After seven days of playing, ESO is a game liken to a good book that you simply cannot put down. The lore is in-depth, well thought off, and rich. I’ve been following the main story quest as well as completing some side quests and it seems that each zone is not only a chapter of a book, but a whole book. There’s a lot of information to absorb from the main story. A lot of interesting issues to solve with the locals and their government. There’s bounty hunting with the fighter’s and mage’s guilds. And finally crafting a lot of items.
While playing game, it reminds me of what Arena Net said in their design manifesto that never come to pass, “You’re rescuing a village that will stay rescued, who then remember you,” which took ESO to actually pull that off. Where ever I go, random NPC will say, “Did you hear the one who saved the king?” or “That’s the person who saved the king,” etc. People remember me even though there are other players who are just trying to complete the same quest. Also the game remembers the decisions I made. If I chose to have someone killed, they stay dead which changes the course of the available quest for me. A true dynamic event without the repetitiveness of cycled events.
Another part of ESO that reminds me of another game is the Anchors which reminds me of Rift. Like in Rift, it’s just a portal that drops mob and players can get together trying to get it closed. What will happen if left alone? I don’t know. I have not seen it evolve any further after the Anchor drops.
Other quality of life I liked from other games is also in ESO, for instance, area loot from SWTOR and bank access to materials at the forge from GW2.
Combat is the most important to me and so far I enjoy it, however there’s one thing that is currently annoying me — weapon swapping. I can’t help but to compare it to GW2’s combat in terms of weapon swapping. While in combat, having both ranged and melee weapons makes combat a bit clunky since swapping often get caught in the middle of casting. Thus the swapping gets delayed and when it gets delayed I often try to press it again thinking i didn’t press it only to watch it swap twice. /facepalm
Another cons I found in combat is their line of sight indicator. The crosshair is scaled smaller if target is in range. However, many times the target is within range but my skills fail to hit them. No resources are wasted when the skill did not connect (which is a big pro for me) so I just reposition myself. Doesn’t change the fact that it is supper annoying to see something you think you can do only that you cannot for some unforeseen reason.
Currently I’m level 21 (see the Gallery for screenshots) and I have not joined in the Cyrodiil battle yet since I am still immersed into the world.
Besides combat, the story is as important to me. The main story and the side stories have introduced me to many interesting characters. One specific character I cannot forget is Duchess Lakana. For some reason, her story quest hit at the emotional level for me — not sure why. I still think about her and what things I could have done to have a different outcome. I felt the same way the first time I met Lyris Titanborn. During beta, I started with Dominion and I felt the same emotional attachment to the Green Lady. So far, only female NPCs have the strong character, I am yet to meet a male NPC with strong character. Most of the male NPCs like the king, the duke, etc are all douche bags or out right jerk, like the moronic captain from Camlorn. The way he talks about women just pisses me off then he later lead his soldiers to their death, ugh, I just want to strangle that guy. Anyway, that’s the obvious contrast in this game so far, strong female NPCs and a lot of weak male NPCs — except probably my main character.
If I am to rate this game so far, it is 9/10 taking one point off for having a lot of issues with combat like issue with line of sight, having too few skills per weapon make combat a bit repetitive, weapon swapping clunkiness, and some quests are bugged blocking progression. Regardless, it’s the best alternative from the horrible Living Story in GW2, that Arena Net still insist on continuing, and better than FFXIV where progression is block by immature players playing tank.
I still think that it’s a bad marketing move for Zenimax to lock the Imperial faction from non-Collector’s Edition copies. It makes Zenimax look like greedy bastards that this action can only overshadow how great this game is, which is really unfortunate.