TL:DR – ESO was pretty bad, but with Tamriel Unlimited, its worth every penny. With the lag issues fixed, loads of small content added in, it takes easy a top 5 mmo spot. Compared to its competitor, Guild Wars 2 (as in they are both buy to play) I will say it has far more replay ability. If you purchased it before, please redownload, if you’re thinking of buying, considering reading this review, if you don’t want to read it, buy it. 9/10
Overview – At the start, ESO had a lot of hype, and definitely had a huge shadow they had to live up to. To me, they had one of the best paved roads to build a game on. Blizzard had their road with Warcraft, other games had to make something out of nothing. But ESO, they had already one of the biggest RPG markets to appeal to, so no doubt the game would sell, but did they kill the game before it was released? Maybe.
The closed beta for ESO was without question, the worst beta I have ever played. With so many bugs and at times, unplayable lag, it was not worth spending my time. Now, I understand a beta, so this is not a rant on the beta, I fully understand that the beta does not show the game. However, I was a first wave beta player, and played every wave of the beta, and ill tell you, the bugs were never addressed. Simple spawning bugs that would prevent players from continuing their quest line, instead players had to go through rigorous methods of reloging in hopes of finding a different instance where the boss would be spawned. From the first wave, to the last wave, the problems remained. Which is fine, they probably have the fix and are just waited for the final release patch right? Wrong.
Day one of the games release was actually, not bad. Had a smooth launch, expected amount of lag but the servers stayed up. A solid few hours until people reached the quest lines where the bosses had bugged before in beta. They were still bugged, that small issue cost the game a certain amount of players who had the opinion of, if it was a problem in beta and still isn’t fixed, im out. I understand them, but I a not that type of player, so I moved on.
The game just did not feel complete, it lacked several things to make it a good MMO. One of the things that made it a bit different, but I guess followed the lore a tad bit, was the lack of an Auction House. The game instead uses a store system that is placed in the guilds. I actually like this. Guilds are account bound and you can be in up to 5 guilds. There are guilds out there that are dedicated to one aspect of the game. Of course you have your role playing guilds, pvp and raid guilds, but you also have vampire only guilds, werewolf only guilds, vampire hunting guilds, werewolf hunting guilds, and my personal favorite, trade guilds. There are even several different types of trade guilds, raw materials only, gear only, crafting mats only, weapons only, so many different guilds to offer different things that you really have to allocate your precious 5 guilds slots carefully to fit how you will play the game. I did and didn’t like that part, it made guild slots very precious and almost invaluable. To get the best variety of store options, you needed to be in more then one guild store. Personally, I was in a PvX guild (more on the pvp side) and 4 guild stores. Keep in mind all guilds can have a store, all it takes is 50 members to enable it, but their not always managed well. The main issue everyone had with guild stores were that there were two fees charged. 10% in taxes in placing the item (that’s fine its expected) but there was also a 15% charge in “House Cut”. That’s kinda ok to, it goes to the guild and such… but it didn’t. It just vanished, people were outraged. If you sold an item for 100k, you lost 25k to absolute nothingness. Zenimax gave no hints on what it was for and everyone kinda thought it was just gonna be a thing. That’s not true now, there is still a house cut but it does go to the house. One of my favorite additions to the game are guild traders. Guild traders are NPC vendors set up around towns and allow other players who may not be in the guild to still access the guild store. This opened up metric tons of the market and created a lot more cash flow for those out there who sold food and potions.
A huge issue people had was immersion. The game had several game breaking level glitches, boss resets, and almost instant mob respawn areas that allowed people to hit level 50 within a few hours of the game coming out. After that it felt as if the veteran levels were even easier to get through. You could, through glitches, get to Veteran Rank 10 (ill explain the system of levels later) in just a few days. These were not the only glitches, sadly. The worst were the bots at farming nodes. They were simple spam click bots that would crowd around farming nodes gathering the mats as soon as they respawned (which at the time, respawned at the same spot every 3~5 minutes) causing two really big problems. Creating loads of data transfer causing more server lag, and preventing players from being able to harvest resources needed by their profession. That problem went unfixed for the first 3 months I played. Another issue the bots caused was the chat spam, there was no filter in game to prevent the spam, and with how the chat box was sized, the bots were actually able to type in such a correct way that their names were sometimes unfindable, and for people running a lower resolution, they had to rely on other players to provide the name so they could manually type in to block. The chat spammers were first fixed by modders by creating a chat filter addon that allowed you to type your own key words which would then auto ban the player if the they were typed. Because this “fix” did not come from Zenimax, people were outraged.
As for pvp, it was painful to play. With the worst lag I have ever experienced in a game ever. With the only goal was just to take keeps and scrolls, the pvp was a constant battle which quickly got old. The only strategic part to the pvp was to capture the 6 inner keeps so that your faction can crown an emperor which gave buffs for pvp, and pve. With game breaking glitches from the spawning of spawn camps, and NPC defenders, it was brutal. The campaigns lasted 3 months and it was an extremely agonizing 3 months with the pvp map crashing a few times to cause the players to be suck, and unable to be played.
I know it has seemed that all I am doing I bashing the game, well… I only wanted to let you know all the bad before we talked about the good. Because to truly understand how well the game has gotten, you need to know its scary past.
Zenimax worked their ass off to finally add all the little things that were missing. Keeps in pvp actually give the controlling guild a reason to control it, and you can even level the keeps up, giving a much bigger reason to defend them. The lag is almost completely gone, still get a little laggy in towns but typical lag due to many players processing NPC transactions. Bots are inexistent, it would seem they dropped an atom bomb on all bot accounts and they were nowhere to be found. No chat spam, no more bots around nodes. With additions of more guild controls, being able to steal from NPCs (yes, so lore friendly) and being able to even kill NPCs causing yourself to become wanted, the game feels more like Elder Scrolls then it ever did. There are still some level glitches, but nothing like it was before. Most of the spots have been fixed, and a lot of even been redesigned so that certain areas are not accessible. In pvp, the spawn camps and spawnable NPCs were taken out of the game… but not entirely. They were taken out of the shops that sold them but not removed from the games code, so players (like myself) who stocked up on loads of them before they were removed, can still summon them in PvP and cause heavy havoc. It doesn’t happen often and with it being over a year, they’re almost all gone.
The way the leveling works is actually very cool. The game runs three factions (Daggerfall, Ebonheart, Aldermi) all are race locked (unless you pay for the option to make any race in any faction) in most cases, in order to experience all quest lines throughout all factions you would have to make 3 toons and play the game 3 times. Not in ESO. You experience all factions leveling from 1 to Veteran 10. 1 to 40 (40 to 50 is in an all access zone) is questing in your starting area, for example Ebonheart Pact, after 50 and you have completed the main story line quest you are then turned into Veteran Rank 1, and teleported to the starting zone for Aldermi Dominion where you then start the game as if you were a level 1 AD player, only this time you’re a V1 EP player. This goes till around V5 where you then start in the Daggerfall Covenant zone, playing as a level 1 DC player, but as a V5 EP player. You do this till you hit V10 where there are new maps to get you to V14. The game did this so that people could play one character and experience 100% the game has to offer.
The game is very good, its worth every bit of $60. The store that is set up is for account upgrades, mounts, cosmetic costumes and potions that once capped, aren’t that great (the potions provide more healing,stam,mana regen then if bought from a store, but less then player created)