I know for a fact that I speak for a lot of people when I say that I am a big fan of the Elder Scrolls series. My first adventure was on the Xbox when I played Elder Scrolls Morrowind. I will admit that at the time I was very confused as I had never played a game quite like it before. My love would truly bloom for the series when Elder Scrolls 5 Skyrim met my PlayStation 3 for the first time. Since then, I have made it a point to make sure to play the other games to try and get a better understanding of the world of Tamriel. I remember when I first got into online MMOs thinking about how amazing the Elder Scrolls games would be if they were online. Of course, ZeniMax Online Studios would make this happen in 2012 with Elder Scrolls Online. Fast forward 7 years and 3 expansions later and here we are with Elder Scrolls Online Elsweyr.
I am going to be upfront and brutally honest when I say that despite being a fan of the series, this was my first time playing ESO and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had questions running through my head such as:
“How long will it take for me to get to play this expansion?”
“How will this actually play online?”
Among many other questions of course. I am no stranger to MMO’s so the idea of what the game is at its core was already instilled in my heart. Thousands of hours in World of Warcraft will do that to you though. So in a way, this review is mostly for those of you that may have played the Elder Scrolls games but have not played online yet.
Upon starting ESO you are met with quite a comprehensive ‘Create-a-Character’ which offers you many options in which you can customize your character from every little detail from your sex and race to your cheekbones and how close your eyes are. There are some options that will not be available if you only have the original ESO game with none of the expansions, such as playing as the Necromancer class as well as other cosmetics that are available to you for purchase.
Unlike MMO’s that I have played in the past, I was heavily shocked to discover that starting my fresh new adventure in ESO was right there at Elsweyr. Fans of Elder Scrolls will know that Elsweyr is the land of people that look like Cats. The main story of the expansion is that Dragons have been released and now wreaking havoc all over the land.
Of course, this is an MMO and an Elder Scrolls game so side missions are plenty. Most of the time when I play games with lots of side missions, admittedly I zone out of what is going on after a while as the stories tend to be quite dull. That is 100%, not the case that I have found in this game. In fact, I would say that playing the side quests are almost on par with excitement as the main story-line. Part of that may fall in line with the fact Elsweyr is absolutely gorgeous. The one thing that I do wish they did not include in the game was that if you went into your map, you can always see where the dragons are flying around. This made it so dodging around them was pretty simple. In Skyrim, I loved that these fearsome beings could sweep down on you at any given time and sometimes kill you quickly. This is no different in Elder Scrolls Online. If you are spotted by a dragon, you are as good as dead, especially at the lower levels. For the main mission to be about these fearsome beasts freely travelling amok, it is a shame that you can so easily escape them. Bring on the death and destruction!
As the Necromancer is the newest addition to the Elder Scrolls Online classes, I feel that it is important I touch on what it has been like to play as the class. The long and short of it is that I found great joy in playing as the character, especially as the idea of practising Necromancy is something of a taboo in Tamriel. That being said, it is impossible to not enjoy raising the dead to do your bidding. Naturally, that means you can go through MP quite fast as you may be healing yourself or raising fallen companions. Of course, being a magic user also means that the Necromancer can be pretty squishy, so if enemies get too close, it’s possible to die quickly.
I am going to honest and say that I am still working my way through this beautiful game. Is there ever really beating an MMO though? Have I made my way around Elsweyr and seen and done a lot of things? Sure. But any and all Elder Scrolls games always offer you a ton of different activities and questlines to do that will sink you another 15-20-400 hours. The fact of the matter is this though. This game is amazing. With not having any kind of subscription costs either, it is a nice breath of fresh air compared to many other MMO’s that will only let you play to a certain level. Tamriel is breathtaking and playing the game was a LOT easier than I ever thought it could be. If you have not jumped into ESO yet, now is the perfect time to do so.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*