TESO: Trekking in Tamriel (Pt. 1)

It’s the world that never stops giving.

The Elder Scrolls Online is an interesting combination of many things that you would expect from a conventional MMORPG and many things that you wouldn’t. It has all of the staple elements like character classes, instanced events, crafting, world exploration, and character development. Except it does many of these things in different ways. With the One Tamriel update the entire world scales with you, too. This is reminiscent of how you scale up or down from your current level in Guild Wars 2 except it’s always active.

It’s an approach that fits how they expect you to experience the content quite well.

Exploration is a pretty large part of The Elder Scrolls Online. There are many quests, locations, and other oddities dotted around the map which you will only find if you go out there and explore the overflowing world. Crafting anything also encourages exploration, as there are many resource nodes out there and you don’t need any particular skills to harvest them.

Unlike World of Warcraft where each crafting style requires both a gathering component (like Mining) and production component (like Tailoring), The Elder Scrolls Online allows you to freely harvest anything even if you don’t intend to use it. You can upgrade those skills, though. But you’re not locked into anything and it doesn’t cost you any gold to start hammering ingots into a blade or a set of gauntlets. There are styles which will likely require research and resource investment. It’s also likely there will be rarer recipes which are harder to acquire. But it’s a nice touch to be able to find resources and craft things in a way that feels natural, which doesn’t really impact your character progression if you choose not to follow it up later.

A world as vast as it is beautiful.

Combat is interesting and not as integral to progression as you might think. It’s a mixture of blocking, dodging, and using mitigation abilities alongside attacking with both light and heavy attacks. Each providing a unique benefit in particular situations. For example, dodging will completely mitigate the damage (if done successfully) but it drains stamina. Whereas blocking can be used to follow up with a heavy attack on a staggered opponent. It’s quite an interesting change of pace for those who wear heavy armour and hit things until they stop moving.

You’ve got a limited abilities bar, too.

You’ll be able to take a combination of five standard abilities and one Ultimate ability. These are taken from your class skill progression, your weapon skill progression, and even from the type of armour you’re currently using. There’s also a quick slot mechanic (for potions and the like) which you can activate and choose from previously assigned items to quickly use them.

My journey with The Elder Scrolls Online started three years ago when I was in the closed beta. It was an interesting concept and always had potential to be a different kind of MMORPG, but at the time the execution left a lot to be desired and it wasn’t really too fun to play. After the introduction of the free to play model and (more importantly) recent updates I decided to give it another shot. Which, naturally, will translate to a series of posts, as it’s so much more fun to experience these things together. In the next post I’ll have more information on actual questing, exploration, and whatnot from a character perspective. I might even talk about the optional ESO Plus subscription if you’re good. Maybe even if you’re not.

Have a nice week, all!