In the mid 2000s MMOs and most particularly WOW seemed to take over the world. Everyone was playing and I like most spent an awful lot of free time – and monthly dues – playing, raiding and getting involved. Personal times change and while I’m not deeply involved any more there is a part of me that always wants to get back into it but just can’t justify the monthly cost.
Elder Scrolls is a franchise that always gets attention and when they launched their MMO in 2014 I had a close look and decided that while it looked good I couldn’t handle the subscription cost. In 2015 the subscription cost was dropped and late this year they re-wrote large parts of the levelling process and rebranded as Elder Scrolls – One Tamriel. A Steam sale later and my last objection was removed. Time to play.
Price: ± From £19.99 upwards depending on the pack with extra in game currency and subscription services also available.
About Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda is a company that will be well known to anyone who games. Aside from the Elder Scroll series with Skyrim they’ve also been a part of Doom 2016, made Fallout, Dishonoured and a long list of other games. They’re based in Maryland in the US and are owned by ZeniMax Media.
ESO is a traditional MMO in design. Log in for the first time and you get to pick your faction, race and specialisation and customise how your character looks. The first time you play ESO puts you through a short storyline that introduces how to move, basic combat for your class and takes you to the first zone.
From that first zone the One Tamriel update lets you head off in any direction and the quests and mobs will scale to match your level. The consensus seems to be that the storyline will get very confusing if you try going in random directions but if that’s what you want it’s possible. ESO allows add-ons and mods with a wide range available for everything from class specific skills, UI mods, social mods and raid control. Controls are via a combination of mouse and keyboard and are extensive and rebindable. The game supports an Xbox controller but I’d not recommend it.
ESO is openworld but instanced which means that while everyone goes through the same areas you won’t necessarily see quite the same things happening the same other players or other NPCs. The game also makes use of smaller single person instances for questlines and later on for multiplayer dungeons and raids.
- Genre: High Fantasy MMO
- Target age: Teens, Adults, Older adults
- PEGI/ESRB rating: M – for players 17 and older
- Accessibility: highly customisable control and UI options and numeros addons.
The Elder Scrolls Online like most MMOs is a huge game and is set it a very troubled and violent land – you’ll find most triggers here. In addition as an MMO you deal with people. I’ve not had any specific problems with other players but it’s always a possibility.
For £20 you can get permanent access to the game with access to most of the zones. There is also a £40 gold version that allows you to access to all the 6 DLC’s immediately and a host of other benefits. More DLCs or some non-combat buffs, clothing and pets can be purchased with Crowns in packs starting at £4.80 for 750 which will get you a couple of DLCs and get cheaper the more you buy.
Finally you can buy a Plus membership for £9 a month (cheaper options available if you subscribe long term) which gives you all the DLCs, a supply of Crowns and a number
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac,
Genre: High Fantasy
Length of game: MMO with 50 levels and extensive endgame content
Number of players: MMO
Difficulty settings: one setting with mobs that scale to your level
OS: Windows 7 32-bit
Processor: Intel i3 or AMD 3870 generation processors or higher
Memory: 3 GB RAM
Graphics: Direct X 11.0 compliant video card with 1GB RAM (NVidia GeForce 460 or AMD Radeon 6850)
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 85 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card
OS: Windows 7/Windows 8.1 64-bit
Processor: Quad Core 2.3GHz or equivalent processor
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Direct X 11.0 compliant video card with 2GB RAM (NVidia GeForce GTX 750 or AMD Radeon HD 7850)
Some people would say that MMOs have passed their peak and that early World of Warcraft was the best incarnation currently possible – particularly for fantasy settings. There is some truth to that but the reality is that that version of WOW is gone and split up in 20 different directions.
I picked up Elder Scrolls Online in a Steam sale a couple of months ago and it’s the most fun I’ve had in an MMO in the last few years and has even encouraged me to get my trusty Belkin N52 back out of the cupboard. If you’re a Skyrim fan and want a wider and more social way into Tameril or if you want to get into a polished fantasy MMO that isn’t going to hurt your wallet ESO is for you. Recommended.
The review is based on Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited edition played on the PC. This article was first published on 19th December 2016.