So, the Elder Scrolls Online preorder early-access started yesterday, and we’ve played enough to each create a character. I’ve also gotten out of the starting area. So while this is not a lot of content to talk about yet, there are some basic questions about flow, interaction, and the way the game will work that we’ve seen a glimpse into.
Before we hit our A to Z Challenge starting tomorrow, I thought I would get these thoughts out. We’ll be playing more and seeing how we like the game throughout April, so we’ll probably have some follow up after that and some thoughts on continuing to play or not. But for now, first thoughts!
Large Game File
So the first thing we ran into with this game is that the game is over 30gb, and with our digital preorder, that meant we had to download that all. Our Internet provider – like many – has a data cap, over which we have to pay more. That means, amidst all of our YouTube watching and other online activities, we did not have enough data left to download a copy of this game for each of us.
We downloaded one copy, and tried to copy over the game files from one computer to another. Save our data cap, right? Well, the files don’t work when moved over. And the install happens during download, it seems, because the install file was about 100mb.
We calculated a potential $80 of overage costs from downloading a copy of our $80 game (we preordered the collector’s edition; the normal edition is just $60). Which didn’t pencil out. Our data resets on the 1st, so we’ll be downloading our second copy tomorrow. But be warned! It’s a lot of file.
Guilds and Guild Stores
One question I had going into the game was whether there would be an auction house. One of the things I always found interesting in prior Elder Scrolls games was that a lot of the magic items were hard-wired into the game, there were specific places where you could find them.
An auction house would wreck that, or, make it so that things like that DIDN’T exist in the game. Either would be sad. However, from what I hear now, there is no auction house.
Instead, there is a Guild Store – you can sell items amongst guild members, but not generally with the public. That will hopefully make for a nice mix. I wonder what it will mean in general for the economy of the world, which is always a fascinating real-world part of MMOs.
It sounds like you can be a part of five guilds, and all of your characters are members of said guild. So that gives you a variety of social options, and economic options. I’ll be interested to see how this all plays out.
One of the things I am known for amongst my friends is for making lots of characters. I often find items that I realize would be great for another character. Plus, the game has a crafting system, like most MMOs, so you can have a character work really hard at this and make things for all your characters.
But then, how do you move things between your characters? Torchlight introduced the idea, and Diablo 3, at least, continued it: a shared bank chest between your characters. It sounds like Elder Scrolls Online has followed suit, and the bank works between all of your characters.
I’ve also heard advice, for anyone who got the preorder, that the preorder bonuses only exist on the first character to get them. So if you want to move them to another character, you should put them in your bank. And don’t delete your first character, or you might not get another copy of these items!
One of the big selling points of this game, and really all of the Elder Scrolls games, is the open-ended system, where you can use whatever you want, do what you want. And most of the advance comments I found about the game and the system were that you could do what you want, and it was the greatest innovation since sliced bread, and it was going to be the best.
Meaning I wanted to get past the aggrandizing hype and into the real game. And so far, I’ve liked how it works. Using the skills indeed increases your skills, which is part of the great Elder Scrolls history. Everyone knew about skills leveling up individually, as well, but people expected that each level would require skill points. However, they level up with use, as does the whole skill tree.
So that means you should probably have plenty of skill points to learn all the abilities you’ll need for the 12 skill slots you have. Then some passives, some backup skills, some early skills for leveling purposes… I think you’ll have plenty to max out what you want to max out. I’m cautiously excited.
Shared Server, Different Sync
One of the most fascinating things I found out in advance of the game coming out was that there were not a whole bunch of servers. I didn’t have to worry about which server I ended up on – because there’s only two servers. Megaservers. North America and Europe.
I was worried about lag. I mean, the whole reason to split people up is so there’s not too much draw on the servers. And I’m running on a lower-end machine, couple years old, so that’s an especial concern for me. Too many people congregated together, crashing my system… no good, right?
So it sounds like, while everyone is on the server together, you are instanced out depending on where you are in the main quest. Meaning you should only see some of the many people who are around you.
It also means, for playing with friends, you need to work hard to stay in sync, or try to catch-up to be at the same point as each other. Which is an interesting problem to face, and one Holly and I don’t quite have experience with, but will soon!