I'm pretty sure everyone would agree ESO did not have a great launch back in April 2014. From server issues, latency, disconnects, broken quests, missing dialogue and an additional assortment of annoying bugs. I was in the beta for a short stint but was rather displeased with how the game felt considering how fantastic Skyrim was. Needless to say, I did not purchase the game at release, but the game I was dying to play, known as ArcheAge, eventually showed it's true P2W colors after official launch in September 2014, so after my 3 months were up from my ArcheAge Alpha Founders pack, I basically jumped ship to give ESO a try. Perfect timing really, since it was super cheap during the December holiday sale.
At that time, ESO was a completely different beast with a much more optimized system and fleshed out quest system with working dialogue. Right around early 2015, after a month of playing, I was convinced ESO was going to become one of the best MMOs of the century. I enjoyed my time very much, but ended up giving Black Desert Online a go when it released in early 2016, eventually coming back to ESO off and on for new content, then stopping altogether for the past year, year and a half.
I just preordered the new expansion Elswyr and started getting back into it over the past week or two. Finally inputting a little more time and effort into the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood, which by the way are both amazing additions to the game. I have done very little in Summerset's new guild, the Psyjic Order, but I literally have soooo much content to makeup that it's probably going to be on hold for a couple months. Hopefully I can finish it before Elswyr releases this Spring though, but we'll see. Anyhow, just want to give a bulletin list of things I enjoy about the current state of the game and why it might possibly be drawing in a lot of players from other games.
- First off, the game is running quite well. I don't believe I've had a single game related disconnect since I've been back. There is an apparent widespread problem with loading into dungeons, zoning and loading into the game itself. As in, it takes a while. Nothing too crazy though, so not something you need to write home about.
- The graphics are truly very good. Not the best, but definitely good. The overall aesthetics though is AMAZING. The flow of scenery and the variety of terrain from one zone to the next is second to none. The variety and intricacy of skill / spell effects are above average to decent.
- The current amount of content is pretty ridiculous for a game that is only 5 years old. The variety of mobs is fairly close to the variety of zones and genuinely compliments zone differences. Along with the variety of armor and weapon sets, leads to a fairly decent customizable look for players. Not to mention the ton of stuff available to purchase in the cash shop. Now I know I've mentioned my overwhelming distaste for cash shops, but that's more towards PvP focused games. Yes, ESO has PvP, but the cash shop really doesn't offer anything that impedes on the balance within it's PvP mechanics.
- The PvP, also known as Cyrodill is probably the second best PvP I've had the pleasure of experiencing since Dark Age of Camelot, which oddly enough it mimics VERY well. The map is HUGE, which allows for a ton of strategic maneuvers as well as shock troop / small group tactics to be effective, instead of just zerg versus zerg. A wide variety of siege weapons with more being implemented with the new update gives players a variety of roles and tons of stuff to do.
- F2P / Subscription Hybrid similar to that of Black Desert Online or Lord of the Rings Online. ESO plus, is your basic $15 a month subscription which adds a ton of convenience, such as double bank and inventory space, access to ALL content like LOTRO does in addition to A LOT of store crowns each month.
- Current ESO population is baffling and I'm not talking about current content hubs. The entire game, from every zone to every city to every village and every dungeon. I'm not even joking. I walk anywhere and I'm guaranteed to run into players every 2-3 minutes at most. There are A LOT of dungeons in the game and I have a better chance of seeing someone in every one of them then not seeing someone. It's really that crazy.
- BONUS! The gold selling appears to have been completely annihilated. I haven't seen a single mention from a gold seller in chat or mail in the past 1-2 weeks since I've been back. Yet, player trading is still alive and well and EXTREMELY active. Take note BDO! Player trading can exist in an MMO without being plagued by gold sellers.
- Current community is still above average, but I suspect quite a few players have been filtering in from other games. I've noticed quite a few players with some vulgar and disgusting names along with some not so pleasant zone chat. I won't go too much into it, but I think this is evident of just how fed up WoW players are with Blizzard because it seems a lot of them have been migrating to ESO.
- Last but not least, the leveling in ESO is actually not bad. Even without using EXP scrolls or food, I actually don't even pay attention because of the amount of features, shineys and other distracting aspects in the game. For once, I don't FEEL like I'm leveling, but rather enjoying my time adventuring and exploring.
So, that's about all I can come up with right now because it's 3:30 in the morning and I'm beyond tired. There truly is so much more to the game then what I elaborated on, such as player housing, furnishing, picking locks on chests, picking locks on houses, picking pockets, criminal bounties, thieving safe havens, assassinations, cold blooded murder and yeah, I think you get the picture. Let's also not forget Dragons are coming in a couple months, oh my.