The Elder Scrolls Online has had a few closed beta weekends for the lucky people who were selected to participate. If you weren’t selected, you possibly knew someone who was. I remember talking to my friend about how the closed beta. About an hour later, she got an email with a beta key.
Just my luck.
Thankfully, I got an invitation to the open beta Bethesda was running this weekend and if you were the lucky winner of my beta key give away, you did too!
Let’s talk about the download and the drama that came with that.
The download size is ENORMOUS. It’s between 15-20GB big and it took several hours to download; an overnight download for me. My DC: Universe Online file size tops out at 25GB and that’s a full game. I’m somewhat worried about how big the final game will be.
After the download and install phase FINALLY finished, you log in, watch a quick opening video and go into character creation. You start by choosing your faction and race. Races are restricted to factions, but you’ve got
3 different races for each faction to choose from, so there’s a nice amount of variety. The sliders have a nifty locking feature (like layers in Photoshop) so you can play around with certain elements of the body sliders without accidentally screwing up another part of your character.
The factions and races are:
The Ebonheart Pact: Argonian, Dunmer and Nord.
The Aldmeri Dominion: Altmer, Bosmer and Khajiit. (Kitty!)
The Daggerfall Covenant: Breton, Orc and Reguard.
You can also be an imperial who are free to join any faction.
My character is a Dunmer (Dark Elf) so she’s a part of the Ebonheart Pact.
After character creation, you enter the game play. That’s where my problems started. First bug that I encountered was a UI error. Which is fair enough, it’s still in beta, bugs are going to happen. But when I went to close this error, it error’d out. After having to update a secondary program that you install with the beta, it fixed it. However, it wasn’t until some Googling and asking around that I figured that out.
A few other graphical bugs and some pretty interesting ping issues, the experience has been pretty polished. The graphics are better looking than those in Skyrim, although some people think they look cheap.
The final debate for users is going to be whether the game is worth $15 a month (€12.99 / £8.99). Hardcore Elder Scrolls fans will willing pay as much as Bethesda charge. Others are going to be more difficult to convince. It’s a pretty standard MMO. You’re the chosen one to do something or other and save the world. With all the talk hyping this game up, it shouldn’t take long for the initial game release to make money hand over fist, but I’m yet to find something that will set it apart from other successful MMO games like WoW or Final Fantasy 14. Still fun to play, but it’s not anything special.