In my last column I asked a rather heated question, is ESO Dying? This is a question I get asked a lot during my livestreaming sessions. Another question I get asked is going to be the focus of this column. Is The Elder Scrolls Online worth buying?
There are a lot of people wondering if ESO is worth the purchase, if it is worth the subscription fee. However they’ve been told by people it isn’t because of [insert bug here]. If bugs were the reason to not buy a game the gaming industry would dissolve. There isn’t a game in the world that is bug free.
The most common issue right now affecting players is an FPS bug in Cyrodiil. Since patch 1.2.2 (June 16th 2014) there has been an issue in the game that is causing some players to drop drastically in FPS when fighting other players. Since this patch, Zenimax has been releasing a fix for this every week. These fixes haven’t fully corrected the issue but it has alleviated it for many players. Even though they haven’t nailed down the exact cause of the issue they are correcting it. This shows that Zenimax cares about the game and wants it to be the best experience for everyone. Personally, I haven’t had the FPS bug in a few weeks and I PvP all the time.
There are some other bugs which I am sure will be mentioned in the comments, but this is one of the biggest ones as it is causing some players to be unable to play unless they log out of the game and back in.
So, is ESO worth purchasing? That depends on what type of game you are expecting. If you’re looking for a World of Warcraft style game that has a mediocre questing line, but a completive, large scale raiding scene, this is not the game for you. I would suggest looking into Wildstar for something like that. Elder Scrolls Online isn’t a hardcore raiding game. It has End Game content, such as Trials, and an upcoming 4 man Arena. But neither is as competitive as World of Warcraft raiding. Raids in WoW can take hours to complete. Right now the Trials can be done, on average, within 40 minutes. A solid group can do them within 15 minutes. Are they as difficult as World of Warcraft? Yes. Sure they might not take as long but length of time doesn’t determine difficulty. World of Warcraft bosses have over 100 million Hit Points. Which take a bit of time to burn through, that isn’t difficult, that is time consuming.
Elder Scrolls Online is a completely different type of MMO, its experience as a player I don’t think can be compared to any other MMO on the market right now. If you’re looking for a slightly more casual game that is built around a central story line that is connected to everything you do in the game than this is the game for you. If you’re the type of player that wants to rush to end game content in a matter of days or weeks, you’re going to find yourself at end game saying there is no content to do. Mainly because you rushed through it all and didn’t have a chance to experience it. As of right now, with the game being only four months old, most of your content is going to revolve around the leveling experience. If you take your time, enjoy the immensely in-depth and incredibly well voice acted story lines you will reach level 50 with a very satisfied feeling.
At level 50 you’ll be able to do the 50++ content, which is basically going through the other two alliance’s quest lines. Personally not a very enjoyable experience for me, but many people like it. I feel this aspect of the game ruins any sense of alliance pride. You’ve just completed your own faction story line where you’ve been told how horrible the other two factions are, and why you’re at war with them. Now you’re going to experience their stories and learn about how horrible your faction is. So much for Pride.
However, like I said this game is only four months old, and Zenimax has already mentioned that they are going to be doing a complete overhaul on the 50++ content (veteran content). This is a huge change. A large portion of the game is being completely redesigned solely because the community doesn’t enjoy it. Another reason this game is worth the money. Not many companies would change such a massive part of the game strictly because the community didn’t enjoy it. These changes are already being put into place.
ESO is by far one of the most eye and ear pleasing MMOs to ever be sold. The graphics in the game are outstanding. The lighting (which is constantly being updated) is unbelievable for a video game. The audio cues in the game are just out of this world. So many little things that most MMOs don’t bother with. The sounds the different armour makes when you move, even bending over to pick up a reagent depending on your armour you’ll hear something different. I can’t tell you how many times I have jumped in my seat because of the thunder in this game. Is it so realistic that I have actually gotten up to check outside if it was storming?
If you’re looking for a game that is always pushing out new content, ESO is for you. As I’ve said before, the game is young. Only four months old and we’ve seen some fantastic content so far. Craglorn released not too long ago and it brought two Trials, an entire zone of questing, many new four player dungeons. Remember this game is fully voiced, so every NPC you see you can interact with, they all have something to say to you. This type of content isn’t easily pushed out, unlike games that use quest text.
After Craglorn was released we were given an additional Veteran level dungeon, Crypt of Hearts. One of the hardest four player dungeons I have played in any MMO. The mechanics and features used might be the infamous and over used “avoid red circles” and “kill adds” but the way they are implemented is exciting. The dungeon is a rush. You’re never not doing something and as a player you are constantly looking around to ensure you’re not standing in something and no adds are coming. These features are very unforgiving as well, simple mistakes could result in your group dying. Zenimax really ramped up the difficulty on this one. They did this because we said the previous ones were too easy. Another example of them listening to the community.
Early August we have patch 1.3.0 which will be introducing a plethora of new features to the game. Cyrodiil campaigns will be changing. These changes are designed to try and keep players from campaign hopping and to try and instill a bit of campaign pride in the players. It will also better populate the campaigns, as some of the campaigns currently are either unpopulated or very one sided. We are also getting some major guild updates, better guild stores, guild tabards, guild permission update, and one of the most requested features, a dye system for armour.
When it comes to content and keeping it fresh Zenimax is doing a fantastic job thus far. They’ve already mentioned a lot of other upcoming changes and content that is to be released in the near future.
So back to the main question, is this game worth purchasing? It all depends on what type of play style you want, like I said if you’re looking for the WoW style raiding, I’d look into Wildstar. However if you’re looking for a game that isn’t as hardcore but still challenging, has constant updates, fantastic story lines, a meaningful crafting system, than Elder Scrolls Online is for you.
I will be playing ESO for a long time. There are only two potential games that may take me away from ESO, and neither are planned to be released for some time, Camelot Unchained, and Trials of Ascension.
What do you think, is ESO worth buying? Would you recommend it to a friend?
Ryan Getchell / Ryan Getchell is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com. His roots go deep within the MMORPG gaming genre, branching back as early as Ultima Online. When he's not swaying around the forums you can find him lumbering around on his twitter, barking tweets. @Garbrac