form. The contents are the same in each except the physical form comes with a statue of Molag Bal and a steel book case. What’s controversial about the two Imperial Edition’s is that there is an exclusive race that is allowed to join any alliance, called the Imperial race, that can only be obtained by purchasing the Imperial Edition. That means players have to shell out either an extra $20 for the digital version or $40 for the physical edition on top of the $15 a month subscription fee. In total, if a person decided to purchase the digital Imperial version and play for an entire year, the total cost for being able to play “The Elders Scrolls Online” for an entire year is $245. They spend $80 for the game and $165 for 11 months of subscription (the first 30 days is free). You could buy 4 new games-assuming they all cost $60 a piece, and have an extra $5 to spare.
Going back to the exclusive Imperial race, I believe this is the biggest mistake by Zenimax. Zenimax made a huge deal early on about how there were 3 different races to each alliance and that were 3 alliances and that if you wanted to play as a specific race or in a specific alliance you would need to pick the corresponding race or alliance bound to that race or alliance you wanted to play as(hopefully you followed that). Well, the Imperial race pretty much breaks that rule, for an extra $20 or $40 that is. I’m not sure if Zenimax is just money hungry or plain out stupid. To make a race exclusive to people who pay more money is just not fair. Although, I do believe that Zenimax will eventually offer the Imperial race to everyone else who didn’t buy the Imperial edition and that this game will eventually go free to play. Until that happens though, a lot of people will stay away from this game. I personally am picking this game up on release day and I am also getting the physical version of the Imperial edition. Not for the ability to play as the Imperial race, but for the Molag Bal statue and steel book case included. Although, I am taking advantage of the Imperial race and playing through as an Imperial because you are able to get a horse almost immediately as your adventure begins and I will later state how important that really is.
Let me start off by saying how incredible this game looks. For the amount of content that is in this game, Zenimax still went the extra mile in making sure everything looked beautiful. The voice acting is top notch as well. They hired people like John Cleese from “Monty Python” and Kate Beckinsale from “Underworld“. The core mechanics of the game are pretty solid, although I will say I just can’t get used to being able to walk through other characters, players, and enemies. It feels weird, especially during combat, if you’re not used to it. I feel like my sword isn’t connecting when I swing it sometimes just because there is no solid contact and it feels like I’m just swinging at the air. Although once you get used to it, it’s nothing but a minor nuisance.
One of this games biggest problems, if not it’s biggest, is traveling. It takes forever to get from one part of the quest to the next for some quest. Also, I feel like the quests are scattered so far apart. In some areas, it takes me 30 minutes just to find a quest to do. Most of the quests are pretty boring as well and I quickly found myself clicking on the speech tabs before the person could even finish their line so I could get accept quest and be on my way . This really ruins the point of amazing voice acting if the player isn’t even interested in what most of the characters are saying. Not to mention how long a lot of the conversations are.
The quest system works exactly like it did in “Skyrim“. You can have up to 25 active quests at a time and you can set focus on a certain quest by selecting it in your log or by pressing T on your keyboard. Now getting back to a point I made previously, horses in this game are vital. Without one you’ll be wandering around on foot for hours doing quests. The time spent aimlessly walking from area to area doing quests can be cut in half by having a horse. Unfortunately, if you didn’t preorder the Imperial Edition, you’ll be stuck saving all of your gold to save up for a horse. Note that the cheapest horse is 17,200 gold, so have fun saving up. Horses can be leveled up to increase their speed, stamina, and maximum capacity. You can feed a horse an apple for 1% speed, hay for 1 stamina point, oats for 1 capacity point. You can do this once a day, but only up to 50 times until you no longer can increase your horses stats. I recommend increasing it 25 times in speed and 25 times in stamina. Capacity isn’t really a huge deal for me considering there are other means of storage in the game.
I’m not going to go into the PvP portion of the game too much because my opinions on PvP are extremely biased. I just don’t like PvP. Although, I do feel like someone who is interested or likes PvP will thoroughly enjoy the PvP in “The Elders Scrolls Online“. It’s something new and innovative and I did find it quite refreshing although I didn’t play it for long before going back to PvE.
“The Elders Scrolls Online” had me wanting so much more, but it did keep my interest more then I expected especially from all the bad reviews out there. Zenimax did a wonderful job on the mechanics of the game, but the story is lackluster and travel hinders this game greatly. I don’t believe this game is worth the $15 a month to the average person who will only log in about 5-6 hours a week. You do have the first 30 days for free though if you don’t mind paying 60 dollars to essentially test the game and see if you like it. If, or when this game goes free to play, that’s when I believe it will blow up. Zenimax also needs to go by their word and throw out fresh new content for dedicated players or this game will fall very quickly. In the end, there is a strong nucleus for success, but a few bad decisions completely ruins the experience for a lot of players. When it becomes free to play that’s when I would recommend purchasing this game if you are interested. If you’re not willing to overlook the problems I stated before, this game is not for you and I suggest you go purchase “Guild Wars 2“. It isn’t as bad as everyone makes it to be, but there is just too many large problems that need to be fixed before this game can reach it’s potential. My score for the game at launch is a 6/10. Until next time Uzers – Mike
Now I may update you guys later on when new content (hopefully) comes out for this game. You’d be surprised what a few updates can do for a game.