Lately Elder Scrolls Online has certainly gotten its hooks into me. There is still something there that fails to really liven the experience, but the general gameplay has been enjoyable enough to keep me coming back.
Apart from my usual exploratory play with seeking out skyshards and random caves, I’ve been delving into the Thieves guild content which has been surprisingly well-developed with plenty of options to choose from, a decent story line and a refined play around stealth.
Mostly I’ve stuck to the town of Abah’s Landing in the area of Hew’s Bane which seems perfectly designed around the life of a thief. Lot’s of narrow alley ways and raised boardwalks that make it rather confusing to maneuver around at first, but perfect when silently sneaking around and avoiding the guards. Looking for the right opportunity to strike and then slinking away when it occasionally goes wrong.
The various mechanics around stealth have been well refined too. The way npc’s notice you seems a lot sharper now and takes into account various elements of terrain and even which way the NPC is facing. The pathing of NPC’s still seems a little stiff but at least easily understood and the routes are purposefully planned in specific spaces. The new enemy types that have a little lantern and reveal an area, making it impossible to crouch are rather interesting as well. Then there is the little hiding spaces you can use although I kind of wish that part wasn’t so static with a single item – would have been nice to have hiding spaces like wardrobes, boxes and other regular items too.
The level of detail they’ve placed in is pretty impressive too as there are a wealth of rather interesting items to find while rummaging through chests and boxes. Paintings, dolls, clothing, and all manner of tools and items you would expect of people living in this kind of world. At this stage I’m actually wondering if some of these items will be housing pieces as well – once laundered of course. I’ve already stashed a couple of pieces I think might be placeable later one. Just wish I could test that more by getting the PTS downloaded but it’s far too big to bother with.
The heists have been relatively enjoyable so far too. Basically a daily stealth dungeon you have to go through as quickly as possible to your objective while avoiding notice from enemies. Each time you get seen you lose some time too so it really prioritises stealth more than combat.
And then there is the large zone Hew’s Bane zone that I absolutely love. I have a thing for those kind of rocky Desert zones and this shows the best of that design. Warm earthy colours surround you, and with the rocks they are able to play around with height well to obscure the horizon and unveil beautiful vistas. Then there are the wonderful elements of life that spring up around the little the running streams that snake through the rocks; greenery sprouting up in patches where it can.
Middle Eastern Architecture is my jam too – and hot guys 😉