It may take some time when the page for viewing is loaded for the first time...


cover-The Elder Scrolls Online

Sunday, April 16, 2023 1:31:23 PM

The Elder Scrolls Online Review (Jodinar)

The Combat Experience -
Here's the thing about ESO - If you're looking for challenging PVE experiences, this isn't the game. This game is very lax and casual, and the world scales to your level. It rarely scales enough to be challenging - unless you're fighting 4+ enemies.
You get about 5 buttons to mess around with, but a large variety of abilities that you can tweak. It's very customizable when it comes to this - you can make abilities cost mana or stamina; and the way you tweak them can completely change what the ability does.
IE: Blade Flurry, you can make it consume more stamina, or change it to consume mana. If you do more stamina you get harder and faster hits with the ability. If you make it cost mana it can leech life from the enemy per each hit you land.
There are prompts to dodge things, interrupt things with a bash, you can roll around and move quickly, so on, so forth. Combat is very action-packed. At-least, until other players join in. You'll see what I mean in the next section.
Is it REALLY an MMORPG though? -
There is no "Combat-role trio" like tanking, healing, etc - you can tweak any class to do anything. Some classes do each sort of role better; but as stated before, you can get creative. Wanna be a tanky / taunty rogue? You can. Wanna be a heavy armored healer or wizard? Wanna do ALL of that and also tank? You can.
While this may sound great - it also means that you can create any class to be fully self-centered and self-sufficient. Meaning you could completely solo dungeons and world bosses if you like. Which sort of defeats the purpose of being an MMORPG. Here's what que'ing up for a dungeon looks like. You get a fairly short que, about 5 minutes. Once you get in and realize where you are, someone who knows the game and is one of these "self-sufficient" types of players has already cleared the enemies and made it to the first boss and has him at half health. By the time you reach the boss, it's dead and they're almost to the next one. Sometimes people know this will happen and just want free gear - they show up and just afk until they can go to each boss and loot them. And - don't think about talking with anyone while in a dungeon, they will say you're wasting time - or not speak at all. This is my general consensus throughout my entire leveling experience on two different characters.
Don't get me started on World Events such as the Dark Anchors and world bosses - they're a breeze that anyone can show up and AFK at until the one person who's at their keyboard and actually fighting the event wins - on their own, with no help required. It's all about if you have the patience to press your buttons until the health bar is empty that determines if a person wins the fight or not. No skill necessary because the difficulty scaling is tediously easy.

Well why do you recommend it then? -
The game is cheap, doesn't require a subscription, and the expansions / dlc go down to more than reasonable prices constantly. There is a ton of story-rich quests, beautiful places to explore, and things to collect. Plus, if you're leveling with a friend and you two decide to tackle the aforementioned content above by yourselves, the experience is more challenging and genuine.
Not to mention, professions and crafting is quite enjoyable, and if you want to play the market - you actually do need a good guild to access "Guild vendors" and such as that. And as mentioned before, there is a ton you can collect in this game, whether it be cosmetics, mounts, achievements, or whatever such you can find. There is player-owned-housing, but much of what you'd want is behind a ridiculous pay-wall. But still possible to do, meagerly. The holiday events are also quite fun and give handsome rewards as long as you're willing to grind the daily events for them during the timeframe.
What about PVP? You haven't mentioned that.
I have 570 hours in the game at the time of writing this, and I can tell you that I am no where near well-geared enough to fight most players. PVP provides a massive incentive to grind for better gear and tweak the hell out of your character and its abilities. Allthough the rewards for PVP in my opinion are quite lacking, and why I haven't struggled to "git gud" at this part of the game. I also don't find it fun that the only source of PVP is Duels and fighting players in Alliance Wars in Cyrodiil. While the rewards aren't amazing and the PVP has a steep learning curve, I will say that the progression for PVP seems sound. You earn Alliance Points by participating in the war for Cyrodiil, which you can spend on getting your PVP rank higher, or for advancing your PVP abilities. (You'll see what that means when you try it. It's actually pretty good.)
Final thoughts / TL;DR -
In my opinion - it's a wonderful singleplayer experience, but a horrendous multiplayer experience. It's a good game to log on and relax with, but if you're thirsting for challenge or are a masochistic raider like many are in World of Warcraft, this isn't the game. If you like PVP that requires skill and has good progression - this is a good multiplayer experience - however you will be limited to one zone you can fight in, or fun friendly duels out in the world.
Last thing I'd like to mention, of the classes I've tried, the Night Blade has been most entertaining - with the ability to sneak around, steal items and actually make real good money off of it - as well as rare items for your collection and house building. Plus, if you're "that guy" who wants to assassinate random NPC's because they have a smart mouth, you absolutely can - and sometimes they drop valuable items worth selling as well. It's really an experience you don't get in most MMORPG's. Ofcourse, you can't pickpocket players or one-shot murder players, but it's still fun all the same. And the Dark Brotherhood DLC that unlocks the ability to be a bounty hunter? My god, it's wonderful. They also have skill challenges to test how quickly you can pickpocket or assassinate a specific enemy deep in a fortress or so and escape. Honestly? It feels kind of like heists in GTA:V. But without the explosives and guns.
Some will say this review is narrow-minded, or "well not all players are like that" regarding the dungeon experiences I mentioned. And they're right, sometimes you get the rare group that is actually fun and inclusive. But when the content you're doing together is still insanely easy - there's no NEED to work together. My review is stating the facts of what you will encounter every day of your life playing this game multiplayer - there's no avoiding it unless you decide to play solo.