A month has come and gone since the console release of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. I finally have enough time in the game to feel confident putting out a proper review. For a look at the journey we’ve taken over the last month, feel free to check out Parts 1 and 2 of our series.
First thing’s first: Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited is a truly expansive game. Inevitably, I have not had a chance to test every single little aspect of the game. Right up front, I want to apologize for missing some components. For example, I barely had a chance to test the PVP arena. It’s enormous, it’s fun as hell, and there are a lot of really great opportunities (if you’re good enough, you can become the goddamn emperor for a time). Several players in the game seem to play only PVP, coming to the main world only to farm resources (if at all).
That hopefully gives an idea of how huge this game it. Even after playing for over a month and exceeding level 30, there are still elements of the game I have yet to touch. That is probably not surprising considering previous Elder Scrolls and Bethesda titles, but on top of that, ESO has started to advertise DLC coming out in September that will open up even more territories as well as add an entire new PVP/PVE arena. For reference, the current PVP area is easily twice the size of any of the main world territories.
Because of the fact that the world is so huge, there is a temptation to rush through as see everything as quickly as possible. This is the mistake I made starting out. I mentioned in the previous articles (in a moment of hubris) that my build was good enough that I was able to take on orange or even red quests (meaning quests far above my character level). First off, that’s not entirely true. Being in a world where we fight alongside other players means that, often, even though I was not in a group, I was actually being aided (and aiding) 2 or 5 other players during most quests. A great thing that ESO does is that it seems to dole out experience equally whether you got one strike in on a mod or destroyed the whole thing on your own. This prevents the frustration that comes with “kill stealing.” However, this also means that one can get a false feeling of superiority. I guess what I’m trying to say is… take it easy. Take it slow.
One thing that is important in ESO is learning to read the map. Each territory in the main game contains a solo instance, a group instance, and six “delves.” Delves totally changed the way I moved through the game like nothing else I learned. Delves are uninstanced dungeons with named bosses. For the uninitiated, “uninstanced” means that monsters will regenerate and other players could (and almost always will) be playing along with you just like in the outside world. The great thing about delves is that, not only are they fairly quick to play through, but each contains a Skyshard. Since collecting three Skyshards grants one skill point, that means that simply finding and playing through all six delves in a territory will grant two skill points on top of whatever Skyshards one can find in the open world and skill points granted from quests and leveling up.
Another thing that’s important to notice on your map is what color the icons are. Black with a white outline means that there is more potential there. So basically anytime you see that, go to it and play until it’s white.
Also, even though I touted the fact that mounts are readily accessible, I highly recommend walking almost everywhere. Riding a mount makes it way too easy to pass up resources and quest lines.
Moral of the story: You will get a ton more out of this game if you slow down and actually take time to enjoy it (weird, right?).
There are always new things to learn and do in this game, and I can’t wait to find out what I’ll learn in the coming months.
What has been your impression in the first month of ESO? Does anyone know why GISing “eso” turns up a bunch of pictures of It‘s Pennywise?
Billy is a freelance writer living in Indianapolis with his dog, BoJack. He enjoys TED talks, video games, sunny days, football, and the salty tears of his enemies.