I didn’t even know this was coming out a week ago. It wasn’t until a co-worker asked me if I was getting it that I looked into it. Being a fan of Skyrim and seeing that the quests were actually very single player friendly for a MMO, I went out on my lunch break and bought it. I had just finished Witcher 2 and was eager to start Witcher 3 but decided not to wear myself out on that franchise and pop in the new elder scrolls.
Cue the 15GB mandatory update. I got home at 7:30pm and was finally playing it by 10. And by playing I mean staring at the log in screen. But not to worry I was assured I was first in line with one second left. So obviously I was going to get right in there…ten minutes later. Longest. Second. Ever.
First up is my favorite part of any RPG, character creation and since I am going to sink well over 50 hours into this game my character needs to be done right.
“I’d rather spend 50 hours looking at a female’s ass than a dude’s”.
I alternate playing male or female characters to keep it interesting and since I prefer playing these games in third person I chose a female. I figure I’d rather spend 50 hours looking at a female’s ass than a dude’s. I then spent about an hour making her look how I wanted. It took that long due to being kicked off the server multiple times. But finally I had my character, race and class. It was time to begin.
Holy Potatoes it looks like Skyrim. And it feels like it. The familiarity is nice, makes jumping into an MMO not as intimidating. The game makes it clear very quickly that the main campaign is a solo affair and with that I was at ease. I explored the first area, searching ever nook and cranny. When I play RPGs I like to explore and make sure I have the very best equipment I can have without having to resort to stealing, more on that later. The first areas was dispatched quickly enough and before I knew it I was in Devon’s Watch not knowing what I was supposed to be doing which I suppose is the point. It seems your character is also trying to figure all this out. So Londen and I will learn together. Sweet,
Over the course of the next hour I started to find my way with the game and come to terms with how I want to play. I settled on either two handed weapons or sword and board. Both have good skills associated with them and I figured if I gave each setup their due time I would be able to find which one I prefer. I’d waste a skill point or two but in the end it’s worth it to make sure I will enjoy combat for the next several hours. During my time testing and experimenting I realized that I needed a backup weapon. The two sword types were too similar to each other so I grabbed a bow and starting pumping some skill points into that too. What I learned was, in a pinch, kiting a tough enemy with a bow is a quick “Get out of jail free” card. It’s cheap but effective. The only worry is if you kite the boss to far they vanish, replenish health and go back to their starting position so you have to do it in circles.
I finally chose two handed great swords as my weapon of choice. I use sword and board in Dark Souls and pretty much every other RPG so I am going to try and do two handed for something different and so far I really like it. The charge skill and uppercut skill are my goto moves and are very fun to pull off. I also noticed that most off the higher damage weapons I have found have been greatswords so I figured the game was trying to tell me something.
Crafting is something that has taken me all week to figure out. I am about 11 hours into the game and just now am understanding everything. I specialized in Blacksmith, Clothier and Woodworking. I am playing a Templar so I can craft greatswords, armor and bows this way. I still haven’t crafted anything yet, I’m still researching traits which take FOREVER. Additionally, researching a trait destroys the weapon you are researching so I need to find weapons with traits I want to research that I am also ok with destroying. That has taken the most time of anything. The 6-12hrs it takes, in real time, to research doesn’t help either.
Overall I am very pleased with the game. The level progression is slow, which I expected due it being a game that formerly had a monthly subscription. It makes sense to draw out the gameplay. But it’s not too lengthy that getting to the next level feels like work. It feels right…maybe on the longer side of right, but still right. I like that you can gain skill points between levels by completing certain quests or finding skyshards. It takes a bit of the sting out of how long it takes to level.
What also helps is stealing! Something I never did in Skyrim. But it’s incredibly easy and allows you to get ahead easily, kind of like real life! (Note: Do not steal in real life, that was a joke) I thought that if someone was near me that I’d instantly get caught. However, as long as you are in “hidden” status you can pillage and steal all you want.
“What also helps is stealing!”
The downside is that you have to launder them with a fence in order to sell them. Fencing, luckily, is incredibly cheap. So when I get to a new area, especially an area that is a higher level than I should be, I loot all the weapon racks and most of the time I get a better weapon than I have and whatever else I don’t need I launder and then sell, deconstruct or use for research.
So overall I am very happy with my time so far. The game looks good. It looks like an upscaled PS3 game with really good lighting. Not the best looking PS4 game, but certainly not the worst. It is a year old PC game so I get it. I have sunk many hours in so far and it does not feel like it, the sign of a good game. I’m excited to get back to it everyday. The quests are numerous and most are really good. I’m excited for the next 40+ hours with this game.