‘The Elder Scrolls Online’ Dev Responds To Negative Reviews

May 1, 2014 by  

Human party members in 'The Elder Scrolls Online'

In some cases, MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) can find themselves getting off on the wrong foot as the development team behind them seeks to iron out unforeseen kinks such as bugs in quests, PvP matchmaking and the way that the game’s servers cope under the strain of thousands of players. For the most part these things are unavoidable and due to the breadth and scope of some MMOs – it’s in their very nature to experience these hurdles. Despite already receiving several patches and updates, The Elder Scrolls Online seems to be suffering from this same early launch ailment with some particularly negative reviews being published. Matt Firor, the Director of The Elder Scrolls Online, has responded to the negativity in a new blog post on the game’s official website.

Many of the reviews that have offered criticisms of the game have cited two key problems; quest gameplay and settings. With quests, some reviewers point to a fundamental problem with the way that many quests are put together as tasks requiring players to do things like put out fires surrounding a building, but that results in dozens of players vying for the same flames to distinguish, sometimes seeing over 20 people fight over themselves waiting for the flames to respawn. The same goes for bosses in dungeons, and various other tasks – tasks that are also a bit of a grind. Other critics have point the finger at The Elder Scrolls Online’s locations and the three factions in the game – the Ebonheart Pact, the Daggerfall Covenant and the Aldmeri Dominion – explaining that due to the way that the quests are located, you’ll very much find yourself revisiting the same sorts of places with the same sort of designs and textures according to which faction you aligned with.

This is not however, the sort of criticism that Firor addressed, instead pointing out that “some of the negativity in reviews comes from bugs.” It’s true that bugs are an issue in the game – as they are with many an MMO – which is why he also revealed the dev team’s plan for fixing them:

“As you can see, we’re hard at work addressing them and will keep rolling out fixes. The important thing for you, the community, to know is that we’re looking at ALL the feedback (from critics and from players), we’re addressing any shortcomings, and we’ll continue to do so. This game will get better and better every week.”

While there are plenty of elements that reviewers have disliked about The Elder Scrolls Online that seem to be systematic (and therefore unfixable without a significant overhaul), Firor adds that for Bethesda and ZeniMax a “true measure of ESO is what players in the game think” and that as a result they are “starting up several community programs that put you in the spotlight and ask you to submit your builds, guilds, screenshots, and more—the chronicles of your life in Tamriel—for us to share.”

The community aspect of the new title will be one of the plus points in any review of the game so despite “scores ranging from 90s to 50s,” as Firor says, the fact that players will “find that watching videos and reading stories by other players about the fun and interesting things they’ve done in-game will lead you in a different direction to try new things” the negative points may not be such a hindrance as some would think.

Are you satisfied with the MMO take on The Elder Scrolls brand? Are the complaints valid? What’s missing, if anything, from the game and what would you change?

We currently have two Game Ranters playing through The Elder Scrolls Online and since it’s such a large game, our review is still in the works, so stick around for more TESO in the coming days and weeks!

Source: The Elder Scrolls Online Blog

22 Comments

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  1. It would be helpful to be good from the start

  2. “fundamental problem with the way that many quests are put together as tasks requiring players to do things like put out fires surrounding a building”

    Why are MMO’s still be designed in a way that could cause this flaw to surface? World of Warcraft (which used to suffer from the same thing) resolved it by having Extremely quick enemy/key item re-spawn times and instanced quests in some cases. The putting out fires quest should have been instanced for each player and nobody would be fighting over eachother. Same with boss fights; just spawn a separate copy of the room and boss for each person (or party) so everyone gets a chance to fight it.

    • You beat me to it. Can’t believe AAA, mega-hyped games are still being designed like this and still asking for sub fees.

    • it is instanced to each player only world spawns like bosses are not.

  3. Bugs are expected in an MMO and ZeniMax are doing an excellent job of fixing them. I encountered the quest with putting out the fires and that was a bug, not quest design. You would have to put the fire out a couple of times before it worked, not because multiple players were trying to put it out. I know because I was the only one trying to put it out. You have to address bugs for them to fix them, that’s how MMO’s work. They are massive games that take both developers and players to improve. I found the quest lines to be quite impressive. I just finished Rivenspire for the DC faction and I found the main quest line for that zone really interesting. The only complaint I have is that they need to make the main story quest line playable with a group. That’s the whole point of The Elder Scrolls Online. Otherwise, Bethesda and ZeniMax have done an excellent job with this game. For the amount of people I see playing it (which means they are paying the sub fee), it looks like it’s taking off fairly well.

    • Just remembered, they do need to fix the respawn time or instance the bosses in their open dungeons. Groups of people gank the bosses within seconds once it spawns and it takes about a minute or two for it to spawn again.

      • I really, really hate that. Another example of something I’m surprised wasn’t addressed while this game was still in the planning stages.

  4. The combat’s mushy terribleness is what ultimately sealed its fate for me. If you try to play as though you are playing Skyrim, you will die extremely fast. Archery in particular makes absolutely no sense at all, but melee is not excused either. If the combat isn’t fun, and navigating the world isn’t fun, and the quests aren’t fun, and are crowded, and paced bizarrely, remind me again why I should play this game?

    I have a friend who raves about this game like it’s the best thing that has ever been made, but he has such a dramatic case of “I must publicly display my love for any competitor of WoW as loudly as possible” that I have to take his enjoyment with a grain of salt more often than not. In this case though, he’s literally the only person I know who has played it and enjoyed it.

    It’s not often that I quit an MMO less than 20 hours in (because all MMOs need time to adjust), but with ESO I had a hard out in four hours. It seemed like it wanted to be something else, but has no clue how to accomplish that task.

    • Give Wildstar online a shot. I agree with you about eso. Me and a friend were so psyched about getting in the beta and we played lik 2 hours and got bored lol.

      • It’s on my list to check out, but I just ended up giving SWTOR another go. Say what you want about that game, but I do like the class stories.

        • Lol, I just re-subbed to SWTOR, also. They’ve hooked me back with this galactic starfighter business and that free apartment on Nar-Shaddaa. Still have three classes to play through. Did the other five and really enjoyed every single story. Clearly Dragon Age 2 got whatever Bioware writers weren’t assigned to SWTOR.

    • Couldnt agree more.
      Mindless really old questing system.
      No need to explore an area when 30 people are already standing around teh objective. Ridiculous.

      And yes, Archery…. was a serious strength in ES games, why its so fundamentally horrible here? Who knows. :|

      Zenimax ruining it is one thing, -but Bethesda letting them? Unforgiveable.

  5. All of this is just smoke and mirrors to distract from the real issue they are having. You only need to head over to the games forums to see.

    Of course bugs are expected at launch. What ISN’T expected are gold farmers being able to hack the code so badly they can steal account right out from under logged in players. The are also spamming chat channels the forums private message systems and the in game mail.

    Instead of fixing the code vunerability they are blanket banning anyone they “think” is hacked. Again would be fine if it didn’t take over a week to get said account unbanned. And don’t get me started on their outsourced CS.

    The sheer number of bots and speed hackers are what made me stop playing. Bugs I can deal with. That crap? Zero tolerance on in a game you have to SUB to.

  6. thanks for wasting resources on a crappy game no one wanted that could have been used on fallout or a real elder scrolls game

    • Really? No one wanted? I’m pretty sure TES fans have been wanting a multiplayer version for a long time. Like, since forever. Also, periods, and commas and capital letters. Not necessarily in that order. It’s like you’re physically stabbing my eyeballs with stupid.

      • If you look at the Bethesda forums for the Elder Scrolls you will see the vast majority of people wanting multiplayer in an Elder Scrolls game didn’t want an MMO, they wanted the ability for 6 or so people to play on the same game world and adventure together. Considering half didn’t want any multiplayer, about 4/5ths wanted the type I described, that means roughly 10% of the Elder Scrolls community wanted an MMO of it.

      • Yes!
        But it should have been done by Bethesda, not some 3rd rate company who’s already proven themselves failures.
        What were they thinking?
        $$$$$$$$$ ???

        Sad. :(

  7. Thinking of playing this? Save your money for something better. The sheer number of bugs in this game will drive anyone but the most determined players away. It’ll take them MONTHS to catch up on all the bugs but instead they want to rush more content.
    Oh, and if you are coping with the bugs then there are the insane amount of gold spammers, large numbers of bots and several well known exploits to contend with. What fun.

    • I am an Elder Scrolls fan since Arena. I played the beta and was interested in the way they went with the entire game… I didn’t much like the default UI for attacks being only four presets, nor the ability to move thru your target. Combat becomes retarded when you just have people fighting that can go right thru you and then start attacking you from behind before you know whats going on. I didn’t get too far in before I was severely put off by crowding and the inability to complete quests due to either bugs or having to wait for a boss to respawn and hopefully get the kill.

      There are a lot of good ideas here, in ESO, but they have been poorly thought out and implemented. It’s almost like you took WoW and made it look like Elder Scrolls Universe.

      I didn’t feel a sense of open questing and being able to go and do as i please. it seemed like just the usual quest grind of run here and then run there, get this item and bring it here in order to get another item to take to someone else.

      All the quest lines in this game mirror the objectives that WoW used. There should be more story to the adventures and the grind is supposed to be long in order to build a character. It just seems as though the game fell so short on the mark, given its predecessors.

    • The bugs don’t overly bother me. I know all MMOs have bugs at the start, and that they will be eventually fixed. What bothers me is how dull and lifeless ESO is. Most character progression is via on the rails quest chains through level segregated areas, PvP is lacklustre, the world is bland and exploring is nearly pointless. Crafting is OK, but armour degrades so insanely quickly that many folk are just effectively playing naked – that’s right, 0 armour level barely affects your survivability (so what’s the point?). Etc, etc.

      Best, most accurate review I’ve read was from Tom’s Hardware:

      http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/the-elder-scrolls-online-review,3815.html

  8. Personally I think that half the negative posturing over ESO is in the players inability to let the game grow and improve the games only just hit over 4 weeks old and players are already selling it short prematurely not to mention the fact that there was quite a few people out there in the first place that didn’t want an elder scrolls MMO from day one nor ever wanted to let it see the light of day It wouldn’t surprise me if half the complaining stems from those who would want to see it fail which honestly is the mentality of a lot of people. What I find rather funny though is all the bugs and issues I have heard players complain about I have only ever came across one minor bug in my gameplay experience of 30+ levels of content and after reporting that one pathetic bug it was fixed within 24 hours and personally I have gotten over the gold selling spam and the bot problem is diminishing more and more each day which at least tells me something is being done to fix issues as they arise which at least for me is enough. The only real problem we have here is the ESO community at large and that most went into the game with a negative outlook from the very beginning which is what the developers don’t need to deal with they need more positive reinforcements which can simply include anything from submitting bugs as you come across them without your crap attached of cause and making suggestions as you think of them.

  9. Mat Firor lies:
    ‘As you can see, we’re hard at work addressing them [bugs] and will keep rolling out fixes. The important thing for you, the community, to know is that we’re looking at ALL the feedback’
    Except for all the beta feedback going back months who told you about the dupe and quest bugs…
    Prerelease:
    “We wanted to do monetisation outside of the game. So, if I pay for a month at a time, I have 100 per cent of the game. I don’t have to worry about paying one more cent. I’ll never run into a pay gate and I’ll be in the world.”
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-08-22-the-elder-scrolls-online-dev-explains-decision-to-charge-9-monthly-subscription
    Never explained the extra $20 paygate for playing the Imperial race horse on day 1 or the cash shop for buying a horse for $10 ingame.

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