Yeah, I was in the beta for ESO, and also watched a good amount of the streams. Now that the NDA is lifted I can share my thoughts on the game.
If I needed to sum up ESO in one sentence, it would be: "MSPRPG" Massive Single Player RPG. Bethesda created some of the most epic single player games in recent history.... and this game feels the exact same. Everything from the UI, to the quests, to the PvP, to the dungeons... made me feel like I was just playing a single player game. Oddly enough, that's not what I was looking for. And the game takes itself WAY to seriously. Despite being a grown ass man, I enjoy games with humor, big explosions, bright colors, exxagerated spells and character movements. I want to fly, leap, and blow shit up. Elder Scrolls Online is just BORING in that department... they try to immerse you into a world of realism. Your "big ass fire spell" looks you lit a cigarette and flicked it at someone. Your awesome-sauce-save-a-life-heal is just a thin orange beam that channel. It just lacks EXCITEMENT to me. Sure, it's probably what things would really look like in real life if we had these abilities.... but it's just not fun.
One of the biggest issues I had with ESO was the UI and visual representation of combat. I am the type of player that likes to know information. If I'm fighting a mob, I want to know how much health they have... how much damage each of my hits does... how hard each of their attacks hits. The UI shows NO INFORMATION about any of this. It is exactly as it was in their single player games. Mobs don't have a visible number to represent their health... just a blue bar at the top of your screen. Before you hit thm, you don't know if they have 10,000 health... or 50 health. And after you engage in combat you have to do that random guesstimation.... "Ok, my fireball took a tiny sliver of health away, this guy must have a lot of health." There's no combat text... so you don't know what your attacks hit for, or what debuffs are wearing off soon. I had no idea how important that information was to me until I played ESO and it wasn't there. Coming from a mage in WoW, and even in the other half dozen MMOs I have played, I realize that I NEED information. I want to see damage progression... "Great! My spells are hitting for about 8 more points of damage since I started using this new staff!" or "This new rotation is giving me more uptime on my crit multiplyer, and I can see a lot more crits happening!" You don't get any of that in ESO... and it drove me nuts. Again, it sounds like a minor flavor issue, but it is enough to be a game-breaker for me. I need NUMBERS. Again, in real life, we wouldn't have numbers over our enemy's heads, or see a number for damage when we threw a punch. But I don't play a game for "real life type combat".
The targetting system is terrible as well. There's no lock on targetting... it's all based on your reticle aiming. That sucks when there's a large group of mobs, and it's even worse in PvP. You know all that spaz jumping and flailing people do in WoW during PvP.... now imagine trying to aim a fireball at them without lock-on. Some people may argue that its more realistic that way. I argue that it just fucking sucks.
There are a lot of other "small" flaws... no Mini Map, the Stamina resource system, unrefined class system, horribly executed chat and social features, etc... But they all add up to be a game that just isn't enough for me to play for an extended period of time. Reading back on this review, I realize that most of the issues with this game stem from it trying to be too realistic. I guess it goes to show that compared to video games, real life is a bit boring... because this game is really boring. ESO just takes itself too seriously.
The Champ Is Here.