If you couldn’t guess from the title, CakeBoxFox’s and my plunge into the Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) has come to a halt. We’ve both decided to uninstall the game and unsubscribe from the fees after just 2 days of play. Here’s our reasons why we didn’t get on with ESO.
ESO seems to have been a let down for many players. Average Amazon user ratings put it at around 3/5 stars, and Metacritic puts user scores at around 6/10. Interestingly the professional critics were a bit kinder at an average 7/10. Those aren’t great numbers compared to other game averages.
ESO had such great potential, with a great deal of hype before the game released; there were huge expectations. Now, it’s reddit is quiet, there are hardly any blog posts dedicated to it and forums internet-wide are filled with people telling their stories of why they unsubscribed.
Here’s our story though, and its a little bit different from most.
I left the story in the last post with us feeling a little lost, and I think that’s the general feeling that runs through ESO. They made a design choice that they wanted to break from the tired old cliches of traditional MMOs. Unfortunately, whilst a good idea on face value, their decisions cost the game any direction. There is always a story, but it is always fleeting and almost pointless – you don’t get particularly invested despite some recurring characters that have no likeability at all.
That’s a relatively minor issue for us though. We could find our own fun, make our own stories, if only we were allowed to play together. ESO punishes players who want to play with friends. It will populate your version of the server with plenty of players, but you will dearly struggle to meet up and play with friends.
Where’s my Samwise?!
Like Frodo in the Lord Of The Rings I need my loyal sidekick beside me to make it to the end of the journey. For me, my Samwise is CakeBoxFox, and we had to work hard to make sure we could play together in ESO and even then certain points for solo only for no apparent reason.
ESO is an MMO. The thing is, if you can’t easily meet up and play with friends then its missing out on the heart of what it is to be a Massively Multiplayer Online game. Everyone needs their Samwise, but ESO punishes you for trying to play with friends.
ESO falling down on the MMO side of things would be fine if it was good at being an RPG – the second half of the bargain. But, it doesn’t do that very well either, which is probably what upset series fans the most. The combat is especially poor, with the skills leaving a lot to be desired.
The thing that really got us unsubscribing and uninstalling?
Well, the 24 hours it took to load the game up to playable spec should have been a give-away. The game ruined our computers. My older computer has not been enjoying having it loaded on at all. It could run the game relatively fine, but it ruined my hard drive. That said, both our PCs struggled incredibly with draw distance in game, with objects just randomly popping in constantly – but this seems to be a game thing rather than our PCs.
I’m reliably informed by CakeBoxFox that her sparklier PC went from a brilliant 8% fragmented to a shocking 21% fragmented from just ESO! Even her PC seemed to be a bit groggy from the updates littered all over its hard drive.
I think perhaps the worst bit of our ESO stint was that we had to force ourselves to play after our very first play. There’s something very wrong if you’re forcing yourself to play a game after the first play. Honestly, one night I was happy to just sit and do nothing much at all instead of play ESO.
We wanted to like ESO, and didn’t have most of the problems with it that many other players had. MMO fans hated it for its, not so great, innovations and Elder Scrolls fans hated it for its abandonment of all that made the Elder Scrolls a great RPG series. We’re neither of those categories and yet it still alienated us. It makes me wonder whether its too much to ask for a game that lets me play with friends and doesn’t ruin my PC?
Let me know your thoughts on ESO. Do you agree with what we thought of it?
Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com