Monday, March 3, 2014
You're going to probably see hate for ESO on the internet with the usual complaints of 'it doesn't do anything new' and 'it's just a Skyrim WoW clone', the subscription model is dead (see SWTOR) or my favorite - complaints about mechanics (combat doesn't 'feel' right - even though collision isn't in yet) and bugs in a beta test environment designed to optimize server performance (the beta build is several behind actual production.
It's up to you to decide if being 'WoWsy' is good/bad etc. For me, I never played WoW, so it doesn't matter to me that both SWTOR and ESO have been skewered for clones. That being said, here are my thoughts.
1) Narrative/story immersion - SWTOR wins here hands down - and it should - that's the strength of the game. I find the quests and stories in ESO fairly typical of Elder Scrolls games - but you definitely don't feel as heroic as you were in Skyrim or SWTOR. Also the group/quest mechanics on a busy beta server break story/quest immersion.
2) World Immersion - Holy crap does ESO blow SWTOR away on this. I mean I thought I was getting vitamin D standing on the beach basking in the sun. The sounds are incredible (waves on the beach, seagulls, the breeze, etc. ). The game does in incredible job of conveying the mood and feeling of the environments. Now you'll see someone jump in about texture quality or something, but frankly I run the game on high and find it really high level, even in beta where there are still some issues. I do think some of the NPC/MOB modeling could be better, but in terms of immersion this game is great. The other thing is that there are no nameplates, which as small as that sounds , really, really helps with immersion.
PvP - Goes to ESO - it is fantastic. If you need nameplates, target markers, target of target, focus target etc. to enjoy your PvP, this isn't for you. But if you want a game that conveys the feel of your 20 person group sneaking up, ambushing another guild, taking a keep, holding strategic positions, etc. this game is FUN.
Crafting - ESO - If you've played Elder Scrolls you know they have a very robust crafting system and ESO does not disappoint. Tons of crafting options, etc. that actually matter in terms of building great gear from the start - not just something to grind for end game money making
Combat - easy to master and manage. Some people don't like it, but I really enjoy focusing on the situation and selecting a small number of skills rather than learning when to apply 20+ skills. As the game progresses there is a lot of forethought and care that goes into your build.
Most importantly for me, you create a character and whatever role you want that character to play - you build it that way. In SWTOR for example if you start a Scoundrel and by level 20 figure out you want to tank, you roll a new character. In ESO you simply start tanking and building those skills. You can respec and redo anything except your core class, which is your get out of jail free card in case somehow you make a build that just doesn't work. The skill system allows for some really really cool/unique combinations, ranged tanks, tanky healers, battle mages, snipers, burst dps, etc.