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The Elder Scrolls Online PvP has potential, but suffers familiar problems

Friday, 14th February 2014 15:00 GMT By Dave Cook

TESO_Charge

Charge!
After about two hours of constant death, respawning and running across bland fields to rejoin a battle I couldn’t adequately contribute to, the west wall of Chalman keep crumbled under our unrelenting fire. Watching our allies pour into the breach to slaughter the players inside genuinely was thrilling, and not just because Angry Joe of YouTube fame was in there somewhere, although admittedly that was kind of cool.

The image above shows us rushing the keep and battling Dominion as we went. We captured the castle by slaughtering everyone in the area and that gave us another ‘spot’ on the Cyrodiil map, and also opened up a new Transitus fast travel route. Despite my initial trepidation; I was starting to get the right kind of feedback from the experience. Battles largely felt messy and seemed to favour whoever hammered their hot-keys fastest but then again I would feel a little cheated after all, given how feeble my Dragonknight was.

”I can’t see myself playing the PvP component come April. I know I’ll never be good enough to compete, and aside from the hubs of battle, there’s simply too many dull expanses suffocating what should be an attractive, visually arresting space. With the servers filled it could work, but I don’t have the gift of foresight, so I can’t make that call unfortunately.”

There are – thankfully – other ways to contribute to the war effort, should you find yourself too weak to enter the fray. Mission boards at base camps dispense alternative quests, such as scouting enemy locations, collecting bounties – kill twenty enemy players for a pay-out and so on – and sacking farms, mills or mines to steal resources from rival alliances. Some of these are shared across your group too. There was no way I was single-handedly defeating 20 enemies in battle, but everyone in the group contributed to the tally. I liked the teamwork aspect.

Perhaps; if I had levelled up a lot more – which was tricky considering this specific beta phase only lasted a few days – then maybe I’d have a better idea of how The Elder Scrolls Online’s PvP combat worked in practice, but I was being killed so fast it was hard to make sense of where I was going wrong. I saw a few players complaining about the Nightblade classes’ Assassin’s Blade move being over-powered, and a lot of complaints about the constant running, but largely; the participants seemed happy with how everything went down.

Unfortunately; I can’t see myself playing the PvP component come April. I know I’ll never be good enough to compete, and aside from the hubs of battle, there’s simply too many dull expanses suffocating what should be an attractive, visually arresting space. With the servers filled it could work, but I don’t have the gift of foresight, so I can’t make that call unfortunately. I’m keen to see what happens once the game launches though.

Many of my complaints regarding The Elder Scrolls Online’s PvE questing stand firm here, and I still feel that the visuals leave much to be desired, the wonky animation, clumsy UI decisions and odd quirks would have felt ‘quaint’ in a boxed Bethesda release. But here; in a game that must be bought for a fee then subscribed to per month, you, the paying customer deserve a better class of MMO.

The mass war format could prove inciting enough that you can overlook these flaws, but you and I are different players; different people with different values and varying opinions on what constitutes a worthwhile purchase. To me; Skyrim is still the better game, and the promise of grouping and PvP simply can’t change that opinion. There are many games out there doing this better already, and I’m not convinced that the Elder Scrolls name will be enough to help this game succeed in the long term.

Disclosure: to assist in writing this preview, Bethesda sent Dave a download code for The Elder Scrolls Online beta phase.

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28 Comments

  1. orren

    Are these the environments you called dull? : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sru_P9OxiYY

    #1 7 months ago
  2. boskoz

    I can see your point Mister Cook. I experienced huge walks and huge empty maps on both Planetside 2 and GuildWars 2. I really don’t know why developers make maps so big, they are never populated enough. Planetside 2 is a great and fun game but you need to find the “right day” to actually enjoy, as the fun is located in about 5% of the map. In GuildWars 2 I was actually never been able to enjoy the WvW. Great idea, about sieges and stuff (like here in ESO) because it is everyone’s dream to make a huge fantasy themed medieval battle on large scale, but, yeah, the map needs to be halved in size. And ESO looks just the same. I say to reduce the map because you can’t choose to double the population..but you can have a choice about map size.

    I enjoyed the reading on both your reviews.

    #2 7 months ago
  3. fearmonkey

    I have spent the bulk of the betas leveling up my characters in all three factions so I never got to see Cyrodiil yet, but from the video orren posted below, it doesnt seem that boring, it looks like alot of fun.

    I know from what I played so far that I loved the game enough to pre-order it the day it became available, and that says alot. I haven’t bought an MMO at launch since Wow, and haven’t been excited for an MMO since then either.

    I f you like fantasy MMO’s, TESO is one of the best I have ever played and it’s not the same old tired and bland MMO formula that others have tried (LOTR Im looking at you). if your expecting a true elder scrolls game in gameplay and style, your going to be disapointed.

    If you like both MMO’s and TES games then your in for a treat, as they did a great job at keeping the MMO style gameplay but making it unique and different and giving alot of creedence to the elder scrolls lore and world. How can any long time TES fan not be interested in traveling across Daggerfall, seeing black marsh and places of Morrowind never visited. Seeing new planes of oblivion, etc. This also gives insight into how the next TES game could look, as they might use some of the style and look of a place the next game takes place in.
    It’s a TES fan’s dream. If someone played Skyrim only, then it wouldnt mean as much.

    #3 7 months ago
  4. BrokenSpline

    @fearmonkey

    “If you like both MMO’s and TES games then your in for a treat, as they did a great job at keeping the MMO style gameplay but making it unique and different and giving alot of creedence to the elder scrolls lore and world.”

    Having been a person that has played all of the TES games and have been part of beta since mid last year. I can say I disagree with this, in fact ESO is the the most boring piece of trash I have played as an MMO. Its practically WoW in a Elder scroll universe. This is not what I wanted as a fan in fact this is the opposite of what I wanted. Every time I get a beta key I pass it to friends that may be interested and they always come back disappointed. Bathesda is doing a wonderful job of scaring away their fanbase.

    #4 7 months ago
  5. EdgizAwesome

    @BrokenSpline Agreed mate. Skyrimer’s won’t like this game. The people genuinely into the franchise and its lore will love it.

    #5 7 months ago
  6. fearmonkey

    @BrokenSpline – Well you must have played a very different game than I did,. You mentioned you played all the TES games, but didnt mention if you were into MMO’s. As I mentioned, if your not a MMO fan, your not going to like this game. however, as a long time TES fan, did you =not enjoy seeing Daggerfall or other locations rendered as you havent seen them before?
    This isnt Bethesda, it’s Zenimax doing the game, Bethesda’s parent company. Todd Howard and crew had no hand in this.

    As a long time Wow player, I don’t see how you can compare it wow either. it plays nothing like wow to me.

    #6 7 months ago
  7. BrokenSpline

    @fearmonkey

    “Well you must have played a very different game than I did,. You mentioned you played all the TES games, but didnt mention if you were into MMO’s. As I mentioned, if your not a MMO fan, your not going to like this game. however, as a long time TES fan, did you =not enjoy seeing Daggerfall or other locations rendered as you havent seen them before?”

    Yes I have played WoW since beta. I have also played all MMOs to date. THis game doesn’t break the mold at all. It uses the same conventions thus it plays like all MMOs to date.

    “not enjoy seeing Daggerfall or other locations rendered as you havent seen them before?”

    Sorry Eye candy doesn’t make me swoon over a game. Gameplay has to be there before I start throwing money down and this game is not worth 15$ a month let alone the full purchase.

    #7 7 months ago
  8. orren

    @BrokenSpline
    “Yes I have played WoW since beta. I have also played all MMOs to date. THis game doesn’t break the mold at all. It uses the same conventions thus it plays like all MMOs to date. ”

    Your mage in WoW could wear plate armor? Stealth? No?

    #8 7 months ago
  9. fearmonkey

    @BrokenSpline – Well if you truly have played “Every MMO to date” and “Ever TES game ever” and still don’t like the game, then thats your opinion and thats fine. But as someone that also has that same background, I loved it, so to each their own I guess.

    @orren – hahaha.

    #9 7 months ago
  10. BrokenSpline

    @orren

    Your mage in WoW could wear plate armor? Stealth? No?

    Point? Its a superficial thing. There have been MMOs that do the same thing. It ends up just something you spec in at the end of the day. Sorry I played 30 hours within the beta and it doesn’t interest me at all. If I wanted a themepark MMO I would go play TOR or WoW. I will just have to hope that Bathesda gets the hint and makes a multiplayer component in their next game.

    #10 7 months ago
  11. orren

    @BrokenSpline “Point?”

    Isn’t the point obvious? You claim “THis game doesn’t break the mold at all. It uses the same conventions thus it plays like all MMOs to date.” Mages wearing plate armor, stealthing, and wielding two-handed axes is the usual MMO convention? No. ALL mmo’s to date play like that? No.

    #11 7 months ago
  12. BrokenSpline

    @orren

    Oh did I hurt your feelings. Deal. I said my piece now moving on.

    #12 7 months ago
  13. orren

    @BrokenSpline “Oh did I hurt your feelings”

    You post nonsense, i point out it is nonsense. No feelings involved.

    #13 7 months ago
  14. BrokenSpline

    @orren

    Nonsense? I played the game. I have been invited to every single beta since last spring. SO its informed “nonsense” You are just coming off as a fanboy and defending your precious. Great enjoyed it however I did not. I dunno why it pisses people off that they need to defend the game. If the game does great, great. I however will not be involved in a game that I feel is trash. Nuff said.

    #14 7 months ago
  15. orren

    @BrokenSpline “Nonsense? I played the game. I have been invited…”

    Dude. It does not matter how many times you have been invited.

    If you claim the game that allows you to play a plate-clad mage who can ambush people from stealth with his two-handed axe brings nothing new because *ALL* mmo’s use the same conventions, its nonsense, plain and simple. Because they do not.

    #15 7 months ago
  16. AbigailHolt29

    My Uncle Alex got an awesome black Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe only from working parttime off a macbook air… view it now CashStoredcom

    #16 7 months ago
  17. Darkfield

    @orren Well to be honest, Rift (which I recently developed a huge interest in due to classes being huge fun and covers almost any play-style) did a great job in there with so many different things you could do with your class and spec or what they can equip with certain talent choices, so it’s not exactly a new thing. Although commendable since it adds a huge variety specially if you wanna have fun. It might just not end up being practical for end-game play as there everything would boil down to math and class breakdowns which means cookie-cutter builds are gonna be the norm because “website X” has all the theory crafting and sims and stats to prove it.

    #17 7 months ago
  18. Shinethelight

    This site is a total fail when it comes to this game because they don’t know anything about MMO’s and shouldn’t be writing about them. This is NOT SKYRIM GET OVER IT ALREADY. An MMO and a single player game are 2 totally different things and they cannot be designed the same way. You can’t please everyone either the world is too big or the world will be too small for some people. If you don’t like MMO’s don’t write about them and don’t play them. MMO’s have subs because they add content over time people have been paying a WoW sub for TEN years you morons. WoW is a MUCH bigger game now than when it came out. Everquest is also. Stop writing about this game and trying to smear it just because you’re a bunch of single player fanbois that are too cheap to pay 15 bucks for an online game.

    #18 7 months ago
  19. Shinethelight

    @BrokenSpline Because people like you are trying to smear a game that is actually really good and get people to NOT play it just because you wanted them to make another single player game.

    #19 7 months ago
  20. Shinethelight

    @boskoz “. I experienced huge walks and huge empty maps on both Planetside 2 and GuildWars 2. I really don’t know why developers make maps so big, they are never populated enough”
    ———————————

    Again the haters contradict themselves…apparently large maps are ok if it’s a single player game but if TESO has them all of a sudden they’re bad? I thought all the Skyrim whiners want it to be exactly like Skyrim? A single player game mind you.

    #20 7 months ago
  21. BrokenSpline

    @Shinethelight

    “Because people like you are trying to smear a game that is actually really good….”

    Haha, What? Smea?. I feel its a bad game that’s my opinion and I have a right to it. What do I have to gain by “smearing” it. I am just going to ignore and move on with my life.

    “and get people to NOT play it just because you wanted them to make another single player game.”

    Hahah, No. This is a studio that was created just for this reason and if it doesn’t make it, they will just close it because that is what Zenimax does. Its also largely developed by people that were laid off from TOR which I am glad they have jobs. I wouldn’t want to see anyone fail and lose their livelihood.

    You are just being a fanboy and again trying to defend a faceless company from those trying to “smear” it. Sorry that my opinion of the time I spent with the game offends you.

    #21 7 months ago
  22. orren

    Anyone who wants a MUCH more informative preview of ESO PvP watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I82pz60iGL0

    #22 7 months ago
  23. boskoz

    This other reviewer had the same experience as Dave:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBPkpsdzU0A

    -The map is too huge, you can walk for 30 minutes…
    -The advanced camp feature is dumb, as enemies can destroy it by pressing E (really?)
    -It is actually an endgame content, or you risk to face a level 50 guy when you are level 12. Also the npc guardians are lv. 50.

    #23 7 months ago
  24. Shinethelight

    @boskoz

    A huge map is what all the Elder Scrolls games had wasn’t? So again either you want it to be like Elder Scrolls or not make up your mind. Also huge maps in MMO’s and RPG’s are pretty common in more hardcore games played by enthusiasts. Vanguard had a large world that took a while to get around in but exploring it was a blast. Most gamers now couldn’t even handle the original EQ1 before they changed it. EQ1 had corpse retrieval when you died none of this wussy WoW stuff where everything is easy.

    #24 7 months ago
  25. orren

    @boskoz

    “-The map is too huge, you can walk for 30 minutes…”

    The map is designed to host fights of up to 2000 players at once. It is huge so that its not possible to dominate it with one huge zerg. Players need to split up to defend their assets. There are teleportation lines and horses to help with covering distances, and advanced camps to help with respawning.

    “-The advanced camp feature is dumb, as enemies can destroy it by pressing E (really?)”

    To press that E, you need to stand next to the advanced camp, i.e. in the middle of the enemy army. The difficulty is not in the clicking, but in surviving long enough to do that click. If the enemies let you get that close, they deserve to get their camp destroyed.

    “-It is actually an endgame content, or you risk to face a level 50 guy when you are level 12. Also the npc guardians are lv. 50.”

    Same false information as in the preview on this site. EVERYONE is boosted to level 50 while they are in cyrodiil. Did you want the AngryJoe pvp preview i posted 1 post higher? He specifically mentions this fact twice. Also, you can see him, being level 13, attack and kill a guard who is level 50. Seriously, these ‘journalists’ need to do their homework before confusing the heck out of their readers.

    #25 7 months ago
  26. orren

    And since the NDA has just been lifted…

    Annoyingly however, there were a lot of level 50 players already roaming the battlefield and they killed me in seconds.

    There were not a lot of level 50 players already roaming the battlefield, for the simple reason that the max level in the beta was limited to like 30. Most of the players in cyrodiil were around level 15.

    If they killed you in seconds it was not because they were level 50 but but because you… Well. For other reasons. :p

    #26 7 months ago
  27. bobnice

    I’ve heard numerous people say we must play beyond level 10 to see this game truly at its best. Even Angry Joe has done a total 180 from his initial first impressions video. In his new video posted yesterday regarding the PVP, he mentions that he tried a new sorcerer class a new race and a new alliance and has played past lvl 10 and dove into the pvp and he says he is very much enjoying it and probably gonna get the Angry Army on there

    #27 7 months ago
  28. sebastien rivas

    @boskoz

    Humm, yes, I agree with GW2
    PVP maps are just too big or lack the gamers attention to be solid and used well.

    They are meant that way, PVP maps are meant to be played by the many but reality is that unless you PVP during peak hours on peak severs on peak week end then it is likely to be somewhat to completely empty depending what servers you play on of course.
    GW2 for example would be really cool if they keep their plethora of servers but then chunk together servers for PVP during WEEK DAYS and none peak hours.
    Would it be helpful for any other MMORPG, certainly YES. it would prevent people like me to uninstall games like GW2 off their HDD or stop sub’ing monthly games.

    Just saying…

    #28 7 months ago

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