Author Topic: ESO Final Beta - My Review  (Read 1406 times)

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Offline Shadowwolf

ESO Final Beta - My Review
« on: March 03, 2014, 06:10:54 AM »
So this past weekend was ESO's final (I think) beta before release. They have a set launch for April so considering thats only a month away, I dont see them really doing another beta test.

This weekend was basically what the finalized version of what ESO will be at release at least. As far as the plans after and content additions, etc, I have no clue. Ive played the beta since August of last year and I can say that the game has definitely come a long way in that time period. When I started it was limited to about 3-4 classes and about 3 races and now its all there.

Professions

We look at WoW and theres a limit to professions. You have your secondary ones like cooking, first aid, etc and then you get to pick 2 others. They can be any combination but typically to be self-sufficient and to generate income, one has to go a gather/craft route. For those with no interest in making things, gather/gather pays the best. In ESO you can do it all. Blacksmithing, Alchemy, Enchanting, everything. You can however use skill points (similar to talent points) to enhance those crafting skills of your choice in various ways. Bonuses to cooking, Blacksmithing, etc.

The research system I think is nice. There is no discovery by crafting but more of discovery of enhancements by researching items that have dropped for you that have various bonuses. Typically this research takes about 6 hours for each time you do it, but you can research all crafts simultaneously. This means you arent limited to one discovery per 24hr cool-down like with WoW. You are however more limited as you're having to rely on random drops, but with the shorter cooldown it somewhat makes up for that. Plus...the WoW discovery model is random too whereas the ESO method is more controlled by the player. You can pick and choose your research if you have the drops to do it with.

Social

The social aspect of ESO is odd. There are chat channels like WoW has and pretty much every other MMO does, but the navigation of the different methods of socialization are a little bulky and cumbersome at the moment. Im hopeful that it will improve over time, but by comparison WoW has a more streamlined communication setup which is based more on the old IRC methodology and ESO is trying to combine that with its own. Seeing a guild roster takes a few steps, inviting players the same, switching between group chat and guild and whispers, etc all a bit more cumbersome that I would like. In addition to that, the chat box vanishes after a few seconds. Basically if you missed a lot of messages and convos in WoW, you are definitely going to miss a ton in ESO as it stands now. Unfortunately as far as I could tell, there is no way to change the fade out behavior or timeout of the chatbox at this time which is annoying. I like seeing it constantly so I can glance at it once I can divert my attention. To get it to re-appear you either need to see activity in it (guild, group, private message) or open your social window to see it which is annoying.

Even the guild invites, structure, and so on is a little odd. Admittedly, my only comparison is WoW, ive not played any MMO before WoW and ive dabbled in Rift and a few others briefly but so little time spent and so long ago I cant recall them to compare.

Koth and I also had some issues with quest phasing. We think we found the solution, but inviting someone to group and chasing them down kept us invisible to one another until one of us selected the "Transport to" option which brought us to the nearest transport shrine. Once we did that, we could see one another. Im thinking this might be a bug thats on the list for fixes, but I dont know for certain.

The nice thing is that a sort of "Battletag" system is already in place where you can communicate and message someone through their username. @Shadowwolf will work to message me on any character Im on, though I wasnt able to test this cross faction.

Guild wise you can be a member of multiple guilds at once. This one im torn on and not sure if itll be a good thing or a bad thing. I like that it gives folks options, but im not sure how well that will work out in the long term. It might also prove to be confusing with chatting in conversations in having to switch between each guild channel when you reply. I can see it becoming overwhelming quickly for many folks once the guilds get larger.

Economy/Storage

ESO has no Auction Houses. Thats right, no AH. No central point to go buy pots, mats, sell stuff, etc, between players. Once a guild reaches a certain size though you get access to a guild shop which allows guild members to sell items on it to other guild members. Being you can be a member of more than one guild, this is where that feature can become useful. The goal in ESO is to encourage face-to-face trading and selling of goods and items. Plus, theres the NPC vendors. I really dont know how good of an idea this will be in the long term but we shall see. I dont personally think its going to be good.

Gold is hard to come by at least at the start. Like WoW was years back, gold was hard to earn. If you had small bags then you were doubly screwed. In ESO its no different. There are vendor trash items to sell, but they come few and far between. Most items are needed for crafting, and since you can do all professions...space gets gobbled up very VERY quickly. You start out with 40 slot bags and can upgrade to 60 for 400g, but then the next upgrade jumps to 2000g. Bank space is just as costly. You start out with 30 bank slots, the first upgrade is 1000g and you only get 10 more slots.

Everything has a stack size limit at the moment of 100, which seems nice, but I can see it becoming problematic in the long term considering how many mats are needed for crafting. There are also a few bonuses to the bank/bag system in ESO in that any mats you put in your bank dont take up bag slots but can still be used at crafting stations without you having to pull them out beforehand. There is one "bonus" im not sure is such a good idea in that all chars on the same account share the same bank storage. Its nice because you dont have to mail to alts and whatnot, but...again...limited space for all that crafting stuff.

This system needs a big overhaul and improvement but if they offer housing like in Skyrim with closets and whatnot, then that will solve it easily. So far though I havent heard anything on that yet. There is much debate on it, its been in previous single player ES games, so I would imagine it might eventually make an appearance in ESO.

Interface / UI

The interface for ESO is...well...bulky. There is a lot of screens and options for your character and I cant really figure a way to make it any more streamlined than they have, and sadly it really isnt. Its hard to consolidate all that information in a short few screens. There is the option for addons so I would imagine that eventually people will come up with UI designs like they have for WoW but for the game, it works, its just something that takes adjustment.

Looting / Natural Resources

Looting is instanced to players. That means what you kill nets you a reward tailored for you. Its a social loot system that gives rewards if you participate on a kill. This means that the days of having people sit there and watch you struggle against a pack of mobs and die, then pulling a particular rare or something once youve fallen are over. People can jump in and assist and net a reward thus giving them an incentive to assist you in a kill unlike WoW which doesn't give an incentive encouraging anyone into helping and rather encourages selfish and asshole behavior in that respect. Its also a pain in the ass when someone decides to farm an area with a group and tags everything in an area and you're by your lonesome.

As far as natural resources go, they are server wide. This means people can run up and ninja them from you if you are fighting to clear to it. Same with loot chests.

Megaserver

We're getting used to this concept in WoW now with all the server merges going on. ESO uses a "Megaserver" concept where everyone who plays in North America will be on "1" server. In reality it isnt "1" server, but it gives the impression of being one server. This eliminates cross-realm nonsense and not being able to play w/ friends who are on another realm easily, etc because everyone is in the same spot. To keep population numbers in check and not overcrowd areas the server phases different areas into groups so only a handful of folks per group are in one area and not the entire server. This also means you might be in the same area as a fellow friend or guild member, but if you arent grouped, you might not be able to see one another.

Naming works a bit differently with this system and ESO gives the First/Last name option. This means people can have the same "last name" if they choose to establish virtual families. The only limitations are the naming guidelines of:


Quote
Players can use more than one space in their character names. In fact, the current limit is a maximum of four hyphens, apostrophes, or spaces in total, so players can come up with all kinds of names, like Nh’yen the Ter-Grol. This should be especially convenient for players who want lore-based names for their Argonian or Khajiit!


You can of course have just 1 name, but thats going to be first come first served across the entire North American player base =P

PvP

I didnt play it, cant give any feedback. Plus...Im not usually a huge PvP fanatic as it is, once upon a time I was, but those days died out for me. When I do decide to experience it in ESO that might change and I could love it, but it will likely be some time for that day and most of you will probably experience it long before then for yourself.

Summary Thoughts

Its different. To me thats good. There are things that could be better, there are things that are awesome, but it isnt WoW nor do I think their goal is to try and make it WoW. It is like playing Skyrim or other ES games just in an online/never ending setting. There are similarities but if you go in playing it expecting it to be a "WoW Killer" or successor, its going to disappoint you. To me it shows a lot of promise and if they listen to the community and make right/good decisions in development, it will be a formidable alternative or even in addition to WoW.
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