How is The Elder Scrolls Online different to other fantasy MMOs?

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:23 GMT

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Other than my ineptness with the controls, which, I am rightfully taking ownership of, I rather enjoy the world. It’s detailed, lovely, varied, and fun to explore. A couple of my friends have described the game as being rather linear when it comes to exploration. I feel differently.

For starters, you can pretty much travel anywhere you wish on the game map in which your chosen alliance is in control. Granted, some spots on the map you will want to steer clear of if your level isn’t high enough. This is the case in all MMOs, but my point is you are free to go running about the landscape as much as you want. Nothing is stopping you, and if you can see it, you can climb it. There is no linearity to it. Period. You are free to run about the place finding extra quests on the map, or searching for crafting nodes, or finding a chest to loot. The lore is rich, some quests have choices, and did I mention it was lovely? Yes, I did, but it’s worth noting again.

The Elder Scrolls Online

I have heard that once players reach the level cap at 50 they will be able to travel to any zone in the game, no matter which alliance they chose, so while there will be even more freedom down the line, there is still plenty to do and see no matter which level you are sitting at, providing you have finished the starting area.

“If I can get used to the controls, find a class I am comfortable playing and a nice Guild in which to align myself, I can see myself at least trying it out again post launch”

Those interested in PvP can also start rather early at level 11, and there are public dungeons available as well, just know these are scaled rather high due to the amount of players available to dish out their own brand of Aldmeri Dominion justice – or whichever alliance they chose. So, no, it’s not linear.

Now, here comes the million dollar question: after my time in the beta comes to close, will I be willing to purchase the game and pay a monthly subscription for it? I honestly cannot answer that question at this time. I have only played two characters to level eight so I am unable to make an informed decision. But I did have fun the second time through with my sorcerer.

Reviewing and previewing MMOs is rather difficult. The games are huge, varied, contain a massive amount of content, and considering the gameplay changes as one levels, it’s unfair to provide a score or an informed option on one unless you’ve played it to at least level 20 or above.

I adore the Elder Scrolls franchise. I really do. I have been eager to play TESO since rumors of its development first surfaced in 2007, but can I see myself paying over $50 for the base game and doling out $14.99 a month to play it? I’m not quite sure just yet. However, if I can get used to the controls, find a class I am comfortable playing and a nice Guild in which to align myself, I can see myself at least trying it out again post launch.

Whether I continue to play it will be another matter entirely. I tend to hop from MMO to MMO with the frequency of a cheap ham radio*.

The Elder Scrolls Online is slated for release on PC and Mac on April 4, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions expected in June.

*Plus one to charisma if you get the reference.

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