Before I start, don't take this as an attack on WoW, I am only speaking to my experience. It's my opinion, you may disagree.
I started WoW in 2005. It was fun back then and I enjoyed my time in it. I stopped playing WoW fulltime in 2011. I started playing ESO in beta around 2013. I'm still playing it, although I admit not as much as I did before, just do to life. I have 1200CP in ESO. My WoW character is around 380iLVL. I returned to try WoW again for 3 expansions, WoD, Legion, and BFA. All 3 left a bad taste in my mouth, like "Why did I return to this, nothing has changed" I am no longer playing WoW. I don't care about playing Classic.
I'm sick of people calling ESO a WoW clone, its the furthest thing from it. I've spent a lot of time playing both of these games. Let's do a comparison, I'm not going to go deep into this, I only need the surface level to make my point.
WoW: I think WoWs' story is the most inconsistent in MMORPG history. So many plotholes and it almost feels as if they winged the whole thing. They had some interesting parts to their story but it always falls flat ultimately or they have to retcon certain things just to make others make sense. It's confusing. Questing? Well, it is still read a text and go type of quests, it starts to feel like there is a task that needs to be done and not a story that I'm a part of. WoW has a lot of busywork type of quests, kill 10 pigs all the way to endgame. You do get occasional cool quests here and there, like world quests and stuff but most of the quests here are pretty bland. It just feels like they have run out of stories to tell. They keep rehashing the same stories. The Cinematics are amazing, I'll give them that. Props to Blur.
ESO: Elder Scrolls, in general, has very deep and compelling lore. Everyone knows this. It's also very consistent. The Loremasters for ESO have done a very good job of making sure the story is in line with the lore. Each quest is fully voice acted and the voice actors are very good. That being said, ESO wipes the floor with WoW in this department. It feels alive and like you are actually partaking in this world. NPCs even have a work/sleep schedule. At times it feels like I'm playing a single-player RPG. It's hard to not get immersed in this game. I'm just talking surface level too. There is so much to uncover in ESO. Also, they have amazing cinematics.
WoW: Pick a race, class, and a role. tank, DPS, healer. learn it. that's it.
Not all races can be all classes. tab targeting combat. there is only one way to play each role. every class uses the same skill trees, same gear, limited variety, and limited skill customization. Not much to speak of here..seriously. They added some classes over the years for variety like DeathKnight, Demonhunter, and Monk but those classes play the same as the others just different animations. As a whole, they don't feel different enough.
ESO: Pick a class and race, and that's where the WoW similarities stop.
Any race can be any base class. Once you pick a class in ESO, you have picked your base class, but that's it. IE: you can pick a Khajiit (Cat Race), Nightblade (DPS base class) and end up as a Healer or Tank. For those not in the know, Nightblade is the closet thing to WoW's Rogue class. The difference here is, you can be a tanking rogue, a healer rouge or a swashbuckling type of rouge, or even a ranger type of rouge. You can wear heavy, light or medium armor, or a mix of all three..use any weapon, there are endless ideas and that's just one class.
It's based on your gear, weapons, and skills that YOU pick. ESO has a ridiculous amount of skills and customizations to pick from. It's overwhelming for most new players but over the years they have gotten better at introducing skills during the leveling process. ZERO TAB TARGETING. ESO takes a lot more skill to play and master than WoW and I think that its the scariest part of it for WoW players. Its an entirely new system. I see a lot of people complaining about ESO's combat but my question for those people is what are you comparing it to? I can't think of ONE MMO with better combat. BDO has better-looking combat but its very 1D. What else are you comparing it to? Darksouls? lol. That must be it, people compare ESO combat to Darksouls. Give me a break.. its an MMO. ESO also allows Weapon/Skill switching literally on the fly, I could go on and on about the combat/class system as it is MILES beyond what WoW has. Character freedom here is key.
WoW: WoW has a massive world. It's just not rewarding to explore it. WoW's world feels like a glorified farm.
ESO: ESO is very rewarding to people who love exploring. There are actual secrets to find, stories to uncover, etc, just from exploring this massive world. Each Zone has regions that have things going on, that you can only do if you explore the zone. Things lead to other things. It's not just fetch quests and farming. For instance, nobody told me to do this, but, I was in a graveyard, killing a few undead, and looted a corpse. The corpse had a skull on it, and the skull started talking to me. It asked me to take it to its home, so I did and when I got there the home was overrun with Orc necromancers. I got rid of the orc necros and his family returned to their home.. the skull thanked me and broke into dust. The family thanked me for my service I was on my way. That whole thing took about 5-10 minutes but it was very engaging. I could've also missed it had I not visited that graveyard.
It felt random but well thought out. That is a superior quest design in my book.
I can go on and on, but this post is already getting too long. There's the cash shop (ESO has a much better CS) where you get free currency to spend every month, and the game is buy to play. Some of the cs things are overpriced IMO. Gear is never obsolete, only new combos of gear giving you different results. I'm talking about CP 160, once you get that first set you can use it for everything, leave for a year come back, and that 160 gear is still good. Obviously, there is a meta for min/max people but again you may discover the NEW meta by just experimenting but You don't have to follow any meta to have fun and succeed. What else...There's the Player housing, Cyrodill PVP(They break the skill balance often warning), CRAFTING (wayyyy better than WoW), Justice/Bounty system (yes you can level up from just stealing things from people) loads of DLC stuff, man! I could go on... I just wanted to point out some key differences between ESO and WoW.
My point is ESO is far from a WoW clone, and in my opinion, ESO is the better product. It gets dramatically better each year. Imagine what it's going to be at year 15.
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