Press Beta Impressions Roundup

Tribunal TempleGood morning Elder Scrolls Online fans. Today has the makings of being an epic feast of information as major gaming press networks around the world prepare to unveil their hands on impressions of ESO based on their experiences in a press beta event this past weekend. Fortunately for you guys, we are going to make following that information blowout as easy as possible by consolidating all the releases we can find in this article, and featuring some highlights from each. Be sure to check back right here throughout the day to follow the latest developments and weigh in with your thoughts on all the ESO coverage. Let’s get started!

Tamriel Foundry – Opening up ESO, Impressions and Q&A

I think that whether or not it becomes a long-run contender or juggernaut of the genre will depend entirely on where ZeniMax goes from here. The addition of adventure zones, further progression lines, and engaging gameplay extensions like crime and morality systems have the potential to evolve The Elder Scrolls Online into an incredibly mature and polished MMO. Despite some of my aforementioned reservations, I absolutely cannot wait for launch day and I cant wait to share more specific gameplay experiences with everyone in the coming weeks.

 

Isarii of Tamriel Foundry Reddit AMA

In addition to all the other reporting from today, Isarii from Tamriel Foundry will be doing a reddit AMA this afternoon tackling your questions about the level 1-15 ESO experience. Be sure to stop by Reddit to get some of your questions answered about the game.

 

MMORPG – The Comprehensive Good and Bad of ESO

I’ve played the beta for ESO a lot at shows and events, and while it’s improved with every showing, it wasn’t really until this testing experience over the course of a whole weekend that the game finally “clicked for me”. It was somewhere along the 10 hour mark with my Khajit plate-wearing, dual-dagger wielding, daedric summoning Sorcerer that I realized I was hooked. It took all of those ten hours for me to step out of my traditional MMO playing mindset and to let The Elder Scrolls mystique and storytelling take over.

 

MMORPG – Headed Down the Path to Undaunted

In a quiet room above a tavern soot a small group of adventurers. At any other time I would have ignored them, except for the dismissive words of a Khajiit. Presumably the leader of that bitter band, he foolishly addressed me as ‘milksop’. Not wanting to be belittled by a bewhiskered bonehead, I called him out. Eventually, after a small feud with words, he revealed that he was part of the Undaunted, a smaller guild that fights the horrors in the dark and the nightmares below ground. And if I wanted in, I’d need to prove I was a match for them.

 

MMORPG – Diving Deep Into ESO’s Crafting

Crafting in The Elder Scrolls Online is surprisingly deep and satisfying. As a whole, ESO is a game that will often surprise you whenever you try to play it more like an MMO with an Elder Scrolls skin. The team at Zenimax Online has gone out of its way to make it obvious that ESO is first and foremost an Elder Scrolls game and this extends to the game’s crafting system. For the most part, ESO’s crafting plays out just like it would in Skyrim or Oblivion.

 

GameSpot – The Elder Scrolls Online Trapped Between Worlds

The series’s high-fantasy tone is front and center. Within towns and villages, banners fly and guards patrol the streets, looking for troublemakers. In the forests, the birch trees are so weathered, you feel you might reach out and tear the bark right from the trunks.

 

PCGamer – The Elder Scrolls Online Hands-On: Trouble in Tamriel

Quest design seems to rank on the better end of MMO busywork. Yes, there are plenty of fetch quests but, in grand Elder Scrolls tradition, many take you to new caves or abandoned ruins. Better still, I encountered few “kill X thing” quests, and was even given some unexpectedly inventive tasks. I freed a prisoner from a crazed ice wizard, stole valuable wine from a tavern, and had the obligatory meeting with Sheogorath. At its best, The Elder Scrolls Online seems able to capture the silliness that often surfaces in the series’ singleplayer outings. But even these high points are soured by my biggest issue with the beta: combat.

 

IGN – Playing Elder Scrolls Online from a Console Gamer’s Perspective

I could be wrong. If my experiments with the gamepad yield any insight into what ZeniMax has planned for the console version, it’s likely that it may have the best foundation for a console MMORPG to date. It works so well because it stays true to the series’ roots rather than drawing too heavily from popular MMOs, and it smartly escapes the trap of having too many abilities to use with a gamepad. In that regard, Elder Scrolls Online already seems to succeed triumphantly. Now it just needs to provide us with reasons to stick around and work with others.

 

Eurogamer – The Elder Scrolls Online Renounces the Grind

Much has been made of The Elder Scrolls Online’s identity crisis, but you can’t really call it a crisis anymore. After sceptical fan feedback on early builds, Zenimax Online Studios, the developer created to make this game, has made a determined push to bring ESO more in line with the wildly popular series of solo role-players whose name it bears. The art style has been steered towards Bethesda’s trademark muted realism and a convincing, useable first-person camera has been added. I don’t know how much the content has changed, but it certainly now bears the Elder Scrolls imprimatur: longish, talky quest lines with a fondness for political intrigue or the hubris of mad mages. It looks, talks and walks like an Elder Scrolls game: prestige, high-minded high fantasy.

 

Massively – The Elder Scrolls Online Beta is Absolutely Nothing Special

Maybe there’s something else. Perhaps I’m just missing some key piece of information, some concept that will tie the whole game together. Perhaps if I just press a little further I’ll see what makes people excited for the game. Perhaps I’m just completely wrong and not the target audience at all, but I’ve been trying to see what’s there to like about the game even if I don’t intend to play it over the long term. But there comes a point when you have to stop giving the game chances to win you over, when you have to say that it’s giving you little reason to praise it at all. There comes a point when you just have to say, “No, this is in fact not all that good.”

 

Polygon – The Elder Scrolls Online – Overview Video

 

 

The Escapist – Impressions from Tamriel

They say you never forget a first impression, but maybe that’s just for romantic encounters and automobile purchases. Once I mentally decided to forget the bug, I really really enjoyed the first 10 or so hours of Elder Scrolls Online. Like the single-player games, there are so many hints at a larger, more complex political situation in the background but the player is usually only focused on short term goals. Mechanics-wise, there is a lot to explore from the novel skill point system and more action-based combat, to the intriguing crafting system.

 

The Escapist – 3 Things Skyrim Players Need to Know About ESO

TESO doesn’t quite allow you the same kind of blank slate approach to designing your character, but does allow for a surprising amount of flexibility. The four classes — Templar, Dragonknight, Sorcerer and Nightblade — each come with a trio of class-specific skill trees and abilities that suit the particular play styles those classes are meant to fulfill. The Nightblade, for example, has abilities clearly geared towards stealth and backstabbery to overcome opponents, while the Sorcerer skill trees allow for either the summoning of minions or differing types of magic damage. However, much like Skyrim, you still can wield any weapon or deck yourself out in whichever armor set you’d like, and increase your skills in using that gear much in the same vein of Skyrim. This grants you access to an impressively robust set of abilities and passive bonuses based on weapon and armor types that you can exploit for varying playstyles outside of the normal “Tank-Healer-DPS” types you see in most MMOs. If you so chose, you can make a heavily armored Sorcerer who dual wields axes and calls down lightning on your foes, or a lightly armored, bow-wielding Templar who focuses on healing friendly players from the second line.

 

Rock, Paper, Shotgun – The First Few Hours Of Elder Scrolls Online

And yes, it’s fair to level lots of these complaints at Skyrim or Oblivion. While each contained some lovely moments, there was an abundance of witless drivel being murmured by bored actors. But the difference was, you could just hop on your horse and ride off up a mountain to watch a sunset, before stumbling on a hidden cave leading to a ruined dungeon packed with marauding skellingtons, where you find a book that tells you about a secret place in a nearby tower… In ESO’s first few hours, you follow the marker to the next quest giver.

 

Elite Monster – Elder Scrolls Online Hands On Preview, Is tt April 4 Yet?

Overall, the developers of ESO did a marvelous job of balancing the expectations of MMO gamers while still introducing new concepts and maintaining the context and ambiance of the Elder Scrolls universe. I feel fortunate to have been part of this beta session and I absolutely can’t wait for the game to go live. I’ll see you all in Tamriel!

 

PCGamesN – Elder Scrolls Online Beta First Impressions: A Familiar World Made Foreign

Some of these plots let you make a moral decisions. I was asked to investigate a tomb which had been recently spewing out undead onto the mainland. Turns out the undead were restless because an eager mage had stolen a precious artifact, unknowingly unleashing an evil spirit. After we figure out how to re-imprison it and stop the undead, it’s revealed that someone has to harbour the spirit and make the sacrificial choice to be sealed inside with it. Now I was given the choice of who, but I was dumbfounded. I had known both characters for less than ten minutes, I didn’t care.

 

Rev3Games – Elder Scrolls Online PvE Impressions

 

Expert Reviews – Elder Scrolls Online Review

Crucially, TESO feels more like an RPG where your character plays a role in the story, rather than just being along from the ride as with other MMOs. There’s a huge amount of exposition during the opening hours, which will likely set the tone for the rest of the game. You don’t start by delivering post or killing boars, but by preventing a band of pirate wizards (yes, that is a thing) from summoning a typhoon, uncovering a Skooma dealing plot and sending a storm golem back to Oblivion. None of the quests we tried were simple fetch tasks, which is refreshing for any MMO, and felt in keeping with previous Elder Scrolls games.

 

The Controller Online – The Elder Scrolls Online Hands on Preview

Rather than the “kill ten wolves” type of missions that often fill MMO’s, the missions you’ll take part in feel much more like traditional Elder Scrolls missions. You’ll be in and out of dungeons and mines, searching for NPC’s, and clearing buildings to find treasure.

 

PC Magazine – Hands On With Elder Scrolls Online

Once you’ve become sufficiently versed in some skills, you can “morph” them into others, which will retain all (or most) of their previous benefits, but add new ones as well. A creature summoning spell one of my characters used, for example, could morph to summon a different kind of being or one that behaved in a certain way.

114 responses to “Press Beta Impressions Roundup”

  1. Profile Photo
    Galahad

    Expert

    Total Posts: 371

    Imperial Templar

    Lowly Knights of Stendarr

    This is awesome! Thanks @Atropos!

  2. Profile Photo
    ShadowThorn

    Apprentice

    Total Posts: 42

    Bosmer Sorcerer

    Very nicely done! :)

  3. Profile Photo
    D0VAHkiiN

    Expert

    Total Posts: 297

    Altmer Templar

    Way to go @Atropos! Thanks for collecting these.

  4. Profile Photo
    schnoffle

    Master

    Total Posts: 966

    Breton Sorcerer

    Cross

    Awesome…I can watch these while being stuck at work all day :)

    Guild Signature

  5. Profile Photo
    Tremulous

    Journeyman

    Total Posts: 52

    Argonian Templar

    I’ve got a fever… and the only cure… is more Elder Scrolls Online!

  6. Member Avatar
    Novark

    Novice

    Total Posts: 15

    Nord Nightblade

    More cowbell! er TESO

  7. Profile Photo
    Haas ta Thisk

    Adept

    Total Posts: 143

    Argonian Dragonknight

    The MMORPG article on Crafting is a major release of information. Close to NONE of this has been public before. very Excited!

  8. Profile Photo
    Shadow Elder

    Adept

    Total Posts: 192

    Bosmer Nightblade

    Wait getting confused by comments on other threads did open beta open up today?

      

     

  9. Profile Photo
    Pang

    Adept

    Total Posts: 210

    Dunmer Templar

    The Daggerfall Brovenant

    Shadow-Elder said on February 7, 2014 :

    Wait getting confused by comments on other threads did open beta open up today?

    No. A bunch of media outlets, the ones in the above article got to play the game over the course of a weekend. Today they are all releasing their articles about it.

    Bro’s before Necro’s

  10. Profile Photo
    Taven

    Grandmaster

    Total Posts: 1085

    Breton Sorcerer

    The Keepers

    That was a pretty petty article from Massively, otherwise a great round-up

  11. Member Avatar
    Booshy

    Journeyman

    Total Posts: 76

    The massively article is a joke and I’ve lost a lot of respect for that site today.  Yes I’ve bashed on ESO some but I’m still a fan overall – and to see their one comprehensive review / opinion of the game as a whole come from a guy who starts his article with “I’ve always had a profound antipathy for the Elder Scrolls games” just irritates the hell out of me.  If you want to have a negative bias opinion piece – ok fine.  But not balancing it out with a fan’s opinion is pretty unprofessional in my eyes.

     

    And don’t give me that crap about it being objective because it’s not a fan.  Being objective would be someone who either has no experience with the series or is completely in the middle (not loving or hating the series).  This guy is the complete other end of the spectrum having hated the entire series and he makes this known in his first 2 sentences.  Not surprisingly, the entire article is a hate fest.

  12. Profile Photo
    Taven

    Grandmaster

    Total Posts: 1085

    Breton Sorcerer

    The Keepers

    Booshy said on February 7, 2014 :

    The massively article is a joke and I’ve lost a lot of respect for that site today.  Yes I’ve bashed on ESO some but I’m still a fan overall – and to see their one comprehensive review / opinion of the game as a whole come from a guy who starts his article with “I’ve always had a profound antipathy for the Elder Scrolls games” just irritates the hell out of me.  If you want to have a negative bias opinion piece – ok fine.  But not balancing it out with a fan’s opinion is pretty unprofessional in my eyes.

    Agreed, constructive discussion is all well and good but this was just…I don’t even know.

  13. Profile Photo
    Atropos

    Administrator

    Total Posts: 2991

    Imperial Sorcerer

    Entropy Rising

    Yeah, I’m not sure why Massively thought this was an appropriate way to handle the press beta of ESO. I mean, let’s consider a few facts:

    • Massively is a large (and well funded) website dedicated to the coverage of MMOs.
    • The reviewer chosen to play ESO in the press beta event is (by self-admission) not a fan of Elder Scrolls games.
    • They were given the opportunity to play the game for an entire weekend to develop an understanding of what it has to offer.

    Confronted with these facts, the Massively reviewer decided to spend a few hours in-game, and barely leave the starter island. From the articles offered, it sounds like he spent more time writing than he did playing. I agree with the assessment that it’s a petty approach, not because the response is negative, but because it was your job to give the game a review. As a MMO gaming website that is your fundamental mission. He dropped the ball and the coverage offered by that site is pretty much a joke.

    Founder, creator, and developer of Tamriel Foundry.

    Guildmaster of Entropy Rising.

    Occasional Twitch Streamer.

  14. Member Avatar
    Netfoolsmedia

    Apprentice

    Total Posts: 43

    I was amazed by how little most of the reviewers even knew about the game. I saw statements in some articles about how players are going to HAVE to make 3 separate characters to see all of Tamriel, one was saying it was a shame that ZOS wasn’t going to allow players to make any race on any faction, another was saying that ESO didn’t let you just walk off in a direction and explore. I know that journalistic integrity is in short supply these days, but it seems to me that ZOS failed miserably in briefing the media outlets on the basics of the game. It really seems as if they just unleased a few bros into ESO and let them just ramble on about things that were pretty inaccurate to the games real systems. I even read an article where a guy said ESO barely looked better than Oblivion. I think ZOS should really looking into wiping out their marketing department and just hire a whole new crew. I know I would looking for heads to roll when basic things like briefing the  media on game systems is completely overlooked.

  15. Profile Photo
    Isarii

    Moderator

    Total Posts: 3930

    Breton Templar

    Netfoolsmedia said on February 7, 2014 :

    I was amazed by how little most of the reviewers even knew about the game.

    To be fair, it’s pretty much unavoidable for large gaming sites to have problems covering specific games. Their staff is focused on a lot of different games at once, and it’s unreasonable to expect them to be experts on all of them; just understand that you’re reading the impressions of people who are relatively new to the game, and you’ll be fine.

    For more informed reviews, just wait for the general NDA to drop.

  16. Profile Photo
    Subcrazy

    Journeyman

    Total Posts: 72

    Breton Nightblade

    Yeah its fairly obvious the guy from massively went into it wanting it to fail and so his experience was it failing because he wasnt objective

  17. Profile Photo
    SoMuchMass

    Adept

    Total Posts: 209

    Orc Dragonknight

    Massively has had a negative agenda against ESO from day one, they can be extremely biased and agenda driven.  For example, when they did a GW2 closed beta impressions they asked two fo the biggest Guild Wars fans on the site to do a review (Elizabeth who know works at Arenanet) and Shawn you ran a Guild Wars fan site for years.  And I will guarantee you they will make WildStar fans do an overall review of WildStar in closed beta.

  18. Profile Photo
    c0rp

    Adept

    Total Posts: 228

    Khajiit Sorcerer

    Pantheon

    For whats its worth…the guy at “Expert Reviews” seems to be a knowledgable guy, and actually understands the game as well (he was the only reviewer I actually saw that BLOCKED an incoming power attack from a mob).

    Some of the comments from these other guys are just LOL….like the guy who states he felt no requirement to group while leveling up to lvl 6 or 7 or 8 or whatever level he probably quit at?  How dare an mmo not force a lvl 5 to group up with people.  Please..

     

  19. Profile Photo
    Ajiin broni

    Master

    Total Posts: 662

    Imperial Templar

    Tamriel Trading House NA

    Some of the reviews are just ridiculous. ‘Were not having to group with anybody, were not impressed.’ [30 minutes into the game, running around the starter island.] Gargh!

    Anyway Thanks for putting these up TF guys!

     

  20. Profile Photo
    SoMuchMass

    Adept

    Total Posts: 209

    Orc Dragonknight

    SoMuchMass said on February 7, 2014 :

    Massively has had a negative agenda against ESO from day one, they can be extremely biased and agenda driven. For example, when they did a GW2 closed beta impressions they asked two fo the biggest Guild Wars fans on the site to do a review (Elizabeth who know works at Arenanet) and Shawn you ran a Guild Wars fan site for years. And I will guarantee you they will make WildStar fans do an overall review of WildStar in closed beta.

    I just mentioned this fact on Massively and my comment got deleted in literally 5 seconds.

Comment On: “Press Beta Impressions Roundup”

You are not currently logged in. You must log in before commenting.