That’s it for me and Elder Scrolls Online. I’ve got another month left on my sub, and I might pop back in a few times for shits and giggles, but I can’t see myself continuing with this game any more. So a tidy summation is in order to see what I thought about the game overall. Let’s start with the positives:
Voice Acting: I’d never played an MMO before TESO that had serious voice acting, but it was really good. I mean, they got actors like John Cleese to play parts! Who couldn’t like that? It only hit home to me how much of a difference this makes when I jumped onto a different MMO the other day that doesn’t have it. The difference was very noticeable. But then again, I’d expect great voice acting from a single player RPG …
The World: This game has some of the best zones I’ve ever seen in a virtual world. The desert zone was simply fantastic. It wasn’t up to Skyrim standards of course, but that would be an unrealistic expectation.
Crafting: I loved the crafting; in fact I probably spent more time doing this than anything else. It was well thought out, in-depth, it made sense, and most importantly, the gear you craft is often better than anything you can find in the world. I loved the research design and the time it takes to unlock crafting options. really well done.
Customer Service: Unbelievably good. I needed help on two occasions. I put in a card and the emailed help arrived almost immediately. The customers service staff were friendly, helpful, and more importantly they resolved all my issues bar one.
Now for the negatives:
Logging in: After about a month of playing the game it inexplicably began requiring me to get an emailed authentication number at every log-in attempt. The game thought that I was logging in from a new IP address. Every single time. This went on for months and it was never resolved. “We know it’s a problem for a few users,” said the customer service staff. No shit.
The Main Story: God this sucked. It sucked so much I wanted to cry. In the beginning I simply ignored it, but then I found out that it gave you regular doses of much needed skill points, so there was no avoiding it. Which made me hate it even more. You have to do this quest line, and most of it involves you either watching nauseatingly boring cut scenes or following some random npc up hill and over dale while you attempt to do a grand fight against these forces of evil that I never understood much less cared about. Only John Cleese made this good in any way.
You’re the Hero: Nothing says this isn’t a living virtual world as much as having every single player be the hero and savior of the world. Why TESO, why did you do this? As soon as the intro cut-scene began to play out I knew what they had done. Which brings me along to my next point …
It’s a Single Player MMO: There is no reason to be involved with any other player in this game. I have never felt so lonely in this game as compared to any other MMO I played. Including EVE. Even when I joined a guild, (which had some memorable moments, don’t get me wrong), it was still something that just ticked along in the background. All you need to do in this game is quest. There are lots of quests. There are some group dungeons. You do those and then you never speak to the other players again. You don’t really even speak during the runs. You get about as much interaction in this game as you do when having sex with my ex-wife.
No Auction House: To counteract the fact that there is no interaction, Zenimax made the brilliantly dumb decision to launch with no auction house, mistakenly believing that this would throw all their players together and make a virtual world. They reasoned that players would have to interact with each other in order to trade and sell gear. The actual effect is that it’s just too damn hard to buy and sell stuff with other players. You have to do it in general chat, which is awful. Nothing says, ‘kill me now,’ so much as having to continuously link to the items you’re trying to sell in the vain hope that someone, anyone, is going to drop you a whisper saying they want it. The whole process is too hard, too demeaning, and too much damn work for very little reward. On top of that, there is no way to gauge how much stuff is worth. How much do I sell it for so I don’t get ripped off? How much do I pay for this thing I want to buy? You never know, nobody ever tells you, so you always feel a little bit cheated. A little bit dirty. And the end result? Vendor everything. Or destroy it for crafting. Well done, Zenimax. You morons.
As for the rest of it, combat was okay. Skill trees and talents were confusing. Gear as applied to classes made very little sense, (light armor, in other words cloth, was often much better than heavy metal armor. Yeah, try and work that one out.) There’s more I’m sure but I can’t think of it now.
The final straw for me though was the quest where I had to help a gay man and his gay husband. As I mentioned in an earlier thread this completely threw me out of the context of the game. And from that point on I began to notice many, many similar examples of sops to real world activists that had been included in the game. All of which may have made said activists happy, but this was at the expense of the believability of a virtual fantasy world, and thus my game enjoyment. I’m not one to continuously pay money for such an arrangement. So Zenimax, if you’re reading, that’s why I left your game in the end.