I need to get this off my chest, because I genuinely shocked by how much this game has turned around. I've played many mmos for years, FFXI, WoW, FFXIV and dabbled in nearly all others, but only touched the beta for ESO back in the day.
For context, I'm not a huge ES fan. I loved Oblivion and played it to death. Something about Skyrim never clicked with me, though I cant point my finger on why. Always had an issue with the dated melee combat.
I'd been getting fed up with the constant vertical progression in so many mmos these days. I'd dabbled back in Classic wow and enjoyed it's slow pace while leveling.
Picked up ESO on sale. I expected absolutely nothing but a half assed ES game with generic quests, questionable voice acting, limited content etc. I bought it so I could just see how bad it was out of boredom in lockdown. Then I was blindsided lol.
I'm hooked. I bought the base game 2 days ago. I've put 21hrs into my Sorcerer. I'm only level 19. I know I could be so much higher and I dont care. For so long I've missed an online games sense of exploration. Everything is always very structured and your route is planned for you before you begin. You start reading the quests but before you know it you're rushing to cap.
I cant explain what it is about this game. Though I havent felt like this about a games world since I starting playing WoW in TBC. The size of the zones, with all the content forever being relevant, with such good stories and voice acting. I find myself laughing out loud when questing and getting massively distracted and ending up somewhere I wasnt intending on going.
I started out in Vvardenfel as that's where the game put me at the start. I couldn't put the game down. I had to start googling if this zone was a one off because I genuinely couldn't quite believe the game could have this much content and be this immersive in one zone and more people arent singing its praises louder.
The music is amazing, as I expect from an ES game, but how it flows and connects with the game world just makes it feel living and breathing. An issue I had when leveling to cap in ff14 recently was just how disconnected I felt from the over world. All the mobs seemed to serve literally no purpose. Even in story quests when your job is to kill something, they will specifically spawn a new group of enemies inside a purple ring when you arrive. My character never felt grounded in the world for some reason, and that comes from someone who really enjoyed the HW and ShB stories.
I have more fun doing random eso side quests than I did most leveling in any other mmo.
Yesterday after getting certified in the professions and joining the mage and fighters guild, I decided to go and join the undaunted. As I said, I'd started in the Morrowind story, so I shrined to Daggerfall I think? Hooded char shows up. I realised this was not what I was looking for but accepted it anyway. Then accidentally continued that story cause I didnt change my quest back. Then I end up going through that whole starter quest, before being on a sort of tiny pirate island on the map. Cant remember what it's called. Then I just got caught up in the quests there. Before you know it, I'm trying to figure out a treasure map quest for an hour running around with some other person I met, refusing to just google it! Because I didnt care how long it took. I'm in not rush.
The amount of achievements and things to checklist off on every map is a completionists dream. I ended up doing all 6 of the world bosses with 2 random people in Vvardenfel, one of them being CP200 something. The other 30 something. They were still so challenging and fun to do! That content was eye opening and I had more of a social experience with those people than I have done with any random people in WoW for a very long time.
All in all, I know I havent scratched the surface, but it's all so refreshing and vibrant. Vvardenfels aesthetics arent even usually my type of zone, all the mushrooms and stuff. I like desserts and snow, but I cant help but explore every corner of it.
I jumped on the shop and preordered Greymoor and bought all the previous chapters, and will keep ESO+ for its perks. I'm glad I set out to see how bare bones ESO was out of boredom. Thanks anyone that read this far. This was needed lol. Apols for any incorrect spelling of zone names!
TL;DR – ESO is an awesome, unique online experience in today's mmo market and I honestly cant believe I've ignore it for so long for no real reason other than me expecting it to be terrible, because I'm usually very wary of already established franchises (in today's day and age) slapping an mmo badge on a product.
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