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Life's Distractions - Journey to Tamriel

Columns By Lewis Burnell on November 07, 2016

Life's Distractions - Journey to Tamriel

I’ve felt a little lost this weekend. I don’t know whether it’s my age, the fact my children occupy most of my time or that my tastes are simply changing, but many games I have are failing to capture my attention. Several times on Saturday I attempted to play Guild Wars 2 only to login, stare at my character, and wonder what it is that I could actually do that would hold my attention for more than five minutes. I couldn’t think of a single thing that I hadn’t already done multiple times or new content that ArenaNet have provided to keep me entertained.

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Even Black Desert Online, Paragon and Overwatch- typically my other “go-to” games - only satiate me for an hour at the most. There’s no question that all the games I’ve listed are excellent, but in recent weeks a disconnect between me and them sees me no longer rush to jump on and play. Where I’ll typically ignore minor niggles in a product, I’ve found that I can’t help but focus on them more and more. Black Desert Online’s pop-up still drives me insane, Paragon’s meta and balancing is stagnant and Overwatch has too little depth for my taste. Even Battlerite, as much as I love it, is only in Early Access and desperately needs a true ranked mode.

It’s only natural to enjoy videogames in waves. Real life often rears its ugly head and I’ve found that taking a step back, for weeks or months at a time, often reinvigorates my love of a particular title. I’ve “quit” Guild Wars 2 many times only to return and while I’m confident that my time with the game is well and truly over (ArenaNet lost their way a many months ago) I’m glad to say that I not only got my monies worth from it, but thoroughly enjoyed my time.

I suspect part of the reason why my taste for my current crop of games has changed isn’t just because of real life, but because they’re intentionally designed to satiate a player only briefly. There’s an immediacy to all of them and few, if any, long term goals. That’s largely fine if you’re constantly limited on time but if you want to get your teeth stuck into something, it becomes somewhat of a problem.

Typically I’m pretty faithful to one game. In the last ten years I’ve rarely gravitated from my MMO of choice and have only done so when said MMO has come to the end of its lifespan (Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer Online, Guild Wars). Now however I find myself darter from pillar to post in the hopes of being gripped, only to find it’s quite the opposite. It’s clear proof to myself that none of the games I play have quite clicked with me, irrespective of the fun they provide. Even recently I reinstalled Albion Online to see how the game was progressing, only to find it deserted. While I can appreciate there’s been multiple wipes as the beta progresses, the collection of complaints in and out of game have already put me off.

I’m now left wondering what I can get stuck in with to fill my time and will likely turn my attention to the Elder Scrolls Online. I’m hearing good things about Tamriel Unlimited and have several friends who have dived back in and praised the game. I never truly disliked the game and while it was certainly rough around the edges when it launched, it seems to have gone from strength to strength. The Justice System alone sounds particularly great.

Considering how little I’ve played The Elder Scrolls Online, I’ve already got that excited feeling about diving into a new world to explore. The last thing I remember is my character wielded a bow as well as a sword and buckler and looked pretty awesome (almost druidic). I’m hoping that the change of scenery, diving back into an MMO I know little about, combined with the opportunity to explore a new world and make fresh friends will reinvigorate my desire to play stick to one game. There are few things that beat diving into a “new” MMO, irrespective of when it was first released.

In the coming weeks you’ll likely have to put up with some diaries of my Elder Scrolls Online escapades as I get to grips with the game and what Tamriel Unlimited has to offer. It should be fun.

Have you returned back to The Elder Scrolls Online after Tamriel Unlimited launched? What are your thoughts on the game now? Is there anything I should know before heading in? Think I’m making a grave mistake? Let me know!

Lewis Burnell / The only game to have distracted Lewis away from MMOs over the last 15 years was Pokemon Red. Despite that blip, Lewis has worked his way through countless games in the genre in search of something that comes close to his much loved and long time dead, Neocron.

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