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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.7

The Elder Scrolls Online - Review Part 1
May 21, 2014 | Ted Bade

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Mac OS X: 10.7 | RAM: 4 GB | HD Space: 60 GB | Graphics: (AMD): Radeon HD 6490M; (NVIDIA): GeForce GT 330M; Intel HD Graphics 4000


The Elder Scrolls Online - Imperial Edition was recently released by Zenimax Online and Bethesda Softworks. This version is an MMORPG and requires an online account which costs a monthly fee. While this fact might have fans of the previous play offline versions of The Elder Scrolls franchise riled up, the game has some excellent merits as an online game and could prove to be a contender to the top MMORPG title, which has been long held by Blizzard with World of Warcraft. ESO offers great graphics, interesting story lines, and provides a large world to explore. While playing you can also work on a variety of crafting skills, find better gear in the most unlikely of places, and make friends online. ESO is well thought out, well delivered, and really a lot of fun to play.

Since this might be a lengthy review, I am going to divide it into two sections. First will be information about simply playing the game: the interface, the world, the story. Secondly, we will consider the aspects of an online pay-as-you-play game, and how well ESO stacks compared to the guys at the top. I am going to look at the Elder Scrolls Online from the viewpoint of someone who has not played any of the previous Elder Scroll games, as well as from someone who is experienced with an online Pay-as-you-play game. I personally have a lot of experience with other MMORPGs, especially World of Warcraft.

There seems to be a bit of controversy surrounding this new payment model. This model is great for the gaming company’s bottom line, but it costs the player a lot more. For this model to succeed the game needs to satisfy the value needs of players. There are some important requirements necessary to make a fee based game worthy of spending your coins on. It needs to offer a great and very stable gaming environment along with the servers necessary to provide this, regular updates, improvements, and quick bug fixes. To keep people as members they also need to offer new and updated content, a workable online community, group events such as battles or special challenges requiring a group of players, as well as special special events, along with easy access to these things. So, while a game might be well thought out and fun to play, it might fail to provide enough extra value to warrant a monthly fee to play.

Part I: The Game

As a game, ESO has a strong story line, lots of action, and plenty of places to explore. This is coupled with excellent graphics and audio and a relatively easy interface. As a pay once game, it would be a terrific investment and well worth the money to play. I was quickly hooked.

Players start by creating a character. There are ten “races” to choose from, which includes four varieties of humans and three varieties of elves. You can also choose to play an Orc, a Khajiit (a feline headed humanoid), or an Argonian (a reptillian headed humanoid). Each race has certain racial traits that offer some slight starting advantage. For instance, The human Redguard are better sword and shield fighters, and the Argonian get bonuses in healing, restoration, and poison resistance. You also choose from one of the three game alliances,which essentially selects your starting zone and the quest strings you’ll find (as well as your team in battle grounds). There are many ways to tweak the appearance of your character, this includes their sex and many many body and facial options. If you aren’t into this, a randomize selection lets the computer generate a random set of looks for you.

Then you must name the character. ESO has a couple of restrictions on special characters used in the name, but that’s about all the direction you get. Finally you need to choose a Class. Dragonknight (martial arts with magic), Sorcerer (typical magic user), Nightblade (kind of a rogue/thief warrior), or Templar (magical warrior with a cause).

The game starts with a tutorial called the Wailing Prison. This area serves to introduce the player to various controls and interaction in the world, as well as an introduction to the major story-line. You can choose to skip the introduction once you have been through it once. Then, depending upon your character alliance choice, you are plunged into the action somewhere on the world of Tamriel to start your adventures.


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