The Elder Scrolls

Overland content difficulty level may be misunderstood

TheElderScrolls13 - Overland content difficulty level may be misunderstood

I hear a lot about how easy overland content is. There is currently a 30-page thread on the official forums about it, and the topic crops up regularly here as well.

In my opinion there are two ways to measure the challenge of a game:

a) How easy it is to succeed

b) How optimally you can do it

In my experience these discussion are usually framed around (a). And noone could argue that by this measure, ESO's overland content is very very easy: No quest or delve is unsolo-able by pretty much any character, regardless of build or player experience. Even if you die, you can just get up and try again a couple times before you succeed. Success is a given.

Now, my opinion is that we should frame the discussions around (b). ESO is no classic Everquest, where fights were tough and consequences of failure were dire. Instead. ESO questing/delving could be viewed as a game in the philosophy of ARPGs like Path of Exile, where most of your early game time is spent wading through waves of trash mobs which, depending on how optimized is your build, you can dispatch within the timeframe of a second.

I am not saying that everyone should enjoy that approach. I am saying that is is unfair to judge it by criteria that do not apply to it.


For me, a long-time casual player, overland content is fun, not because it is challenging to complete, but because it allows me to measure my progress on how _efficiently_ I complete it. I unlock and try new skills, try new gear sets, new approaches on buffs/food/pots etc. I find out what works and what doesn't, and it is all readily visible on my screen, how I gradually progress in doing things faster or more efficiently. There is no challenge to overcome per se, but I still get that dopamine effect by wading through content that would have been more slow and sluggish a few months ago.

Of course this is all no substitute for real difficult content (end game group content, PvP etc) but as a stepping stone to it, it serves its purpose very well, in my personal experience.

As a final note, notice that I am not talking about other sides of the content, but strictly talk about the challenge aspect. Yes, the lore is nice, some stories are cool etc. But I think that the narrative (and lore) is not meant to be a substitute for the actual gaming experience. It does not cover for a lack of gaming challenge. The challenge is there, even in overland content, but it is framed in terms of efficiency rather than effectiveness.

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