I have played the Elder Scrolls Online beta for a while now during a couple of their weekend beta events leading up to the April 4th release (Or sometime in June for you poor plebs). Overall, I think the game holds a lot of promise, but whether it can deliver on that will very much depend on whether you are looking for an MMO-first approach set in the same universe as the other Elder Scrolls games, or if you are looking for an Elder Scrolls game that you can play with your friends.
If you are willing to buy into the MMO experience, this game should absolutely be on your radar. While the graphics aren’t anything amazing (most MMO’s are not), this game manages to look pretty gorgeous in parts, certainly one of the best looking MMO’s I have played. As a player, you are given much greater freedom to just explore the world, which is something they absolutely needed to nail as exploration is a signature of all Elder Scrolls games. They don’t really do much to revolutionize the genre, but I think they have done enough to refine it and create a game that could gain a pretty massive following.
However, if you are like me, and are not really a fan of MMO’s and what they offer, this is going to be a much harder sell (Kind-of obvious I know but…). Many people, myself included, still want a core single-player game, that adds a cooperative option, maybe along the lines of what you can do in Borderlands or Torchlight. If that is what you are looking for, this will probably not satisfy that desire. So many other people running around, chatting, doing the same quests I was on, all too often killed the immersion for me. Quests are pretty varied, but still have difficulty getting out of some of the tropes established by the genre, and again are so plentiful that you can go almost nowhere without finding some sort of “kill this many things” quest.
This also led to me very rarely feeling the same sense of accomplishment or discovery that I often would with the single-player games. I didn’t really get invested in many of the quests to allow for that feeling, and it seemed so much harder to just wander off and find some deserted cave or crumbling structure hiding some unknown monster or loot. I’m sure these things exist in the game, but again with all the other players running around, they are much harder to find, and a lot of that thrill is diminished.
So for MMO fans, this game is definitely something that is shaping up to be something special. For many others though, we are just going to have to wait for the next game in the series to be released, which maybe, if we are lucky, will include some-sort of cooperative option with a few friends. Hint hint Bethesda.