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Full Review, 4.5 Final Score (In-Depth Review)

BearKnightBearKnight Augusta, GAPosts: 461Member

Disclaimer:

I played Skyrim prior, loved it, but did NOT expect nor demand ESO to be like Skyrim to begin with. I'm also an "OmniGamer", meaning I'll play anything so long as it is in depth and well fleshed out. Meaning, I'll play a good Themepark, Sandbox, Single-Player RPG, MMORPG, etc etc so long as it isn't just thrown together with little to no thought behind it. I do, however, have a preference for Sandbox gameplay.

 

 

Leveling:

In Elder Scrolls Online you can either go from continent to continent, in a linear fashion, doing quests as you find them in order to level up, or grind mobs 3-4 levels above you for experience (grinding mobs is slower than grinding quests). Many of these quests are surprisingly well written, and isn't much of a surprise given the writers they hired for ESO. The problem being that they seem to have spent most of their budget on writing story for the game rather than improving the overall experience. This means that leveling essentially just becomes:

Find Quest Marker -> Go and get new Quest -> Work on said new quest while finding other shiny quest markers -> Backtrack to turn in original quest -> confusingly try to figure out which quest is closest and/or should be done next -> Repeat

 

I spent two weeks of this mind-numbing questing in order to get up to level 34. At this point I got so frustrated with how leveling is done that I quit for a couple of days until I decided to roll with my friends in PvP/Cyrodil for pvp area shards/quests/etc.

 

Overall, questing in ESO for exp is no different, or even more frustrating, than other themepark iterations. This is because they took the hand-holding linear questing of the Themepark model and simply took out the "Go here for quests for your level" quest hubs, and decided to throw them randomly around the map in a linear fashion (ie: go from bottom to top of the map in a zigzag pattern) in order to find obscure quests to level off. This gets frustrating because it is still the same themepark model, but without any indication on where to go next. Instead you're blindly searching for quests for you to do all the while running into quests/areas far higher level than you should be causing you to backtrack to find quests you missed!

 

Sure the story is cool, but MMOs were not made for "Story", they were made for social interaction on a massive online scale. So after awhile you find yourself so bored out of your mind that you're frantically hitting the "#1" key on your keyboard for the first dialogue option to just get to the quest itself. Found myself doing this after a week of actually reading the quests (some are poorly written, others a complete 180 and are decent to read!).

 

Score: 3 ~ "Well written story and lore, but gets so boring you almost wish you could stomach just grinding mobs for hours on end instead."

 

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Crafting:

Simplistic to an extreme, but better than most themeparks out there. 

 

Essentially, you just run around looking for resource "nodes" in the open world to collect resources. Unlike GW2, these resource nodes are PUBLIC and not individually instanced to you (chests are also like this). This means that you have to fight over resource spawns with other players, and when you have 100+ running around the same area it can be hard in the more popular/populated areas to find resources. Ironically since I waited 2 weeks after launch to play ESO I was able to avoid this "demand" for resources and easily gathered what I needed for heavy armor.

 

->Most crafting only needs two or three ingredients. As a Heavy Armor + Two-Handed sword Sorcerer all I needed to find was Ore of some kind for my level (Iron/Steel/Etc) for both weapons and armor, then I'd buy any "Style" ingredients I was missing. All in all, only requiring ONE ingredient (Iron Ingots in this case) for ALL of my armor and weapons means the crafting was so basic my 6yr old niece could probably master it in an hour.

 

->Can't Craft jewelry, nuff said there, and i've not seen any indications it is coming any time soon despite developers saying "Planned".

 

->Enchanting is one of the most depressingly difficult things to level up and/or use. Ingredients found in the world are random, and NOT A SINGLE PERSON IS SELLING INGREDIENTS! I got into 4 trade guilds (more on this later) and use the Guild-Store Search Plugin (more on this later, too) and found that NOT A SINGLE SOUL was selling any ingredients for enchantment. This meant I was cursed to using low-powered, over-priced, enchantments from the enchanting merchant. Probably one of the worst thought-out aspects of ESO.

 

->Items have durability, but can be infinitely repaired, thus leaving a stale and useless player-market to suffer a slow useless death. "Durability" is just another mechanism for removing currency from circulation, and becomes frustrating after only 30minutes of play to see your armor losing effectiveness (ie: the less durability an item has the less it protects you) forcing you to carry tons of REALLY expensive repair kits around everywhere, or constant returning to merchants for expensive repairs.

 

->Market system in ESO tried to be "Socially Focused" by forcing you to join multiple guilds of 500 players max, each, in order to sell/buy wares from other players. This was to replace the Auction House other themeparks are plagued by, but this ends up being the most frustrating thing in the world in a Themepark based MMO. Especially when you realize how HORRIBLE and ill-designed the search engine is done for the "Guild Store". You end up being forced to download a player-made plugin just to use it, and now that has been limited severely by Zenimax due to adding in a search-timer in between page queries. In other words when you hit "Retrieve" to gather information from all Guild-Stores that you're in it takes about 20minutes to populate up to 3 or 4 guild stores worth of pages. Want to search for ONLY "Blue Rare" items? Change your query and re-retrieve, see you in 10-20 minutes depending on quantity!!!

 

Score: 2 ~ "So frustrating, and simplistic, you wish it were actually a cruel joke."

 

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Graphics:

After getting eye-strain from the sheer amount of blur and FXAA being used I was forced to take matters into my own hands. I googled INI modifications and SweetFX configurations. After about 3hrs of work I got ESO looking from a drowned out meerkat's stomach into a Skyrim wannabe playable product. Literally, I have no idea how Zenimax can justify how drowned out and blurred out ESO is when I can spend 3hrs to make it almost look like I was playing Skyrim. I can post screenshots if anyone is interested.

Score: 6 ~ "Better stock graphics than most Themeparks out right now, but with a little work on your part can look like some of the best singleplayer games out there."

 

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Audio:

I enjoyed the orchestrated musics at many points, but the limited sound tracks got boring after awhile. Still very nostalgic to hear remnicent Elder Scrolls soundtracks playing throughout the game though. Decent enough for today's releases.

 

Score: 7 ~ "Nothing really to say here for an ElderScrolls game, but is overall enjoyable to listen to."

 

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Art-Style (aka: Character design & Equipment rendering):

 

Like many have pointed out before the armor/equipment of ESO are VERY one dimensional in terms of depth and overall quality. It feels as if you're playing a game that release back in 2002 with the flat textured modeling overlayed with random pieces of armor that are disconnected from your actual character. Can't tell you how many times I noticed my shoulderpads were "floating" disconnected from my one-layered textured suit of full plate. Felt like I was a paper doll with glossy paint thrown on.

However, the realism direction they went with character models with regards to the Elder Scrolls series was a needed touch. 

 

Score: 4 ~ "It seems as if almost no budget was given to their graphics department when designing equipment. Quite a lot of armors look exactly the same, or are drowned out by muted colors and different shades of gray, brown, or glossy black."

 

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Character Progression (skills, builds, abilities, etc):

Many people have claimed that the "build" system for characters in ESO is very robust, but I'd highly disagree. If you had played any games from 1999 to 2005 you would laugh at this statement in the person's face while balancing on a basketball. 

 

That snide statement aside, sure there is SOME limited design potential for builds, but you could probably count the number of viable unique builds on one or two hands per class (4 classes btw). However, MANY builds are just silly or have no purpose other than trying to prove you could do something "out of the ordinary". There's no point if it can't actually be of any viable use.

 

As for the shards collection system in order to force players to "explore" the world it was an interesting idea. However, there's a plugin that will put markers on your map showing you where every shard is in the game so it just ends up being a mindless run-around collection game for more skills points (3 collected shards == +1 skill point). This makes rolling alts VERY tedious and annoying!

 

Score: 5

 

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Combat:

 

Overall, ESO tried to mix GW2's actiony combat (that gets boring after a couple of hours) with the standard tab-targeting MMO scheme. It's neat at first, but like GW2 it gets boring after a couple of hours due to being EXTREMELY limited in the # of abilities and moves you can perform. Overall this chokes inspiration and overall drive to continue playing after you come up with a 1,2,3,4,5 rotation that gets you through to the next quest. Not really much point to experiment when there are so little combinations that work well per class for decent progression.

 

Not much else to say here, it really is that shallow of a system.

 

Score: 3 ~ "Basic at its lowest level, and serves to be nothing more than a way to progress forward. Very VERY boring and limited."

 

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PvP/RvR:

If you could call it "RvR" that is, but overall it's nothing more than a rehash of an "Arena" style version of DAOC's RvR system. Granted the Cyrodil map is fairly large, the overall scope is very small. You end up just fighting over limited patches of Cyrodil every couple of hours due to the nature of zerg patterns. This zerg goes to attack Castle Green while this other zerg goes to counter said previous zerg, rinse and repeat. Very limited to zero real PvP/RvR encounters that aren't zerg fests with thousands of AOE abilities being spammed in roughly the same area. 

Small group pvp is almost non-existent as they're generally afraid of running into large zergs and getting squashed. Most, if not all, AOE abilities are capped on # of players they can hit similar to GW2 so zerges of players always win over smaller groups. This was an avid complaint in GW2 for their PvP, but seems to be plagueing ESO as well.

 

No real purpose to PvP/RvR in ESO besides some pseudo bonuses that you never really notice and/or aren't important enough to keep.

 

Ganking lowbies questing in Cyrodil trying to get shards and/or quests is also a big thing in ESO. Tons of veteran ranked assassins roaming around lovingly picking off newbs just exploring/leveling. Granted it is an active PvP/RvR area, but it gets kind of annoying to see 20 people complain about being ganked in open chat after the first hour.

 

Score: 6 ~ "It funcitons as a decent PvP experience, but most certainly has no aspects of RvR that make it playable past a couple of hours. There's no real drive behind it, and it just seems thrown together at the last minute."

 

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The Round-Up:

 

Pros:

->Good Audio.

->An Art-Style that fits the Intellectual Property and/or Franchise.

->Modern graphics after being tweaked a bit by the player.

->Cyrodiil as a major point of contention for PvP/RvR.

->Well written stories in most parts of the game.

->Decent amount of work put into exploration.

->Decently large world to explore, but 2/3rds locked behind "Veteran Status", or unless you roll an alt of a different faction.

 

Cons:

->Disconnect between solo gameplay and group gameplay.

->Not very much to do for groups of players.

->Shallow and limited crafting.

->A higher occurrence of bugs and exploits than most release titles.

->Shallow combat system.

->Limited and Shallow character progression.

->Most equipment looks the same and/or muted in color. Not much differentiation in crowds of players.

->An entire playable race, Imperials, locked behind a pay-wall. Nothing really interesting and/or new about them worth the price either.

->Extremely limited and lackluster crafting system.

->Failed player economy driven by "social interaction" that is nothing more than forcing players to join SEVERAL guilds at once in order to access limited pools of inventory wares for sale. Addons required to navigate them.

->Too much focus on "You're the Hero!" story over world and player interaction.

 

Final Score: 4.5 / 10

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Comments

  • KanesterKanester WalesPosts: 374Member Uncommon
    Pretty spot on to be fair.

    image

  • EnterTheWombatEnterTheWombat Madison, ALPosts: 104Member Uncommon

    Oh boy another one of these. yay

    And I'll edit a little bit and add that I am enjoying myself in the game. Of course I think they could have done better but it's not a 4.5 out of 10.  Thanks for the non biased BS review though. 

  • JudgeUKJudgeUK Posts: 847Member Uncommon

    For the TL:DR brigade:

    OP didn't like it much.

  • GolelornGolelorn Hiding From Social Media Peeping Toms, ALPosts: 1,099Member Uncommon
    4.5 out of 10 is a complete fail. You'd barely be able to play the game. Its at least a 7. Which is average.
  • JacxolopeJacxolope Jackson, MIPosts: 924Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Golelorn
    4.5 out of 10 is a complete fail. You'd barely be able to play the game. Its at least a 7. Which is average.

    No 7 is the "new" average gaming journalists use to make an average to below average game seem beeter. 7/10 is above average- Its in the 70 th percintile or something.

     

    5 would actually be the average (out of 10) and 4.5 (a bit below average) is how I would rate ESO as well.

    IF we were using 7 as an average I would say ESO is a 6.5.

     

    But its all in ow you are viewing the numbers.

    EDIT- Have you seen MMOrpg ever rate a game much below 7? Or any 'official' game review rate a AAA game under 7- It hardly ever happens because I guess we have all above average games coming out for the past 10 years lol.

  • EvelknievelEvelknievel Ehrenfeld, PAPosts: 2,977Member
    to the op, i wonder what you call a 10 then.. lol
  • summitussummitus TimbuktuPosts: 1,414Member

    Had just lol at this TL,DR ... BS .. OP are you trying to get a job in game journalism ?  ...... as someone else stated , don't give up your day job ... sigh

    And don't get me wrong the game isn't great by any means , but its not that fucking bad ...

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    If it was baseball it would be in the hall of fame.
  • ElirionLothElirionLoth Houston, TXPosts: 264Member Common
    Originally posted by summitus

    Had just lol at this TL,DR ... BS .. OP are you trying to get a job in game journalism ?  ...... as someone else stated , don't give up your day job ... sigh

    And don't get me wrong the game isn't great by any means , but its not that fucking bad ...

    According to his post history he's in the gaming industry so......................I'll let you decide rather than state the obvious.

     

    He also commented earlier that he didn't care for the game during the open betas so I'm kind of wondering why he bought the game (if he actually did).

  • laseritlaserit Vancouver, BCPosts: 1,952Member Uncommon

    Yawn.......

     

    If the game was really that bad, people wouldn't be wasting their time making reviews about it.

    "If you make an ass out of yourself, there will always be someone to ride you." - Bruce Lee

  • reeereeereeereee Posts: 1,206Member Uncommon

    Scores on cambat/PvP/crafting were poorly thought out.  The combat is very different than gw2 because there are no cooldowns, so there is really no need to even try for 12345 build, you're doing it wrong if you are and that probably means you never took the time to tackle hard PvE content or put any real effort into PvP.  Also, there is plenty of room for small group PvP in this game, just because you don't have any friends to roll with doesn't mean others don't.

     

    And crafting a 2?  Really?  Compaired to what?  WoW/GW2?SWTOR/FFXIV AAR?  I couldn't see giving any of those games more than a 3/10 if ESO is a 2/10 some of them maybe even less.  Yeah no global AH was a stupid move on Zen's part but that shouldn't be reflected on the crafting, should have made an economics section and downgraded them there if that was your primary issue. 

     

     

    As for the questing solo that made up so much of the game... yeah it sucked can't really argue there.

  • Yoda_CloneYoda_Clone Harker Heights, TXPosts: 219Member
    Originally posted by Jacxolope
    Originally posted by Golelorn
    4.5 out of 10 is a complete fail. You'd barely be able to play the game. Its at least a 7. Which is average.

    No 7 is the "new" average gaming journalists use to make an average to below average game seem beeter. 7/10 is above average- Its in the 70 th percintile or something.

     

    5 would actually be the average (out of 10) and 4.5 (a bit below average) is how I would rate ESO as well.

    IF we were using 7 as an average I would say ESO is a 6.5.

     

    But its all in ow you are viewing the numbers.

    EDIT- Have you seen MMOrpg ever rate a game much below 7? Or any 'official' game review rate a AAA game under 7- It hardly ever happens because I guess we have all above average games coming out for the past 10 years lol.

    You will periodically see MMORPG.com rate a game poorly, BUT ONLY when it is a game none of us have ever heard of and never seen any advertisements for.  It's a sham; it's MMORPG.com trying to convince us that they have credibility.

    I think MMORPG.com rates games on a scale of 8-to-10.  Seriously... and since they gave ESO a 7.9 (and were being generous there), that means ESO has some major problems.

    I really wanted this game to succeed; I love the Elder Scrolls universe... unfortunately, I agree with most of the reviewer's comments.  I have come to agree with those people who feel Matt Firor took advantage of the Elder Scrolls IP to produce a new DAoC-style game, and failed in the process because it's neither Elder Scrolls nor DAoC.  I hope the mess gets fixed, but I really don't think it will until ZOS acknowledges that the game as designed is severely flawed.  Unfortunately, arrogance doesn't usually result in admission of fault, and their marketing and management teams are clearly arrogant to have presumed all players would be lemmings rushing over the cliff.

    They need to do the same thing as FFXIV-ARR or they'll never get back their customer base, and without a decent customer base the game cannot survive as P2P.

  • whiteravenwhiteraven bend, ORPosts: 4Member

    Seems about right

  • LawlmonsterLawlmonster Dallas, TXPosts: 954Member Uncommon
    Yep, I would have scored this game somewhere around 5 (average) as well, not that it really matters. I'd also like to parrot the poster before me who brought up scoring, and how the 7 as a new average has allowed some funny review inflation, or at the very least created a system in which you may call something one thing, while it is actually another. What's the purpose of using a ten point scale if the only numerical values you assign to a game are between 7 and 10?

    "This is life! We suffer and slave and expire. That's it!" -Bernard Black (Dylan Moran)

  • pappacubepappacube Davenport, IAPosts: 90Member
    can't resist the urge to say I disagree with 4.5.  I am playing the heck out of this game and I feel its at least a 7.5.  Of course I am lame and don't care to go to great lengths to tell you why I say 7.5 but either you are auditioning for a job or you love yourself to bits.
  • WizGamerWizGamer Evansville, WVPosts: 403Member

    This is honestly disgusting and one of the reasons why MMORPG.com has become a place for cynical whiners. On no objective rating scale would this game get 4.5. It is an AAA mmorpg with quite a few flaws, like basically every other game released (except re-release FFXIV). Your opinion is worthless when your basis for judging is so off-keel. Wow, absolutely ridiculous. 

    Honestly, screw this site. I'm tired of reading about people shitting on various games constantly. Pure negativity is not what I want to hear, and I've played every MMORPG there is. Sometimes I wonder if anyone on this site even understands quality. People say LoL has the worst community, but I think it's right here at MMORPG.com. 

  • k61977k61977 Pendleton, SCPosts: 145Member Uncommon

    The main problem I have with this post is he doesn't say he is not using the same scoring system this site nor any of the other gaming sites do today.  They use the school grading system. 10 =A, 9 = B, etc. with anything below a 6 pretty much a failure.  This has been stating many times by many different mods, to include bill murphy on this site.  I agree this is stupid if you are using a 10 point scale to do it this way but it is the way games are rated. 

    With that said I don't agree with the score he has issued but it is his opinion and he is welcome to it.  The game is an average game with some things better and some worse.  Grouping is the main issue with the game at this point but they have stated they have a patch in the works on the testing server as we speak to help with it.  You can't really blame them from not making the whole game a grouping game when it is based off of single player games. 

    Hopefully things will get better in the future.  I enjoy the questing and having to look for them unlike the OP but that is my opinion.

    image

  • LawlmonsterLawlmonster Dallas, TXPosts: 954Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by WizGamer

    This is honestly disgusting and one of the reasons why MMORPG.com has become a place for cynical whiners. On no objective rating scale would this game get 4.5. It is an AAA mmorpg with quite a few flaws, like basically every other game released (except re-release FFXIV). Your opinion is worthless when your basis for judging is so off-keel. Wow, absolutely ridiculous. 

    Honestly, screw this site. I'm tired of reading about people shitting on various games constantly. Pure negativity is not what I want to hear, and I've played every MMORPG there is. Sometimes I wonder if anyone on this site even understands quality. People say LoL has the worst community, but I think it's right here at MMORPG.com. 

    I have to disagree with about everything you've posted here, and I think you need to grow a thicker skin if an opinion you dislike is enough for you to ragequit the community. Hopefully it won't come to that, though, because there's plenty of room for everyone here on the forums, even if we're at ends with one another.

    "This is life! We suffer and slave and expire. That's it!" -Bernard Black (Dylan Moran)

  • JacxolopeJacxolope Jackson, MIPosts: 924Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by k61977

    The main problem I have with this post is he doesn't say he is not using the same scoring system this site nor any of the other gaming sites do today.  They use the school grading system. 10 =A, 9 = B, etc. with anything below a 6 pretty much a failure.  This has been stating many times by many different mods, to include bill murphy on this site.  I agree this is stupid if you are using a 10 point scale to do it this way but it is the way games are rated. 

    With that said I don't agree with the score he has issued but it is his opinion and he is welcome to it.  The game is an average game with some things better and some worse.  Grouping is the main issue with the game at this point but they have stated they have a patch in the works on the testing server as we speak to help with it.  You can't really blame them from not making the whole game a grouping game when it is based off of single player games. 

    Hopefully things will get better in the future.  I enjoy the questing and having to look for them unlike the OP but that is my opinion.

    My god- We can be civil and discuss things with people we dont agree with?

    Someone please see if its snowing in Hell.

     

    That is interesting about their using the "school grading system" and not logical. I understand you are probably totally correct- It essentially puts everything on a 4-5 point scale but still used the "10 point scale" and is deceptive. I had never heard that however, and am glad you pointed that out. Thanks.

  • maendrosmaendros athensPosts: 18Member Uncommon
    excellent well-writen review i totally agree with everything.
  • ElirionLothElirionLoth Houston, TXPosts: 264Member Common
    Originally posted by WizGamer

    This is honestly disgusting and one of the reasons why MMORPG.com has become a place for cynical whiners. On no objective rating scale would this game get 4.5. It is an AAA mmorpg with quite a few flaws, like basically every other game released (except re-release FFXIV). Your opinion is worthless when your basis for judging is so off-keel. Wow, absolutely ridiculous. 

    Honestly, screw this site. I'm tired of reading about people shitting on various games constantly. Pure negativity is not what I want to hear, and I've played every MMORPG there is. Sometimes I wonder if anyone on this site even understands quality. People say LoL has the worst community, but I think it's right here at MMORPG.com. 

    I have to agree with you Wiz and probably won't be far behind you.  This isn't about fair and balanced criticism.  This is about a large portion of the posters on this site trying to drag every game through the mud for some unknown, I can give a few guesses though, reason.  ESO is not perfect but any reasonable person familiar with MMOs would not rate it a 4.5 out of 10.  It makes me wonder if this hasn't just become a battle ground for rival publishers.

  • k61977k61977 Pendleton, SCPosts: 145Member Uncommon

    Yeah I wish I still had the URL for when bill stated it about the using the school grading system it is a messed up way of rating anything.  It was in the general forums about why no game gets below a 6 on here ever.  Makes people feel better about getting a 7 instead of a 3 when you use a 5 point scale on a 10 point grading system.  Same score but somehow the higher number appeals to the masses.

     

    Edit: look at second paragraph from Bill Murphy

    Found a thread about the grading scale:  http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/632/feature/8491/Gauging-the-Critical-Reception.html

    image

  • udonudon Durham, NCPosts: 1,768Member Uncommon

    OP if you going to do a one off review and give a game a score you should really give readers something to compare to.  For instance how would you score other AAA MMO's released in the last few years because if you gave ESO a 4.5 I shudder to think what you would give GW2, Rift, NWN, TSW, etc. etc.

    ESO isn't a 10 but it isn't a failing grade either.  I would give it somewhere in the B to B+ range myself but obviously it's hip to hate on the game right now so I'm a bit out of style.

  • CalexCalex Central, NJPosts: 80Member Uncommon
    Spot on, give this man a job here.
  • HusvikHusvik Somewhere, ONPosts: 440Member

    TL:DR couple with a laughable 4.5, why waste time reading it?

    Go to mmorpg homepage scroll down a little and check out what the "Most popular games" are for...

    Today, Week, 1 Month, 6 Months, and YEAR is...

    It would'nt happen to be ESO would it?

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