This is the second and last installment of our Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited review. Check out our initial impressions.
In part one of my review, I covered the scope, graphics, and combat of ESO. Let us dig deeper into the vault and get a little more technical in regards to crafting and PvP.
Crafting in ESO is one of its unique traits that distinct itself from any other MMO. Similar to Skyrim, experimenting with ingredients plays a large role in crafting; it’s a risk and reward system. For example, mixing up two random herbs might create a very powerful potion or it might go bust. Ingredients are acquired in different ways, mostly from killing enemies, but they can also be collected in the wilds from the likes of flowers, ore veins, lootable items and dismantling enchanted armors and weapons. Unfortunately, the materials found in the world are very well blended with the textures of the world which makes differentiating a consumable rock from a normal one a bothersome exercise, up until you invest in a crafting skill that makes crafting material appear on the minimap.
But the most interesting aspect of crafting is the research which grants you enchantment attributes learned from items. The procedure is slow, but once you learn an enchantment, it is yours indefinitely. However, learned enchantments are bound to the type of item that you learned it from, so if you learned an enchantment from a sword that allows you to absorb 10% of health with every blow, you will only be able to apply this enchantment to another sword. But that’s not so much of a hurdle when compared to your limited inventory and bank spaces that will reach capacity sooner than you think, forcing you to either micromanage your ingredients/materials, or to invest in a space upgrade that does not come cheap.
PvP is where ESO shines the brightest. The fighting is held in the capital of Tamriel, the world where ESO exists, Cyrodiil. You are transported into the center of the world where various quests are available, the most popular being that which has you join fellow faction members in an epic large-scale battle to conquer forts. Siege weapons must be constructed in order to demolish gates and tactical team battle is an essential part of combat. Unfortunately, and as I mentioned in part 1 of my review, the lack of in-game text chat holds back players from devising a strategical plan and coordinate with each other. Imagine the size and scope of the game. Now imagine the quantitative classes and number of players in your raiding party. Imagine accomplishing anything worthwhile without any adequate communication.
Speaking of scale, if you haven’t acquired a horse or cannot afford one at the moment, get ready for long sessions of sprinting to get to anywhere on the PvP map, especially if your quest is on the other end of the map. You journey may take you a good hour or so, and I am not exaggerating. Just hope you don’t run into a high-level enemy player who would pulverize you, forcing you to make the whole dull trip again. Fantastic.
Charging into massive battles along side your teammates is a thrilling experience, nonetheless. Watching catapults launching fiery attacks on immense walls, rams battering down gates while defending it from enemy teams, I ended up shouting by myself for succeeding in capturing a fort–ESO really does put you into a fantasy world making you feel like a warrior in magical, medieval time, and arguably, ESO brings the most immersive PvP system in an MMO to date. If your alliance was triumphant in capturing and holding 6 keeps around the imperial City, and you happen to have been ranked as the top player, you will be crowned as Emperor.
As emperor you will earn many perks such as a brand new skill line, a kingly looking costume and increased powers. This a great feature for hardcore ESO players to thrive for, and even though I was never within the reach of becoming an emperor, it is still an enjoyment to seek.
I had my ups and downs with Elder Scrolls Online with its thrilling “running simulator,” and with its solo-yet-not-solo main questing experience. In spite of its downfalls, there is a lot of value in ESO with its exceptional combat system, epic PvP battles and addictive crafting format. For hardcore fans, ESO is enough to scratch their itch for that somewhat next Elder Scrolls adventure, but it is best enjoyed with a close group of friends who would focus their efforts on the Alliance Wars as that’s where the best experience is.
Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited is available on PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC. A review code was made available to us via Bethesda.