Return to Tamriel
We explored The Elder Scrolls Online Beta to let you know what we think of this much-anticipated MMORPG.
When The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) was announced in 2012, the reactions from fans were mixed. As a franchise that had always been a single-player experience, many doubted how ZeniMax would be able to faithfully capture the essence of this franchise and port it into an online environment.
Two years along, and the MMO title is about to go live. We managed to get into the weekend-long beta and spent many hours adventuring in Tamriel to get a feel of this game. Read on to find out what we think of this much-anticipated MMORPG.
As with any other MMORPG (or RPG for that matter), you’re first required to create an avatar that will serve to represent you in your virtual adventures in Tamriel. Thankfully, the character models in ESO take after those in Skyrim, so they look more believable when compared to characters seen in older Elder Scrolls games, such as Morrowind and Oblivion.
When it comes to character race and class, you’re given the choice to join three different factions that will determine which races you can choose from. They are broken down as follows:
Naturally, each faction will have unique quests and a different perspective on the main story arc. Unlike most MMORPGs though, ESO will give the highest ranking player from an alliance the chance to be crowned Emperor, if his or her faction manages to take control over the Imperial City during an Alliance War event, which is something that we did not have the opportunity to experience in the beta.
As for classes, there are four base classes that are open to every race. Each base class is gifted with starter points in a particular weapon, so specializing in this type of weapon is made easier. However, similar to other Elder Scroll games, players are free to wield any form of equipment, as long as they have the prerequisites. The longer you equip a certain type of armor and weapon, the more adept you become with the equipment. Naturally, skills and abilities are unlocked depending on how adept you are with the equipment you have.
This is perhaps the best thing about ESO. With this mechanism in place, you’re free to shape your avatar as you see fit. Our character, for example, was an archer with heavy armor and wields a two-handed sword as a secondary weapon. Being able to specialize in a particular set of weaponry does make it interesting when it comes to PvP events, as you’ll be able to see how well your character stands out to other builds.
A Tamriel Populated by Real People Feels... Overpopulated.
In ESO, you are thrown into a Tamriel that’s besieged with chaos and violence. A mysterious explosion of arcane energy has allowed powerful supernatural beings from Oblivion to invade Tamriel. Known as the Daedra, these beings were led by the Deadric Prince, Molag Bal, whose hellish scheme is to merge Nirn and Oblivion into one.
You take on the role of the “chosen one” – an individual whose destiny is to stop Molag Bal and his army of Daedric forces. The problem with this is that every other person playing ESO is also the “chosen one”. This leads to several other issues: you don’t need to be in a party to fully experience ESO, as a majority of the quests that I managed to complete did not require a party and was easily completed with the aid of an NPC.
While on the subject of quests, ESO does not have instances, so you’re pretty much “competing” with other players to complete quests in a single, shared world. While this isn’t such a big deal, it does get annoying when 10 or more players are trying to defeat a boss that respawns once every 10 minutes. Having said that, as ESO is non-linear, you do have the option of completing other quests, while waiting for your turn.
The other great thing about ESO is this non-linearity. As mentioned above, we somehow managed to spend hours on end merely roaming around and completing the assortment of side quests that the game had to offer. If you’re a person who likes to complete all the side quests before tackling the main story, you’ll definitely love ESO.
T’was a Fun, Yet Dissuasive Fling
In a nutshell, my experience with the ESO beta can best be described as “fun while it lasted”. It’s a polished game that offers great gameplay and a strong storyline. However, as an MMORPG, ESO can be played alone without the need to join a party; the social element is simply not present.
Do note that we were only able to explore a small percentage of this game, and develop the character up to level 10, so there may be a lot more to ESO than what we were exposed to. With what we experienced though, we’d rather spend our time in Skyrim.
You have the option to play in third-person or first-person perspective.
Like any other Elder Scrolls title, there’s plenty to explore in ESO.
There are plenty of character customization options to be found in ESO. • The Elder Scrolls Online launches worldwide on April 4, 2014 for the PC and Mac, and in June, 2014 for the PS4 and Xbox One. • The game can be prepurchased now, in several editions that offer different in-game bonuses. • A subscription to this game will cost US$14.99 (approximately RM49) per month.