With the impending release of The Elder Scrolls Online’s next patch ‘Dragon Bones’ coming this month (February 2018). We thought we’d put a list together that explains why you should be playing Elder Scrolls Online if you aren’t already.
Existing fans of the series will need no convincing when it comes to whipping up a character and venturing out into the world of Tamriel but for those who may not be so familiar with the series outside the hugely popular fifth instalment Skyrim, we hope this compilation will give you the reasons to take the plunge.
1: The Sheer Level of Detail – While all MMO’s have fleshed out worlds within which they take place, there has to be a well-established lore to back everything up and the world needs to feel vibrant and living. Whether it’s a thriving city, a small village outpost or the backwoods of the world, ESO is bursting with NPC’s and enemy mobs for you to encounter. Overhearing conversations lends more detail to the world and if you remember the small details you’ll find further references to these stories as your journies progress. It’s a trend Bethesda nailed down in the standalone games within both the Elder Scrolls series and the Fallout series. It continues on here in ESO and lends itself superbly to the MMO environment, creating one of the most believable and immersive worlds we’ve encountered.
2: Lore For Days – ESO also hits the mark for a well-detailed backdrop with it’s insanely complex and detailed lore that is found within the main storylines, the literally hundreds of side quests or the expansive number of books scattered throughout the game world. Perfect for both lore junkies and new players looking to discover the world around them. There is so much lore in fact that two real-life tomes were released just so you can read up on everything at your own pace. Collecting the in-game lore books is even part of the 100% completion (as if you could ever reach truly such a thing) so it’s well worth seeking them.
3: Helping in the Community – Starting a new MMO is always daunting and a community can make or break a game, a toxic community will, of course, deter new players and an overbearing community for long-established games will have much the same effect.
The ESO community, however, is one of the most welcoming and patient we have come across. New players are welcomed in with a little friendly banter and a host of veteran players ready to help you get started, show you the ropes and bring you into their guilds. Resources outside of the game such as the message boards and third-party websites are aplenty and add to this support network to help fresh faces get accustomed to the sprawling game.
4: You Want Content? – As if the literal hundreds of quests and content in the base game weren’t enough, Bethesda is still dedicated to providing content to ESO. Since in its release in 2014, it’s received paid DLC and free updates including the massive Morrowind chapter which takes players back to the much-loved area from the third Elder Scrolls game of the same name. This DLC expansion offers a further forty-plus hours of gameplay, new classes, weapons and other items. This is alongside new dungeons, new quest lines and other new areas that have been added to the game over time.
Other ‘Chapters’ have been mentioned to be in the works and the future of ESO was laid out briefly in the game directors end of year letter, published back in December.
5: War Mode, What is it Good For? Well…. everything – It could be argued that ESO plays in two halves, you have the bread and butter PVE, sprawling, epic story based MMO half and you have the PVP half which takes place in the Cyrodil area seen in the fourth Elder Scrolls title, Oblivion.
The story behind this PVE war mode is that the ruby throne sits empty and three factions (of which you will align yourself to one of at the start of the game depending on your race) are fighting a huge war to control. You can step onto these battlefields and help other players from your faction capture and defend holds, temples and keeps to control areas of the map, it’s also possible to capture actual Elder Scrolls to boost your faction’s chances.
You’ll be fighting against hundreds of opposing players trying to wrestle the spoils of war away from you in campaigns that last thirty days. These battles can get intense so you need to know your role before diving in. At the end of the campaign, the highest scoring player will be crown emperor and the highest scoring faction will be declared the winner, you as the player will receive a chest of gear that varies depending on your contribution levels to the campaign.
This is an incredibly fun mode, you can buy siege weapons and operate them when taking keeps, this includes battering rams, ballistae, catapults and a range of defensive items too including vats if boiling hot oil that can be thrown over the invading player controlled enemies.
6: Balance, Steady There… – Another important aspect of an MMO is finding the right balance between subscriptions, base content brought and paid for and of course those pesky microtransactions. When first launched ESO was subscription based only but it didn’t prove at all popular with players and so the base game was eventually given a price tag and the subscription basis reworked into ESO Plus, an optional service with its own advantages.
If ESO Plus doesn’t sound like the right thing for you, that’s fine there are loot box style ‘Crown Crates’ and a ton of cosmetic items you can pay for via microtransactions, this also includes the newly included player homes and of course the game expansions. None of this, however, is essential, you can still play and compete in the vanilla version of the game if you so chose, proof that you can balance your game for all without becoming too greedy.
7: Fluidity, Let it Flow – ESO plays, mechanically, much different to the standalone Elder Scrolls games. The combat here though is incredibly well designed and fluid, your character’s skills in combat will become second nature and in no time you will be chaining moves together to defeat bosses and all other foes.
As combat is the main key to ESO it was crucial that the devs got this right and the system they have implemented is so fined tuned you’ll wonder how you ever got anywhere in Skyrim or any of the other titles, if a sixth Elder Scrolls game is ever to surface it needs to take pointers from the ESO combat system, it’s just a fact now.
These are just some of the reasons ESO deserves your attention and with the Dragon Bones update coming very soon, hints and tips for new players are being re-worked and made much more prominent with the next patch so there is yet another incentive for new players to get involved.
Check it out on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.