ESO Review: Why ESO succeeded where Fallout 76 Failed
All things considered, Elder Scrolls Online and Fallout 76 are pretty similar. They have the same premise (an MMO of a wildly popular game franchise), the same problematic beginnings, and the same publisher. If they’re mostly the same, how did one soar to staggering heights while the other floundered? Here is our ESO review and analysis.
Why is ESO so Popular?
There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the most important one is Zenimax Online Studios’ dedication to improving ESO. This dedication has spawned numerous Elder Scrolls Online classes as its fanbase became equally dedicated to the game.
The gaming community received ESO’s release with mixed feelings at first. Much of it was owed to fans expecting a ‘multiplayer Skyrim‘ experience—but not getting it in the end. Then there was the issue of numerous bugs that had plagued previous Bethesda releases. The game was boldly proclaimed to be an ‘open-world’ yet had level gates for areas. Another common complaint was the sheer repetitiveness of the quests.
Fortunately, Zenimax Studios promptly addressed these concerns. They exterminated the bugs, cleaned up the game, and went through a series of gameplay changes. The turning point was switching from a subscription model to a mixture of pay once, play forever model. Now that players don’t have to commit to the game, they can drop in and out of their own accord. It eased player frustration over repetitive or boring content.
Then they fixed some problems with skills and abilities, increased the cap of the Veteran Ranks then removed it altogether, and introduced several add-ons and DLC. It even got better with every subsequent expansion!
ESO, upon release, felt like a game that didn’t know what it wanted to be. Now, it has found its way, carving a place for itself among the best MMOs. It’s worth noting, though, that ESO may also have a bit of a time advantage, as it has had years to fix itself.
What About Fallout 76?
Currently, it’s bad, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be good Fallout 76 news anytime soon. While it’s been barely a year since its release, we can get a clear picture of how Bethesda plans to develop FO76. We’ll see that in how they handle current problems, which we’ll delve into one by one.
Fallout 76 reinforces Bethesda’s reputation of a buggy release and turns it up to eleven. There’s a bugs and glitches compilation in Youtube that’s three hours long. What’s more, we’re 99% sure that that’s not even all of the existing bugs in the game!
Sure, they release bug fixes every now and then, but they’re clearly fighting a losing battle. That’s because they’re releasing updates that are also full of bugs! Until they stop releasing half-baked content, bugs are going to be a constant.
All the bugs came with exploits some players excitedly and immediately took advantage of. Of course, that meant disciplinary action had to be taken. However, Bethesda took it to the extreme. They handed out bans to players left and right without so much as an afterthought whether they were innocent or not. It goes without saying many players became irritated and downright angry.
To appease those unfairly banned players, Bethesda sent out an email asking for an essay for a chance to get their accounts back. This approach got mocking articles on gaming news sites, which led them toward a better method of appeals. Still, they haven’t fixed the major exploits, nor figured out a better way to differentiate between cheaters and innocent players.
December 2018 came with a patch. It gave some various quality of life features for PC, buffs to some weapons, and bobby pins no longer weigh 60 times as much as a real one. The thing is, it also came with a bunch of not-so-good updates. Stealth became weaker, fusion cores burnt out faster, legendary creatures’ spawn rate decreased, and ammo production lowered.
All of the latter things are the developer’s way to subtly push players to spend on Atoms, the game’s premium currency. The problem is that a majority of the items in the Atom Shop are unfairly priced. There was a whole hullabaloo about the game’s holiday emote bundle. It costs $24, more than double the price of some other games. Even then, they disguised the bundle’s actual price as a discounted one.
In the End, We can Only Hope
At the start of the last section, we said we can have an idea of what Bethesda plans to do with the game. Judging from these past actions, we can expect shallow fixes of deep problems and shiny features to distract us from the rather filthy and bug-infested underbelly of the game.
ESO, on the other hand, addresses their problems in a better way. Zenimax discusses and communicates with the community to help build up the game. They even have a Public Test Server where players can try out new features and give feedback.
It all boils down to what the developers think is the most important for their game. Zenimax values player input, while Bethesda doesn’t seem to.
Not to say that there’s no hope seeing improvements in Fallout 76 news, mind you. It can still rise from the unfavorable circumstances it’s currently in, at least, if the developers have a mind to do so. ESO is a shining example of that, which gives hope for FO76.
Continue enjoying either game!