Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited First Impression



The Elder Scrolls series is known for fully realizing their visions and creating massive and immersive worlds. ESO tries to merge their massive and rich worlds with social aspects of a MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) and in my opinion succeeds. This first impression is written after reaching level 15 with one character in one alliance and reaching level 9 with another on a different alliance. After about 30 to 35 hours of gameplay, I have a good feel for the game and it's core mechanics. I would also like to state that this is my first introduction to a real MMO environment. I have not played an MMO since the days of Runescape so bare with me.

Summary: 


It is a time of unrest as armies and dark spirits manifest themselves in Tamriel. Daedric Prince Molag Bal, prince of domination and enslavement,has released his dark anchors and vortexes of evil magic threatening to turn the world into a nightmarish hellscape of rouge mages and supernatural abominations. An arcane explosion has been set off in the Imperial City. A midst the chaos, three alliances have taken up arms against the empire and against each other to gain back control of the city from the evil forces of Oblivion itself.  

Story/Missions:

PC version of dialogue



Like any MMORPG (Massive multiplayer online role playing game), ESO’s missions are plentiful. Quest arrows constantly fill your HUD just begging for you to complete them. There’s an absolute ton of things to do to the point where the list seem endless. With a world as big as ESO, some of you probably think that the number of quest can be overwhelming. The in-game system caps your number of active quests to 25. If you decide you want to do another mission past the 25, you must abandon one of your previously active quests.



I never felt like I was level grinding which seems to be one of the biggest aspects of an MMO...since forever! Every mission felt different from the next and every in-game NPC had meaningful dialogue pertaining to their quest. Now I know you're saying to yourself, who plays an MMO for the story and you’re right! But the quick snippets of story information you pick up after spamming the “A” or “X” button will definitely have you impressed. ESO feels and plays like an Elder Scrolls game. The world is as massive and interesting as any other game in the series.

ESO truly gives the player the choice of how they want to proceed. With little to no direction after the introduction, the player is left to find their own way around the world. With quests ranging from killing vengeful spirits to blacksmiths craft writs.

Visuals/Graphics: 

It can have its moments of glory. 

The Elder scrolls universe is not any less impressive in the series latest iteration. With that being said, let’s get this out of the way. YOUR ARMOR LOOKS SO UGLY! Seriously, all armor, whether you’re a level 45 or level 5 looks bad throughout the game. I mean you can add color to it but it really doesn’t make that much of a difference! *rant over. Back to what’s important. People have given ESO a really hard time about the graphics but what people need to understand is that MMOs can’t yet replicate the graphics we see in a game like Skyrim because the scale of the game is much bigger. If you’re going to try to have 200 players battling in a massive battle on the same screen, there’s going to be some type of technical limitation. The point is that you’re still getting an Elder Scrolls game with the same style art work. Don’t expect to see photo realism any time soon in places like MMOs. 


ESO siege battle online! 



There’s enough detail in the world that you won’t spend your time wondering if you should go back to Runescape but the armor shine and weather system you would be used to in a game like Skyrim, is absent. Don’t let that deter you away from playing this game because this is still a gorgeous looking game, it’s just not up to the standards that many people were expecting.

What you could expect to see in-game. 

Mechanics:


What you can expect to see while crafting
The entire ESO experience is user friendly compared to today’s MMO standards. All the features and options you saw on the PC version make their appearance in the console version too. The menus are quick, intuitive, and readily available. The social aspect players expect to see in an MMO is nicely presented in its own tab on the pause menu where players can join groups, check and receive mail , and communicate with their guilds. Besides the online, ESO plays exactly how you would expect an Elder Scrolls game to play. People roam the the world and you can freely interact with them at any time. Combat feels fluid and responsive. Like its PC counterpart, the console version allows players to map their abilities to buttons on the controllers. The slight problem I found with the any kind of mechanic in the game was the crafting system. As in depth as it is (trust me, there’s a lot of crafting to go around), there wasn’t an explanation to help you understand how it works. The way crafting works is that each race has a specialized stone. The player must use that race specific stone to create anything using the crafting system. It was a very frustrating experience at first and I couldn’t begin to describe the amount of people I had to help but once you understand that slight aspect of the game, crafting become easy again.


No better comradery  than finishing a dungeon with your best friends.
One of the primary mechanics that ESO has to offer is the online multiplayer mode. Once you reach level 10, you have the ability to enter the world of Cyrodil where you will fight for and alongside your alliance capturing forts and strongholds and having PVP battles. As a Skyrim enthusiast, fighting along side my friends and exploring dungeons in an Elder Scrolls world has always been something I only dreamt about. When you start the game, you can choose to be part of one of the three alliances offered. (Aldmeri Dominion, Ebonheart Pact, Daggerfall covenant) This dictates your start point and completely changes the environment you start your adventure in. I played two different characters who pertained to two different factions and I can safely say that my experiences were drastically different. Factions are a pretty big part of the game and I could as far as saying that the online pvp mode could’ve been it’s own stand alone game. The world of Cyrodil is massive and has just as many quests to offer the player as the non-pvp arena does. What they don’t tell you in the beginning of the game is that you can only play with people who aligned themselves with your alliance. This can be pretty frustrating since I’m sure you and your friends would want to choose different options. My friend and I decided to pick different alliances in the beginning of the game. We played through the game until we reached level 10, stupidly thinking that the real online multiplayer was activated after a certain level only to find out ,much to our disappointment, that no matter what level we were, we couldn’t play together. One of us had to start a new characters and spend another 15 hours trying to get to level 10. Another frustrating aspect of the game is that ESO won’t let you repeat missions. If a lower level buddy goes online to play, you can’t help him with most missions if you have already completed them. I understand the reasoning behind it but I think that a simple solution would be to not reward the high level player for replaying the mission. I feel like this damages the online a bit simply because you can’t really play without your friends if you truly want to enjoy this game together. 

Besides the previously mentioned complaints, this game is fantastic and has been one that has garnered my attention for the past two weeks that I've had with it. ESO is an authentic Elder Scrolls experience and should be played by console and PC players alike.

Written By Bryant Del Toro 

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