I participated in the beta for Elder Scrolls Online (for PC) and found it clunky and boring to play even then, yet I was still dumb enough to purchase the game shortly after it launched last year. I played it for a few days and found that my opinion hadn’t changed since the beta. It felt like it had potential, but ultimately I think the entire MMO genre is no longer enjoyable.
This week The Elder Scrolls Online launched on console, and again I had a desire to check it out. I found a copy at a Redbox (they’re finally starting to get Xbox One / PS4 games around here, though not very many) and decided to rent it, against my better judgement.
I just finished up playing through the first hour of ESO on the Xbox One, and was just as underwhelmed as I was when I first played it on PC. The opening to the game isn’t very strong at all, but I guess most MMO’s are slow to start anyway. Beyond that, I still don’t find the combat enjoyable at all, and none of the characters or the quests they’ve sent me on are interesting at all. When every single side quest in The Witcher 3 features interesting characters, environments and stories, it’s hard to play through dull MMO quests in a game like ESO.
The console version of Elder Scrolls Online doesn’t feature any sort of text chat, so instead communication is accomplished via voice. Voice chat is distance based, and players will begin to fade away as they get far enough away from you. This is certainly an interesting system, and something Destiny desperately needed (or still needs if you’re still into it). I will say the voice chat can be a little jarring, especially while wandering around in the wilderness and all of a sudden a voice cuts in. I’ve been startled by a random voice in mid conversation several times already, and I suppose it’s a nice way of making the game feel less lonely. At the same time I haven’t experienced any sort of meaningful interaction with other players, and all I’ve really done is run from quest to quest skipping through the boring conversations and dull conclusions to the quests.
In a nutshell I can say that Elder Scrolls Online is simply underwhelming. If you’re really into MMO’s then you may just be able to enjoy ESO, and it certainly plays well enough for a console MMO. I think my time will be better spent playing The Witcher and continuing my journey through Fallout: New Vegas, so I doubt I’ll play much more of Elder Scrolls Online.