Choose My Adventure: Elder Scrolls Online makes a play to be my second home MMO


When it comes to MMORPG games, most of the time I hold just one home title — an MMO that I stay subscribed to or play pretty religiously because I’ve gotten invested in terms of time, effort, money, and social connection. I’ve planted roots. I’ve established myself among peers and friends. I’ve still got some mountains to climb and things to look ahead to. It’s comfortable but also big enough that I don’t really feel the need to add a second home to my mindshare.

That might be changing however because the Necromancer class in Elder Scrolls Online and the gameplay I’ve experienced up to this point has been so engrossing that I’m strongly considering calling this one a second regular game. I feel that strongly about it all.

Before I continue, I should point out that while I’ve returned to ESO several times before, both for this column and in my personal time, it’s always been long enough and provided enough new things to feel like it’s a completely new game to me. So it’s been with this new character, which was created simply because I was capable of making a Necromancer without recalling exactly when I unlocked the class. However, when I started my earliest steps and found out that it was capable of tanking, I was immediately intrigued.

Regular readers probably know by now that I really do love tanking in MMORPGs. There’s just something about being able to take all of an enemy’s offensive effort without flinching too much that makes me smile, to say nothing of the want to be useful to groups. But when that delight is paired with a class feel and presentation that’s not typical of the standard MMORPG mold? Well, let me tell you, my monkey brain is activated, and that’s just what the my Necro Kitty is doing.

Of course, class is just the baseline in ESO, as selection of active and passive skills are what make the class a tank. Happily, I was reminded that this game offers an in-game guideline with suggestions on what abilities to unlock, meaning I was pretty much free from the pitfall that caused me to rage out of last week’s game. Of course, that’s not to suggest that I wasn’t allowed a bit of creativity on my own. For example, I’m being guided towards using a sword and shield, but I really like how two-handed weapons feel and some of their utility, and nowhere along the 15 levels I’ve earned so far have I felt penalized for that decision.

And yes, I do like how combat in ESO feels. It’s not the tightest action combat model by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s always felt great to me, and being able to see Morticia But Feline stand up to some big challenges brought me no end of glee.

Another thing that’s different (or more likely has been forgotten) is the starting zone I’m in: Blackwood has this whole great overarching story and fun side quests that I’ve experienced so far, all within a pretty sizeable bit of digital real estate that doesn’t make me feel fenced in. As usual, some of the most fun in ESO for me is being diverted away from a primary objective towards some black compass arrow that would lead me on a fun and contained little mini-adventure, and Blackwood definitely holds true to that.

That’s not to suggest that the zone’s main story was bad, though; quite the contrary in fact. Thinking on it now I’m pretty sure I’ve played through this murder mystery before, but even if I have, it’s been a great romp with fun characters and a delightful bit of RPG cheese in terms of narrative beats. It’s basically hitting the same notes that make me enjoy my time in Dungeons & Dragons Online so much. I’m not some chosen deific being; I’m just an adventurer.

I’ve even gotten little tastes of what I’m capable of in semi-grouped content. I haven’t been in any formal parties yet, mind you, but there were a few portions of the main story where I was able to tank large groups of mobs in public dungeons and delves while a couple of other people whittled them down and we all got credit. The other players even stopped long enough to establish aggro before unleashing hell. Most of the time, anyway.

Finally, despite my not seeing too many other players for most of my journey, there were enough folks running around some of the bigger hubs as well as plenty of guild recruitment messages in zone chat that made me feel connected to the wider playerbase — something I wasn’t expecting to feel in a starter zone that probably has been around for a long while now.

Honestly, this has been an extremely gleeful and good time. Spooky Cat has been a blast to play, the story has been fun, the side quests have been even more fun, and I’m starting to lean into how a tank in ESO works. It’s become one of those MMORPGs where I think about it shortly after logging off. I’m honest-to-goodness considering subscribing to it, even. And frankly, this is refreshing considering how utterly let down I was with my time in New World the month prior. It’s great to feel this way again.

I could probably stand to amble around in Blackwood even more, particularly since it seems like there’s still some things to do after having solved this big mystery, but I also feel like a little change of pace would perhaps be good. Or would it? You know what – let’s put it to a vote, shall we?

Should I stay or should I go?

  • Stay in Blackwood. Follow through the main quest and clear some side stuff. (72%, 138 Votes)
  • Go. Head somewhere else. Suggestions welcome! (28%, 54 Votes)

Total Voters: 192

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The second poll focuses on Doomy the Tank Cat. Specifically the question of whether I should hit the party queues that are open to me now or wait until later.

Should NecroCat hit the party finder?

  • Yes. Let's see what it's like to tank "for real." (86%, 161 Votes)
  • No. Just wait/nobody does low-level content. (14%, 26 Votes)

Total Voters: 187

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Polls will close at their usual time of 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 26th. I suppose I’m going to have to sit and wait before I continue playing, but that’s going to be really hard. I love my Death Kitten.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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