I play a lot of MMOs. So say we all, right? But the one, four years later, I keep coming back to no matter what, is Elder Scrolls Online. It used to be Warcraft, which has become more of a “check out the expansion” title for me. But something about the sheer amount of content, progression diversity, and consistent updates keeps me coming back to ESO when no other game can.
Resident ESO-aholic Josh Hay wrote a column on this not long ago. He wondered aloud what it was that keeps you coming back to Tamriel, if you’re “one of us” and can’t seem to quit Zenimax’s game. And that’s the thing - I’ve never felt the urge to “quit” ESO. As a buy-to-play game, I don’t have to feel that I’m wasting money if I don’t play it every day for a month (though that crafting bag sure is pretty close to mandatory if you want to make stuff). The fact is, I can hop in and play its stories, level my characters, and so forth without spending an additional dime. Lots of games do this, the excellent Guild Wars 2 is another, but only a few do this without throwing a Cash Shop in your face constantly.
But if there’s one thing that I just can’t help but give props to with ESO, above all other competitors, it’s that Zenimax’s MMORPG is probably the most content rich in terms of quests and stories. It just keeps getting bigger every new update, and it’ll probably be absolutely massive when I’m writing a “Decade in Tamriel” article in another six years. Many games are older than ESO, but so few have this kind of questing girth to them.
I can spend hundreds of hours on one character in ESO, and still have things I haven’t completed. What’s more is that all of the content feels approachable, obtainable, even a bit at a time because ESO is always hopping with players in every zone thanks to the level-scaled content. That, right there, is one of the best parts of a truly great MMO. It always players. There are other games I’ve loved that I’ve left because there’s just no one else to play with. That’s not the case here. Quietly, and without a whole lot of fanfare, ESO has become the best MMORPG on the market (yes, of course, FOR ME).
Your mileage may vary, but as we get closer and closer to Summerset’s launch at the end of May, I’m reminded that when things get rough and I need a game to escape to, ESO’s always right there. I think many of you can appreciate that about your favorite MMO, and I hope you all have that one game still. For those of you who loved City of Heroes... I’m sorry. Too soon?