Monday, 17 March 2014

TESO Beta: Final Impression

Unfortunately I could not get TESO to run this week. I blame the stubbornness on my and TESO's part. We tried but it just did not work out. After downloading the newest patch, somehow it needs another 60GB of free space. After the initial installation demanded 60GB already. That is just too much. You are probably asking how can I present my impressions if I had not played the game.

It is a fair question. Considering I played it before, it will consist mostly of my past experiences with the game. I will talk about what left most impact on me, and how  I feel about it. This will be in a sense list of thoughts that were worth enough to be recalled. Let us start then.

First things first, the first person perspective. Not funny. I did not like it in Skyrim, and I do not like it in TESO either. As far as I am concerned it is not necessary and is much more a hindrance than anything of use. If people wish to hinder their ability to play the game optimally they are free to do so. But they should not complain that they did not see that one Templar who smacked their head from behind.

First person view is just a legacy feature, something to appeal to the veterans of Elder Scrolls. And in single player it might serve as thing that helps with immersion. But in an MMO, it is just not good, not functional. I do not understand why would anyone wish to use it, as it brings only bad and no good in actual combat. And let us be frank, the combat is what you will be doing for the most of your time spent in an MMO, at least until someone decides enough is enough and makes something entirely new, where combat is suboptimal.

I do not know for others, but in this day and age, four classes seems too little. Even though I clamour all the time how I always play Paladin or Templar or Knight or Crusader, I actually like variety. More the merrier. There is definitely place for more classes. If not for any other, then at least for leather wearing pet class such as Ranger or Hunter. Although, I am not sure if that is already incorporated in their rogue archetype, considering that the mage archetype can act as healer and not just damage dealer.

Quests are fun, and voice acting is a great addition. That said, they can turn into a tedious unrewarding grindfest quick enough, and then nobody gives a rat's tail about all the grievances of the quest giver and only wish to be done with them. I do not know why that is. I am used from World of Warcraft to simultaneously do a few quests at the same time, and if I never did them before, I take my time and read quests. Here, after couple of quests I arrive to the point where I just simply skip all the dialogue and go in the direction the quest demands of me.

I lie when I say quests are fun. They are tedious, and while dealing with only a few at a time helps to keep things in perspective, it does make everything look elongated and prolonged. For the most part it seems that the game is holding you by your hand and pointing you in the direction it wants you to go in. I hate that. And while the same could be said for World of Warcraft, there you at least have an illusion that you are in charge of which quest you will do first in a new zone.

The shiny beacons that grant sky shards are great way of encouraging exploration. At least in the initial stage. Three sky shards give you one skill point that you can invest in your skills. The only problem is that soon you got vast amount of talent points and no talents to use them on. Maybe that is just my problem.

I did not spend any of my time in the game crafting or in PvP. I detest crafting, because it is by default just another grindfest that turns profitable only to those who persist. PvP, well I guess it is just not my thing. I do appreciate that some things were made more accessible, such as having pickax without the need to buy it.

I do think though that their approch to locks and things you can loot in the world is flawed. There is no incentive not to steal something if you can. I would prefer a game where theft is a thing of opportunity, but if you are caught red-handed you are punished appropriately. I do not know if there are reputations in TESO as they are in World of Warcraft, but having your reputation reduced for committing a crime seems only fair.

There is only minuscule difference between the races, and I know this is not particular only to TESO, but its predecessors as well, but there are basically five races. The elves, humans, orcs, cat-people, and lizard-people. With humans and elves not really differentiating that much from one another in some cases. Yes some are fairer and some are darker, but if that is the extent of the racial diversity in TESO, I am disappointed.

But then again, I do play World of Warcraft where in some extreme cases even the males and females of the same race look like they are not of the same specie (looking at you Draenei, and Troll). So maybe I am not the one to talk since I come from a game where extremes are part of everyday life. I will laud the character creator of TESO as it is detailed and simple enough to use. And for someone like me who loves to make seven versions of the same character in a different race it is fun to use.

My final verdict? I will not buy the game, it is not for me. The entry price is far too high. I am not really a big fan of Elder Scrolls, and these days not even of an MMO genre in general. The game itself brings nothing new or revolutionary to the table. And I know this might sound like blasphemy, coming from me, who plays World of Warcraft, the undisputed king of taking features from other games and making use of them. But then again, Blizzard always loved to iterate rather than innovate, and they are actually good at it as well.

We will see what happens with the game when it is released. I am not too optimistic about it to be honest. The MMO genre is one in dire need of some innovation, but it seems that we are still a long way from seeing it. So I end up with a message to all of those that might think of making an MMO that will be the new Alpha nad Omega for next ten years. Do not iterate, but instead innovate. Otherwise you end up with a bad knockoff, and then you will wonder why everyone is still playing the undisputed king of iteration. Be different, do not try to fit in. Be something new, fresh, something entirely else.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, first person = *shudder* (also in the other Elder Scroll games). I was first looking forward to TESO a lot, but now I don't really know anymore either.


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