Something has been brought to my attention that I should have addressed in the original ESO Beta Review. I apologize for missing this vital piece of information, and I hope to shed some much-needed light on the subject.
I have heard the same issue , more or less, from various people as I have read other reviews online and I feel it is something that is possibly ruining the experience of ESO for people. The issue is the difference between ESO and the Elder Scrolls series. It is understandable, Elder Scrolls fans want ESO to be Elder Scrolls, as awesome as that would be it can not happen, not yet anyway. ESO is an Elder Scrolls game don’t get me wrong. It has all the lore we love, the game play we enjoy, hell it even has the same starting point as all the Elder Scrolls games have.
The difference is, ESO is an MMORPG not a single player RPG. There are certain limitations that come with being a MMO. One limitation is having an open world to explore. While single player games can have open world sandbox exploration a MMO can not, well not to the extent a single player game can. A single player game is just that single player, giving the developer fewer restrictions and more freedom for things like open world sandbox exploration. Lack of an open world sandbox is one that can make ESO feel closed off and small and not like an Elder Scrolls game at all.
As much as I would have loved to run from one end of the world in ESO to the other, it just isn’t possible because of zone walls, and separate zones. Unfortunately, zone walls and multiple zones in MMOs’ is a necessary evil. Without zone walls or separate zones you would have more problems than you could imagine. Instead of just having a single player and one system running the game you now have thousands, if not millions, of players and systems running the game for MMOs’. Without these zone walls or zones loading times would be horrendous, lag would be mind numbingly frustrating, servers could collapse regularly, and that is just a few of the problems that would be encountered.
What Zenimax did to try to help counter the zone walls and separate zones was to make the separate zones larger than normal. This is seen in the starter zones, if you look at a map of the ESO world, the starting zones are small islands yet when playing then they are significantly larger than they should be. Had this been a starting zone for a different MMO the zone would have been a quarter of the size, if that big.
I am not saying I agree with their lack of zone lines and use of zone walls, but I do understand them. After looking at a map of ESO, I noticed there are areas where there are zone walls instead of zone lines and I can only think that they have future plans for some of those areas, future expansions more than likely. Or maybe it is they are just not ready for people to see those areas just yet in the beta and they will add zone lines for the live version of the game. Granted that is just speculation on my part.
Another thing I have seen being complained about is the linear feel of quests in the starting zones, and being forced to finish the starting quests in order to progress off the starter zones. I can see how this is a problem but you have to remember, these are not only starting zones but plot points. These areas, give you the lore and reasons for your character to move forward. They give tasks that give you the gear, and skills you need to keep moving forward and prepare you for what is to come. Yes, it is very linear and mandatory at first but once you get past the starting zones I am 90% certain that you will have the freedom to do what you want and go where you want. Will this be tedious for any and all alts you have, probably, and it might get changed once ESO goes live, but IMO I hope they keep it. Most MMOs’ that give you freedom at early levels breeds dumb players who get people killed in groups and raids because they never learned to play their character at early levels.
I hope this sheds some light on some of the things that people have issues with in ESO. I am sure I have missed something and as soon as I figure out what it is I will make another post. In any case, I do hope this has been informative, and helpful. I look forward to any thoughts on the subject.