Leveling in Morrowind (2/2)

As you may have already noticed, the background image of the blog has changed back to World of Warcraft. Our great Elder Scrolls Online adventure has come and gone…

What’s behind such a radical change? Well, it all happened around level 20, when we both got confronted with the clunky gameplay of the dual action bars. It broke the deal for Sisqi and I.

So, just as in my previous post, keep in mind that these are the thoughts of someone who has spent more than a decade playing World of Warcraft:

  • Forcing people into using more than one weapon set, just to be able to use more than 5 slots on the action bar is a bad idea. I don’t see any reason behind this choice other than wanting to be different from other MMOs. The result is that you have a first weapon equipped, with a set of 5 actions on your bar, and a second weapon with another set of 5 actions. During the fight, you have to switch between these weapons to be able to access all your actions. It feels horrible, especially coming from someone who is used to the extreme fluidity of the combats in WoW;
  • The builds don’t feel natural for a fantasy game. Casters with plate armor, melee with light armor and staves,… It reminds me Torchlight II, where the best ranger (bow & gun) had to use a wand to be optimal, it breaks the class fantasy;
  • The landscape feels too much the same. While it is beautiful and more realistic than WoW, there isn’t enough difference between the zones;
  • LFG is a joke. Our last attempt left us in the queue for more than 3 hours, we even forgot that we were queued, until we finally gave up;
  • The lag is real. High latency, endless loading screens, such is the daily life of an ESO player;
  • The combats feels chaotic. One opponent is easy, two and even three is manageable, beyond that, you don’t even know who you’re trageting, the combat is a total mess.

The lack of optimization of both combats and connection make it difficult for us to enjoy ESO. We have cancelled our plus membership and re-subscribed to World of Warcraft, where we were happy to find back a fluid gameplay.

Each time I try a new MMO, I come to the same conclusion: before creating a gorgeous environment or a complex crafting system, the developpers should focus on the gameplay, an area where Blizzard, to this day, reigns supreme.

Leveling in Morrowind (1/2)

We both were in Elder Scrolls Online on the day of its release, but it didn’t work for us. I can’t remember the reason for not falling in love with it, all I can say is that, at that time, we didn’t go further than level 6 on any of our characters.

Time passed and a Youtube video by Fextralife triggered my curiosity. The timing couldn’t be better, the Blizzcon was extremely disappointing, leaving no perspective of a great future for a World of Warcraft that had already nothing to do anymore with the game we once loved. Before we had the time to say Quidditch, ESO was bought and installed on both our PCs, and we were proud ESO plus members.

Since then, we’ve been roaming Morrowind, avenging mages, freeing slaves and dancing with spiders. Every aspect of the game has been a blast. The game is gorgeous, many places are breathtaking, exploring such a fantastic landscape and all the caves and dungeons it holds feels like a true adventure. I could go on to talk about it, using superlatives but it couldn’t come close to how ESO is a fantastic experience for both Sisqi and me.

A few of the screenshots we took during our leveling from 1 to 20 in Vvardenfell:

Here is what two players who have spent more than a decade in Azeroth especially appreciate in ESO:

  • Venturing in such a detailed world, with a compass instead of an overlapping map, forces you to look where you’re going and to recognize the landscape. It greatly contributes to the feeling of exploration;
  • The game is more “classic fantasy” flavored. It feels good not to play in a world where orcs ride pink ponies and rainbow dragons;
  • The chat options and the NPCs make you feel like you’re a part of the story. Many quest lines only open if you’ve completed a prerequisite. That way, you can’t rush into a hub, pick all the quests, follow the yellow dots, kill the mobs (eyes closed), hand back the quests and receive useless loot without even having a clue of what the whole adventure was about;
  • Crafting is more elaborated and doesn’t become useless as just as you hit max level;
  • There’s a real sense of danger. Most of the time, the boss at the end of a quest line will kill you if you’re alone. It makes you wanna be good at your class, use the best gear you can find, use potions and, more importantly, group with people. In ESO, no heirlooms that make rewards obsolete and mobs that couldn’t kill you even if they’d really try;
  • A Day & Night cycle where the night is really dark (without the help of a potion);
  • Instant mount for everyone (not only druids).

Voilà, I’m going back to Vvardenfell now, I have caves to explore. Also, they have Skooma…