Spammers, Dupes, Bugs
Spammers have plagued The Elder Scrolls Online since before day one. Gold farmers set up their operations in the game well ahead of the public launch, and were already hocking tens of thousands of gold just hours into the limited, Imperial Edition pre-order early access. A duping bug crashed bank accounts and ruined the nascent economy a mere week post-launch, and spammers and gold farmers have evolved constantly to keep one step ahead of what feels like an after-the-fact approach to eliminating them by the developer. As mentioned in other areas of this review, bots have been present in perpetuity in dungeons at boss spawn points, with customer service only recently taking action to eliminate them in large numbers.
In 2014, not having spammer or bot prevention active at launch is not an option for an MMO which aspires to be a triple-A game. These are problems that were addressed literally a full decade ago and have been the subject of baseline expectation by players. Not having spammer, bot, and dupe prevention in-game at launch is inexcusable, and asks your players to tolerate brokenness in the most fundamental of systems in your product.
Crafting in The Elder Scrolls Online is surprisingly well done. While it can be a pain in the butt to lug back a couple of dozen weapons or pieces of armor for deconstruction, and resource collection is arduous without the necessary skill points invested, the system itself feels fleshed out. Don’t think you can play as a crafter only though. There are no quests for crafters, and you get most of your materials from deconstructing things you find along the way in your adventures as a hack ‘n slasher.
There is no auction house at all. If you want to buy and sell, you have to join a “trader’s guild” and use their guild store. Alternatively, you can pay attention to the spam-ridden general chat where players are hocking their wares, and do some selling of your own. Crafting, though comprehensive, remains much like the rest of the game: monotonous and uneventful.
In The Elder Scrolls Online, you are first treated to the dulcet tones of Michael Gambon, whom you know and love as Dumbledore. Monty Python’s John Cleese then regails you as Sir Cadwell, and a litany of other A-list actors are featured voicing characters in the primary fiction. Unfortunately, this still only accounts for an infinitesimal portion of the voice acting you’ll experience. While we can certainly chalk this up to something that is definitely nice to have in an MMO, the script is so unbelievably boring that every piece of voiced dialogue text falls short in capturing one’s attention.
The dialogue is so monotonous, so dull, that by the time you reach level 10, if you aren’t listening to a primary NPC character in the main storyline arc, you are probably skimming dialogue text for keywords pertinent to your next pedestrian, by-the-books, drudge-fest of a quest.