Bookmans Recommends: Elder Scrolls Online: One Tamriel
If you’re anything like me you’ve had an ongoing obsession with The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for the past five years and with good reason. Skyrim was a fantastic open world game with plenty of lore to engulf even the most staunch lore hound and a world massive enough to capture your attention for years to come. I played a bit of Oblivion before getting sucked into Skyrim, so I had great expectations when Bethesda and Zenimax teamed up to make The Elder Scrolls universe into an MMORPG. I have a weakness for online RPGs and the idea that one of my favorite game worlds was going multiplayer got me really excited!
Unfortunately, upon participating in the beta just before the game’s launch in April 2014, I found myself feeling anything but thrilled. The world of Tamriel felt strangely small and restrictive, with favorite zones out of reach until much higher levels. The questing felt too linear for an Elder Scrolls game and the crafting was confusing. All in all, it felt like much of what made Skyrim and the other Elder Scrolls games feel so special, that go-anywhere-do-anything style of gameplay, was sorely missing from The Elder Scrolls Online. Upon release, I decided not the purchase the game after all and promptly forgot about it.
Fast forward a couple years to October 2016, I suddenly bitten by the bug to revisit Tamriel. Bethesda just announced it was bringing a remastered edition of Skyrim to PS4 and XBOX ONE, and Zenimax released One Tamriel, possibly the best update to The Elder Scrolls Online that completely transforms a once stilted, mediocre game into something that feels more like an Elder Scrolls game. ESO has had plenty of content added to it over the past couple of years, including the fan favorite Dark Brotherhood and Thieve’s Guild story lines, but One Tamriel removes all of the level and faction restrictions that made the world feel so small during the beta. With the new update, players can now travel anywhere they wish in the world and partner with other players regardless of faction or level. The content scales to your level no matter where you go or who you play with, which makes the game world feel so much larger in scope. The quests provide the appropriate amount of challenge no matter what your level.
In addition to the newly expanded game world, Zenimax also got rid of the subscription requirement in order play. Now players can just buy the base game and play right away without having to pay a monthly subscription, however the subscription option still exists as ESO Plus, a premium membership plan that offers bonuses to those who don’t mind playing a monthly fee. Some of the perks of an ESO Plus subscription include:
-An account-wide Craft Bag that stores all of your crafting materials separately from your normal item bag, so that your materials don’t take up all of your regular inventory space and you can share them with your other characters.
-A 10% bonus to XP, gold, and crafting gains.
-A monthly stipend of 1500 Crowns to spend in the game cash shop, the Crown Store.
-Access to all the DLC for the duration of your subscription.
All in all, the subscription is a pretty sweet deal and it’s completely optional. You can just as easily enjoy the game without all these bonuses, but if you find yourself getting invested, it’s definitely worth looking into. The Craft Bag is especially useful since it allows you to share all the materials you find between your characters.
The game also includes a cash shop called the Crown Store where you can purchase crowns to spend on cosmetic items, DLC, and other upgrades. The items in the Crown Store are also optional, but there are some pretty sweet things including the ability to turn into a werewolf or a vampire. You can obtain these abilities through the regular gameplay without having to spend extra money but it is a bit challenging and involves camping spawn points for specific NPC that can bite you and transmit lycanthropsy or vampirism to your character. I didn’t have the patience to wait to become a vampire, so I just bought the ability myself.
The Elder Scrolls Online has improved considerably since it’s shaky launch in 2014 and it shows signs of only getting better with time. The world is rich and vast and there is plenty of content to lose yourself in. If you enjoy MMOs and Skyrim, ESO is worth giving a try! Even if you were disappointed in the beta, you might just find yourself falling in love with the game that ESO has since become.
By C’loni Bailey…Asst Manger, friend, cosplay diva.
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