I also really like the crafting system. It's incredibly flexible. You make a base piece of equipment like a sword or helmet of whatever level you like. You can then separately create an enchantment that you place on the item. That means you can make anything you need. For example, if you want to craft yourself a level 14 pair of leather armor gloves that add to your magica stat, it's really easy to do so. Further, when you make the gloves you can choose from a with a wide variety of appearance options. When you are done you can further customize them with a really solid dye system. Not only will items you craft be functional, they also will definitely go with your outfit! Appearance options come from knowing how to craft equipment in different styles, which are learned from crafting motifs. For example, finding a Dark Elf crafting motif teaches you a whole slew of new appearance options for everything you can craft. Finding a new motif is always exciting, and they can drop just about anywhere. My understanding is also that I'll be able to craft gear with set bonuses eventually. The last time I enjoyed the crafting in a game this much was probably in Everquest II ten years ago.
Unfortunately, there are two factors work against everything I like about ESO. The first is the mildly annoying monetization. The game is only "buy-to-play" in the strictest sense. You basically need to pay for a sub if you have any intention of crafting, or even looting most objects that can be looted. There are tons of random urns, barrels and chests to dig through in the game, which is a lot of fun. Occasionally you will find something really nice like a new crafting motif or a magic item, so you do have a strong incentive to peek into everything. However, mainly you will find tons of random crafting ingredients. Unless you have a crafting storage bag, these items will quickly clog up your inventory. You can't buy a crafting bag from in-game merchants or the item shop, the only way to get one is to sub. It feels like an inconvenience created for the express purpose of selling us a solution.
|I am really impressed by how much work went into making the wilderness environments look natural. Even this scene with giant mushrooms and some kind of wolf creatures is believable. A big part of it is how much time they spend modelling plants.|
However, the need for a crafting bag is merely an annoyance. The sub is overall a decent value. It comes with a decent stipend of currency for the item shop and access to a lot of content you need to buy otherwise. I would be tempted to sub with or without the crafting storage. For me a more serious problem is the combat system. It combines all the bad aspects of action combat and tab targeting. You can't tab target foes, for your attacks to work you have to keep the mouse cursor pointed at them. However, the combat is still based on mashing hotbar keys to use attacks that often have somewhat slow casting times. It doesn't have any of the fluidity of a true action title like DDO, TSW or most shooters. Weapon attacks feel a bit more fluid, but those do something like half the damage of an attack with one of your abilities (and even that is only if you are using a very good weapon).
|Inside the audience chamber of a local deity. |
The net result is combat that feels like a clunkier-than-normal tab target system, save that if you get distracted and let your mouse cursor drift off of your target all of your attacks stop working. Making this even worse is that any object or NPC can block your line-of-sight. In big fights very often a random NPC will get in the way of your target and disrupt any combos you are trying to execute. To my tastes, the combat somehow manages to be both overly simplistic and stressful. On top of that, most abilities do very similar damage, so unlocking new attacks in your skill trees doesn't tend to feel very rewarding. My main is up to level 26 now, and my normal attack rotation has barely changed since I was level 10.
|The main story line has been pretty interesting so far. Shown here is a random scene from my second trip to hell.|