Elder Scrolls Online: why i’m confident

They don’t care about us

I remember back before launch, the Massively-that-was staff was quite bemused that Zenimax didn’t go and seek out MMO players. They didn’t even want to call the game an MMORPG, instead, they pushed the thought of CRPG a bit, although we all knew what it was going to be.

While marketing tactics are one thing, i think not listening to your audience- to a degree- is a sign of a “vision” for the game. Even nowadays, there’s a big part of the community still wanting a global auction house- in spite of the existence of trade guilds, guild vendors and guild stores. Talking about that feature, specifically, i think they’re right in saying that this emulates regional markets with prize differences and such- without affecting travel convenience, for instance.

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They also told us we’re “hoarders” if we have full inventories. Now, i really dislike the fact that inventory management is its own minigame within ESO, but they are right about that, as well. I could just sell material i don’t use to craft anyway- when i don’t do that, it’s my own fault.

I mean, take a look at this– we’re really complaining about GMs being able to reserve names before us? What’s next, demanding to see every bit of content the instant it is designed? We have Landmark for that. Oh, and also, please make all your games cost nothing while you’re at it.

When Zenimax does ignore player feedback to keep the game in line with its vision, this is a good sign. And they have a good track record on this.

But they care for us

On the other hand, they provide stuff that the players have been wanting to see- the coming DLCs are about content the community wanted to see since the game launched. They changed many parts of the game to provide a better experience for the players. So it’s not as if they’re not listening to feedback, but they’re not following the screaming of the “vocal minority”. This is a good thing.

The game changed considerably since its PC launch (which was a beta, anyway)- and i’m not talking about the business model, because i believe they never planned to release to consoles with a subscription. We have interesting DLC (with level scaling!), dyes, guild vendors, heraldry and what-have-you. They’re adding in, but they are also smart about it.

Another good sign is that they’re not afraid to scrap planned designs like the second part of the justice system.

Business model

I love the business model of selling content. Recently, when i posted about SWTOR’s business model, there was a discussion in the comments whether this was really a good idea. I really don’t know if it’s good for the devs, but what i do know is this: to get money, the dev has to provide something of worth. To me, that seems like a fair way to do business. I also think that buy-to-play as a business model works much better than subscription or free-to-play on consoles. I don’t know that, of course, it’s just what my gut tells me.

The future of the game

The thing is, while ESO is a pretty nice game and MMORPG, i think there are two areas that need improving: social and non-combat. I think they have this covered, as well – in “The year ahead” Matt Frior mentions stuff like a guild search, nameplates and player housing as well as character customization shop. All of this is necessary and if they get housing out this year, i know we chose the right game for our community.

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To me, ESO seems to be in a healthy state and it’s looking as if this year will bring exciting content and improvements. I’m really looking forward to seeing all this.

It fits my own play-style

For an action-combat MMO, ESO is pretty relaxing. Being story-driven, Elder Scrolls Online slows my pace enough as to make it still relaxing to play. While the combat-centricity is still a problem for me, it’s also interesting to read the stories of quests, sometimes in found books/notes, go exploring or crafting. And that’s still without touching the PvP part of the game. I’m able to slow it down if i want to. It’s much easier to do that in ESO compared to Wildstar.

Furthermore, i like the storie(s) in the game and the use of phasing to show results. For me, the quality of story content is, in general (taking all story elements into account, i.e. filler quest stories) above SWTOR’s and short of The Secret World, which is miles above and beyond everything else in the genre.

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I can also build my character in ways i like to play it- i love being a dps/healer hybrid of sorts and i can do that here. Now, i’m sure many people would say that my character won’t be very good, but they don’t need to play it, so…yeah. I like that ESO makes this possible and aside from some general tipps about how to spend skill points, i haven’t looked into guides or builds at all.

The difficulty and time-to-kill are quite on-point. ESO’s PvE isn’t easy- i don’t mean that standard mobs are hard for me to kill, but there is interesting content in ESO- there are open world dungeons with bosses, there are solo instances/quests and the combat itself is active enough without being hectic.

And then there’s PvP. Open world, three faction PvP- and on that map, there is meaningful PvE content.

The setting

I’m not a TES fan. I used to play Morrowind when i still had the time and inclination to read everything the NPCs said, the lore in the books and so on and i loved it. For some reason, i’ve never done too much in Skyrim (although playing ESO makes me want to take another look), but i do love the fantasy setting. While some innovation would be nice, i think fantasy- and scifi, maybe- is the genre that provides the best foundation for MMORPGs.

It’s not low-fantasy, what i would prefer, but it is “grimdark” enough to make me enjoy the setting, the world and the story – which is something FF14, for instance, doesn’t really achieve.

Our community/guild

We’re there and we’ve made the choice that Elder Scrolls Online will be our main game for the forseeable future, meaning we’re not seeing anything on the horizon of newly released games that could take its place. Sure, we’ll check other games out- i’ll be checking Blade&Soul, other members have their eyes on Black Desert or the Repopulation, but each game only has one or maybe two of us interested, while ESO appeals to all of us.

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“All of us” aren’t that many, really. But a bit more than seen here.

So we’re looking to grow- from the inside as well as from the outside. We ourselves will be looking to join special interest guilds for trade, roleplaying, thieving, maybe pvp or leveling, if the german community provides something like that (not sure about that leveling thing).

From the outside- we have set up our recruitment thread in the official forums. As expected, our doors aren’t being kicked in (who’d want to join a guild of 4, anyways?!?), but i’m still hoping that there are players out there interested in the type of thing we want to create- a “social” guild where members know each other’s first names, share RL stuff and are active more because of the people, than for the game(s) or the content within them.

The most difficult part here is patience. We wait for that first (successful) application, we want to grow bigger- and we know it could be quite easy- join a newly released or beta game and open up the gates widely. The thing is, this way, you’ll grow to 30, 50 members and beyond easily but still wouldn’t know anybody, members would leave the game in droves after a few weeks/months and 5 years later, you’ll find yourself in a forum with 900 users, with 30 of them posting actively and maybe 50 users playing 5/6 games under your banner.

Will it last?

Now, i’m sceptical of my own nature- i tend to change MMORPGs a lot, as you might know from reading here from time to time- while resenting myself for doing so. I think there are a few factors- most of them outside of this game- that will determine if ESO will really become my “go-to” MMORPG in 2016.

  1. The community/guild members actively play this game outside of scheduled activities.
  2. We’ll be able to recruit some new players to our guild/community
  3. My selection of “side games” fits and fills the gaps i feel still exist in ESO (currently i’m going with FF14 and B&S)
  4. Housing / non-combat info as soon as possible, please
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5 thoughts on “Elder Scrolls Online: why i’m confident

  1. There are a number of things I did enjoy in ESO, and I actually have it installed with an account and everything. But there was one big thing that turned me and my friends away in beta — the strict instancing of quests.

    For example, if I completed a quest that changes something drastic in the world, and I try to go back and help a friend complete that quest, they got tossed into a different instance, and I couldn’t accompany them. I’d see a white arrow indicating where they were, but since our instances didn’t align, we couldn’t see or help each other.

    Since questing together with friends is a big pull for me, it was super confusing at first, then a deal breaker once we realized what was going on. While I’m still too busy in FFXIV to really look at other MMOs right now, I was curious if this was ever fixed (I consider a MMO broken when I can’t play with my friends).

    I’ve soloed some of the beginner area of ESO since then, and I see a number of the instancing changes like I saw back in beta, so I’m going to assume they never found a way around this. Or maybe it’s one of those community changes upcoming?

    1. They are going to fix it this year:) And it will be possible to level down to the zone lvl too. I agree with what u say, its important. I still prefer it tho because it doesnt happen that often. Its still the best mmo out there, even before the fix ❤

      1. That’s great to know, thanks so much! I don’t mind phasing because I like seeing areas change based on the quests I’ve completed. I do understand why they do it and I like that it forwards the story.

        But not at the expense of playing with friends. We saw it happen so many times in the newbie area, especially when one of us started a little earlier than another and had already finished a few quests before the other friend. It may not be as prevalent in later levels, but all we had to go on was the experience we had at the beginning of the game.

    2. I thought they improved on that part already?!? Honestly, i’ve only grouped up for quests in our dedicated group and it hasn’t been an issue there, because we do everything together and make the same choices.

      Xannziee- downleveling to zones? Now that would be great, but where did you get that info? The new years’ letter only told us that all coming DLC will scale characters up to the content. I imagine downleveling would be more difficult because of the skill points- they’d have to take some of them away, in the background at least, to make that happen.

      I feel like there’s already much to do in the game for groups of different levels- they’d have to make some adjustments, because scaling in dungeons isn’t optimal and easy to do yet, but with Cyrodiil, Orsinium and Imperial City as well as with dungeon scaling, there are ways to play in groups.

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