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Author Topic: Comprehensive review of ESO beta from Tamriel Foundry  (Read 795 times)

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Offline VelJharig

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Comprehensive review of ESO beta from Tamriel Foundry
« on: February 15, 2014, 01:26:38 pm »
Long and comprehensive review of the ESO Beta from Isarii at Tamriel Foundry posted below.  He's been in beta for 9 months, leveled a character to 50, completed the main quest, and even participated in 50+ content, so this is someone who can speak to some of the longer-term attributes of ESO.  Good read.

http://tamrielfoundry.com/2014/02/eso-isariis-comprehensive-review/

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I’ve always been a fan of reviews where the author is transparent about where they are coming from, so I’d like to start out by doing exactly that. I consider myself a fan of both The Elder Scrolls games and the MMORPG genre, but must admit that I tip ever so slightly in the favor of MMORPGs, where my background is much more varied. From my beloved sandbox of Star Wars Galaxies to most of the generic themeparks that have arisen in the wake of World of Warcraft‘s success, I’ve seen quite a few. Noticeably absent from my gaming resume is Dark Age of Camelot, which I sadly was unaware of in its prime. I have tried other RvR focused MMOs, but never managed to find the opportunity to experience the apparent master of the field. I would consider myself to be more PvP focused than PvE, but usually partake in a fair amount of both. My Elder Scrolls experience has been limited to the two most recent entrants into the franchise, Oblivion and Skyrim. I found myself enamored by their open, dynamic worlds, and drawn to the deep and murky lore those worlds are based on. The Elder Scrolls single player games seek to attain what I consider the pinnacle of MMO design – being a dynamic virtual world -, and manage to capture that incredibly well for a single player game. The MMO player inside of me recognized this at the time, and I always found myself reflecting on the world design and thinking what a perfect MMO the franchise could make. If you are one of the people who has been against an Elder Scrolls MMO from the beginning, I’m sorry. It was my fault.

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The world of The Elder Scrolls Online is truly impressive, with a staggering attention to detail the likes of which I’ve never encountered in an MMO. The graphics are visually stunning, and even after 9 months of playing I haven’t gotten over the god rays shining through the fog, or the grandiose stonework in the city of Wayrest. The landscape and the architecture themselves aren’t where the immersion comes into play though; that comes from the little things. It’s when the dynamic weather begins to rain, and you notice that the sound changes when you walk under a bridge, with yet another sound when you walk into a building. It’s when your group-mate stops to check his inventory and you see him shuffling through his pack. It’s when a trebuchet fires on a keep in Cyrodiil, and you watch the rope slack as it completes its rotation instead of stretching like a rubber band. There’s even when puffs of snow fall from the snow-covered roofs in Windhelm. And maybe, just a little bit, it’s the fact that there aren’t giant, oversized pauldrons with flaming spikes on them.

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As excellent as the world design is, one must, however, go into this expecting to see an MMO and not a TES game. While ESO performs admirably at introducing the Tamriel we know to the MMO environment, certain design philosophies need revising. Intractability with the world itself is an obvious casualty of the the transition, and city boulevards may end up just a tad bit wider and grander to accommodate the expected increase in the world’s population. Even with these slight changes, I feel ESO has done an excellent job at integrating the two styles into a single game.

The focus on immersion itself is not limited to simply the world design either; no, one of the key features of The Elder Scrolls Online is its immersive combat experience. When ZeniMax set out to the bring The Elder Scrolls into the multiplayer, a top guiding principle for them was to preserve this part of the Elder Scrolls experience, and when transitioning to a genre where players often pay more attention to their user interface than the actual game world, this would surely prove a challenge.

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50+/++ Content - After completing the main quest, players can also venture into 50+ content, a challenging upscaled version of the other alliances’ zones, gaining veteran ranks, gear, and skill points from quest rewards and skyshards. Upon reaching 50+, I was shocked to discover that it was a significant step up in difficulty from the normal leveling content – shocked and thrilled. If you miss a block in 50+, you are probably going to die, and because of that, it’s a whole lot of fun.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 02:21:28 pm by VelJharig »

Offline VelJharig

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Re: Comprehensive review of ESO beta from Tamriel Foundry
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2014, 02:21:43 pm »
He's also conducting an AMA on Reddit right now:

http://www.reddit.com/r/elderscrollsonline/comments/1xzqk2/i_am_isarii_of_tamriel_foundry_and_a_longterm/

Interesting tidbit from the AMA for PvP and stealth:

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In PvP, stealth functions similarly to how it does in other MMOs, in that you're invisible outside of a certain range. I have tested that standing in shadows does reduce your detection range even in PvP, and suspect that the direction the enemy is facing may play a role as well.

Offline Aerial

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Re: Comprehensive review of ESO beta from Tamriel Foundry
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2014, 04:13:31 pm »
Very good article.

Is it early access yet?

Offline Arctorius

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Re: Comprehensive review of ESO beta from Tamriel Foundry
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2014, 04:44:14 pm »
Great read. Though some of it near the end was a bit off putting, still gave me a lot to think about.

                                                                                     

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