Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Video Game Review: Elder Scrolls Online Beta 2/28 - 3/2

So recently i wrote a review on the Elder Scrolls Online Beta for last month shortly before the PVP beta. This week i'm going to write a review for the beta that took place on Febraury 28th through March 2nd. And to tell you the truth not a whole lot has changed in the game itself but what has changed is how much of the game i have experienced myself.

To begin with i'm a huge crafting fanatic. I love crafting with a burning passion and this game does it in a very unique way that feels right and comfortable. It's interesting now because i actually took the time to look at all the dfferent styles of gear, of which they added a few more from the last beta that i reviewed, and they've finally implemented more than one tier of crafted equipment, so i looked at all those, and this is what i can gather. They've removed recipes and tiered equipment knowledge. There are no "let's hunt the world for how to make *Insert item name here* and there is no "oh man i can't wait till i get 3 more levels in *insert craft here* so i can make the middle of the road version of *insert piece of equipment here*. This is an amazing revelation in the crafting world because you're not blowing your incredibly limited crafting supplies in an attempt to reach maximum level so you can start farming recipes/blueprints/whatever to make the not-fail versions of the equipment you want. Everyone starts off with the knowledge of how to make all basic armors which means there's none of the WoW style questers that obviously try to craft their gear (where they're running around with 2/6 pieces from a craftable set because they either don't know how to make the rest or they're too low of a level to wear it.

This raises me to another point i'd like to make: You can fully gear yourself at any level you like granted you have the materials. All Tier 1 armors (iron armors) come in almost every even level from 1-14 the only difference is the number of materials it requires to craft and the stats on the actual armor. This, i believe, is incredibly important, because i actually spent 2-3 hours of solid game time just hunting for iron ore veins so i could craft. And you know how many i found? two. And you know how much ore that gave me? 6 pieces. When it requires 10 to even craft a set of ingots, those numbers mean every resource you have is valuable.

Seeing as i covered crafting pretty extensively in the last blog about it? I'm just going to move forward from here without hesitation.

Combat in this game is very fluid. It has the appropriate look and feel of an Elder Scrolls game. you can traverse the world in both first and third person to your hearts content. There are "recommended" weapon and armor categories for each class but that doesn't stop you from playing a rogue using a restoration staff if you wanted to. The downside to that is: the skills you get are dependent on the class you take, so while you could be said rogue using said restoration staff, it wouldn't do you a damn bit of good because the damage is terrible, the swings are slow and all you skills expect you to be normal and use either a bow or dual-wield 1h weapons of some form. I think this is also equally fantastic because it pays a huge homage to traditional Holy Trinity style gameplay without defiling it and bringing a new balance to the new style of MMO's that are quickly taking over the market by storm. No one person can be proficient at every single thing as it has been in RPG's since the dawn of pen and paper and should be until the day the genre dies.I say this because if everyone could be proficient at everything? you'd just be better off playing the non-MMO version of Elder Scrolls. Where there are no real classes you just pick up some magic and magic away with a sword in the other hand.

Questing is also equally fluid which is perfect for an elder scrolls game. While wandering around the country side for quests, i managed to stumble across a small hamlet who's chief production is mining. Well sure enough there was a quest in the town, picking that up, i followed and entire campaign-sized quest line puts you in the middle of a sticky situation with the plague and a pair of questionable alchemists. This was all just looking for resources. Aimlessly wandering some more i found a cave that was inhabited by insurgents of a renegade High Elf syndicate. Fighting my way through those masses i managed to discover a note on a dead body that sent me on a quest to another major city in which i actively took a part in thwarting some major war between the true high elf monarchy and this renegade syndicate. The world is as close to living as they could possible get it in an MMO that demands structure and i think that will majorly benefit them in the long run.

The official game comes out on 4/4/14 and for those who pre-order the game they will get early access to the game which starts 3/31/14 and as with all traditional pay structures, you get 30-days free with that purchase. They've got two different versions of the pre-order. There's a standard edition, and there's a imperial edition which unlocks the race of the imperials for you to play in whatever faction you choose AND some additional cosmetic features that are not normally offered. None of which, i felt, justified the additional 20 bucks that they're asking for the imperial edition. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who's willing to shell 60 for the game itself (i know it's total bullshit [if you've read my other blog post about the price of video games]) and another 15 a month for the account. I imagine the game will eventually become free to play, and i'll welcome you just as happily when that day comes, but i would love to see you all on release day so we can play it up together.

Questing is another big thing of interest

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