So, my first week in ESO is history, give or take 24 hours of downtime. To get it out of the way, the sudden downtimes and quest stopping bugs were troublesome and the bugs continue to be so. Zone chat was confirmed to be full of scoundrels, cheats, and low lifes but that’s no discovery. Something new was that chests in instanced dungeons are a trolls paradise. Let me explain, in dungeons, bosses drop gear and other loot…traditional stuff all up to the RNG. Apart from this boss loot, there are also out of the way chest THAT drop gear and loot but are not rolled on by the group so it’s treated like a crafting node. You find the chest, pick the lock, ALL THE LOOT IS YOURS. Grouping with strangers is a crap shoot and you can easily get trolled by somone who does not contribute to fights and simply runs around any pulls looking for chests to loot. IF that happens to your group, you might be thinking well, just kick that douche out…that doesn’t work. For one, the kicked person will NOT be thrown out of the dungeon AND as long as he is still in the dungeon, your group won’t be able to invite a replacement in.
Ok, that was all the crappy stuff. Oh, there was a billing issue once early access ended but you are welcome to read about that at Massively.
Considering this is launch week/early access, AND a rookie mmo studio, I think it’s been a success overall. Why? Because, despite the crap I described, I’m getting lost in the storytelling and exploration in this game and time is flying by. This game is fun and immersive, no log in cue and relatively lag free experience.
I rolled an Orc Dragon Knight with the Ebonheart Pact. I joined up with my old guild from Rift and GW2, Gaiscioch, and hit lvl 15 Sunday night with 2 days of /played time. Leveling certainly doesn’t seem rushed but I wouldn’t call it slow either…rather well paced. There’s no kill stealing, just need to get a hit on any named mob for credit. Craft nodes are fought over and I found it to be some good competition. I’ve discovered that bag/vault space is quickly gobbled up by crafting mats so I’ve created a number of alts to take advantage of the 60 slots of bag space and have them concentrate on 1-2 crafts. Leveling crafting does have some less efficient methods that, if you continue to use them, will certainly drive you mad while eating through your mats. Best thing is to find a partner or alt to breakdown each others items. It won’t be long before you see “most efficient” leveling guides, if they are not already out now. Crafting/bag space management can easily take over your descretionary game time, be forwarned.
On my Dragon Knight, I gone back and forth on this but I think I’ll concentrate on sword and board, tank archetype with a 2 hander for dps moments as I’m leveling and starving for skill points. Respec’ing is available but it’s very expensive, and the cost rise for every skill point you have. Gold doesn’t seem to flow freely so far, hopefully its gets better at higher levels. ESO action combat requires…you guessed it, movement and some pacing. Pacing in that have limited pools of mana and stamina for skills so I’ve found it helps to squeeze in some “free” auto attacks inbetween those costly weapon or class skills. Button mashing will quickly drain that mana/stamina pool in long fights and so this pacing gives you some tactical advantages so that you can strategically respond with a specific skill when needed. This really pays off in boss fights of course or any fights that require some length. As far as landscape questings and mobs go, there’s no real facerolling. Mobs 1-2 lvl’s above your character do provide a challenge and will take you down on some occassions. AFK in a tavern, not in the middle of some field where some crab-man demon will path by and eat you.
That brings me to immersion. The NPCs in this game are actually interesting. Going AFK in a tavern is a treat and reminicent of Skyrim’s tavern bards. The screen shots I attached to this post give you hints of interesting characters and you’ll have to play the game to find out their stories. IMHO, Argonians and Khajits have provided the most “ah ha” moments so far. They are the best reason NOT to click thru quests text.