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3.3 out of 5 stars189
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 June 2015
I've been playing for almost 3 months now, and this game makes me very angry. The potential is there, it really should be a 5 Star game. But it isn't, in fact it is a long way from a 5 Star game. Graphically the game is beautiful, it has even changed my mind on limited skill bar options ( I genuinely hated having 20 skills but could only use 7 of them in GW and in Wildstar). But the game has so many problems it really is hard to know where to begin.

The prime cause of most, if not all, of these problems is Zenimax's insistence on "being different". Being different is fine, as long as what you are doing works at least as well as that which you are trying to be different from. Zenimax manage to fail at this with such alarming regularity that the Gaming Industry should have a new term "Zenimaxed" - when a company tries to be so different that they manage to break what should be unbreakable. It would be like a new car manufacturer starting from scratch and launching its headline product with square wheels. Sure, its different, it just doesn't work. Zenimax have failed to learn from a decade of mistakes by other MMO companies, and are now making errors that really should have been long gone from the genre 5+ years ago. It is painfully laughable at times.

Areas where ESO has been "Zenimaxed" include:

Crafting: no ability to select to craft more than one of anything, a cumbersome "research" process that can have you taking 60 days just to research one trait - and you'll need to research that same Trait 34 times if you want to be a serious crafter.

Guild Membership: joining a guild is account wide, so all your characters must be in the same guild(s), to partially offset this you can join 5 separate guilds, but it ruins immersion and the vital element of Alliance vs Alliance vs Alliance that was one of the game's stronger selling points.

Trade System: there really isn't a functional trade system, there are guild trade kiosks, but each player is limited to how many items they can lists so many players join multiple guilds to have access to sufficient trade capacity, the Kiosks cost a fortune per week meaning many guilds charge just for being a member, and because of the costs of kiosks only high value goods are ever listed, oh and kiosks are ALL OVER the world, meaning it may take you 30 attempts to find a kiosk selling what you want and some of those kiosks will in zones you can't get to unless you are at level cap. All in all the trade system is the worst subsystem of any game I have ever played.

Content Updates: This year's E3 trailer had the exact same content at a trailer first shown over 12 months ago and NONE of that content is yet in game. The only "new content" since launch has been Craglorn and the Justice System. Craglorn should have shipped with the game at launch, and the Justice System has only been half implemented because they don't seem to know how to make the other half work. ESO launched with two promises: ESO will always be subscription based, and Regular Content Updates. Both promises have been broken, and it shows.

Gouging: There have been several recent XP nerfs and now we see the arrival in the in-game Crown Store (cash shop) of XP boosters. Other Crown Store content that had lore appropriate and immersive names have been changed to names whose sole purpose is to promote the Crown Store eg. "Vivec’s Old Bone Milk is now called Crown Refreshing Drink".

Community: The in-game community is pretty good. The community relations between the playerbase and Zenimax are, for want of a better word, toxic. Zenimax ignore the playerbase when they are voicing genuine concerns, and offering constructive feedback on how to improve the game and then when the playerbase decry this lack of communication Zenimax start wading in with the Ban-Hammer.

Optimisation: The day I installed the game it was a 36GB download. Just two days later there as a 22GB patch, and since then 3 or 4 more patches each of approx 5GB. Yet I have seen no real content, and very little in the way of fixes to bugs etc that have been (according to longer serving players) been around since Beta. They have nerfed a few XP grind spots though. This week's patch is 5GB, just to rename some Crown Store items and, apparently, fix some audio bugs - funny the audio was about the only part of the game I hadn't encountered any problems with at all... ...maybe they were adding audio bugs.

As a gaming experience, on a good day, it may be worthy of a 7/10 score; but as an MMORPG is would get 3/10... ...on a good day.

Would not recommend.
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on 15 May 2014
As a (very) long time affectionado of Tamriel in its solo format I was happy to give this game a look and have committed myself to a six month trial period. Much about the game is appealing and well designed and much thought has clearly gone in to making it different from the existing mmorg's. It is very, very easy to be defeated at any level especially as the mobs often stand around (or wander) in groups of two or three (rather more in the dungeons (including the public ones). If you enjoy solo play you will have to resign yourself to the (often substantial) 'repair bills' or learn to work with other people quite quickly. Fortunately most of the players I have encountered, especially in the public dungeons (usually simple cave complexes) are quite cooperation-minded and, even without going through the formal process of grouping, spontaneous "fire teams" come together in a most effective (and quite appealing) way, similar in most respects to GW2. The game is visually quite attractive along the lines of 'Skyrim' although foliage can appear a little 'flat' for those concerned by that level of detail.

Sadly, the decision to keep the UI as similar to the solo games as possible leads to a result that is far below the standards expected by those 'pc' and 'mac' players who have become familiar with the other major mmorg's (WoW, Rifts, LotRO, GW2, etc). Targeting depends on the placement of a digital 'sighting-cross' on the target followed by clicking on one key to interact and another key to collect (in the case of loot or wallop in combat). The result is very disconcerting for those used to interacting exclusively with the mouse with keystrokes limited to special actions (usually in combat). The result is that you do one thing at a time quite rigidly........ to describe this as 'frustrating' would be a minor understatement. However since the game is intended to role out very shortly onto console control I suspect that this mode of action will work very well indeed. If it doesn't suit me (and it doesn't) is surely my fault for being daft enough to play this sort of computer game at my age :-)
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on 29 April 2014
Rather than write a review, I'm going to share with you the feedback I gave Zenimax / Bethesda when explaining why I wasn't going to resubscribe to the game. I hope you find it useful.


I really like some aspects of this game. The story, voice acting and music are fantastic. Also, I've really enjoyed the humour in this game, which is very unusual for an MMO.

It is because I enjoyed the above that I'm spending the time to let you know why my partner and I (and most probably all our friends who are on the fence and have not yet bought TESO) will not be subbing to this game.

This game was clearly released too early. I have played beta products with better stability, less bugs and more polish.

Having graphical errors like that red and white 'missing' cube in basement levels, or the inn (in Daggerfall, I believe) having it's doorway not clip correctly with the wall should not have been acceptable. Especially, considering I saw both of these bugs within the first hour of gameplay.

Combat is unresponsive and laggy at best, making skill a non-factor. Even worse, is the fact that my combat abilities will sometimes STOP WORKING COMPLETELY. I'm unsure if it's because EU servers are based in US (why?!) or if it's an issue with NB's. Either way, the question has to be asked; "How on Earth did ESO get released in this condition?"

Limited UI features FORCE players to use addons. I'm not talking about recount-style parsers and advances features here. Simple loot management features are absent as well as basic options.

I mentioned how much I was enjoying the story, and I stand by that, but the lack in available activities whilst levelling can become pretty tiresome. I've made it to level 34, and my desire to play the game, particularly as I'm not resubbing, has greatly diminished.

The bots, gold-spammers and the awkward way of reporting them should have been much better thought out, before launch.

Craft nodes also disappear in front of my eyes, and although I know that there are invisible bots teleporting around, gathering materials, I suspect that this is yet another bug.

Tool-tips and stats are often incorrect or do not apply correctly.

I often need to /camp, and relog, in order to see the NPC I'm meant to fight or talk to.

During development, I was really keen to hear of your idea where your mega-server phase was created based on your friends list, guilds, and gameplay preferences (such as role-playing). Instead, at launch, we get an EU server that is not only based in the US, but isn't even separated by language. I'm sure I'm not the only person in the world who feels that seeing zone chat full of a language that he/she can't understand to be alienating. Between this and the gold-sellers, I keep zone chat turned off. I'm in an MMO; I want my zone chat on!

The fact that I can buy a horse with real money, yet the prices for a horse in-game are relatively steep, gives me a bad impression of what will become available in the future. The mounts are not cosmetic, they give the player an advantage. Considering this is a sub-based game, I find that a little hard to swallow.

In summary, I feel as though I've paid a AAA price for a broken beta of a game that I can only play for 30 days. Does this seem fair to you?

I feel you had a good opportunity here to bring back the sub-based model with a quality product, but instead, you've probably put the final nail in it's coffin.

A real shame.

Thanks for reading guys.


UPDATE: The console version has been delayed for 6 months to give players "the experience [they] expect and deserve." Says it all really...
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on 15 July 2014
I loved this to start with, but after a few months it gets old.... quickly. Quests blend into each other. There might be a wonderful story but by the time you've listened to 100 of them it gets tedious. Classes unbalanced. Not a huge amount to do outside of the questing. PVP seems like it could be amazing, but for me at least it just involves riding for 10 minutes to find something, then dying and having to start the ride again.... Plus they increased the npc level to VR5 so you can forget about doing any solo dungeons etc until later game.
I really wanted to love this, I've been aching for a wow replacement having cancelled my sub six months ago, but this is not it for me. To little flavour, little excitement and the lack of basic things like speech bubbles and even a mail reply button strike me as poorly thought out. For an MMO it's a curiously lifeless experience. The bugs that everyone goes on about haven't bothered me, my issues are deeper ones. Perhaps in 6 months when they add racing, sort out the god awful guild store searching etc etc I'll come back. For now, I've cancelled my sub, and dearly wish I hadn't paid for several months upfront.
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on 6 July 2014
There are far too many debates to be had about this game to cover them all here.
Was it worth buying? Yes.
Is it worth paying £8.99 a month for? No.
Considering it was sold as a complete game, a large part of it was missing, it was impossible to explore much of Tamriel in the game, it felt rather like a beta. The game was still buggy and the loading times for some events were atrocious.
Secondly, it didn't FEEL like an elder scrolls game, their is no crime system, the npc's seem rigid and lifeless. It just doesn't seem like the same effort has gone into creating an experience which is as immersive as you would normally expect from an elder scrolls title. I know that corners must be cut to make the idea work as an mmo... but to the same end I feel bethesda has cut a corner too many and really sacrificed a lot of their best aspects for what appears as little more than a one shot game to grab a lot of money on release day.
Though with a fair few improvements it is true to say that I would certainly consider returning to the game, it's not all bad. Like I said, too much of a debate is needed for here.
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on 12 June 2014
I really love this game and both myself and my husband agree that its the most enjoyable mmo we've played in years (and we've tried most of the popular ones)


The characters and dialogues are interesting and the quests are really immersive.
Crafting is useful and you can do all the crafts if you wish you are not just stuck doing only 2
Its fun to explore areas and find new quests, items, skyshards, lorebooks, bosses etc
Combat is actually fun as it involves a lot more moving about and choosing which skills to use.

If you want a sorceror wearing heavy armour who can heal, damage and has pets then you can do - you can wear what you want and play as you want - obviously there are some optimal roles which if you are interested in high end group stuff you may need to use while grouped - but for solo and casual play you can spec however you want and just have fun.

Why I believe this game has been slated by some players:

All complaints from other players mainly fall into the "THIS IS NOT A WOW CLONE" category which if you find this refreshing as I do - you will probably love this game.

This game is about the journey - there are a huge amount of quests and things to do for a newly published game while you are leveling - but for players that want to reach max level in 2 days so they can stop leveling - obtain their legendary armor and spend their time raiding or pvping - this is not the bias the game has at the moment. It may come later but for now the journey is key.

This game is about being immersed in the area and actually watching the screen and whats going on around you - rather than watching your 10 rows of skill bars without looking up to see whats happening in the vicinity.
You basically have 5 skills and 1 ultimate - which is doubled at lvl 15 as you can then swap weapons - not 50 spells on a screen at once. This makes the game more tactical as you decide how you are going to play that particular fight and put them on your bar - a different fight may need that to be adjusted - so on the one hand you can learn to do far more things than most mmo's but on the other you have to choose from all the options what you will use - and that is fluid. This is a major pro for me but again many are so used to the traditional they are not happy with a different approach.

Following on from the "look at whats round you" is the fact that again this game is not staring at skill bars and numbers flashing on your screen in combat - you want to know when to get out the way - watch the character that is throwing stuff at you - there are no add ons telling you when to run dodge etc - basically if its red don't stand in it - and move move move - again I love it but some players want the traditional tank stands and keeps all the adds in one place - and everyone else stands there and dpses it - this is not the way ESO works - everyone is responsible for crowd control and everyone moves keeping the fights more fluid.

There is also no Auction house - which again for me is a plus as players can't just buy everything and it gets you involved more with your guilds - you can have 5 - hopefully there will be more buying options with the guild shops working better but I have not found the lack a drawback as I'm in an alliance where we help everyone out with items anyway - so if someone needs crafter gear or a recipe there is a good chance someone else can make it or its been donated for use.

If you are into PVP there is a great area where you can do PVP and PVE quest dailies - again I really like this area but for players that only want to PVP there have been some issues.

1 - Although in theory the area will level you up if you go in at level 10 - in reality chances are you will get squished very easily.

2 - At the moment the campaigned have been for too long and there are too many pvp areas as only vets tend to use them these days due to point 1. This means they are fairly empty of players as many are still leveling and don't want to go in too early.

ESO is trying to sort this by changing the system to have shorter campaigns and separate the veteran and normal players in some campaigns - but until then its a great chance for players that are more PVE inclined to explore the area without having lots and lots of enemies to fight - but still gives that extra adrenaline kick when you do do some PVP.

So - yes this game has some bugs as all new games do - perhaps I was fortunate but relogging solved most of my issues and it certainly wasn't game breaking for me. And yes this game does have a bot problem - but thankfully as there is no auction house their effects are minimal - or have been for me.

So for casual players and explorers its great in my opinion - for hardcore traditional MMO players I'd suggest forgetting the "traditional" way of doing things and giving this game a chance.
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on 2 April 2015
A serious lagging problem can make it unplayable.
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on 16 May 2014
This game COULD be wonderful. However, at the present time (a month after release), it is full of bugs which really should have been sorted out before now. It is also overrun with bots and goldspamming. Support are unresponsive to bug reports.

For a game which cost £35 when released, and £8.99/month subscription THIS REALLY IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

The graphics are nice, and the voice-acting is excellent, but the difficulty of the quests is very variable (and randomly so), and the game is very unbalanced.

Perhaps in a few months the bugs will be ironed out, and the bot infestation dealt with. Unfortunately though, until then, AVOID.

Paying Zenimax £8.99 a month for the thankless task of effectively beta-testing their game for them is not my idea of a good time.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 January 2015
I played the open Beta of this last year and wasn't blown away, certainly not enough to fork out over forty quid for the game, plus a recurring subscription charge. The price of the game has dropped significantly since launch, provided you're not buying it off the official website, and it still comes with one month's subscription.

Now, or now-ish might be a good time to take another look at the game, however, if the subscription put you off previously. From March 17th this year (St. Patrick's Day, no less) the game is dropping the mandatory subscription and going with as "buy to play" model. ie you pay for the game and can play unlimited hours, but there will now be microtransactions for customisation, DLC etc.

The option is still there to pay a subscription, which will get you extra XP, access to DLC areas and some other, apparently non-essential, perks.

The actual game is... well it's okay. It's not the multi-player Skyrim that most people would have preferred, and comes with typical MMORPG grind and the potential irritation of OTHER PEOPLE in your personal story, but if you're no longer hindered by the need for a subscription and if you can still pick up a cheap copy then I'd definitely recommend it for fans of the Elder Scroll series.
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on 14 June 2015
Got the game, checked all the computer needs before buying but the game will still not load after 9 and a half hours downloading. would not recommend. waste of £40. The game might be good but i will not find out.
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