ESO Diaries: Day 1 – Character Creation & Initial Impressions

Due to some recent events, I decided to clear up some space on my laptop and buy/download Elder Scrolls Online! I did try the game out on a beta weekend but I really didn’t like it at all. But now that some of my old APAC Guildies (who used to play SWTOR) are playing ESO I thought I should give it another go. I have made three characters one in each faction and each a different class so I can play around and see which class/faction I like the most. At this stage, I’m not subscribed to the game.

I will be making comparisons to other MMO’s I play (or have played) SWTOR and WildStar.

Character Creation

ESO’s character Creation system is a lot more detailed than SWTOR’s and fairly on par with WildStar’s (except there are more options). In ESO, you can customise not just your characters Face, but their Body as well. There are nine Races to choose from which are tied to specific Factions (unless you subscribe). Each race has its own unique customisation options.

Body customisation options include the Body type, Height, Skin Colour, Body Markings (scars, body paint, tattoos) and various Upper Body and Lower Body dimension options.

The face customisation options include Face Type, Hair Style, Hair Colour, Age, Head Adornment (jewellery), Head Markings (makeup, body paint, tattoos, scars), Eye Colour and various facial dimension options.

Overall, I like ESO’s Character Customisation system. It’s pretty decent from a new players perspective. But I could see the limited number of Hair Styles and Face Marking options becoming quite stale pretty quickly. One thing that really does annoy me though is that customisation options aren’t numbered on the sliders. So instead of just remembering the number of the option you like while sliding through the different options (like you do in SWTOR), you have to slide through until you find the look you liked again.

Starting Zone/Tutorial

I really do hate the Tutorial area. I hated it in Beta and I really hated going through it again. I don’t know why I hate it so much. I guess it’s the morbid feel of the zone itself? It doesn’t make a very good first impression and can make a new player feel overwhelmed. Once I got out of the tutorial and awoke in a village/town I felt more relaxed and safe. It was such a relief when I made more characters to discover that I could skip the tutorial area.


One of the first things I noticed that really bothered me was the lack of a UI. I’m so used to having a lot of UI elements on my screen from playing both SWTOR and Wildstar that I found my empty screen pretty jarring. I did see while playing that some UI elements would appear in combat. I did eventually discover in the Settings that you could make a few UI elements stay up permanently which was quite a relief.

I’ve played with lots of UI features on my screen in the MMO’s I’ve played for so long that I am able to tune out those elements when I don’t need them. It doesn’t affect my immersion into a game in the slightest. I just like to be able to glance all the information I need at a moments notice. I did notice that ESO has Addons so I guess at some point I will look into those to see if there are Addons for the UI elements I still feel I’m missing. Pictured below is the most UI elements I was able to find through the games settings. As you can see from an MMOer’s perspective there are quite a lot of UI elements still missing.

Game Environment

ESO really is quite pretty! I can set the graphics much higher in ESO than I can in SWTOR (and Wildstar). This makes for a much more immersive experience. The world is so detailed and full of life! You can harvest just about anything and it seems to have a use. You walk over to some pretty flowers and you can pick them. You come across a butterfly and you can catch it. When you kill a creature you can harvest it. I really do like that you can gather any materials straight away regardless of what crafting profession you will eventually choose. I like that you can also search through random barrels and crates you come across and get materials. You can even steal stuff from other people and get a bounty on your head if someone sees you. There’s also a day and night cycle and varied weather systems including rain and storms which really adds to the overall realism of the world. And of course, you can swim but only on the surface (as far as I can tell).


Questing is pretty straight forward but it doesn’t feel too linear (like SWTOR is). Exploration is highly encouraged due to the highly interactive nature of the world so you can find quests (and other things) off the beaten track. I like the way the quests are presented. There is dialogue as well as written text that pops up (but it doesn’t take up the whole screen) that you can easily skip if you wish. Quests will often give you multiple dialogue options that mostly offer additional information about the Quest. There are even certain Quests where you get to choose the outcome and it impacts on your story. The one thing that did bother me though was that you can only track one Quest at a time. I really do prefer to at least have a few Quests I’m on easily viewable on the screen.

Overall, I am very intrigued by ESO and plan to continue playing the game. Exploring a new game and feeling like a complete noob again has been fun. You can expect more posts from me about ESO as I continue to play it from a brand new player’s perspective.

Have ever played ESO? Do you play ESO currently? What do you think of ESO compared to other MMO’s?


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  • I played ESO at launch until level 11. Between the bugs, the awkwardness of trying to be both an MMO and a traditional MMO, and my difficulty adjusting to ESO my interested died off fairly early.

    I’m not playing it at the moment, but I am stoked for the Morrowind expansion. The single player Morrowind is one of my all-time favorite games, so I will be back for that. (With ME: Andromeda coming I’m not up to getting involved in other games, right now.)

    From what I’ve seen, the developers seem to have accepted that they have more of a niche MMO than a mainstream MMO to rival WoW. They’ve worked to keep the Elder Scrolls flavor and not tried to make it just another WoW-clone in an effort to attract subscribers.

  • Darin

    Hey Xami,
    Try Black Desert Online if you look for something else, been playing for the past week and enjoying the game. 🙂