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ESO - Review of the first weeks

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Aina Prat
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If the first weeks after the release of a new subscription MMORPG are not necessarily significant in the life of the game in the long term, they nevertheless provide many indicators on the adherence of players to the system and the sustainability of the paid mode. , because it is after this first month that many potential subscribers are lost, or not. The Elder Scrolls Online is no exception. Strengths and weaknesses, here is a quick overview.



Maintenances and bugs

If there are subjects that generate a lot of comments, on the forums and in the game, it is these two. This last week saw a significant number of maintenances at the level of the game. In one week, no less than 6 maintenances took place, all taking several hours, that is to say almost one maintenance per day. These maintenances were also the opportunity to implement several corrective patches, mainly with regard to quests.

On the other hand, in-game bug reports are rife and it is not uncommon to see a crowd of players in one place, waiting for a quest to unlock or an NPC to appear. On the official forums, many topics are written about these issues, and some annoyance emerges.

Another indicator, the number of messages written from players who say they do not want to subscribe at the end of this first month, because of a game that is too buggy or too infrequently accessible due to maintenance.

The Elder Scrolls Online isn't the first game to suffer from this criticism, and it sure won't be the last. The presence of bugs is in fact, to my knowledge, universal with the release of a new massively multiplayer game. For some games this can be resolved in a few weeks, for others it can take months or even years. Some blame the lack of beta testing, others blame the developer teams, but the point is, bugs are virtually impossible to avoid, especially on servers with hundreds of thousands of players. Managing the interactions between the game and the players and between the players themselves requires a superhuman ability to anticipate behaviors, and it is much easier to benefit from the feedback from the players to target and resolve the rifts.



As a result, and if we look at the successive patch notes, we can see that the resolutions of faults are done gradually in the more advanced areas and therefore more populated, as the players send out bug reports. .

Regarding the maintenances, they are the automatic counterpart of the bugs, since it is for Zenimax to resolve them quickly in order to offer players the best possible experience. Admittedly, the maintenances prevent players from walking around Tamriel, and are particularly long currently (between 3h and 5h), but I still give Zenimax a good point on this subject, which is much more responsive than others. studios in troubleshooting bugs.

We can bet that at the current resolution speed, the game should be stable before the release of Raidelorn, where other games have taken months to achieve.

The community at stake

Here we are concretely entering what turns out to be one of the black spots in the game at the moment. While mega-servers have certain advantages, they also have major drawbacks.

For programmers already, megaservers are proving to be a good pick for managing PvP. Many games with smaller servers suffer from player count issues on PvP maps or server link issues for common queues. This is not the case here because all the avatars and equipment of the players are stored on one and the same server.

Then, in terms of maintenance and updating, reducing the number of servers also makes it possible to reduce the time and the team required for these operations.

On the downside, we can list a number of them:


  • The general chat in all languages, therefore regularly unreadable for players not versed in foreign languages. Granted, there are several language specific channels, like frzone, enzone or dezone, but these are not used by gamers at all.
  • No auction house. Yes, this is probably a consequence of the megaservers. When we look at the display time of the content of a guild bank or a guild store, which however does not manage more than 500 players, we can easily imagine what it would be like in an auction house. of several hundred thousand players. The number of objects would be bloated and management a nightmare for the servers.
  • As a direct consequence of the lack of an auction house, the chat channel is spammed by offers to sell or buy, while there is no dedicated channel for commerce.

In addition, other problems tarnish the game more indirectly, for example we can talk about the official forum, unclear and difficult to read, deserted by a large part of the community. There are mixed subjects in the 3 main languages, with a hazardous organization.


We can also talk about the communication from Zenimax which for example announced this weekend a maintenance, more than 2 hours after it started.

The game

Regarding the game, the opinions presented on the forums are in line with those presented during the various beta phases, namely a beautiful, immersive game, with a respected universe and which encourages exploration. The skill point system seems to be unanimous, even if some regret that in the end, players limit themselves to reproducing the archetypes they know in other games, which can hardly be faulted with Zenimax. .


Finally, other players argue that the game does not encourage the formation of groups, and therefore the multiplayer aspect outside the dungeons. That's true, but that's the case with a lot of MMOs, where the true multiplayer experience begins once the maximum is reached.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, it seems obvious to me that Zenimax makes real efforts to be attentive and reactive to the requests of the community. The regular presence of GMs (Game Masters) in play to unlock stuck players, regular maintenances and patches (5 patches in just 3 weeks) show that they are paying attention. On the other hand, their communication leaves something to be desired, like many studios before them, and although this theme is recurring in the forums, it has not yet found an echo with Zenimax.

Some game systems are boring or perfectible, but essentially fall under the bias of upstream Zenimax teams (multilingual servers, guild stores). It is destabilizing for players who have acquired certain habits with their previous games, but it is also by breaking habits that it is possible to forge an identity of their own.


The Elder Scrolls Online undoubtedly has its own identity and biases that baffle many. Hopefully the studio will remain motivated in the coming weeks to provide us with a stable game free from major bugs. A significant drop in community beyond the first month of play would certainly hurt their ambitions.



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