You Tell Me: Is Elder Scrolls Online Must-Play, Should-Play, or Pass?

Simply put, I disliked the UI, I didn’t like the feel of the combat, and the experience seemed disconnected from other players. It was the worst first impression of an MMORPG that I had since Age of Wushu, and that’s really saying something. It turns out that a lot of others players had the same initial reaction to ESO.

For context, I didn’t play Skyrim or any of the Elder Scrolls games, so I have neither an attachment nor an opinion on the IP.

Over the past 2 years I have been extremely selective about which games I play, because:

I’ve been disappointed with a lot of the games in MMORPG space since 2008
My free time is limited – my job as a digital product manager has kept me busy in RL
I tend to stick with games I enjoy and find challenging. Over the past year the game that has kept me most entertained has been World of Tanks (WoT), because it is a high skill-cap PVP game, and Guild Wars 2 (GW2)
I don’t want to waste my time on games that I don’t think are going to stick, for me or the community. I’ve found that it’s useless to be the last person on the island (e.g. with WAR), when most of your guildees and friends have moved on. Therefore, I have passed on a lot of recent games, e.g. PlanetSide 2, Defiance, Neverwinter, Final Fantasy XIV, etc.

I played WildStar Beta a bit, leveling a Medic, Warrior, and Stalker to about level 6-7, to get a feel for the basic game and combat mechanics, and I had a solid impression of that game. So based on my (limited) Beta experiences, my plan has been to pass on ESO and play WildStar.

There was a recent post on Massively that made me wonder whether that plan makes sense:

As I have found playing both ESO and Wildstar up to level 12 now:

Wildstar is animation-savvy and artistically appealing, so the game makes a strong first impression… then, for people like me, the shine wears off within hours and the actual gameplay becomes a chore. With ESO, its struggle to both maintain and diverge from an Elder Scrolls formula, along with its animations (and the awful tutorial zone) makes a very weak impression out of the gate, but once you get to the main game world, you discover 50 new interesting things every hour and they never stop coming, and the world starts to feel alive and even bountiful

Wildstar delivers a great first impression but falters. ESO stumbles first and excels second.

I keep hearing on social media that Cyrodil RVR/PVP is fantastic, and the build customization for characters is really high. So you tell me, is ESO a must-play game, should-play, or a game I should pass on, given what you know about my preferences: love PVP, PVE is fun only if it’s meaningfully challenging.

P.S. When I took a break from WoT in November, my WN8 rating for my last 1000 battles was at 2349 – literally 1 point under the “Unicum” threshold, which represents the cream of the crop statistically.

Over the past 2 months I’ve been averaging a WN8 rating of 2600+, and my account WN8 rating is closing in on 2000. It’s satisfying to know I can play at a Unicum level without ever having used premium ammo (aka gold ammo).

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WildStar PVP Video: Esper “Melee Mage” in PVP Drop 2

In this video, I provide an update to my “Melee Mage” Esper PVP build for the PVP Drop 2 patch. I’m glad to report that the build is performing well :)

I discuss the patch changes, adjustments to my build, Esper lifesteal mechanics, and last but not least the *fantastic* news from MuffinMan about proposed changes to the PVP gear system:

Gear Gaps:

The gear gaps are being closed. The intent is to make it so skilled players in blues will still be competitive with players in Tier 2 sets (1800’s). We will be making following changes:

The PvP blue set will be boosted to the current Tier 1 set
The Tier 2 set will remain the same
The Tier 1 set will be boosted to bridge the gap between blues and Tier 2.
This change is targeted to be pushed out in the next few weeks.
Making Tier 2 Gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds:

I would also like to make Tier 2 pvp gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds. This is another change that will require approval and again, I will provide updates when I am able.

Carbine’s proposed changes are almost identical to what I recommended in my recent blog post about the endgame PVP system.

I am so psyched that they are going with a solution that makes PVP more skill-based, and still supports gear progression for those who want it.

MuffinMan also said that healing will get increased:

Healing in PvP:

Adjustments are being made internally to increase the effectiveness of healing in PvP. This change will need a balance pass and testing so I can’t provide an ETA at this time.

While I agree with Carbine that healing was too strong pre-Drop 2 – combat sometimes boiled down to no one dying until healers went OOM – it was overnerfed in Drop 2, so it make sense that healing will be re-adjusted.

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