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So i'll get right to it my character was a Dark Elf Sorceror and I reached just shy of level 13. I played the game both as a roamer just going off into the mists and also as a standard quest round up and progress style. I played a little more than 20 hours over the past few days and I am a big fan of the Elder Scrolls series. Also MMORPG's and have played many since 1999.
I was really looking forward to this game because the concept of playing the Elder Scrolls with a multiplayer component just added to it seemed very appealing. What quickly became apparent is that is not really the case here.
Really the graphics are well done. The environments are varied and the effects and lighting are all really good as well. A little less than Skyrim quality but still great! The character models are good the animations are a little poor especially in first person but not something that was lingering as a problem for me its easily fixed with a bit of polish.
Music and sound effects in the game again were great. Many tracks had my whistling along which is always good.The voice acting did add a lot to the game as well and I didn't come across any poorly played characters.
This is where the game really nose dives. It's not to say that whats there isn't implemented well. It's more to say that the game just doesn't play like The Elder Scrolls at all. What you get is a generic MMORPG framework with an Elder Scrolls theme. Instead of the more obvious route....... -__-
The combat is more of an illusion of real time action. The crosshair and targeting doesn't matter so much for aiming its just used to select your target. So your left mindlessly clickling away like the standard auto attack and quick bar cool down mechanics. The combat made me feel like I was playing Dungeons and Dragons Online or something... poorly done and insulting to think people won't know the difference...
Another core issue with this game is that it's setup as a linear zone progression. Is kind of sad because in the loading screen message you are encouraged to pick a direction and roam. The only thing I found when I roamed was herbs, ore a seldom chest and doors and caves I couldn't enter most of the time. So with out doing a quest grab at zone hubs I'm now restricted. I also tried to leave the first zone when I finally got to the mainland and I couldn't. The game told me I didn't meet the requirements. So I was forced to do the mundane quest grabs just to move into the world.
Quests are not nearly as good as in the single player games. The caves and other descendable areas are so small and there are no enemies in them because of that reason. The best way for me to describe the quest system is that its just like World of Warcraft with voiceovers added to it. They try to disguise the mundane things as best as they can but I find that just makes it more apparent. Not much more to say here. The main quest line is basically single player so it makes you ask why this game is even online at all... which leads to the next problem....
MULTIPLAYER AND GROUPING
The game is not a true MMORPG in say the sense of a game like Asheron's Call, EverQuest, Ultima Online, Darkfall, Anarchy Online etc... This game is more like SWKOR and a dash of WoW mixed together with Elder Scrolls painted over it...
You have to group with people if you want to do the group dungeons. The grotto is the one I played in today and It was short and very forgettable the experience overall it wasn't very good and the bosses were pretty lack luster. Aside from this most people are just running around doing their own thing trying to rush through the quest grind so the multiplayer aspects in this game are very weak. The game would've been exceedingly better if it was exactly like say Skyrim or Morrowind even with just a 4 player online component.
I didn't play PvP because I really had nothing left that kept me wanting to log in. I stopped playing shortly before writing this review 5 hours shy of the beta ending. I'm sure it's fun for a few rounds but like the rest of the game I can't see it keeping me online in ESO. It's sad for me because I really wanted to like this game and tried my best to find some good in it. The game just isn't a good single player game which is how it plays most of the time. Also it isn't a good multiplayer game which is why they are planning on charging the monthly fee for it. Really it just makes me want to go back to dreaming of when I will finally get to play the real Elder Scrolls Online.