Elder Scrolls Online Review

Is it Worth Playing Elder Scrolls Online?

The expansive MMORPG world of Nirn

Elder Scrolls Online was released back in April 2014. It is a Buy to Play Model with purchasable DLC in forms of both mini expansions and full fledged expansions. To celebrate 7 years, they are currently giving a “free game trial” to everyone between March 31 – April 13. This means, you have access to the base game along with 500 free crowns.

Crowns is the cash shop currency purchased by real money, it is used for gacha boxes, DLC content, pets and mounts alike. While you receive 500 crowns during this “free trial”, it’s not enough to buy much except the starter pack as most items are over 1500 crowns.

Elder Scrolls Online is a Action Combat MMORPG, however, the controls are simple which is your mouse buttons gives two attacks and hotkeys. It isn’t a sophisticated action combat game such as Black Desert Online, Blade and Soul or Vindictus.

So here comes the million dollar question, is Elder Scrolls Online still worth playing in 2021 or should we find another game invest time in playing?

I jumped right into this MMORPG, putting in over 55 hours during this Free Play period. As I saw, it still has a healthy 20k population base on average.

Is Elder Scrolls Online Still Good?

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks is the publisher of Elder Scrolls Online while ZeniMax Online Studios is the developer. Bethesda Softworks is known for other big title such as the Fallout series and DOOM Eternal games. However, similar to majority of the publishers out there, they all start with with great intentions, but as a business, they are frowned upon with monetizing their titles to make additional revenue. Luckily, Elder Scroll Online has been spared with this same fate, the game is widely considered non-pay2win by the community due too the game being more about “player skills” as opposed to having the best in game gears.

Combat

The combat for this action combat is smooth while it’s skills and animation flows from one skill to another, at times it does feel a little slow paced. It is not comparable against a powerhouse in this same genre such as Black Desert Online, but it is well above average in the market. I would put it just below Blade and Soul in terms of the Combat System alone.

Early Game

Grind, grind grind

The main purpose of the early game is to understand how the world of Nirn works. Elder Scrolls Online has a in-depth game mechanics along with the possibility of animation cancelling. One of the best ways to level through to max level is to do the main story quests.

End Game

Elder Scroll Online end game can be different for each of the player. It can be pushing leaderboard scores or achievement rankings. Or it can be to apprise to be a loremaster or a ranked PVPer. The possibilities are endless.

Customization

Character Customization

While the presets per gender alliance and race customization is very limited, it does make up with it vast range to choose from. Elder Scrolls Online has a total of 10 races available to be played. The races are the following High Elf, Wood Elf, Dark Elf, Argonian, Khajiit, Redguard, Breton, Orc, Nord, and Imperial. Similar to World of Warcraft, each race will have passive stats or abilities that makes them unique.

Build Customization

ESO Stock Inventory Only
Stock Inventory Only

One of the highlights Elder Scroll Online is that the endless possibilities regard to build customization. While the Bethesda Softworks attempts to keep the the game as balanced as possibility, the community always ends up coming with a class tier list and meta list. Needless to say, each class has it’s strengths and weakness and are able to complete all content provided in game. The skills are interchangeable when you need to at a small in-game currency cost, but the main classes and stats distributed chosen are static and cannot be changed.

UI Customization

I have never given anything such a terrible rating and I really don’t want to start, but ESO’s UI system, is just completely terrible if I had to give it a rating out of 5, it would be a solid 0★. One of the worse UI designs by far I have ever encountered. I rather be spammed by Chinese notifications all day then the current UI system ESO has. It feels a direct port from a Console UI and then dumbed a bit more down. It’s not only frustrating to have a complete overlay when looking at your EXP bar, map, inventory or character stats. I also don’t need a random keystroke dismounting you when you are checking something.

While the game is supported by addons, they are limited to what you can really do and unless the addon redesigns the entire UI. I had to get an inventory addon to turn my inventory into a grid based as opposed to the stock list version. This was the 2nd deal breaker for me which was cutting it very close to quitting and this review never materializing.

State of Game

Updates

Elder Scroll Online is constantly getting updated, in fact, the game is receiving an expansion “Blackwood” update soon in June.

Further, for all the lore lovers out there, the game based on the expansive world of Nirn, which expands along all the franchise of Elder Scroll game titles. While there has been no official notice, the publisher is Continually pumping out content in forms of DLCs and purchasable expansions.

Events

Elder Scroll Online, has constant events happening in game. Like most MMORPG, ESO will take advantage of all the world’s festival events such as valentine Day and Christmas while having their own unique events every now and then too.

ESO Events Announcements
ESO Events Announcements

Cash Shop

F2P Friendly

While the Cash Shop does not have any gear or enchantment you can purchase directly, so I wouldn’t call the game P2W. However, some gear are locked behind a paywall due to only accessible when purchased certain DLC only. This can pose an issue to players who only purchased the base game. However, majority of the gear are tradeable which does soften the blow.

Premium Membership Subscription

There is a subscription called Plus Membership in Elder Scroll Online. Benefits include the following

FeaturesNon-Subscription Free PlayersESO Plus™ Members
Dlc Game PacksPurchase DLC game packsFull access to all DLC game packs
More Crafting StorageNo crafting storage bonusUnlimited storage for crafting materials
Monthly CrownsNo free crowns1650 crowns per month for mounts, pets, & more
Extra Bank SpaceNo extra bank spaceDouble Bank space for your account
More Gold & XpNo bonus gold & XP10% increase to Gold & Experience acquisition
Bonus To CraftingNo bonus to crafting10% increase to Crafting Inspiration & Trait Research rates
More Furniture SpaceNo extra furniture spaceDouble Furnishings & Collectibles space in player housing
Costume DyeingNo costume dyeingExclusive ability to dye costumesExclusive ability to dye costumes
Transmutation CrystalsNo bonus to currency capDouble currency cap for Transmutation Crystals
Exclusive DealsNo exclusive dealsExclusive access to unique Crown Store deals
Excludes Latest Expansion DLC & character progression bonuses not available

Artwork

I am not a fan of the gore dark medieval base art style, but doesn’t mean it’s not good. The art is beautiful in it’s own right but just not something for me. As a game that is 7 years old, it has aged pretty well at this point, although, I do believe it needs to be re-touched.

Is Elder Scrolls Online Worth Playing

Fun

So… Is Elder Scrolls Online fun to play? While my main reason to play games is to PVP, lots of PVP, and what attracted me to even try ESO was the PVP content it proposed. However, after spending so long levelling, I jumped in a battlegrounds match and it was not what I thought it was at all. It was mages spamming 1 AOE skill, warriors spamming some cleave  skill and Dragon Knights spamming fire breath, over and over. That’s not fun at all. While story mode levelling was fun to a degree, I just can’t continue if end-game PVP is going to be like this. With the 150 hours as the average rate you need to play to reach max level, I am not too sure if I am ready to invest that time in to be disappointed.

The game feels like it has so much potential with your builds, but after doing a bit more research, they are just a few skills everyone will always take as they are the cream of the crop. Feels like, they are very little diversity. This was the main deal breaker for me. However, never the less, I had fun and it is a title that is worth trying out.