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

Copy Pasta And Loot

Copy Pasta

For your edification, oh attentive reader, I’ve taken to assembling an infographic to list all of the dungeons that you can explore in The Elder Scrolls Online. There are 104 in total across the lands of Tamriel, not accounting for a small handful of “public group” dungeons. Seventy-three of those 104 dungeons are copy/pasted, and 31 are (as of this writing) not duplicated. 

70.19% of dungeons you explore in The Elder Scrolls Online will look the same, because they are the same.

The interiors of buildings in each of the alliances fare no better, with roughly a half-dozen grand total structural interiors between the three alliances. If you, as a player, have already been in an area where the game looks remarkably familiar, that’s because it is. In gaming circles and on Reddit, this heinous practice is called “copy pasta”, and this reviewer has witnessed no greater offender since Dragon Age 2 burnt our eyes out and made us beg for our fifty bucks back.


Loot is part of the reason we play MMOs. It makes you feel a sense of accomplishment to find a nice piece of equipment you can swap out, a sparkling gem that you can sell for a good chunk of change, or a nifty rare item that makes you feel accomplished for vanquishing that tyrannical boss monster. In The Elder Scrolls Online, if you kill a boss, you can get a gold piece or two, and possibly some worms that you can fish with. Side note: although cooking and fishing are both skills, you cannot currently cook any fish you catch. Anyway, the loot table does not appear to scale or change by much, as low-level bosses appear to drop the same amount of gold (one to four pieces each) as higher-level boss monsters. As for context on what a single gold coin can purchase, know that a decent horse clocks in at around 42,000 gold.

Therefore, there is very little sense of victory or success in defeating an enemy, because you know that you’ll not likely get anything worthwhile from it.

The Elder Scrolls Online, while scant on the other qualities that Elder Scrolls games have brought to the table, somehow managed to keep the irritating “feature” of being able to collect utterly useless trash items at a breakneck pace. If you’re really keen on securing that eighth copy of the recipe for Goat Dumpling Stew, or those bug guts that the epic atronach overlord had on him after he died, you’ll find the items gleaned from your adventures to be fulfilling. Even more brutal is the fact that the gear players collect and cobble together causes every player of the same race to end up looking like every other player of the same race, and even the rare set pieces look like the non-set pieces. 

During one’s time on the newbie island, you can encounter a goodly number of chests to open as you explore and go adventuring. After level eight or so, chests get rarer and rarer until spotting one is an extraordinary event and entirely unexpected.

Joe Pishgar
Joe Pishgar is the Community Director of Tom's Hardware US. He oversees the number one tech enthusiast forum in the world.