The Elder Scrolls Online Review: Epic Adventure Or Epic Fail?

PvP And Grouping


At level 10 you get to participate in PvP, which, depending on your alliance, can be an experience in short-lived ecstasy or overwhelming suffering. For me, the width and breadth of PvP constituted a good day’s worth of engagement, though your mileage may vary. The system doesn’t mix it up too much from a baseline Realm vs. Realm, borrowing heavily from MMO greats of yesteryear like Dark Ages of Camelot and Shadowbane. Roving zerg balls of players in each alliance take on one another and there are some rather interesting siege effects that make checking it out entirely worthwhile. 

Unfortunately, PvP in The Elder Scrolls Online commits one of the classic offenses in MMO design as gameplay starts to boil down and one alliance steamrolls over the entire campaign map, forcing an exodus of opposition players to other campaigns. All the keeps look the same and have the same interiors, distance between points of interest is vast, and nearly all siege engagements repeat in much the same way. If you are keen on displaying an earned title from your PvP campaign, you could get great enjoyment out of the system as it stands. The key to victory is simple: follow the zerg ball and you’ll win, unless their zerg ball is bigger than your zerg ball.


I can’t say enough how truly terrible grouping is in The Elder Scrolls Online. Except for a small portion of the eight-minute-long group dungeons, of which there are only a small handful, grouping is utterly pointless. All quests throughout the game are completed singularly, and cooperative play is non-existent. Players are playing a single-player game next to other people who are also playing an unrelated single-player game. If both players in a group are not on the precise same objective state in a quest, they will see different instances of environments. Half of the time, players in groups can’t see the other person in the group due to the flakey way in which instances are handled. Players do not get credit for the kills of group members, whether it is against standard enemies or bosses.

There are no parts of quests where players need help from other players, and there aren’t any quests that you can do with another person. Grouping is boiled down to just being able to track where another player is in the game world that you’re both playing simultaneously. 

Unless you have a very strong pre-nuptial agreement in place and your marriage lacks drama, do not play this game grouped with your spouse.

Joe Pishgar
Joe Pishgar is the Community Director of Tom's Hardware US. He oversees the number one tech enthusiast forum in the world.
  • blackmagnum
    Fus Ro Dah?
  • tomfreak
    I say Epic Fail.
  • gaborbarla
    I am hoping that Bethesda goes back to what it does best and make single player games. It is disappointing that they have used so much of their resources to jump on the MMO bandwagon, surely this must have delayed something great that would have come out by now.
  • sumuser
    I admit, Joe Pishgar has a humorous perspective on some of ESO shortcomings.

    Joe brings up good points and I would say the review is honest from the standpoint of someone who just doesn't "get the game". I'm certainly not here to be Zenimax's fanboy, if one doesn't like the game then by all means unsub / uninstall.

    However, I'm having a great time with ESO so far and it seems like there are a lot of patches, fixes, improvements, tweaking, and even more substantial content on the way. If swords and magic is your idea of a cool MMO game than its worth checking out for yourself in my opinion.

    If you're a "temperamental" gamer who wants minimal bugs and glitches with polished content and mechanics in a modern MMO, maybe wait 6 - 12 months after release to try it out ;)

  • jossrik
    I played the beta, and it sounds like it hasn't gotten a lot better, personally, I couldn't see paying the sub. There are so many f2p/buy the game no sub that are good, not great even, but good that the sub methodology just doesn't work for me anymore.
  • stevenmi89
    wow joe bent zenimax over a small table and made their butthole raw.

    i played beta and was not impressed whatsoever.
  • LongLostUser
    I personally find this game very enjoyable. Theres been alott of negativity around eso before release and I seems like this colors the press. Every game has got problems in the start. Ive played more than a few mmos and eso got fewer starting problems than many of them.
    Public dungeons are pretty boring, but I find the quests and the variety to be quite good. The maps and areas are different from each other and quite visually good. Regarding open world bosses and dungeon bosses, well. the writer should really put some extra time in trying to fight them. If he gives up after 10 seconds and die, he really doesnt have a clue what he's doing. Some bosses requires more than one player and a good combination abilities.
    I think its sad that eso get so poorly reflected reviews like this. Its a faaar better mmo than Guild wars 2 and I recomend people to give it a try.
    What a sad review. Toms should really be able to do better.
  • maxiim
    Was downvoted to oblivion a year or so back when I said on some article here that ESO will be a over hyped polished turd. Guess many were just mad, wonder how they feel now if they ended up spending the money buying the game....
  • Zombie615
    I couldn't have said it better myself. This game is the biggest waste of $60 I've ever spent on a game. As much as I hate to say that it's entirely true. I've never been so disappointed in a game and I would have never expected this magnitude of disappoint to come from the one series that I've known an loved since my younger years.

    Personally they should just chalk it up as a failure an move on. I literally cancelled my membership 2 days after purchasing the game because it only took me a few hours to decide it was the worst pile of horse dung I had ever encountered. After realizing I had practically been fooled into purchasing this game my thought in mind is how many steam games I could have bought for that $60. Honestly things have slowly degraded in all aspects of gaming. So many companies are going to the quick money grab route an luring people in with enticing trailers where half the advertised content isn't even included.

    If you haven't purchased this game I highly recommend you spend your dollars elsewhere. I'd consider purchasing Skyrim 3 times over before I bought this game an I wasn't even that into Skyrim. That's just how bad this game is. Do yourself a favor use that $60 to go out an have a nice dinner. You won't have a sour taste in your mouth afterwards like you would had you purchased this trash.
  • zzzaac
    Ah, it isn't an Elder Scrolls game without bugs