ESO the Unremarkable

So I finally caved to the pressure of new shinies, and that of peer pressure and bought Wildstar. I am a little upset at myself for not being able to resist another mmo launch after the last failed so miserably for me, I was quite excited for Elder Scrolls Online as the beta experiences were great and the draw of a new big AvA space after being bored of the Zerg Wars in Guild Wars 2 pushed that hype over the top. After reeling back from that experience a little I was left wondering what did I really want, what is the game I’m after and while I don’t think that is entirely Wildstar it is far more aligned to things that engage me.

Unimaginably Unremarkable

Before making this decision I even tried jumping back into ESO for a bit and just mucking around but that special something just wasn’t there. There are many reasons why but the main is just that the experience is just so generic… nondescript and uninspired. From one moment to the next, in just about every part of the game I feel exactly the same and that is an issue. If I want to have an average story delivered to me with average combat for the entirety of my gameplay then I guess, this would be the game but there are so many other games that do things better than it. They might fail in other areas but at least other areas enthral.

I Believe this all falls down to the absolute lack of options within ESO. Yes it has crafting and dungeons but they are a rather minimal part of the gameplay. If you want to progress, to grow your character and even experience new things then you have to get attached to the levelling game and this doesn’t really change that much. The story elements from one place to the next are remarkably similar and then the mechanics underlying them the same. There is a guise of an open levelling experience but it’s a mirage, your mostly stuck in a march of inevitability.

ESO is the most unremarkable average mmo out there. I neither hate it like I did TOR and others, and it doesn’t have any elements to make it stand out like GW2. The story isn’t anywhere near as good as TSW. It’s neither a closed Themepark grind or an open world experience. It is something wherein it has tried so hard not to stand out in any aspect so as not to put off any potential players. It is what you get when metrics and market analysis runs development, a carefully constructed MMO that lacks any real soul. Yeh, not exactly a shocker to many of you… you can commence your “I told you so dance” now.

Restrictions on Play

Now what could have made this experience better, like it does with most multiplayer games is playing with friends and other people but, it makes this so god damn hard. The Phasing makes this next to impossible unless you’ve perfectly levelled with someone the entire time. You can neither be involved, contribute or benefit from helping others in many quests you don’t have. And with the more open aspect to questing, where you can kind of bumble around a zone in a variety of ways means you are not guaranteed to have the same quests or goals as another player in your Vicinity.

Then you get to level 50, It’s finish point that is then yanked away from you in some cruel joke called Veteran Ranks. This problem is magnified ten fold then as there is another whole range of restrictions on this grouping between friends and guild members.Someone at the same VR rank as you might be in another zone entirely, or maybe just a few quests away and someone helping you get to your level is only slowing themselves down dramatically. Yeh you might play after you get to the same spot but what happens when someone logs, or plays at a different time. It breaks that flow.

It’s also a situation that fractures the playerbase. There are only a certain amount of dungeons but they are split amongst the VR ranks and have certain recommended VR levels.Unlike most end game content in other mmo’s this has created many different layers of people grinding through rather than mostly focused on the same goals. There is heaps of space in between these two as the way VR, and well, levelling in general is designed with resist and penetration making content above you extremely difficult. Now, it is possible but then you’d be hard pressed in finding a group who would actually want to have you on that run. It’s not elitism, more just people not wanting to waste their time. So with the levelling, and the dungeons here at cap you have an extremely fractured group of players that will continually diminish leaving me worried about the experience the more I put it off.

Now I could, maybe support this model if there where more options on how to level, and level with a group efficiently but there isn’t. Questing is a mostly single player experience. There is PvP but the experience gain is minimal in comparison and VR ranks seem to make a rather large difference on play there. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they nerfed many effective ways of just grinding it away. No mob spawns to really help and only singular benefits to many public dungeons and events so apart from this your just stuck. Stuck doing the same completely average questing experience… mostly alone, over and over again with increasing difficulty. Even the thought of that is just soul shattering to me.


Other Options

I just need more options there throughout play, available to when I want to break up whatever monotony I’m stuck in at the time. A nice spot to sit back  and grind. Running between events with a group, delving into dungeons over and over, PvP, CRAFTING to get experience…. WHATEVER really just something else where there is currently nothing. And it seems they want to keep adding to this problem with each update by creating content at the VR cap while also increasing it.

This is why I think Wildstar is appealing to me so much right now. I’m just starting out and I’m bombarded with options on how I want to play. Questing, challenges, events, instances, adventures, dungeons, … and PvP gives freekin GREAT experience and I love levelling alts that way. It’s a game that opens itself up to everyone and says play the way you want. GW2’s original buzz word reborn. Even at cap there seems like enough options to keep you busy with the other adventure, raiding, crafting, housing and all manor of achievement orientated things.

So, I guess.. see you in Nexus

#ESO #Wildstar


10 thoughts on “ESO the Unremarkable

  1. I totally agree bout ESO. Thats why I went back to Rift after 2 weeks. In ESO u cant pvp before top lvl and no mentor down. Rift has all that and no sub. So no WS “manga meets Disney” for me:):) But I hope you will enjoy it. Great blog ❤

  2. Woooo, shinies! It’s too bad about ESO. Had they simply put in a logical construct for grouping rather than essentially forcing solo play, I think it would have been a whole lot better. I was in 3 guilds (for trading), never was able to group with a single member more than 10 minutes. Such a waste of a good idea.

    • It could have been good.. if only there wasn’t the ridiculousness of Veteran ranks so then you’d have a range of dungeons to do at cap, a new zone just released and the option to go back and complete the other zones. Forcing it on me just makes me like it even less. And yeh, you’d think being able to group within an mmo would be an important part of development.

  3. Pingback: #Wildstar – Old Community | Leo's Life
  4. I completely agree with you, ESO online is a fractured mess. I haven’t gotten to Veteran ranks so I cannot comment there. ESO seemed to be pretty much a single player game to me, where the only way to level is endless freaken quests… I so crave for a nice spot to just sit and grind. I was in 5 guilds and felt no connection to any of them. The way they did the guilds just seemed to further divide the player base and reduce any sense of community the game had left.

    And the crafting… I love to craft in MMO’s. The one thing they did right was to make the items that you craft actually be useful and better than most drops in game. However, they ruined it by basically forcing a player to level up their character level in order to get the points to put into crafting, so you can advance it, thus taking points away from your fighting skills which can gimp your character badly at low levels.

    Another point on crafting that drove me nuts was that they made it so actually crafting things gave you so little experience (in the 3 main crafts lines) that it was pointless. You actually have to deconstruct items made by other players or gotten by in game drops to level-up.

    Lastly, what broke the camels back for me was housing… after reading an article that stated that housing was probably 2 years away just broke my heart.

    ESO’s world is beautiful and I had hoped to spend a lot of time there but I think I have decided to take the plunge and try Wildstar and will cancel my ESO account today. In time, I hope Zenimax changes/improves the game (as well as fixes long standing bugs) and I may come back as long as I haven’t fallen in love with Wildstar.

    • I felt no connection to any of the guilds I was in either, it was just almost impossible to quest together. I remember running next to them and we we grouped up until the next spot that I’d already done, so we parted ways again. It was just such an insular experience and the further you levelled the worse it gets.]

      The crafting was nice but yeh, needing those skill points was rather restrictive on crafting. As you said, you either gimp your build and abilty to solo contentm which is very important or you wait for a while before you can afford the points. And yeh that’s ironic isn’t it, getting more points for breaking down an item then crafting it haha. I get what they were trying to do, making it more a community thing but it didn’t work out. Those guild stores never seemed to work very well either.

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