Choose My Adventure: Goodbye for now, Elder Scrolls Online

TESO
My time with The Elder Scrolls Online has come to a close for this month's edition of Choose My Adventure, and while I have enjoyed myself, I've taken a lot more away from this experience than I expected. One month and 14 levels later, I have not only this character we've built together but several alts spanning every race, class, and alliance.

But did I like the Nightblade the most? Will I continue to play after this Choose My Adventure is over?

Character impressions

Overall, I liked the Nightblade. It reminds me of so many other rogue-like classes in other MMOs, but ESO gives you the freedom to customize this one just as you'd like. Don't want a stealthy ninja character with twin daggers and leather armor? No problem! Although the stealth and crit bonuses will be severely lacking, you can be a stealthy ninja in a suit of platemail wielding a two-handed sword if you want.

My final set of skills ended up being Swallow Soul I, Lotus Fan I, Rapid Strikes I, Killer's Blade I, Dark Cloak I, and Soul Shred IV for my ultimate. I would usually teleport to an enemy or group with Lotus Fan (which was morphed to have AoE damage that would snare and cause bleeding to nearby enemies), hit my target with the flurry of damage from Rapid Strikes, and then finish it off with Killer's Blade that causes 300% more damage to enemies with low health. It's a very potent combo, and I'm enjoying its effectiveness.

But aside from Swallow Soul (which I used for healing myself during a longer battle) and Soul Shred, everything else strayed from the Siphoning line. As many of you said in the comments, sticking to one class line would be silly, so I heeded that advice. This build is mainly for when I solo (so... all the time), but I plan to figure something else out for group content.

Duel Wielding was an excellent choice, and I enjoyed that for the damage and speed. Sticking with Medium armor at this level gave me a bonus to Critical Strikes, Stamina regen, and Sneak, while my Khajiit Medium Armor Expertise bonus gave me a 15% increase in XP gain for that Medium Armor line.

So I think the combination of Khajiit Nightblade playing a stealthy role in Medium Armor worked out really well. It's still not my favorite class (which would have to be the Sorcerer so far), but we'll see if that changes once I get further into the game. I suspect my low level hinders my opinion of any class as being better than another just yet, which is exactly why you'll be seeing Fa'saad again in other editions of this column.

Crafting
Crafting impressions

Crafting in this game is done really well. Even though it takes elements from other games like Warhammer Online, RIFT, and Guild Wars 2, ESO's crafting goes a bit deeper, I think. If you want a sharper blade on your sword, for instance, you don't simply read a book about it or take one from another sword. In ESO, you have to find another sword with a sharper blade and research it (for 6 hours of real time) to learn how the previous craftsman made it so sharp.

I could go on and on explaining more about the crafting system, but it's really something you should try out yourself. It's comprehensive, effective, and helps build the in-game economy. I highly recommend it.

World impressions

The world of Tamriel is gorgeous and vast. It's a bit more linear than I usually like, but it keeps you on track nicely while still allowing room to explore and reap the rewards of exploration. I think the NPCs are well-voiced and the quests are interesting enough to actually read the quest dialogue. Sorry, but there just comes a time in every MMO player's life when he needs to skip a bit of that wall of text, but I didn't find myself doing that in ESO.

TESO
Gameplay impressions

Any fan of the last few Elder Scrolls games will be familiar with ESO's UI, but those not already familiar might need a bit of time to adjust to the way things are laid out. I didn't have any problems with the visual side of gameplay, but I did run into some strange combat lag that got frustrating after a while.

I noticed a significant lag in blocking, although I didn't have a problem with the roll-away dodge timing. Some spells had a bit of lag, and there were several times when I would be fighting something and my character would just stop attacking, the enemy would stop attacking, and then a second later he'd die. It was as if he actually died a bit before that, but the lag had to catch up. That may be my connection (although I'm running on 7MB), but I'm not sure. Either way, it's something I don't notice in other MMOs.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to experience PvP, but I hear good things about it. I'll be sure to check that out before I revisit ESO for a future CMA.

Will I continue to play?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Not right now, but definitely in the future. I was very skeptical of Bethesda's push for a monthly subscription fee, especially when the company made it sound as if players would be paying for content that isn't found in any free-to-play game. Well, now I see what it meant, but I still think there are subscriptionless MMOs out there with just as much or even more content than ESO. But subscription plus cash shop? No thanks.

When the game goes F2P in a year (sorry fanboys, that's just how it goes), I will play much more. I'm usually pretty good about not spending money on frivolous cash-shop items, so I would welcome a drop of the subscription. Right now, though, a sub makes sense as the business model for this type of game at launch.

Now it's time to get ready for our next game for Choose My Adventure. Next week, I will start in Defiance to see more of what the game has to offer. It had a huge push at launch with the TV show and the advertising, but then it just fell off the radar. The one-year anniversary and the recent release of the Arktech Revolution DLC make this a good time to check back in with the MMOFPS that I truly enjoyed at launch.

So join me next Wednesday as we'll vote on character creation and development in Defiance throughout the month of May. See you then!

Shawn Schuster is now permanently at the helm of Massively's Choose My Adventure with you as the co-captain. It's going to be a rough ride, so put on your seat belt! Join him every Wednesday for a reader-guided deep-dive into a new MMO every month. Farcical puns about cars and farming sold separately.

This article was originally published on Massively.