Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Edited: The game is miles better now they have listened to players.
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.
OK, its now Dec 2016, and after a year of significant changes to ESO I must, in all honesty, amend this review.
The first thing to note is that Zenimax have spent a lot of time listening to the concerns of the players. And the steps they have taken to address those concerns have, IMO, improved the game significantly.
Orsinium now takes pride of place for me as the best Expac for an MMORPG (this had formerly been Mines Of Moria for LotRO and I thought it would never be beaten). The amount of content for Orsinium is amazing, and the main story arc that ties the whole zone together is top notch MMORPG story writing. Add to that both The Thieves Guild and The Dark Brotherhood expacs and there's a wealth of new content, that I am only just beginning to explore.
However, all of that is eclipsed by One Tamriel - the reworking of the entire leveling and craft leveling system that means (much like Skyrim) a player is free to login and go exploring and do, or not do, quests in whatever order they want. The sense of freedom this gives to the gameplay is immense. Unless you played ESO before One Tamriel it is hard to explain just how much of an impact it has had on breaking the monotony of a linear story progression that you really couldn't get off. Now you can you can get off anywhere you like, in fact - and even better - if you want you can chose to not get on in the first place. The freedom to explore fully an entire zone without feeling driven to move on by the story is wonderful.
My initial rating for ESO was just 1 Star (and I honestly felt that was being generous at the time), now I have no hesitation in giving the game 4 Stars (and it would close to getting 5 Stars if they would just fixed that awful trade system).