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The Adventure Begins

Lewis Burnell Posted:
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My life in The Elder Scrolls Online didn't start too well. After logging into my character - who transpires to be a level 15 wood elf - I accidentally shot a guard with my bow. Entirely unintentional as I tried to discover how to turn my HUD on, I'd only be in Daggerfall for 60 seconds and already had a bounty on my head.

Unsurprisingly the guard that found an arrow in his back wasn't too pleased and decided to follow me for what seemed an eternity. When he did eventually give up the chase (honestly, I thought he’d never stop) I found myself amongst a pack of wolves. Panicking and with only my bow equipped I only just made it out alive, all thanks to a random player who happened to stumble upon my frantic endeavors.

With a bounty on my head and a fine looming should I get caught by a guard, I decided to look through my quest log. It wasn't too heavy and it looks as though I'd completed a great deal of the Glenumbra map. In an effort to familiarize myself with my character before getting lost in my journal, I ended up asking dozens of questions in zone chat. How do I get my HUD to stay on? How do I repair my armor? Where are my abilities? How should I spend my points? Fortunately for me it turns out the community is incredibly helpful and within seconds I had dozens of whispers from players providing me with help and advice. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so welcome in an MMO.

I have to admit that I felt overwhelmed when logging in (I probably should have started over) and while that's partly my fault for taking such a lengthy break, it's also incredibly exciting as I’ve no idea where to begin. Where should I go? What should I be doing? How should I build my character? I’ve still no idea - even now -  but I decided to work my way through my journal just to see what the story would throw at me.

Deciding to pursue “Chasing Shadows”, I had to work my way into an underground chamber in order to locate some sort of item. Despite the chamber being inside a hovel, towards the east of the city, it’s amazing to think just how much atmosphere The Elder Scrolls Online has. It’s rare for me to connect to any instance or dungeon irrespective of which MMO I’m playing and I suspect, in part, it’s because of all the “noise”. The cluttered interfaces, the constant display of chat and health bars everywhere seems to snap me instantly out of any immersion. Not so here and for the first time ever, I’m actually on edge entering a location.

My quest turned out to be relatively easy and the dungeon I crawled into incredibly short. Regardless, I experienced more trepidation and a sense of adventure in those solitary ten minutes than I have for years across a multitude of MMO’s. So much so that I honestly can’t wait to see what the world holds for me.

If there’s anything that niggles in The Elder Scrolls Online, it’s the fact that the combat seems a little...odd. It’s action based and requires use of dodging and positioning and yet I feel somewhat detached from my actions, as if there’s a slight delay between me, say, firing an arrow, and my character eventually doing it. I’m also finding it hard to ascertain health gained, damage dealt and the actions of my enemies. Perhaps with time it’ll all become clearer as I get used to the pace of the game; some fellow players did recommend that I check out a variety of add-ons available. Although I’m rarely a fan of bolting on extras to my client, most that I’ve seen look lightweight and worthwhile (I’ll let you know how I get on with them).  

Although I’m only in my infancy in The Elder Scrolls Online and as this diary series will document over the coming weeks, it’s already had a huge impact on me. The game is unquestionably fun and the world is brilliant. Hopefully the combat will grow on me and if anyone has any suggestions on how I should be building my character (I want to wield a bow as a minimum) or what add-ons I should be getting to make my life easier, do let me know.

Are you just starting out in The Elder Scrolls Online? How have you found the combat? Do you find its instances and dungeons more atmospheric than others in the genre? Let me know!


Lewis Burnell

Lewis has played MMOs since Ultima Online launched, and written about them for far too long.