Editor’s Note: This Ebonheart Pact impressions piece was written and submitted by Moricu, Community Manager for Quest Gaming Network. This piece is the final article of several alliance impressions published.
Today I took my Nord Templar from level 1-5 in The Elder Scrolls Online beta. I went with duel wielding and a mix of heavy and medium armour. As many of you may know, you begin the game in Coldharbour, Molag Bal’s realm of oblivion. You’re a dead, soul-less prisoner in the Wailing Prison. While you’re there, you do what you would do in any other TES game – you escape. This escape sets up the story you’ll play through as you level up through the game.
For me, the opening sequence of this game is truly Elder Scrolls, from the bright blue haze of the prison, to the “clutter” (as dubbed on Classic Elder Scrolls night), to the eerie spin chilling and truly exhilarating music and ambient sound effects of Coldharbour. Awesome job ZOS.
After this little soiree in oblivion, you awake on Bleakrock Island, a small island off the coast of Skyrim. Now this is where the adventure truly begins. Like Shank spoke about last night on the ESOTR Special, the starting islands are restrictive. Now while they do kind of hold your hand, in my opinion, these are needed in an MMO. They give you the feel of the game. They help you get you used to the combat, help you use your skills, and give you the great MMO experience of one-shotting the obligatory wolf.
Yes, it may be small in the grand scheme of things, but you have to remember you are on this island for 5 levels. That’s just about 2 hours of gameplay. Included in this 2 hours is questing and exploring of which there is enough area to explore to have my TES endorsement. I found many chests, crafting nodes, and mobs (mobile NPC opponents). Like TES games, there aren’t mobs every two feet. There is usually a way to avoid combat, or a way to gain that true beloved sneak attack.
The overarching goal for the area is to help the villagers – sound familiar? It’s because that’s what you expect in games. We are the hero after all. However, these quests are not your run of the mill quest, that is, “go find me ten wolf noses and tree samples to make some new kind of super snow proofing for my hut”. On the contrary, these quests are really well thought out and quirky TES quests, full of Skeevers and Dragon Priests. I also completed a quest using only stealth through use of ESO’s disguise system. While wearing a disguise, as long as you stay out of combat, you can perform the quest without drawing your weapon.
The experience of levels 1-5 was very smooth. It didn’t feel like a typical grind because I felt that I had the skills I needed during those parts of the game. In fact,I felt quite powerful with my character setup. The Aedric Spear skill line feels very strong to me, and I look forward to exploring it in the coming years.
So all in all, as someone who won’t be “maining” in the Ebonheart Pact, I really did enjoy my time with this faction. The starter island gave me that warm familiar feeling I felt while playing Skyim, but perhaps with a little more polish (if that is something you can believe). As I moved around the snow covered island, it even left footprints in the snow. I must admit, it actually made say “now thats so cool”. At the same time, I was even graced with some awesome instrumental music complementing the setting so well.
So in conclusion, I really enjoyed the content and the package that was given to me: a really promising MMO wrapped up in a pretty TES bow. Did I find faults? Of course – it is beta. However, I have seen the improvements between the two test sessions I’ve played. I’m super excited at the prospect of playing this Elder Scrolls game with my friends for years to come!