Season of the Dragon #TESOnline

So although I have a current focus on Star Wars the Old Republic, I do still want to keep abreast of other developments in the MMORPG genre. I changed my mobile phone last week for the first time in many years, and as an unintended consequence I went almost a full week without looking at my blog feed on Feedly. It happened to be a very busy week work-wise and study-wise so I was so preoccupied that I only realised yesterday that I hadn’t read anything other than Twitter for 8 days.

Naturally in that time a big announcement landed surrounding another MMO on my planned roster for this year, Elder Scrolls Online. Coming on 4th June this year is the chapter (i.e. expansion) Season of the Dragon. Massively have an article with the details up. It will focus on Elsweyr and the Khajiit, but will also bring dragons back into the world (a new type of Dark Anchor-style encounter perhaps?).

It will also introduce the Necromancer class into the game. I lack the ‘bandwidth’ to really want to create yet another character in the game and it isn’t a class that I find that attractive so it’s not a big draw for me, personally. I have a tanky Templar that’s mostly been sat in Elden Root for a long time, one that I’d like to return to playing at some point. So I can see this expansion and its thematic focus (on Khajiit) as a good excuse to be returning to Elder Scrolls Online later in the year to push my Dragonknight to the level cap in finishing Murkmire content, and then start prepping my Altmer Templar for a journey to Elsweyr. It might even offer an opportunity to resurrect the ESO levelling trio that this character belongs to as that’d mean his Khajiit Sorceror companion could join the journey to his homeland.

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3 Responses to Season of the Dragon #TESOnline

  1. Bhagpuss says:

    I just patched up ESO and played again yesterday. I don’t like the combat any more than I ever did, I think the writing is incredibly bland and generic and the voice acting sounds like the director’s main goal was to make sure no-one expressed any emotion of any kind. The world is very attractive to explore, though, and I have an inn room now, which always makes a difference…

    • Honestly I think ESO is best played as a sandbox. Ignore the story (a shiver runs through my spine even saying that) and just explore, gather, craft, or whatever. There’s a huge amount of territory to explore, and with global level scaling, there’s no artificial gates on your wandering.

    • Sylow says:

      I find that the voice acting in ESO is all over the place. Some indeed are as described. Some are very much overacting. And some are actually quite good.

      I mean, there’s also some well known names for voice actors there. Most famous probably John Cleese (Cadwell). So all in all, I personally rate ESO comparatively high for voice acting. I mean, it’s not on par with old TSW, but it’s better than many other MMOs out there.

      The same is true for the writing. Sure there’s a number of bland side missions, but there’s also a lot of rather good ones. Including several which require you to make hard choices. Again, not on par with old TSW, but honestly: better than a lot of writing I experienced in SWtoR.

      Where ESO really falls short are the chat animations. Watch old videos of TSW and see their quality. Plenty of hand-crafted animations, lip-syncing done, etc. That was just at another level. But as said: old TSW. When you check out Secret World Legends, the NPCs now look like talking nutcrackers, and when watching the videos of new content, I also dare to say that they can not stand up to the old ones on production value.

      In contrast, NPCs in ESO (just like SWtoR) just trigger emotes at some times, then return to the default posture. It really feels very mechanical. Also, I think that’s what you actually really experience: it’s not so much the voice acting which is that disconnected. It sometimes is, but not always. It’s the wooden posture of the NPCs at the same time, which just works against all the writing and voice acting, pulling it down.

      Another big problem in my eyes is the main story. It’s just yet another “hero saves the world” story. Sure it is nice to do it, the fight against Molag Bal feels absolutely awesome. But it still feels somewhat “just once again”. It’s too big to really get to the heart. Also, it ramps up pretty quickly. This means that the story always remains a bit distant.

      In contrast, the games writing for example really shines in the Thieves Guild DLC. It’s not about saving the world, it’s only about a group of people, who were framed and try to get out of a mess. All the important NPCs cross your way again and again. As a bonus, the voice acting is more consistent than it was in the base game.

      In my eyes they were mostly able to maintain the better voice acting in newer parts of the game, be it DLC or expansion. Vvardenfell and Summerset also have some great and well made side missions. Only the main story, yet once again, is about gods here and gods there and saving the world and whatever. It’s just too large to really get fully connected. I think they by now more than once wished the main story would’ve been somewhat more mundane and moderate, as it would allow them to also keep the main story on a better level.

      So all in all, I still see ESO as “on par” to most MMOs out there in terms of story and voice acting. You can play it as sandbox, you can hurry through the story to get skillpoints, whatever you prefer. But for several of the DLCs and the expansions at least, I advise to pay attention to the stories. There’s some gems among them.

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