Having a long weekend off over the Easter break with no family engagements has been rather great. Usually I’m stuck creating the large spread for the family which involves a lot of prep plus cleaning. This year the house remained a pig-sty and I was able to get a heeeeeeeeap of time in ESO that I spent exploring, completing quests and a fare bit of crafting.
I’ve made it up to Level 38 now, yeh, only that far. Surprisingly when you’re just faffing about rather than attached to the grind it all goes much slower. I could race onwards if I wanted to but I’m still content enough to go at my own pace although that feeling is beginning to wane just a little. I don’t think you are really meant to play as much as I have been lately. Many MANY hours a day. I mucked up a ligament in my foot so I did have an excuse to just lie back for a couple of days, doctors orders, but even then I don’t think it was a great idea.
When you play for so long the stories you read, hear and experience just all start melding together into one great big eso soup, and it mostly just tastes bland after a while. Everything starts feeling the same and you can’t really distinguish between those brilliant bits where the story is particularly emotional or an interesting choice and just the usual questing fare.
The issue is that ESO seems to love retelling the same sort of story over and over and while some of it is interesting it does feel very familiar. A wealth of problems with the tree hugging Elves: either people annoying them, the land rebelling against them or some sort of spiritual voodoo Another graveyard full of spirits or undead rising up, more Worm cult nonsense and being evil for the sake of it. Bandits being bandits because… I don’t know why. Oh and don’t forget a sprinkling of daedric meddling.
The stories themselves are well done with a lot of background dialogue and information as well as reasoning behind the problem but you just feel like they should move away from the standard more often. I am surprised at just how dark some of the stories are, they really have earned that M rating of theirs. a wealth of horrible events; torture and sacrifice, the consequence of war. Clan warfare and the massacre of entire towns. You have hunger and the skooma addicted and many other rather adult themes. This aspect of light and dark, and all manner of morality in between makes the world and experiences within feel that much more realistic within the context. It makes these stories, even if rather rote fit in as you can see the effects of actions from the past and into the future.
Also, Why the hell does everyone in Tamriel want to sacrifice themselves.
I’ve taken the time to do a lot more dungeons now and it seems there are a lot more to do the further you get up with varying level ranges depending on the area it’s in. Most have been really enjoyable with great environment design and mob mechanics.The combat is fun and a little more controllable now that everyone’s roles are more defined during these structured dungeons. It still seems very flexible and I’m seeing a wide range of different builds. The combat is still more chaotic than a usual dungeon too but far more manageable.
I’m even enjoying my tanking role here more and more, far more so the using it while levelling as I have a good range of skills to take on situations. I’m actively watching animations for when to block or move and it just feels very active. Not just some immovable object staring at a giant monster crotch. Mechanics have been fine too, if a little bland at times with only involving one or two key mechanics.
The part I’m disappointed with though is just how much they seem to prioritize aoe damage, and I’m seeing this a lot more in the open world too. They just through larger packs of normal mobs at you with little diversity around this. Mostly, as a DK at the front I just throw down a few talons to hold them in place and watch the fire rain down to smite all these enemies. Rinse repeat.
I’d like to see more interesting mechanics from this trash rather than standard attacks. I’d like to see more of a mix, smaller but tougher packs here and there. I want to see trash packs that don’t die in a couple of seconds. Mostly I just want to see group members have to switch into different builds rather than aoe mashing for everything. Maybe this will happen further on.
Balancing and Bugs
Now that I’ve gotten further up in the levelling process I’m seeing and experiencing a lot less polish in the quests, mechanics and in the world. I seem to have at least a few quests each day that I’m unable to complete mostly because the enemy to kill won’t spawn. Of course this happens after spending 15 minutes doing the lead up quests so your left waiting around for several minutes or more wondering if it will or won’t come out. If they do work expect at least a half a dozen oddly named bots standing over a dozen corpses waiting for the next spawn… it’s ridiculous.
I’ve spent a lot of time falling as well, through the world to the depths of nothingness. I counted 5 times on my Saturday play alone which firsts requires a relog from the blank blue screen. then a /stuck from the freefall I load into. I’ve been stuck in a lot of loading screens lately as well that require a relog, only to probably get stuck in the same one again if I’m trying a particular instance. I’ve also been experiencing a lot more of this weird bug where the game seems to log me as offline, lets me still chat and interact but unable to teleport or enter any other doors or instances.
The other part I’ve noticed is just a lot less polish in the questing. Missing environment pieces. weird or missing animations. Disjointed dialogue that even seems to flip between 2 or more voice actors for the one character. I believe that all this will be sorted out eventually but I have to say the level of polish in the content is becoming a bit of a concern. I understand it’s just another MMO that seems to have been rushed out a little early, and there is a lot of content here, more so than most new mmo’s but still.
Now this might sound like I’m already over the game. A mix of rather cranky critiques on some of the more important parts of the game but I’m still enjoying the game quite a lot. The pacing has been excellent, I’m delving it crafting a lot more again and still exploring the entirety of a map as well as every nook and cranny, and I’ve been engaging in a good mix of content styles and enjoying each type immensely. I’m just at that stage where I’m starting to think more about the mechanics of the game, it’s functioning and the various parts I like and dislike but so far, I’m still very much in the positive.