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

No Roads Lead To Newbie Island

As a blockbuster release and the latest in the popular Elder Scrolls series, the game’s launch on April 4th was not without hiccups, yet it has seen remarkable success in both sales and engagement by early adopters and fans of the long-standing franchise. In this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the game’s features, systems, and gameplay from the player’s point of view.

Newbie Island

As you finish creating your character, you’re treated to the traditional Elder Scrolls experience of waking up imprisoned. You muddle your way through the standard tutorial, fighting uninteresting monsters in a blue-tinted otherworld before encountering Michael “Dumbledore” Gambon, voicing the Non-Player Character (NPC) known as “The Prophet”. He refers to you as “The Vestige”, which is where we get the term vestigial from, used to describe body parts that are no longer needed. This is your first clue that your actions in the world of The Elder Scrolls Online won’t matter. Once you finish the introduction escape, the game dumps you on a pier where you are given the occluded option of heading to the newbie island. 

The newbie island experience is so anguish-inducing that, in a rare case of listening to beta tester feedback, the developers provided an option of skipping it entirely as the default choice, foregoing a half-dozen Skyshards for skill point upgrades, leveling, and equipment opportunities. If you aren’t clear on what skipping the newbie island means until later, you may find yourself backtracking to find this choice that the game glossed over without prompting.

The newbie island and the area that follows varies mildly from alliance to alliance, but each is achingly dull. I found myself strained not to skip the voiceover dialogue, mashing the first option repeatedly just to get to the next leg in the quest line. You realize after a short period of time that the first option in every single dialogue encounter is the speediest way to get to the next part of the bland step-and-fetch-it quests that never, ever end and seem to have no meaning beyond dragging your character along a linear theme park-style ride from point A to point B. You can certainly venture off the beaten path as a loading screen tip prompts you to do, but you’ll find vast stretches of nothing punctuated by moments of mediocrity. Even in those few mild points of interest, it’s just make-work, empty-quest fodder.

  • blackmagnum
    Fus Ro Dah?
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    I say Epic Fail.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.

    PS
    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 ;)

    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • stevenmi89
    wow joe bent zenimax over a small table and made their butthole raw.

    i played beta and was not impressed whatsoever.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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....
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • zzzaac
    Ah, it isn't an Elder Scrolls game without bugs
    Reply