I can’t help feeling sorry for ESO. Here’s a game I’m still enjoying playing, and people I know are still enjoying playing the game, and despite rumours to the contrary there’s at least one other blogger out there enjoying the game. It’s been the target of ranty twats on Youtube looking for something to rant about because apparently they’re internet famous for ranting, and people moaning that having a subscription is evil because apparently $15 is more than some can afford for entertainment (seriously? If you can’t spare $15 for entertainment, you better be doing something other than playing a video game all day anyway), but at least it has a regular column devoted to it over at Massively. Their game-specific columns may take developers to task when they fall down on the job, but by and large they’re by people who are enjoying the game, for people enjoying the game, and about the cool things happening in the game.
That post doesn’t exactly exude love for the game. In fact, I’d categorise it as a hatchet job on Zenimax’s first update. Let’s see… out of 16 paragraphs, the first 6 (or 7) are basically a long complaint that we were promised an update every 4 to 6 weeks, and this one took 7 weeks from launch date to arrive. That’s over a third of the article based on the fact that this update missed a promised (if it can be construed as an iron-clad promise, which nobody with a brain EVER assumes with a hypothetical release schedule) release date by one week. Cry me a river, please, then pop over to Rift or LotRO and check how often their updates come out. Or WoW. Especially WoW.
Then we’ve got a complaint that the new zone would be “frustrating to solo” even if you’re at the level cap. That would be the zone that has been described all along as being designed as tough, end-game group content, “frustrating to solo”. Well I never! I suspect that the groups attempting it would find it “frustrating to group” if it had been made easy to solo.
Next up, three paragraphs bemoaning that some of the content in Craglorn is mechanically identical to fighting Dark Anchors – four waves of enemies, culminating in an open world boss fight. Yup, functionally identical but still a good ruck with enemies galore. Did we really need three paragraphs to complain that they’re not different? Would it have been OK if it was three waves of enemies, or five? And if Larry Everett is going to categorise open world events that draw other players in to help you fight a swarm of enemies as “moments of boredom” than methinks he has a deeper problem, which is that he’s not enjoying playing ESO. In that case, it would be cruel and unusual punishment for Massively to force him to keep writing a column about it. Now, I’m British and we have no problem with cruel and unusual punishment over here, but Massively is run by Americans who have a sissy ass constitution that forbids that sort of thing :D
We then get three paragraphs grudgingly admitting that some of the content is OK, and possibly even fun, then it’s back to snark as he sums up in the last two paragraphs. Whew! I’d say it’s fair to look at a game warts and all, and ESO definitely has some warts, but that’s the kind of journalism that gives “fair and balanced” a bad name.
As a personal aside, I’m nowhere NEAR visiting Craglorn yet myself, but I appreciate the quality of life changes that the patch brought for all levels, and that don’t even get a mention in the Massively article.