ESO – The View From 30

My Templar has reached level 30, and I’m starting to notice a few long-term trends in ESO gameplay.

First, my character hasn’t really changed very much. I expected that having more skill points available would allow me to make significant changes to my gameplay style over time, but I am still using basically the same set of 5 skills that I started with. And to be honest, the newer skills available to me don’t sound very interesting or helpful. Consequently I have a surplus of skill points while I wait for something better to open up. (And that’s after spending many points on crafting.)

Second, the leveling process is starting to feel a little slow. That, combined with the way the zones always look the same, is weighing down my fun a bit. The only thing that really breaks up the monotony of going through a zone is the actual story in the quests. Sometimes the stories are engaging and it’s great, but sometimes they aren’t.

Third, ESO is a game that demands your full attention, and that doesn’t always fit with my lifestyle. (I have the same problem with The Secret World and SWTOR, to be honest.) Particularly on weeknights, I often want to listen to an audiobook or watch television while I’m playing my MMO, but that isn’t very practical with ESO because when you turn off the voice acting, you’re missing a big chunk of the game. Reading the sub-titles kind-of works but it really doesn’t do the game justice, and as I said before, without the story of the quests, there is little difference between one zone and another.

Don’t get me wrong. ESO is still the most fun thing to play among all the currently available options, and I will probably sub for at least one extra month. Most likely I’m just experiencing a completely normal post-launch letdown. It happens with every new MMO. (I set FFXIV aside after the first month too as I recall, and then went back later.) I’m at that point where the new paint and the new car smell wears off and you settle into a comfortable, daily routine. It’s a well-documented human phenomenon, and not my fault, or ESO’s fault. Yes, it’s science. That’s it. Look it up. (Actually don’t.)

But unless something dramatically different happens in the next zone or two or three, I don’t think I’m going to have much trouble setting ESO aside for “the next big thing.” Whatever that might be. Probably WildStar, but possibly Rift 2.7 or an ArcheAge beta.

P.S. In response to Tobold’s post, I would say that the state of ESO is somewhere between average and above-average. Good enough to try, good enough to pull you away from games that you’re burned out on, but maybe not good enough to pull you away from games that you still like.

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