Urbanites and Elder Scrolls

Since an update for the Urbanites was about due, and there was some chat in the channel about this topic recently, I thought I’d take some time and throw some links up on what I know about The Elder Scrolls Online.  Not as exciting as talking about the best class of City of Heroes, the Blaster, but branching out once in a while is good for everyone.

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Personally I’ve played very little Oblivion and no Skyrim at all.  Sorry Skyrim fans, but the creepy disembodied hand thingies just turn me off.  I did appreciate the open world sandbox that the Elder Scrolls series seems to strive for.  Their class system was also nice in that it didn’t pigeonhole you into one play style or another, and offered a reasonably wide variety of choices to choose from and play with.

So far, reports I’m reading indicate that the combat and class mechanics are similar for TESO and that’s a good thing as far as MMO’s are concerned.  It means we’re out of WoW clone territory at least from a game-play standpoint.  As for the open-world sandbox part, I’m getting more mixed impressions.

The most positive review I’ve read for TESO is this article here.  It’s a strong enticement and almost makes me consider jumping in right at the outset, despite the $60 dollar price tag.  However, since this week was a major press week for the game, there’s quite a lot of other reviews running around worth considering as well.  Here’s one from other members of The Escapist that’s generally positive though it does point to a few problems, here and there.  Then there’s this article with a helpful title:  “Three Things Skyrim Players Need to Know About ESO,” that seems reasonably intelligent and has some good points to share.  The worst review comes from Rock, Paper, Shotgun.  Though the author only plays the first 7 or 8 hours of the game, they’re very down on the experience.  Other reviewers seem to indicate that once you get past the obligatory early gaming MMO stuff, things get more interesting.  So take that one with a pair of knockback enhancements.

So we will have to see.  Many of the reviews I’ve read either gloss over or avoid talking about teaming completely.  While I can appreciate the issues with trying to get a team together, and being forced to play the game in a controlled press environment, it seems a major miss to me to not look deeper into the MM part of an MMO.  Early reports are that team quests are bugged, which seems to be the standard thing to do with an MMO launch these days (sacrifice teaming first), but the game does have till April 4th (the go live) to try and clean up some of the teaming and other bugs being reported.  Teaming and shared questing are a big deal for me in MMO’s, and if done wrong can basically ruin the whole “shared” part of the game.  And while I love the low-energy gaming experience that usually comes with solo’ing an MMO, not being able to play with my friends (without a huge inconvenience) is a big problem.

Still it’s worth checking out if for no other reason then there’s so little else worth looking at right now.

Other news for the Urbanites.  There’s still talk of Secret World and Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I’m also aware of a D&D game going on right now on Saturday mornings using the Mumble chat server that I hear is fun and exciting and you should totally check out.  Ping me for any details and I will get you to the right people.  That’s it for this month Urbanites.  Next month, I’ll see if I can dig up some news on the other interesting MMO’s out there.  I hear some rumblings from Wildstar that are interesting again, and I’m hoping for some news on EverQuest Next and it’s Minecraft counterpart, Everquest Next Landmark.  Sadly no major work revealed as of yet on City of Titans, but I’m told they are plugging away.  We will see.

Next week, I’ll explain exactly what I mean by low-energy gaming and try to put the phenomenon in some context.  See you there.

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