I couldn’t believe my eyes last week when I discovered that syncaine, Rohan, hell, even Nils has come back to the MMO fold, and they’re all playing The Elder Scrolls Online.

This gave me pause. I haven’t played an MMO in over three years since moving back to Australia. Mostly this was due to there being nothing worth investing my time in to justify the massive time-sink that these games are. But with these guys playing the game and giving it pretty decent reviews I decided to dip my toe in the water and restart the old MMO flame.

The first thing I recommend is that you purchase the game on the CD disks as this is a very large install that took quite a few hours on my powerful gaming rig. Then you have the usual massive patch upgrades to download and then you’re good to go. To date I have only played a very few hours and my starting toon is a lowly level 4. But I have a few observations. Firstly, the starting intro sucks beyond belief. I mean it sucks beyond belief. Why oh why do MMOs fall into the trap of making starting characters special heroes? Once again, for the umpteenth time, if everyone’s a hero then nobody is. But this hero generation doesn’t make any sense. You wake up and then you run down a passage, and then there’s this chick and now you run with her, and bad guys come and you hit them with your face, and then you run some more, and amidst all this frantic running the game keeps introducing important control elements in an attempt to guide the new player in how the interface works, but it’s all happening so fast that you can’t remember any of it.

It sucks. And the graphics are hideous, hideous! And then there’s a big moment where the girl you’re with sacrifices herself to save some prophet and … oh God, by now I was so beyond giving a shit I almost cheered when she got sucked into some prison vortex. But then thankfully you wake up in your starting zone in a little room and now you can actually get on with the game. The ghost of the prophet is there wanting to tell you so many very important things, but I instantly selected the ‘goodbye’ option as I couldn’t bear the thought of having to deal with him any more and I went out into the actual world.

So far it seems okay. I’m still in the starting town and following a quest, but the graphics are better and the town is interesting, and nobody is walking around with yellow exclamation marks over their heads which is nice. Local chat seems to be taken up with players thinking that writing ‘Arse “insert your gameplay word here” is terribly hilarious, so I’m ignoring everyone around me for now. I’ve died a few times and this game certainly isn’t a faceroll, but so far I’m enjoying it. Time will tell though if this is just Skyrim with a monthly subscription.

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