Elder Scrolls Online: One Month On

By the time you’re reading this The Elder Scrolls Online is already a month old. Can you believe it? A month has passed already. For me it doesn’t seem like that long. Normally, this would be an article talking about if people are going to actually pay for the game now that their free time is up. But Zenimax gave everyone an extra five days of game time to make up for all the down time the game has been experiencing. Which I have to admit is pretty awesome of them considering I’ve played at launches of MMOs with much more down time and no apology whatsoever. So I have to say, for me at least this was a pleasant surprise. But what about everything else?

 

Gold Sellers Everywhere

For much of this month there was a huge problem with spamming gold sellers. Not only were zone chats filled with them but you could find hordes of them at the bosses of every major low level public dungeon. There was one instance where I couldn’t successfully complete the dungeon because there were so many of them I couldn’t get a hit in before the boss fell. Needless to say I was not pleased. But the great thing was that Zenimax wasn’t pleased either. And so they’ve been cracking down on it, hard. Yes, the spam is still an issue but it is something they’re working on. Fantastic that they are but it seems to be taking a while.

ESO Horses

The Economy

As it turns out a lot of people don’t like selling things to guildmates. So while there are a lot of trade specific guilds anyone who doesn’t get into one, and a good sized one at that is getting left out of the biggest way to earn money. Thankfully there is one group who have realized this to be true and have created a forum for players to sell their items. Of course this is really only a good place for those high priced, rare items. But it seems to be working. Ultimately though I have to wonder if players have to start creating other methods for these things to happen should they not be a part of the game from the developer’s point of view? I feel much the same way about add-ons. If all the players have one specific type of add-on then clearly this is something that should be put in the game. Hopefully in the near future Zenimax will do something to address the lack of auction house.

 

But the lack of a central selling point isn’t the only economics related issue that has popped up. There was a, some say not so temporary bug which allowed players to basically get and endless supply of anything they put in their bank. This resulted in the banks being shut down, a bunch of people being banned, and of course a lot of people wrongly banned. All of that was quickly corrected though. And in the long run it seems to have had no impact on the economy at all. If there really is such a thing.

 

Gameplay

One month on I’m still having fun. That is perhaps the most important sentence of this entire article. Sure, there are bugs but none of them have stopped me from having fun. I know some people who raced to the end level veteran ranks within the first week of the game being live. I suspect these people won’t be playing for very long. On the other hand, being the seasoned MMO player that I am I have 8 alts and am taking my time on all of them. Some of them I’ve not even started yet.

ESO Looking Out

Unfortunately much of the game leaves the feeling that this isn’t an MMO at all but instead a single player game in which everyone is taking part. The main story is completely solo and the rest of the time it doesn’t really matter if you’re grouping with someone or not. But perhaps my biggest complaint about gameplay revolves around sneaking. Sneaking is a beautiful mechanic that is very much about going the slow, stealthy, stab your foe in the back way. When done properly it is deadly and perhaps more importantly completely badass. Unfortunately because it is so slow your stealth attack is often ruined by some random noob running in and killing the thing you were stalking. This is especially troublesome in public dungeons where everyone is being funnelled through one tiny area. And ultimately it makes what could be a very interesting mechanic into something you don’t bother with because it is almost never useful.

 

Phasing

I’m just going to come right out and say it. Phasing is a failure. Despite the fact that my husband and I play together almost exclusively we never end up in the same instance of a zone. Ever. In the last month I have seen precisely zero roleplayers. And I never even randomly run into guildmates despite being in the exact same area as them quite often. A community can’t be built because you never see the same people more than once. This just adds to the feeling that this is a solo game.

 

The Future

The future of Elder Scrolls Online looks bright. With their first update expected in the near future that adds more to that all important end game and many other changes like the ability to use dye on armor, if Zenimax can keep going with this kind of steam and excitement then I can see ESO having a long life. Best of all we know that Zenimax is listening, chat bubbles will be introduced at some point and they do want to bring out player housing, though who knows when that could be.

ESO Fishing

In the end though, despite all of my complaints about the game I am having fun. I know not everyone will agree. Angry Joe had quite a lot to say about the game and I often see people in /zone complaining about something. There have been a lot of people who have said they won’t be subscribing to the game. And while it makes me a little sad I am ultimately ok with it. That means there are less people to fill an instance and there might actually be a chance of finding people I know. Will I be subscribing? Yes! I’ll be taking the 6 month sub.

 

But the real question is…will you?

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About Shannon Doyle

Shannon first discovered MMOs in 1999 when she picked up the newly launched Everquest. This started a lifelong love affair with online gaming that has taken her around the world and brought her to MMOGames.com. While she still pines for the streets of Paragon, the City of Heroes, today she spends most of her gaming time walking across Tyria in Guild Wars 2, roleplaying with anyone who says hello.