Impressions: With One Tamriel, The Elder Scrolls Online Is the Best MMO On Your Console

The Elder Scrolls Online is one of many MMOs that started off on the wrong footing. When I reviewed the game two years ago it was jagged and rough around the edges; significant bugs halted your progression, inconsistent entertainment value created a largely unsatisfying experience, and quest design didn't feel rewarding. But with time come updates, and I'm always willing to give an MMO a second chance.

With all the recent buzz regarding the One Tamriel update, I decided to head back and see what the game is like in the current day and age. Put simply, what I played surprised me.

TESO's leveling experience is much better composed from the onset when compared to its original form. When you make a character and hop into the game, you are now ushered from quest to quest in a way that feels tight and consistent. Learning the ins and outs of gameplay and living in the world of Nirn is made easy, allowing you to get the most out of your experience whether or not you want to read a wiki website from start to finish.

Speaking of which, you can now do quests in any order you wish, for the most part. There are no longer level requirements for many of the quests, allowing you to head out and experience the world in your own way. This has been a huge boon for leveling. It used to be that finding quests your level was challenging, and many of them were broken. That is no longer the case.

In this way, TESO is the premier console MMO. Although I previously would have said Final Fantasy XIV held that title, Square Enix's game doesn't make much effort to support casual play. And yes, while not everyone playing TESO on a console is casual, most of them are, and those who aren't are appreciative of how easy it is to get their friends to join them, even if for only a short period of time.

Character progression is largely the same as it once was, although there have been tweaks and additions. Many of the skill choices have been adjusted to be more balanced, presenting more difficult decisions when figuring out where you want to place your skill points. I still love playing as the Nightblade, and combat feels as sharp as ever.

There are so many little details that are better than the original version, too. For example, being able to trade BoP loot to group members in dungeons, the addition of scrolling combat text, and more exciting quest rewards. The quality of life of the minute-by-minute experience has seen drastic improvement.

As much as it's not necessarily a "feature" of the game, the lack of a subscription fee bears mentioning. I happen to be a World of Warcraft addict, and I have found that the subscription fee has become a burden over the years. Between knowing that I've spent hundreds of dollars on fees beyond expansion packs and feeling like I have to make a financial decision every month when I play it wears on me. TESO tosses all that aside, and while it has an in-game shop, it's far less invasive than I've seen from competing MMOs.

Even as a hardcore MMO player, I've found myself captivated by the current iteration of TESO. It feels like a proper Elder Scrolls MMO, one that you can invest dozens of hours into as the days pass by.

There are a lot of other new elements of the game, including content ranging from dungeons to craftable items. This is a game that has grown tremendously over the years in a way that many MMOs can't equal, especially in the console space. If you happen to be a console gamer looking for your next great addiction, then TESO is well worth a try even if you might not have enjoyed it back in 2014.