Elder Scrolls Online – First Impressions

Updated: February 14th, 2020By: BrantonReviewsLeave a Comment

I’ve been a part of the Elder Scrolls Online beta since almost day 1, and in that time I have watched the game go from something not worthy of the Elder Scrolls name, to something a little more rewarding and Elder Scrolls-esque.

ESO is still a few weeks away from launch, and the final beta weekend has come and gone, so I believe it’s time for a review on what I’ve experienced throughout.

Character Creation

The character creation in ESO is a lot like you would find in Skyrim or Oblivion. You can change almost any attribute regarding your character’s appearance, from height/weight to the size and shape of your nose or eyes.

There are 9 base races which one can choose from, 10 if you include Imperial which is currently only available by purchasing the Digital Imperial Edition $79.99[Online Game Code].

The 9 races are broken down into 3 warring factions (Imperial can pick any faction).

Ebonheart Pact :

  • Argonian
  • Dunmer (Dark Elf)
  • Nord

Aldmeri Dominion :

  • Altmer (High Elf)
  • Bosmer (Wood Elf)
  • Khajit

Daggerfall Covenant :

  • Breton
  • Orc
  • Redguard

There are 4 main classes which you can pick, to then further build out your class by picking your specialties like sword & shield, 2 handed weapons, dual wielding, or any of the forms of magic formerly found in Elder Scrolls games.

The skill system in ESO is much like Skyrim, where you have your “star map” of skills which you build by using, and from there you pick certain abilities from within the skill tree’s.


Things like crafting definitely feel “grindy” as they require a lot of materials which you pretty much have to buy unless you’ve been only focusing on running around in the world hunting for ore’s and such, which are few and far between.

That being said, one you have the materials, the actual crafting system is quite interesting, and somewhat innovative. Each race has their own style of items, and each style of items require a different “ore” and skill to be able to create.

For instance, a Breton can craft Breton themed items from the get-go, but would have to learn an auxiliary skill to be able to craft Redguard styled weapons or armor. This feature add’s a little bit of customization, and a lot of versatility to player appearances which is almost always an issue in early stages of a game.


ESO is trying to keep an Elder Scrolls styled fight system, which is somewhat iffy. Unless you are in 1st person, you will sometime’s miss hits that look like they should have been spot on. Which could end up turning the tables in your enemies favor.

The archery system is also something which needs a lot of work in ESO. I’ve only really played around with archery a little, and for good reason. One thing I cannot stand is a projectile weapon that doesn’t aim where it’s shooting. You can aim straight up, or straight down, but in first person your bow will still be aiming dead ahead. Even in third person, you are ALWAYS aiming dead ahead, from there your arrows fly on their weird trajectory to likely miss what you’re aiming at.

The magic system is alright so far, I don’t really have any major complaints as of yet. The visuals for most spells are really nice, and the balance seems to be there in the early beta stages.

Quests and Story

Your intro story and starting town will differ based on your racial and faction choice, but the main story is all relatively the same. Your soul has been stolen by Molag Bal, and you want it back.

The quest line is presenting nicely, and is easy enough to follow without getting lost, and the sub-quests are also easy enough to find. That being said, it seems like a lot of people are currently having issues with navigation as they can’t seem to figure out ESO’s map system..

Personally, I’ve had no issues with navigation, but it’s a common issue in ESO’s “zone” chat.

Like any good MMORPG, your quest lines consist mainly of “going here and killing them while picking this up and returning.” This does get a bit grindy after a while, but do any MMORPG’s out there not feel grindy after a while?


All-in-all my first impressions from the Elder Scrolls Online beta have been mostly good. I haven’t run into many bugs myself, nor have I found too many dissuading points as to why ESO wont be a good game. The fact that it is monthly subscription based is a good sign to me, as long as they don’t implement a pay to win style cash store.

If you are a fan of RPG style games, you can quickly find yourself immersed in the newly created Tamriel. You might even catch yourself spending most of the time just looking at the amazing scenery which is absolutely everywhere.

If you are a fan of the Elder Scrolls series and MMORPGs, I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of ESO when it is released on April 5th, 2014.

Minimum System Specs

  • CPU: 2.4 GHz dual-core processor
  • RAM: 1 GB system memory
  • Graphics: DirectX 10 compatible card with 512 MB RAM, Nvidia 8000-series or Radeon 3000-series or better.
  • Operating system: Windows Vista
  • DirectX audio card
  • 20 GB hard disk space

Recommended System Specs

  • CPU: 3 GHz quad core processor, Intel Core i5 or better
  • RAM: 2GB system memory, 4 GB minimum for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics: DirectX 11 compatible 1 GB graphics card, Nvidia 400 series or AMD 5000 series or better.
  • Operating system: Windows 7
  • DirectX audio card
  • 20 GB hard disk space

About the Author


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Hey there! I'm Branton, the founder and lead editor here at PC Game Haven. Since our launch in 2015, we've helped thousands upon thousands of gamers build their dream desktops, find the perfect peripherals, and more. Thanks for stopping by!