Last week, Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited was finally released to consoles. Today, we are continuing on our three-part series in an attempt to give this massive game the attention it deserves.
Having had another week to play, I’ve discovered all the little touches that the developers added to this installment of the already-great Elder Scrolls series. First off–and I can’t believe I didn’t bring this up in the first article–your mount is on-demand. In Skyrim and other previous installments, a horse cost about 1,000 gold (no small price) and could be killed or lost permanently. You had also better remember where you left the thing, because it did not travel with you (unless you rode it, obviously). Now, the mount works in a similar fashion to the mounts in World of Warcraft; you hold down a button and it appears out of thin air and when you hop off or take sufficient damage, it disappears until your next use. Its really impossible to overstate how nice this feature is, especially considering the map is several times the size of Skyrim (Skyrim itself is only one part of Tamriel).
Along with the easy-access mount, Elder Scrolls Online also facilitates travel through its vast world using Wayshrines. While you are unable to fast travel to any location you’ve discovered as in Skyrim, there are Wayshrines dotted throughout the map. Once discovered, you can fast travel to these at any time for a small fee or, if you can make it to one near you, you can travel between Wayshrines for free.
As far as character development, I mentioned in the first article that it seemed like it would be possible to duel spec. While this may be plausible if you intend to solo through the whole game, if you want to work in a group and bring something valuable to the table, you’ll need to pick a spec and stick with it sometime around level five. What I didn’t take into account in the first article is that you’re not just dumping points into one (or two) of the three main specs, you also need to use those skill points for whatever type of armor you want to wear, some kind of crafting, and then joining guilds opens up even more spec lines. Additionally, you don’t automatically get your racial abilities. As you progress they become available and, just like all of your other abilities, you have to put skill points into them to activate them.
I was finally able to run a group instance and it was great fun. We only had a team of three (mage, tank, and myself as healer), which made us a little underpowered. The level system was odd: We had three players in between levels 12 and 15 and the monsters in the instance were mostly level 11, but they seriously messed us up. Five probably would’ve been the ideal number to run it with.
It was a blast to finally get to use my healing arsenal. Honestly, this instance came along at the exact right time. I was getting a little frustrated with dumping all of these skill points into healing and not being able to use those abilities. On the bright side, there is a temple where you can respec about any aspect of your character other than appearance.
The connection issues also disappeared after the first couple of days, just as you would hope. Most likely because everyone wasn’t trying to log on at the same time. I don’t think I was disconnected once after the third day or so.
All in all, I would say that week one was a success. Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited delivers great fights, the travel system makes it so that the pace of the game stays solid, and a huge world with all kinds of potential for exploration.
Join me back here in a month for a look back at all the cool stuff we’ll learn.
What has your play experience been like?