Monday, 17 February 2014

Elder Scrolls Online Beta: First Steps

The NDA for us mere mortals was finally lifted, and I can stat talking what the game was all about without getting in too much trouble with their legal department. So that is good. Now first things first. Before I even start writing about my impressions about the game, I want it to be clear, that I will not be buying the game. This was something I accepted even before I tried the beta. The price of the game does not sit well with me, and that is that.

Let us start at the beginning. Over the years I had the chance to create my character from the most spartan, to the most detailed and overflowing with details character creators. Ranging from World of Warcraft all the way to EVE Online and Guild Wars II. I often found myself forced to compromise. Either the nose was not ok, sometimes the chin, other times beard and hair. So, I am happy to report that I finally managed to create a character where I did not have to compromise.

You can choose between the nine races, that are part of three different factions. I went with High Elves and their Aldmeri Dominion. It was either High Elf or Breton for all I was concerned, and since the Bretons and their faction sports a lion, while Aldmeri Dominion bear the insignias of an eagle, I went with the High Elf. What can I say, old allegiances die hard.

You can pretty much create any kind of character. Short, tall, fat, thin, muscled, normal, any extreme and all averages are available. The default values allow you to create a somewhat idealised character. You can play around with that, but I doubt any character when you are done with it, will look like some sort of monstrosity, no matter how much you try.

What I do resent it a bit, is a thing that well, I had a small hope for since it could be done in Skyrim, but since this is MMO, I guess I just have to accept it and move on, just like in every other game. You are right-handed by default. And that irritates me. It irritates me because for that short amount of time I spent in Skyrim, and helped Caesar quell the rebellion of Gauls, I was able to wield a greatsword with my left hand, not right. I got to choose.

The classes are your standard list. I could choose between four classes, Dragonknight, Templar, and the two equivalents of a rogue and mage. Sorry, I did not pay any attention to the classes that did not interest me. As usual, I went with Templar. The equivalent of the Paladin. Before I go in the details of the game itself, let me just say, that the game tries to be a lot of what MMO games used to be before World of Warcraft standardised everything..

The reward you get from a competed quest, for example a weapon, might not be for your class. And you do not get a chance to choose the alternative. I wandered around the first island for six levels before I finally got a piece of armour that made me appear half decent, and not just like some shipwrecked murderous hobo with a giant axe hanging on my back. Half the armour I have I bought, it was not a simple quest reward.

The premise is simple, and it reminded me of Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning. You are an unfortunate mortal that died, lost his soul, and ended up in what could be considered either Afterlife or Underworld, whichever name you prefer. In any case, because you are the chosen one, you get a second chance of sorts.

With the help of a fair half-giant you ensure the escape of the Prophet and yourself, while the Lyris sacrifices herself for the two of you to escape. I liked Lyris. In my time spent in Elder Scrolls Online, she and Razum-Dar left the greatest impression. I mean, I even remember their names, which is surprising when you consider that you interact with Lyris only on the tutorial hub, the Underworld, while Razum-Dar is scheming something in the name of the Queen wherever you go.

The tutorial in the Underworld is entertaining, and utterly depends on you and how you play it. You might be done with it in a manner of a couple of minutes, or you might be like me and spend at least an hour talking to all that can be talked, exploring every corner and trying to kill yourself. Even though I tried, I failed in killing myself, so I cannot say what happens after. I would imagine you get resurrected somewhere or something like that.

What surprised me, was the questing. It was your standard fare. With a bit of twist, all NPCs were voiced. And quite well for what I care. It helped the immersion a lot. The structure of the quests ensured you pretty much explored whatever could be explored. I just hate the fact that I spent so long in a common rags. I hate torn clothing, it is one of the main reasons why I never got myself to levelling a Forsaken before the Heirlooms became a thing. And even with heirlooms, I cannot stand it for long.


  1. Aldmeri scum! I will have to battle you in our joined non-purchasing of the game... Skyrim is for the Nords! :P

    Not so sure about the rags part, as a Nord Dragon Knight I got into ye average chain mail pretty quickly once out of the tutorial (and that's not even wearing a disguise). I plundered the hell out of that daedric prison. Yep... all those urns. O_O Unlike you though I don't remember the name of my next main quest giver because I think I chose a path that lead to her death at the hands of Daggerfall marauders pretty early in the piece. Oops?

    1. I somehow got the feeling that nobody but Nords really wants Skyrim. Everyone else is aiming for the Cyrodil. Let us be allies instead of enemies. We will not try to conquer Skyrim, while you can help us in dealing with the scum that is Daggerfall Convenant. I heard they have some mining operations planned for Skyrim, and we Aldmeri would hate to see Daggerfall deflower Skyrim with their most ruinous presence. I mean, even their name screams of treachery. ;P

      I looted every single urn I could lay my eyes on. There was practically nothing. A few lockpics, some ingrediants for crafting, and that is it. I guess it is just my luck. The first piece of armour I got, was a chest piece, and I got it from the last quest I had on that first island.

    2. "Practically nothing" was a lot more than some other fools on chat who were asking where we got all our lock picks from. Not that I could open a single locked chest mind you. Couldn't get the hang of the mini game but I didn't really try since each chest pretty much had a line of people waiting to have a go. :P

      Also I hear your queen is Kate Beckinsale, so I accept your terms of alliance. Down with the Daggerfall-ians! Years of potential war have just been resolved in the span of three messages. ;p

  2. that character really reminds me of someone... at first I thought Nigel Thornbury but that's not quite right. More like one of those zoro characters

    1. I blame Alexandre Dumas for that :D