My Experience With The Elder Scrolls Online Beta

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The Elder Scrolls Online Beta Weekend: February 28th-March 2nd

Elder Scrolls Online: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The good: The compass in your HUD actually displays the description of a quest when you focus on the marker, which was a very welcome change from having to consult the map every time you wanted to know which quest you were heading towards.

Elder Scrolls Online Beta

Elder Scrolls Online: Compass shows quest description (top). Look out for these Lore Books!

Your active quest also displays hints underneath the description, so if you’re ever lost or not sure what you’ve already done, the tips will help you out. Random items to pick up are not EVERYWHERE anymore, so it is easier to distinguish between what is important and what is not. Items worth finding will usually be in crates, urns, barrels, or chests and a message will pop up when you near a container letting you know if it’s empty or not. This cuts down on wasting time searching every container to find goodies. They also eliminated the need to keep crafting items with you at all times – you can store them in a bank and have access to them when at a crafting station, which frees up valuable inventory space.

Elder Scrolls Online Beta

Elder Scrolls Online: Inventory & Menu

First and third person adjustable view are also available at all times, so if you are partial to adventuring in first person and fighting in third, you can do just that. The PvP option in Cyrodiil is also a welcome new feature. You are presented with a huge map showing what towers and areas are controlled by what alliance. Each of the three is competing for land and Elder Scrolls, which are held at various outposts, and fast travelling to points controlled by your alliance is allowed. My time in the PvP was spent frantically fighting ridiculously large waves of enemy players alongside at least 50 from my own faction. You can choose to complete objectives, such as gaining control of certain outposts, killing a set number of enemy players, and capturing Elder Scrolls, but you can have just as much fun doing nothing but slaughtering your enemies. I was playing ESO by myself, and I imagine the PvP would have been a lot more fun if I had had a group. I found myself often running through fields lonely and wishing I had a friend to help defend me from random groups of enemies; but it shows a lot of promise. Another thing I enjoyed was how while playing, I often forgot that I was in an MMO and would be startled whenever a human player ran through my screen; it just feels so much like playing Skyrim. This is what I was hoping for when I first heard about Elder Scrolls Online, so I am pleased that they executed the “MMO with RPG feel” in that sense.

Elder Scrolls Online Beta

Elder Scrolls Online: Khajiit NPC

The bad: As I only got to play for a weekend, I can’t tell much about the bad of Elder Scrolls Online. Most of my bad experiences came from glitches and obviously don’t count. The only thing that ground my gears a bit was the new combat style. Those of you familiar with the Elder Scrolls series recognize the two-handed attack system – generally weapon in one hand, magic from the other. The look is still there with Elder Scrolls Online, but as I mentioned before your special attacks are mapped to keys 1-5. For a regular light attack, you click the left mouse button, to perform a heavy attack you hold the left mouse button. Holding the right mouse button blocks, and holding them both at once performs a parry of sorts. When your mouse hand is trying to attack, your other fingers are trying to hit the number keys, and your eyes and both hands are also trying to stay focused on and near the enemy, things can get a little crazy. Both hands need to control both attacking and movement at the same time, and things definitely got hectic and button-mashy more than once during play. It’s plain to see that this is their attempt at combining the classic Elder Scrolls fighting style with recognizable MMO combat. While it’s a respectable attempt, it could have been more well planned out. Combine this with the fact that you only have 5 attack keys to map to and need to switch them to agree with the weapon you’re using, and combat can turn into kind of a drag. Here’s hoping they smooth things out a little more before the release.

Elder Scrolls Online Beta

Elder Scrolls Online: Attack Keys (bottom). Look out for these Essence Runes!

The ugly: Aside from the expected glitches, there is not too much ugly to report about the Elder Scrolls Online! But while I’m being picky, a common element that I’ve always hated in MMOs is how sometimes items/containers/anything collectible will be unavailable for a time after one player takes it. Often you will have to wait around for the item to respawn if you want to be able to grab it too. In a game where, hypothetically speaking, you could have thousands of players on the same quest or in the same area at one time, this breeds unnecessary competition and animosity. For instance, I was working on unlocking a treasure chest which on my first try I just could not get. Before I had the chance to try again another player ran out from behind me, unlocked it and took the contents of the chest when he could clearly see I was going for it. I’ve heard the same thing from players of MMOs for years, and I keep wondering why developers would even consider that as an option. It encourages players to be greedy, and when there is no point to exploring an area because dozens of players have already picked it clean, it takes something away from the game. Part of the fun of RPGs and the Elder Scrolls series is exploring every hallway and nook, looking for crafting items and hidden treasure. This element was almost completely taken away in areas packed with people, and this was only in the beta with a limited number of players! When the game releases and thousands of people are exploring the same area, how will you ever manage to find anything worthwhile? Luckily this doesn’t seem to apply to looting items from enemies killed by two or more players, all of us were able to take the loot from the body. Why this didn’t apply to items throughout the world, I don’t know. Another thing that I couldn’t figure out (that may have been a glitch, but I could never find anything online about it) was that my quickslot items would never select. In game, you are able to map potions and items to quickslots, which is then brought up during combat by holding the “Q” key. You are able to highlight items with the mouse, and then I assume you let go of the mouse to make your selection. I tried and tried, I pressed every button imaginable, but was never ever able to actually select an item from my quickslots. As you can imagine, this made battle very frustrating because I could never use a health potion when I was about to die. I would hope they will be correcting this for the final game.

Elder Scrolls Online Beta

Elder Scrolls Online: Potency Rune

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