ESO Pre-order Packs: Critiques and Concerns

It seems Elder Scrolls has managed to drum up another apparent controversy, it has a way with this sort of thing. I woke up, read a few comments regarding the new pre-order bonuses and thought “I don’t get it”. I just don’t understand how this is a big deal, sorry but I don’t. I’m trying really hard to build up the required amount of hate but… it’s not working. I have no fucks to give in this circumstance.

Pre-orders are known for giving you extra stuff that you can’t get elsewhere in just about ever other genre. Do I piss and moan about the extra stuff kickstarter supporters are getting.. nope. Do I get upset at that shiny gun in battlefield ops 3.5 that kills me rather quickly and looks awesome doing it that was got from a certain stores pre-order.. no. To me there are far more insidious elements in our industry than what Zenimax is offering, in fact I think it is both rather tame while also offering a decent deal to those that want to support the title earlier.

Hypocritical Hate

From what I can see people are just hating on ESO.. well… because. It is a huge and important I.P within gaming that has some very devoted fans, obsessed even about every little thing to do with Elder Scrolls and to them an MMO of their beloved franchise is an abomination. Even to a lot of other people Elder scrolls is a franchise close to their hearts and one they have grown up with. So many experiences and such and they want to see more of this. Then we even have all those people who have only played and only understand Skyrim wanting well… Skyrim again.

To all of those people the Elder Scrolls online does not compare to their experiences and memories: it looks different, it plays different and the many features they loved in other games have changed. I would be remiss in saying that I believe it is different from those experiences as well, it just is but being a mmo, and a theme park one at that, I don’t think we could have expected anything different.

The main point of contention through all of has been arguments over lore for every decision and from what I’ve seen there is no right answer. No matter what they are going to anger someone or some group regarding their approach with the lore and their manipulation of it.

From what I know there hasn’t been a game in this same era and while there have been in-game lore books and other such information pieces about the lore of the era it’s really up to the interpretation of the creators and developers. From the outside you are kind of just putting a jigsaw together without some of the pieces and not knowing the picture beforehand. You can only do so much so sit back, shut up and enjoy the next tale to be told for what it is not what you want it to be.

Critiques of Changes

Due to the arguments around ESO with the lore and it’s relation to certain mechanics are a lot of the arguments seem to be getting rather hypocritical. The biggest comment and criticism I’ve heard about ESO for a long time now is “why are there factions, that’s not ES lore” and “why can’t I pick the race I want and still play with my friends”… well SURPRISE, you can now. But no, now the issue is that it’s apparently inconsistent with the lore that everyone can go everywhere… like there are no possible exceptions to this at all.

I would have begun getting worried if there was some sort of convenience tools within the packs. Bag and bank slots or extra access as that kind of implies game mechanics have been manipulated to compensate. It’s always something I’ve felt changes the early experience, it adds that extra frustration to your early play when your constantly being bothered with an overflowing inventory.

It also doesn’t seem to be coming close to the stupidity of having a plethora of boost consumables or the insanity of selling beta for exorbitant prices. It’s reasonably priced (for those within the borders of america) while offering expanded cosmetic and customisation options.

Packaged Pieces

Ok, let’s go through what you do get.

  • Early access

3 days headstart – pretty standard really. You apparently get the 5 days for pre orders through the ESO store only.

  • Scuttler pet

There’s always a mini pet

  • Treasure Map

Hmmm.. one of the biggest strengths was the exploration focus and these were a big part of that. I feel if this expands the game, blinks them out in map for you then it defeats the purpose of hiding them in the first place

  • Race Unlock

DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUH!! To me this is not a big deal and I’m usually the one championing for cosmetics. How they increasingly being placed apart from the game at ludicrous prices but this, this isn’t that much of an issue. For the price of the actual game, not added on you get these extra customisation options for your faction if you support the game in advance.

The way this part is worded as well is as being DLC which I think would imply it might be available after release for those picking it up later.

And now for the $80 Online CE version(or 119 in AUS… f#%kers) the extras are:

  • Pretty Horsey

Might be a bit of an advantage in the early game as the seemed expensive, but that was only a placeholder price.

  • Mudcrab Pet

Elder Scrolls fans seem to have a hard on for mudcrabs, I don’t understand it in the slightest but I’m guessing they’ll lap it up.

  • Ring of Mara

Exp when playing with a specific friends. Could be an ok bonus but I don’t see me using it that much as a more play with a variety than just one.

  • Imperial Race

DUn DUn DUUUUUUUUHH!! Come on people, it’s a freekin cosmetic. Once you put on armor I’m guessing you wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between a Breton, a Redguard or an Imperial. In heavy armor and a helm it could be anyone. I’ll be honest here and say the races are mostly very bland you have a few varieties of humans and elves…. then you have a cat and a lizard, but that’s kind of standard for ES now isn’t it.

There are no bits of content specific to the different races, no extra quest lines or advantages just the regular stuff everyone else will be playing. Now, if they were holding back the Khajit from me I would be screaming like a toddler as well but for another human… meh.

Now as for the skills that come with a race it’s all just a big maybe at the moment. From what I’ve seen in developer vids and such these are just passives, and rather minor ones at that. Crafting, swimming, gathering, fishing and certain resistances.. stuff like that. We don’t know what the Imperials have so really, it’s a pointless argument

Now lets compare this to what we’ve been getting recently

  • Defiance – Lots of weapons with obscure effects and $100 got you the car as well as more weapons.
  • Final fantasy – a hat, mount, and minion for 70
  • Neverwinter – $60 for some cosmetics and beta access or 200 for a race and cosmetics. Now what’s more ostentatious, getting another race for an extra 20 of the regular box price for a ptp game or having to pay 200 get the same in an apparent ftp game. But no, this is the bigger issue apparently.
  • Guild Wars 2 – $70 would have got you 1 skill, a mini pet and a bunch of really rather pathetic consumables… wooooooo (sarcasm)
  • TSW – You got a pet and some exp for $50

oh and don’t forget Landmark too which I got suckered into (willingly of course because oooooo shiny)

Going by those previous titles it actually seems rather mild compared to what are the usual market trends. From what can see so far, the issue is that Elders Scrolls Online is actually giving people who preorder the digital pack something substantial for once.

I get that people are beginning to be worried about ESO having an extensive cash shop with all the cosmetics being crammed in there but, I willing to let a couple things slide in the beginning because we really don’t know yet. A lot of subscription mmo’s have given bonuses with preorders, it actually seems like they are going to be more like say Rift and GW2 in letting you upgrade to these extras later on after release.

Now there is one big issue with these preorder packs when comparing it to others, we know very little about the game. We’ve had bullet points of the main features, a few mixed question and answers spread across the breadth of the internet but very little actual gameplay. At this point, with opening up pre orders now’s the time to actually let people experience the game. A lot of people are very sceptical, and there are many that might be interested but have no idea if it will appeal to them. It’s at that point now ere the need to begin letting a lot more people in and opening the floodgates of information. A couple beta weekends here and there would probably suffice and be gone with the silly NDA.

Rantalicious

I beginning to think all these little issues that pop up aren’t actual issues with ESO to say but more to do with a lot of people’s expectations. Right now, ESO has that big flashing sign everyone has created and fixed in place saying that it is going to fail. That it is going to be the next tortanic but on a much grander scale.. the ESpocalypse and this is shaping a lot of the conversation.

Every little move on their part is getting completely deconstructed and then groomed with a fine comb for each and every point that maybe, just maybe indicates an issue which is then proclaimed to the masses. It’s stupid and I hate it, I hate that the industry is just sooooo fucking quick to react without actual information or full experience as a way of drumbing up controversy for their own gain. The way so many people can’t look outside of their own interests for the smallest of moments or need to constantly deride another product to make themselves feel better and the game they play as some higher power. I’ve been there once or twice, you feel wronged by certain games occasional due to expectations and possibilities but really, It’s fucking ridiculous.

Now upon playing it if I find that it is the worst mmo eva, that each and every component fails dramatically or they start gouging players through the cash shop then I will proclaim that to the masses… not before. It’s something I have been looking forward to for a while and this might be coming off as defensive but really, I have the same concerns about it as every one else. I have concerns about Wildstar, about Landmark, about every mmo that is about to come out because so much of them is an unknown. But, because you enjoy the medium you have hope, and that is what we should be projecting alongside our doubts.

#ESO #Rant #MMO

34 thoughts on “ESO Pre-order Packs: Critiques and Concerns

  1. I think it’s a more simple argument. Wildstar has no NDA from 1-15 and you can find streams and comments everywhere. The current word of mouth, on average, is positive.

    TESO is still under an NDA and is trying some new mechanics out, compared to what people are used to. The Beta word of mouth is not really glowing and what Bethesda has shown (minus the recent group vid which I thought was cool) isn’t helping.

    People play games to be with people they know. Without word of mouth and positive spin, I don’t see how TESO is going to get the ball rolling. Get the damn hype machine going already!

  2. Matt Firor said
    “We feel that putting pay gates between the player and content at any point in game ruins that feeling of freedom, and just having one small monthly fee for 100% access to the game fits the IP and the game much better than a system where you have to pay for features and access as you play.”

    Now they are doing exactly the opposite ….

    • Content is a very broad term that’s very subjective. I know I’ve said cosmetics can be content before but then that seems to more be the acquisition.

      At the moment it depends whether or not being an imperial changes how someone can or does play. I don’t think it does

      • Well if we use the subjective argument then you can argue away anything… However race and racials are content to lot of people and the devs should know that.

        They made huge song and dance about faction and race restriction and now that relaxed for few early cash crab. They know this game is going F2P soon so I think they are milking everyone dry.

      • As far as I’m concerned this is only about pre order bonuses, it might be indicative of a change in philosophy regarding what the sell but right now that is an unknown. I’ll be the first to scream bloody murder if the do extend the cash shop but not before I know the facts

        As for the faction and race changes, I did think it was weird that they changed their minds but milking players.. Not really. If it was an add on yes but you’re getting it for the base price

    • Now that’s a stretch of logic any sales team would have fun with. You’re equating CE material with the concept of microtransactions? His argument was against F2P as a business model.

  3. Pingback: Setting Expectations | Leo's Life
  4. Race is a HUGE deal. I like to immerse myself in characters, as I imagine many other Skyrim players do (I spent frikkin 2 hours customizing my character in Skyrim, and I know for a fact this is an experience shared by many other Skyrim players.)

    Armor? Minipets? Fine fine, don’t care. But a playable RACE? The fair-skinned humans to boot too, (considering how popular white humanoid characters are overall in MMOs…).

    I mean, if you don’t care about it, I can certainly understand your neutral feelings towards it. But I don’t think it’s too difficult to understand that some people really care about immersion and role-playing, and this is a big slap to the face.

    -Ursan

  5. I don’t have a horse in this race — I’m not a fan of the IP, so if the game is terrible or the game is great, it makes no difference to me. That being said I know a half dozen people who have played the beta, most of whom are big Skyrim fans, and of those all but one have said that the beta killed their interest in the game. It’s probably not a good sign?

    • I have a couple friends who have said the same as well but when pressed for how far they got bot only made it around level 4-5…that barely out of the tutorial.

      I don’t think it would be fair to judge any bigger game based on your first couple of hours. The first hours of skyrim is just basic combat with little customisation, a lot if dialogue and fetch fetch quests and then probably getting killed by a pack of wolves you bump into. But you keep play past that.

      This is where I believe that the really negative media, unjustly so at times (like that new rps post about the fairly standard oricing) is creating a lot of negative expectations. People are playing enough to confirm doubts, if they do at all, and then criticising for the most basic mmo elements. Oh there are people doing the same quest as me, killing the same mob, or that there are quests when these are basic mmo things. They are also tending to generalise the entire game from these first few hours when no mmo is, at any part is really the same as it’s tutorial.

      This is why I say they need to open it up for longer, to streamers and YouTube creators so you get a range of material from across the game. To Bing some actual information and start removing all this hearsay.

      • Isn’t it a bit strange that a game which is about to be released in 2 months is still under NDA?

      • That is indeed, I have no idea why and just after posting this I added a bit about that as well.

        That, is the weirdest part of this whole pre-order bit, we have very little real info and even less gameplay. Personally I don’t think it has anything to hide; it’s a good (not great so far) mmo with a combat system I enjoy a more a more open levelling experience then you usually get

      • Hogwash. I judge *every* game I play by the first few hours of gameplay. That does not somehow become strange to do for an MMO.

        The MMOs I’ve played in the past grabbed my total attention in an hour. The very idea that players should level up for a dozen hours before deciding how great the game is, is an absurd standard we only hold MMOs to. Blizzard gets this. Even Carbine seems to understand this. Thats why they have the mega fans. Now I’m not saying ESO should aspire to Blizzard/Carbine *style* but they do need to learn how to attract players in the first hour of gameplay.

        I know you’re poking at me for being one of those players who abandoned the beta in the beginner zone, because you’re a terrible person. But I promise not to touch this game if that beginner zone doesn’t leave me with a good impression. Especially for a subscription! ESO is *far* from being worth any money imo.

      • I agree that is something they definitely need to work on. The bar has been set pretty by carbine syoudios for this next generation but I’m really hard pressed thinking of a mmo that didn’t have a lot of boring elements and periods of learning

        Ff14 30 minute cuts cents and then not her hour or more of fetch quests. Neverwinter was insanely basic for an hour or more. Defiance did the same. The Rift territorial was and still is an abomination. Omg and tera, just yuck.

        Scondly that was more referencing that, for most of these titles the early has little to no indication of what you’ll be doing later.
        It’s the age old judging a book by its cover. Just because it’s standard practice doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Yes wildstar has a vivid and interesting cover but doesn’t that just mean marketing has done its job

  6. As opposed as I am to having money leave my wallet, I would actually seriously consider getting the collector’s edition for this game however two things are stopping me.

    1 – I wasn’t accepted in the Beta, and I always take that sort of thing personally.
    2 – The subscription model is just something I cannot abide by. Ever.

    Hope you do well TESO. I’ll come visit if you ever go free to play.

    • I agree that the definitely need to start letting people see the product. I would rather realistic expectations than the post release crash of tor

      As for point 2…i hope we can eventually exorcise that demonic force out of you

  7. I don’t much mind all the other bonuses; mounts, pets, xp boosts, unique armor sets, and early access I see as all par for the course. So long as none of it gives a noteworthy end-game advantage I am fine. My problem with ESO is that it takes a sharp turn from the previous versions of the series (in at least Morrowwind through Skyrim all races were always available and you could join any faction as I noted in my post). To me, this is like if Blizzard suddenly decided that in WoD you can be any race on any faction, but only if you buy the CE or preorder. To me it feels like stepping over that “fun” cosmetic line and now it’s into lore changing territory because it means that if I want to play a certain concept, I have to pay more money. I can’t think of a game prior to this where a character concept (aside from some niche ones) would be seriously hampered by not preordering.

    • While I don’t think I said it, I do get how people are feeling in that regards. It doesn’t bother me but it was going to bother me. It would be like Wildstar forcing me to pay for a less boobied race..that’s something I care for in creation.
      I’d still pay for it, or even if I couldn’t If I cared that much I’d probably play anyway as there’s more to an mmo the character creation.

      I’m willing to let it slide once as a pre order thing as well.

  8. While I might buy the argument that Imperials are fluff and therefore this ‘content’ is in line with pre-orders, the fact that the series has an established precedent of Imperials being playable makes a huge difference to me. Sure, this isn’t a main series title, but it is an Elder Scrolls game and part of identifying as an Elder Scrolls game means including Imperials as a playable race. It is that simple.

    Furthermore, there isn’t a ton of examples where races were extra cost, and certainly not at launch. I also think it is a bit disingenuous to call a core race a ‘cosmetic’ edition, even if that is all it ends up being. Even if they are ‘just another human’, being an Imperial completely changes how some people will approach their character, even if there is zero gameplay difference whatsoever.

    The rest of your points are spot on. Even as a pretty serious ES fan and MMO person, this announcement didn’t upset me as much as it just seemed like a dumb move. While this game may end up deserving its hate, I hardly think that it has had enough time to prove it does so far. People need to relax.

    • Oh no, not you too Mr Murf.. I trusted you =p

      The only way I could see it be as important as you say to the experience is if you actively play that race and Role play as them otherwise, what does it matter if the option is available or not.

      I know that you’ve been able to play an imperial in oblivion and skyrim but what about before that, has it always been an option? It’s also that I’m those titles I know the other characters make references to your race depending on the lore and relationship to them, this changes the experience but I didn’t notice anything so in depth other than just using it as a descriptive in certain cases

      • Morrowind allowed you to play Imperials. That came out in 2002, so it is over a decade of precedent we are dealing with.

        We’re also playing the entire continent from those games and Imperials are one of the more common races. Even if they are just another human model, humans do have distinct looks in the series and very different backgrounds.

        I know where you are coming from about it only mattering if you ‘actively roleplay’ but I think that is a dangerous view to take. Mostly because it undermines the importance of the player/character connection which doesn’t require active roleplaying for someone to get attached to a specific character.

        Though I don’t mind preorder bonuses, I think a whole race goes a bit too far (even before considering that Imperials have been available in the last three entries in the series). If this were a free-to-play game or a GW2-style box, I’d be annoyed by it, but perfectly okay. However, since it is a sub, I think it feels greedier and disrespectful to fans of the series. They had to make Imperials anyway, for one. This feels more like on disc DLC than a valid use of content not originally designed for release.

      • on, so if it’s like on disc DLC then… it’s pretty similar to the usual Bethesda work =p although that is extremely annoying. Hmm, I get what you’re saying, I do but it doesn’t affect me in the slightest, anyone I know and I can’t even imagine it being an issue even though I know it is.

        I know you say there is that player avatar connection, and you know I agree with that but I just don’t consider the imperials that meaningful in this case as, from what I can see in that marketing picture the looks are very similar to some of the other races and the distinction really, mainly comes down to a lore based one which you would only care about if that’s your thing. Being an extremely popular franchise though it is a plot of people’s thing.

      • I think this whole thing is hilariously overstated (I’d be more annoyed about how pathetic the physical offerings in the boxed CE are. At least TESuvius’ digital CE is way better than say, GW2s digital CE was), but I have to pop in to say that Imperials have been playable in every Elder Scrolls game except Arena, Redguard, and Battlespire. So there is precedent for both their exclusion and inclusion.

      • oh that gw2 one was appaling, lots of consumables and boost items. Should have been a warning bell right there.

        Ahh so everything for a long while though has included them… hmm, that does make it weird for them to hold it back in this case. Might have been better to create a unique race or bring one from the lore that hasn’t been playable before. Although then if you had made them too unique it would have been worse than this. At least this way it’s just another basic human

  9. I cannot really claim to be the fan of the Elder Scrolls. That said, I highly doubt that the people who love what Elder Scrolls represent will find anything to their liking in ESO. ESO is multiplayer, themepark, third-person (Yes, there is first person option, but you might as well play blindfolded for all the good it does). It is nothing like the single player games. I hate to say it, as my whole experience of the game comes from a couple of dev videos, but it is WoW in coat of ES lore and universe.
    We will be able to see if people love the universe of Elder Scrolls, or how things are done within the single player games of ES.

    • of course it’s not like the single player game lol. Was anyone in the know about the game and the genre really expecting it to be an open sandbox type thing… hmm, ok silly question. It’s really hard to guess how people will react to it that are used to the rest of the games. It will be very divisive though.. either hate or love and we’ll have to wait to see the percentage of each.

      From what I’ve played it was a very decent mmo. combat was tight, quests were well designed and there was a decent amount exploration and off the rails experiences.

  10. As I am typing this the ESO Beta is loading areas between the starting area and bleakrock isle. I have been sitting here waiting for 10mins…Yes litterally 10 fucking minutes and counting. The load times for this game are absurd and not practical at all. I have a 70mbit connection on a very powerful $2500 desktop machine. This is fucking crazy. Its still going.

    • Sorry about that, a lot of people in my guild are reporting the same exact thing.

      It played smoothly, was responsive and loaded very quick on my dying laptop the last beta weekend so that leads me to think that issues now are from literal stress testing… As was implied.

      It’s there own fault.. If they had a more in depth beta with greater long term participation they would have anticipated this. They let in a massive amount.. 500k from curse alone which is really testing the mega server architecture for the first time.

      If there had been longer betas you’d have a better comparisons. This is many people’s first impressions.. And an extremely bad one at that so I do wish they had prepared better but oh well.

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