I just finished playing The Elder Scrolls Online for their beta weekend, and for the most part I was pretty impressed. It is an Elder Scrolls title, so we are all expecting big things, and I’m hoping Bethesda will be responsive to feedback from the beta weekend and make a few tweaks before the game goes live. Granted, I only made it to level 6 before the main quest line was bugged and I couldn’t progress further, but there is one glaring problem with TESO.
Character creation is awesome, just like any other TES title. There are TONS of customization options (I think there were 5 or 6 sliders just for sizing and placing my character’s nose). You can pick from 9 races in 3 different factions, and 4 classes that really only define your starting abilities.
There is a distinct Elder Scrolls feel to the game. The frame of view, user interface, and combat system are nearly identical to Elder Scrolls V. Bethesda gave us awesome visuals and nostalgic locations. Everything about how the game looks and feels will be familiar to fans of the series.
But then we get to the root of the problem with TESO. The game just doesn’t feel like an MMO. It feels like an adventure game with a bunch of people getting in your way while you try to complete quests. When you go on a quest, you see everyone else that is doing that same quest, but they don’t affect YOUR version of the quest at all. This holds true even in the main quest line, which should be instanced but isn’t.
TESO is launching with a pay to play model and they have a long way to go before they convince me to pay anything monthly for the game. For an Elder Scrolls game, it looks really fun. I would gladly purchase the game for $50 or $60 if I could play it indefinitely. For a subscription based MMO, I’m not sure it will be worth the investment. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Bethesda switch to a free to play model after launch – in fact I expect it. When that happens, I’ll absolutely revisit the game.
Ben is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PCGR. He writes much of the content, manages the site, and does other editorial things that would bore you to tears.