The Elder Scrolls Online took the popular gameplay and experience from the last couple of Elder Scrolls games and put them all into an MMORPG to finally enjoy the experience with some friends. Developed by ZeniMax Online Studios, the game was originally released on the 4th April 2014 and was originally released on PC at first, but eventually came onto both the Xbox One and PS4 respectively. Despite different control schemes, the overall gameplay and content for the game are all the same, with very little differences between all versions of the games.
With the game being over 4 years old now at this point, the overall visuals of the game aren’t quite to the highest standard, but that is to be expected of an older title. In terms of the characters and NPC’s, the visuals they have aren’t the most incredible and isn’t going to be putting your machines up to much of a test, but the environments in this game really do shine as a whole. Just like in the main series, there’s an epic, open-world for you to explore and with many of the locations seeming as if they’ve been stripped right out of Oblivion, Morrowind, and Skyrim, many of the environments in the game look absolutely stunning.
In terms of their visual fidelity, they aren’t the most outstanding, but the sense of scale you get with a lot of the environment in this game is what really takes the cake for the most part. Not all areas of the game are created equal, but for the most part, it’s rather difficult to find an area of the game that doesn’t look as if it belongs in the rest of the game.
Regardless of the MMORPG you’re playing, character creation is always a very important part of the game, as that’s the initial introduction to a character that you’re going to be playing with for hundreds, possibly thousands of hours. How it starts off is fairly typical: you pick between a male and female character, the alliance they are allied with, and then their subsequent race along with a class. Only certain alliances are allied with certain races, so you’ll have to pick and choose between the 3 to see what options you have available to you as the player. Similar to the regular ESO games, each class you choose has a racial bonus available to them, increasing their proficiency in that area; allowing for bonuses that no other race will have access to.
What’s nice about the different races is that the majority of them are very different in comparison to one another. Some of which may just be humans with a change of skin tone, but there’s also the option to play as a reptilian-like humanoid, along with a cat-like humanoid, so not every character you make, or encounter is going to be all that dull to look at. Depending on what race you choose, you will spawn in 1 of 6 different regions on the map, so there are several starting zones to enjoy.
The Elder Scrolls Online may not have the most in-depth character creator out there, but it does come relatively close. There are a lot of different options you can add to your character, with more than enough sliders for you to alternate and use to create the ideal character to play with. Depending on how much you enjoy creating a character, you can either spend a good hour or 2 creating the perfect character, or you can be done in a few minutes. The decision is up to the player and makes the whole character creation process a breeze for all types of players.
The Elder Scrolls games for quite some time now have been a 1st person, open-world, RPG and for the most part, ESO has kept many of the same decision in terms of its gameplay as the main series. Just like with many other MMORPG’s, you go around with your character, exploring the lands, taking out enemies, acquiring quests, and doing pretty much whatever it is that you choose. The game does also have a 3rd person view, but just like the main series of games, the 3rd person view never really has the same level of impact that the 1st person perspective has.
Combat is once again like the main series, with a couple of small changes here and there. Depending on the weapon you choose, by left-clicking (on PC) with your mouse, you’ll swing your sword, fire your bow, or shoot out a magic missile from your stave. Where the changes start to occur, however, is in the hot-bar. In the regular games you equip a spell and activate it like that, but due to ease of access, ESO has the classic hot-bar style of gameplay with its skills. You can change and alternate your hot-bar however you desire and create the perfect set up for your key-bindings, without having to worry about messing around a number of different menus.
After completing enough quests or killing enough NPC’s, your character is eventually going to level up. That level up can be used to buy new abilities and increase your maximum health, stamina, or magicka. A nice return to form for the series in the combat is the proficiency system. All weapons, armor, and spells in the game have their own separate level up bar, known as proficiency, which can be leveled up by simply using them a lot. With each level, the overall damage you do with that spell or weapon type will increase, and armor will allow you to sustain more damage, all dependant on the level you manage to get it to – with a maximum level of 100 for each one.
Some people have complaints about the microtransactions in the game, but for the most part, it’s designed for cosmetics and similar items of that nature. There’s nothing that requires you to purchase in-game content, outside of the base game, and some of the items that you can buy in the store for real money is usually available to you in-game.
In conclusion, The Elder Scrolls Online is a fun take on the usual Elder Scrolls formula, while making it an MMORPG and allowing for the chance to play with thousands of other players. The gameplay is all pretty similar and for any fans of the previous Elder Scrolls games, ESO is going to have more than enough to keep you busy and satisfied. Just do be aware that you may have to purchase some more of the game’s DLC to truly get the most out of this one.