Pretty much everything I’ve done in The Elder Scrolls Online has been a delight, so I was going in to my chosen task for Choose My Adventure with a pretty high set of expectations. I’m pleased to report that they were all mostly met to my satisfaction, though it certainly wasn’t all unicorn kisses and rainbow butterflies.
I suppose I can’t really be terribly surprised by this behavior: I’ve run in to it plenty of times in Final Fantasy XIV. Still, it would have been pretty nice if the generally relaxed pace of playing the game to this point also applied to the dungeons I ran, but that wasn’t the case. People clearly were very eager to do other stuff.
That’s not for a lack of trying to slow things down a bit on the part of ESO’s dungeons, mind you. There are quests that provide some manner of context to the things you’re doing while running around the instance. The problem is I wasn’t really allowed to absorb any of it, as either people had already blitzed through the dialogue to kick things off, or the group’s indifference to the exercise forced me to do the same. Considering I’ve really enjoyed taking in all of the quest steps of everything I’ve done, it was certainly a little jarring.
Again I stress that the people I teamed up with were fine enough, if generally silent. Even so, the contrast between exploring the island of Summerset and being flung into a high speed treadmill with a bunch of other in-game murder hobos like yours truly was palpable.
In spite of this issue, however, I managed to find the fun in the dungeon runs of ESO. What’s more, I actually felt like I was able to contribute some reasonable damage, which was a concern I was carrying with me from the very moment I entered the queue. Of course, being such a late arrival to the world of Tamriel, I probably wasn’t burning up the DPS charts by any stretch. Still, the skills I had to put down wide area DoTs seemed to help contribute to every group’s success, so consider me pleased with myself.
Despite that, there was still a discernible power gap between myself and my PUG mates. The game’s level syncing system still does its job well, and I still contend that I was a contribution to the group, but there still was that faintest sense that my lowly self was being carried like a hiker’s backpack and with about as much indifference. Maybe I’m reading between lines that aren’t there, but it was just a bit too easy.
As for the dungeons themselves, they were interesting enough when I did have the opportunity to take in the scenery instead of get led around the nose by impatient PUG members. The Queue Gods saw fit to put me in only a couple of different dungeons whenever my number was finally called, but they were suitably dungeon-y and thematic. They felt less like single direction hallways and more like pieces of architecture, like a level of design and detail went into their make. I appreciated that.
Perhaps these pick-up group experiences get better as I go later down the line, but overall I have to say that I enjoyed my time in the dungeon finder of ESO. I’m not walking away from things with a blown mind, but I’m also not harboring any horror stories or feeling like I’m wasting people’s time. Given three strangers I was effectively forced to meet and coalesce with in only a few minutes’ time, I can’t really ask for much more than that.
Ultimately, I’m happy to have made this return trip to Tamriel. I’ve had some good experiences with people, I’ve really enjoyed taking in the ambience of the game’s world, and I’ve taken my character through some really good adventures. Plus, I bought myself a swank little house under your direction. Net positive, really.
Most games in CMA have fallen a bit off to my personal wayside, but ESO will definitely stay part of my regular gaming diet. I absolutely want to take a look at what awaits me further down the leveling line. Maybe I’ll even get to bigger and better dungeons and won’t feel like a very gentle weight. Even if I don’t try to push the PvE envelope and just wander around the various zones slowly chewing on the side quests as I go, then I’ll be content.
I’m having such a good time in ESO, in fact, that I’m going to keep this round of voting for the game going for one more week. Basically, I’ve got an idea on where CMA will be headed to next and I pretty much am not ready to leave Tamriel yet. So, I’ll leave the choice of where to rumble around next up to you, the readers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the heck out of Summerset, its content, and its views, but when I accidentally walked out of my new little house, I found myself in a completely different location known as The Rift which piqued my curiosity. So with that in mind, where to?
Where in Tamriel should I travel to next?
- Stay in Summerset. You seem to be liking things fine. (35%, 37 Votes)
- Go somewhere else. This orange has no more juice to provide. (65%, 69 Votes)
Total Voters: 106
As ever, polling will close at 1:00 p.m. EST this coming Friday, February 22nd. I’ll be summarizing my overall feelings about The Elder Scrolls Online next week along with reporting in from wherever the polls lead me, but I’d like to provide thanks to everyone for guiding me along and making my return to Tamriel an overall pleasurable one. I also want to thank one Victor for mailing me some awesome new armor.
Until then, I’ve got more of Summerset to root around in.