Peeking in at ESO


Last night, right after I managed to unlock Warrior for Tai, the FFXIV servers went wonky. So, I decided to take a break from FFXIV… and chose to pick up the copy of ESO that I bought, and play it for the first time since beta.

My very first impression of ESO was, “Wow, this is one HUGE patching game!” It seemed that every time I tried to launch it, the patcher would barely get 1-2% before I needed to turn it off and do something else. The patcher (like the game) seems to hog a lot of my computer’s resources, so I couldn’t leave it running if I wanted to play another game or do something CPU intensive.

I eventually gave up and left the computer on overnight to let it download… something I haven’t had to do with a MMO for years. Lucky that I did, because it was all patched and ready for me to try it out last night.

I sat down and did some quick research on classes and races that were meant for soloing well. Seemed that DK and Templar are well-liked, and while I usually go full on DPS, I chose Templar for my first character.

I read all about the differences between stamina based and magic based Templars and what race was best for them (I was reading wood elves). However, when I got to character creation, I found I still can’t stomach the way elf races look (sorry to those who like them). So I went back to my Khajiit kitty, similar to what I played in beta.

Screenshot_20150723_222921Took me a while to come up with a character that I liked, but I finally did, and was off to the introduction. This introduction has been quite streamlined since I last played (over a year ago). I notice there’s a lot less gogogogogo and more battle tutorial and teaching. It even spent some time teaching me to sneak and to pick locks.

The old tutorial I remembered was littered with tons of chests and urns to loot. They cut back on this significantly, too. However, the chests and mobs I did loot scored much better and more useful items (armor and weapons) compared to the urns that used to give a ton of crafting material and did nothing but distract me from moving forward in the story.

The story itself was largely unchanged. Again, mostly just streamlined with less annoying little objectives, getting you much more quickly to the point. I also noticed that NPC cutscenes have added some minor character animation. While this is still no match for cutscenes in FFXIV or Guild Wars 2, it’s far better than it used to be, when I felt I was talking to a wooden pole NPC who had good lip syncing to mostly mediocre voice acting.

Once I got back to the living world, I was deposited in a boat in Auridon. A few quests in, I was then diverted to Khenarthis Roost instead, which used to be the old beta starting point for new players. I think players gave a lot of negative feedback about the area (though I never had any issue with it), and it was completely removed during the last beta I played. I was surprised to see Khenarthis Roost returned to the game, and thought it was a bit odd that they sent you back there via quests. Why didn’t they just start us there in the beginning was strange.

I didn’t get much further in before I got sidetracked by installing add-ons (yay for a mini map!). But I was happy to see they decided to keep Razum-dar’s little storyline, since he was one of my favorite NPCs from beta. When they completely cut the Khenarthis Roost scenario, they ended up cutting a lot of the friendship-bonding my character had with Razum-dar… so I was all for returning to the noob island.

Speaking of which, though it’s a real pain not being able to see floating player and NPC names (is there an add-on for that?), I could tell there were a lot of low level players in the intro areas. I was quite surprised with the activity I saw there. I have no idea what server I’m on (is it a mega server?) or anything like that. But it looks like at this point, there’s a healthy low-player population, even on a random weekday night.

I don’t know how much I’ll get to play ESO, since FFXIV still remains my main MMO. But I’ll try to put some time into it and see how it’s changed over the past year or so.


  1. I played ESO fairly heavily from launch up to September of last year, then drifted away from it.

    Templars can dps with the rest of them. They just happen to also have a healing line in their skill tree, is all. But nothing says a templar has to be the group’s healer. Hell, I went into dungeons with a Sorcerer tank, nightblade healer, and 2 templars as the dps on more than one occasion. though NB tank/Sorc healer/temp dps was more common.

    There’s no way to turn on names, but you can turn on health bars which show different colors for the different types, so it makes it a bit easier to tell them apart.

    Don’t know how useful this will be, but here’s the listing of all my blog posts about the game that I made while I was playing. Might be some useful things in there:

  2. I had the same problems installing and patching ESO. Worst I’ve seen for a long time although Skyforge actually killed my internet connection until I uninstalled it so that was worse I guess.

    Interesting about the overhead names – that was hands-down one of my favorite things about ESO. I always switch off all player names as soon as I log in to any MMO for the first time and often I switch NPC names off too. Can’t stand seeing that forest of jumbled letters graffitied all over the lovely scenery. I like to have all names set to show on mouseover if possible or on mouseclick if not.

    The mini-map, though, that I compleely agree on – I had to go look for that in the first half hour.

  3. I’ll admit, ESO is tempting to me just because I like the design of the beastkin races. 😀 But I’m still slowly making my way through FFXIV, and I have sooooo many single-player games in my queue that I don’t think it stands a chance of actually pulling me in.

  4. I have been playing STO during the beta and after launch. Pretty heavily too. I have to say I really enjoyed it. I mean being a heavy sorcerer with a 2h sword XD Was really fun, but then I drifted from it, can’t recall why, but for some reason it happened.

    I tried going back to it a few times… yet to be honest I can’t get into it anymore, maybe I burned myself out, or focusing on other games and work is taking most of my time. With my time management skills I really have issues with time XD

    Speaking of games I will drop a shameless plug here. Skyforge open beta launched and I think some here might enjoy it, I know I did so maybe it’ll be fun for others. Try it out if you have time ^^

    1. I’ve read up on Skyforge, but I haven’t really seen anything that’s pulled me into it. It might be a good game, but I’m still way too immersed in FFXIV to give any other MMOs that much time. There’s other reasons for that, too, but I can’t give it away until tomorrow (I hope).

      1. Understandable, I have not been playing it often myself… nor any games for that matter =/ Usually when I start one there is a dozen or more things I need to do before that. XD

  5. I saw your notifications about ESO being on sale at GMG, and I admit I stared at that page for a loooong time in indecision. Ultimately though, I couldn’t pull the trigger this time. I just don’t have the download limit to be able to justify it at the moment, and I don’t want to potentially get hooked by an MMO when I still have TSW and all those steam games to get through!

    For now I’m just pressing my face up against the window and enjoying the impressions of others. Same with Skyforge – although that looks like it is closer to Vindictus or Destiny than most MMOs. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

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