Dear Michael Splechta, Editor-in-Chief of GameZone
I hate you.
No, you’re not a bad person or anything like that. I’m just kind of upset that I have to spend time not playing Elder Scrolls Online. There’s this huge, inviting, wonderful world that’s begging to be explored and I’m here, sitting at my desk, typing words into a document. Granted, this is part of my job, and if all I said was “Elder Scrolls Online is better than I ever thought it would be now go away so I can play more,” then you’d probably be very upset with me. So begrudgingly, I shall complete my journalistic duties and tell you how I feel after playing ESO for a week.
In a word, I’m surprised.
See, if you’d recall back to the game’s initial unveiling, the general response was a bit underwhelming. There wasn’t any real reason to drop everything on your gaming plate and begin obsessing over the game. I mean, all things considered, if you know what games would release in the springtime of 2014, you’d rather play Reaper of Souls, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and Titanfall. Or maybe you’d just be busy editing the reviews everyone’s been posting lately; it’s been a busy month or so.
Yet despite those initial feelings, I find myself completely won over by Elder Scrolls Online. Could my low expectations be playing a role? It’s possible, but it’s more due to the fact that the game has this feeling about how there’s not really a right and wrong way to play it. Want to focus on a dual wielding melee attacker that can also use spells and wear light armor? There’s nothing really stopping you. In fact, it’s actually been kind of successful through the first 13 and a half levels of my existence.
Keyword: kind of. Forgetting to keep up with repairs and upgrading your gear can put you at a serious disadvantage, but that’s not to say the game has proven to be hard or anything like that. Elder Scrolls veterans will feel right at home.
To further answer a question you asked me earlier today, I’ve yet to see my choices in quests truly matter outside the context of that very questline. Given the surprising quality of the narratives I’ve encountered so far, this is extremely disappointing. Sure, choosing different actions and being able to persuade or intimidate changes my course of action, but it doesn’t drastically alter the events that unfold before me. It doesn’t feel that way, anyway.
I guess, though, that at the end of the day, I can’t hate you too much. I don’t hate the fact that you’ve said you’re too busy to spend time with the game. I wish that wasn’t the case; I enjoyed being able to (incredibly briefly) play with you and other GameZone team members in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. We had fun during the livestream of Grand Theft Auto: Online. Well, everyone but I had fun; I spent the entire day trying to flat out get into the game. But for now, I feel like I’ve successfully completed my obligations for the week. I must now go back into Tamriel and marathon as much as I can before I leave for PAX East.
Oh hamburgers, I’m not going to be able to play for five days. I really hope I can survive.