Just wanted to get this off my chest. I came on here to say goodbye, but in the process of typing this out I realized that essentially I left a long time ago and am just now accepting that fact. In case you care enough to keep reading, I describe my experience with TESL below. (TL;DR – This game used to be my passion but the deterioration in both gameplay and community spirit has led me to spend my time and money on other CCG games now. I wish the best for the game and all of you.)
I played Hearthstone heavily from 2014 to mid-2016 and like many other people, I hated what all the new RNG effects did to the game, especially starting with the Old Gods expansion. I am a huge Elder Scrolls fan, so when TESL went to Open Beta I was all over it. TESL quickly became my favorite way to waste time. I loved the lore, the art style and the added layers of complexity from the runes and the lanes. The developers didn't seem to be afraid to have more than a few words of text on the cards. The whole thing catered to a more mature CCG audience than Hearthstone. Around that time I also tried Shadowverse (art too cringy) and Faeria (not enough yaks) but I enjoyed TESL the most by far.
2017 was the high point of the game for me. I hit Legend multiple times and would regularly watch people streaming the game on Twitch, even before the drops happened. There are always jerks on Reddit, but for the most part the community here was great. There was all kinds of fun content on YouTube. The Fall of the Dark Brotherhood story and the Skyrim expansion were so much fun. Most of the problem cards in the game were nerfed relatively quickly and there were even some (gasp) buffs. I really enjoyed working on all the titles – even Centurion. I made sure to make it to at least rank 1 every month to get all 3 copies of the monthly card. I dabbled in other games like Gwent and Eternal but always played TESL the most.
2018 wasn't as great. I was so excited for Morrowind and loved the idea of tri-color decks but ended up being disappointed. I enjoyed the option of building new types of decks but for some reason the gameplay itself just wasn't as fun as it used to be. It felt like the matchup played more of a role in determining the winner than skill. Board control became spell-based instead of minion-based. Janky homebrew decks weren't remotely competitive with netdecks anymore. I stopped trying to climb to Legend and just climbed to rank 4 every month to get 2 copies of the monthly card and so I didn't fall too far back each new month. I started playing Gwent and Eternal more and more, and even started playing Hearthstone again.
Then the new client happened. I understand that Bethesda needed to make a move, and I am impressed with how quickly Sparkypants was able to turn things around after the launch. But I just don't like the look and feel of the new client. It doesn't feel like an Elder Scrolls game to me anymore. I don't lilke the over-exposed colors, I don't like the summon or attack animations, and I really don't like how the premium cards look. They have been adding some cool new VFX animations but the core animations still just seem off to me. Combine the stale meta with the inferior user experience and I haven't played more than a handful of games per month since the launch. In March I didn't even bother to climb from rank 9 to 8. I now sit at rank 12 and don't even care.
I honestly thought that TESL was going to die last fall when Gwent launched Homecoming and Artifact came out, but they were both disasters and TESL kept ticking. Even though I didn't play much anymore, I still liked being part of the community. Unfortunately, the number of viewers/streamers on Twitch as never recovered since the new client launch and the Reddit users have turned on each other. If the community made Justin Larson himself leave, what is there here for a scrub like me?
In two weeks TESL finally gets a new expansion. But (for me at least) it is too little, too late. They have improved Gwent since the Homecoming launch and it is now really fun to play. They just had an expansion drop a few days ago and I have been playing every day. Magic Arena has blown up – even taking a big chunk of players from Hearthstone. The number of people watching Magic Arena streams is roughly the same as those watching Hearthstone, and the Magic Arena community on Reddit is really vibrant. I never played paper MtG but I have started playing Magic Arena and I am really enjoying the complexity. A new expansion drops at the end of the month and I already bought the pre-order. The bottom line is that if people want to leave Hearthstone, there are much better options than TESL now.
I wish all of you the best and I hope the game recovers, but I have moved on. Maybe Odirniran Necromancer comes and resurrects me at some point – who knows? Or maybe we finally get a Lusty Argonian Maid card. I doubt the game will die anytime soon – Bethesda has deep enough pockets to support a losing game if it still contributes to the overall Elder Scrolls franchise in some way. I'm sure TESL will get expansions through 2020 no matter what.
(Note: I'm sure this post will get the obligatory comments like "Goodbye – no one will miss you". That is mostly true – none of the players, streamers, or readers on Reddit will miss me. But Bethesda might. I have spent over $5k on this game over the past two years. I feel like I got that much value out of it so I don't regret it. But now I am looking forward to subsidizing FTP Gwent and Magic Arena players by collecting premium cards over there.)
Thanks to everyone for all the interactions in game, on Twitch, and on Reddit. Goodbye and good luck!
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© Post "Another Goodbye Post" for game The Elder Scrolls.
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