Tell us how you really feel (Episodes TESO Special, 71, and 72)
Out of the Nexonite frying pan and into the game that’s a current contender for my personal favorite of the year. I know, year’s not over yet. Too bad the follow ups were so comparatively underwhelming.
Special Episode: The Elder Scrolls Online
This really did catch me by surprise. I didn’t have the seething rage of the Elder Scrolls fans I initially looked at the game with. I don’t really care about the Elder Scrolls games, clearly, considering the amount of flak I’m still getting for “Nim” and “kah-jitt”. God damned Google Docs kerning and pronunciation pedants. (BTW, there was at least one character in ESO that said “kah-jitt” so I feel only slightly vindicated.)
I really didn’t expect to like this game when I started. None of us did. We played those closed pre-launch betas and none of us were able to make it to our first game breaking bug before becoming awash in overwhelming boredom.
So what changed? I don’t know. I think cutting out the forced newbie areas and relegating them to optional starting area quests, was a nice touch. It gave the illusion that the world was more open from the start. There were options on where you could go, not just a cattle chute with a patronizing tutorial. Such a minor change, and it made a huge difference.
Not since TSW did I care about a story this much, too. Each area had its own pocket story, withing the story. Nothing felt like a distraction from your main goal, a trap MANY RPGs and MMORPGs have fallen into one too many times. They did well to convey the influence and presence of the overarching villain of the story (save for the laughably weak way those portals were handled, and the misunderstood critique of the issue we had with them), and it was satisfying as hell to face off against him in the final battle.
I can’t praise this moral choice system enough. Sure, it’s not all that impactful, and plenty of choices will result in little more then who or what you’ll see in a particular area… but then again, aren’t all moral choice systems in video games essentially this? Most other games however, turn moral choice into a binary bullshit coin flip of “super good” versus “life-destroying evil”. ESO does not. ESO understands that nuances aren’t nearly that simple. That not everyone will agree that what you’d chosen to do is necessarily “good”. You’ll be praised and made to feel incomprehensible shame all from making the same choice, and it’s entirely up to your convictions and personal morals to believe that your choice was the “correct” one. When you can weigh on my conscious when, in all reality, absolutely nothing gameplay altering will happen as a result, you have accomplished something special.
I’m sad I haven’t been able to play this in a good while, but as much time as I’d have to invest, I really want to reach the “true” ending area and will likely get back into the groove ASAP. This is also, unquestionably, my most popular MMO Grinder video on Youtube with over 200,000 views at the time of this writing. Suck it FFXIV.
Recommended? An absolute YES, provided the initial price barrier isn’t an issue.
Episode 71: Allods Online
No. Dear god no.
The only thing I liked about this game was the aesthetic, and even that was wasted quite often depending on where you were. Loved the character models. Hated the everything else.
Was it better back when it was newer? I have no idea. It’s definitely a try-hard WoW clone, and not a particularly interesting one, unless you count the nigh-unreachable Astral Ships mechanic. Grindy quests, terrible drop rates, pay to win everything, and a painfully boring level progression, this thing is best left to die out.
Recommended?: I believe I started this by saying NO. Dear god no.
Episode 72: Wakfu
God, this game is weird.
Just describing it is hard enough, and when Grindstone jumped in ahead of me to tell me it was turn based grid combat, my mind immediately went to “How?!”
But that works. It works quite fine. It’s easily the best part of the game. I cannot, however, say the same for the rest. There’s plenty of good ideas, but there’s a lot of convolution hanging over it. There’s a whole economy system based on the players who seem dead set on trying to destroy it.
While the style was great, the burnout hit most of us hard. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to play it without all of us being online. It turned the combat from a rather tiring solo click fest, into a rather hilarious game of cooperation and pleading with each other. “Hey, mind if I kill you with this explosive shot since that last sheep will be killed in the process?”. Unfortunately that was really the only fun I could have with the game.
The anime was so much more intriguing than the game it was trying to sell. I still suggest you look at that, and I can’t say you should skip this either, since it’s just so different from so many other offerings.