Two Steps Forwards, One Step Backwards?

Garbrac March 12, 2014 39 Comments » Share

keep-calm-and-let-me-beta-test-esoWith the recent announcement of the upcoming beta, now would be a good time to discuss something that has been looming over me for the last two weeks. Removal of the Coldharbor weapon selections.

During the last beta, the PTS was updated to a client that was not available to those doing the public beta; however, with the test this weekend the public beta should be able to experience the new fixes and content that those of the PTS have been playing with for the last few weeks.

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know I also write a bi-weekly column for MMORPG. The last one discussed how I firmly believe that Zenimax is one of the best companies to develop an MMO game based on their community focused attitude. Before you comment here about that bold statement I suggest reading it first. As bold as that statement is, I do believe that Zenimax has its player’s experience as a top priority, giving players a lot more freedom in choices when it comes to character development and progression.

A recent change to the way you start the game has me a little worried that I jumped the gun on that statement. Prior to the change, when you started your character, you had to escape from your prison cell and make your way down to an armoury, of sorts. This is where you got the chance to pick your first weapon type, least the one you’ll be using until you pick up something you like better. This was a small glimpse to the freedom you’re going to have later on in the game. All these types of weapons, available to you, no matter what class, race, or faction you choose.

Now, all those options have been removed, gone, deleted. When start your new character, you still need to escape your cell but you’re no longer presented with those options. Your only option now is a Sword.

This to me feels like Zenimax has taken a step back. Of course there are reasons to why Zenimax felt like this was a good idea. It’s not like Matt Firor and Paul Sage are sitting at their desks thinking of ways they can piss off the ESO community. Maybe players felt overwhelmed by the choice options, if this is the case, they are going to be REALLY confused later on when they see the crafting system.  Whatever the reason is, this change isn’t what players should experience as their first opportunity to witness the vast uniqueness’ that is ESO’s character development.

As I said, Zenimax felt this was the best decision to take, and I don’t think they are right. I’m sure I am not alone on this. We as a community have changed Zenimax’s stance before when it came to developing decisions. Hand in First Person view, the starting zone leveling experience. Now is our chance to do it again.

We need to voice our opinions to Zenimax, and let them know we as a community want our options back. Elder Scrolls Online is all about giving the player the choice to decide what to do. Being forced to use a Sword and Shield as soon as you start the game does not give the player any indication of what they can expect in such an open game system.

This weekend, take your time and immerse yourself into the beginning part of the game and tell me, does the limited options right off the bat give you any feeling of openness that ESO is known for?

Zenimax is one of the best companies I’ve seen when it comes to listening to the community. During the beta, type /feedback, give Zenimax your opinions on this new change. You can go to the beta forums and create a thread discussing your opinions, and after every beta event you’ll be given another opportunity to voice your opinion in the Survey.

Only you can prevent forest fi.... err,, Incorrect development changes

Only you can prevent forest fi…. err,, Incorrect development changes


  1. SkolVikings94 April 26, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    This change was awful. I want to level Dual Wield. Without two weapons, I can't. Since we immediately get sent to the city, there are no no cheap mobs that you can kill easily and count on dropping a sword or two. This sucks.

    Craft one at level 1. It isn't hard.

  2. Faentomet March 24, 2014 at 1:15 am

    I do also agree. I loved the fact that one could choose from the start.
    If this is what they'd want, maybe they'd make everyone pick up a sword or whatever from a dead body earlier on, so one could test it out, THEN get to the armory to change?

  3. tala703 March 20, 2014 at 2:15 am

    The lack of options in the armory made me quizzically raise my eyebrow when I first read about this and other changes in the patch notes.
    Aside from the obvious downside of having less options, there are a few plus points coming to mind:
    a) It makes for a smoother, and therefore shorter, tutorial experience – always good in my opinion, the tutorial is as linear as we don't want a TES game to be. Add to that the reduced open area – less free running around, but also less confusion about where to go.
    b) The selection of weapons available was pretty large for some lesser armory near the prison. Crude iron swords and maces sound more immersive than an assortment of staves, bows, and several melee weapon types.
    c) The part Mark Thomas mentioned in his comment above, might be an additional, although weak, RP-reason as to why you officially only get a sword: "I thought they were making it so you could skip Coldharbour, therefore you would start with a standard sword. (…)" (sorry for the incomplete quote, Mark)

    Also personally I think, that having hostile mobs drop some gear or find it in one of the chests (or the other random weapon/armor racks, if they keep them in now that they're lootable) shortly after the armory scene feels more rewarding, than picking up a weapon from the armory's weapon racks.
    Hopefully, they add a decent crafting tutorial so those people who didn't find the weapon they wanted during the Coldharbour tutorial, and new players, can learn how to refine materials and craft their personal starting weapon. Proactively cutting down on the 'how to smelt ore?'-ish questions would be very much appreciated.
    Crafting is fun, crafting is powerful – show new players the truth!

    And as long as they keep the chests in, I'll just continue my practice of circle-looting them 'til I have all the basic equipment >_>

    completely agree with this, plus, limiting your weapon option simply encourages you to find another, better suited, weapon. Makes sense to me!

  4. areus March 18, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    i was excited to test my imp edition(as i had bought it) was severely disappointed when couldnt get my two hand weapon right away so yeah toatally agree with you

  5. DrGerm March 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Yes this is sort of a silly thing to complain about, but I agree totally with the article.

    The more choices in an ES game, the better IMO. That's what makes ES games unique.

  6. Desperado March 16, 2014 at 1:05 am

    My humble opinion is that this change is okay with me . . . From a RP perspective and immersion point of view, it was a little too convenient to have an armory with every class of weapon choice in the game. Now people will have to explore the starting zone more if they want to find a weapon specific to their class . . . maybe this isn't the only significant change, Sage did way that the world will have more interactivity so just by doing a little bit of exploring you may be able to find that resto staff or two handed axe. Remember all those weapon racks around the starter zone? I bet now you will be able to take stuff off of them. Unless someone has more information about the changes to the starter zone I will have to try it out first.

    I have no qualms about the change. Seems more logical for a prison break. I think it should start out a little more dynamic is all. Running from that dragon for the first time in Skyrim was exhilerating. This feels a little more like the Oblivion starter, which was unimpressive.

  7. AngelSnypz March 15, 2014 at 9:10 pm
    Mark Thomas

    I thought they were making it so you could skip coldharbour, therefore you would start with a standard sword.
    Or you could run your char through the tutorial and chose the weapon.

    Guess we'll find out this weekend!

    You can skip the tutorial area, once you've completed it with an existing character.

    So the Table is limited to a crappy sword, now I have to ask, Does all the Chests that give armor and weapons still spawn?

    Those chests scattered throughout coldharbour are still there and still spawn nice amounts of loot. i for one ended up with a maul, 2h sword, destruction staff, heavy armor legs and light armor jacket just from running through the undercroft. it means that yes you will get xp towards a weapon skill you might not want but its still possible to get the weapons you want before leaving coldharbour

  8. HeroOfEvbof March 15, 2014 at 4:23 am

    This change was awful. I want to level Dual Wield. Without two weapons, I can't. Since we immediately get sent to the city, there are no no cheap mobs that you can kill easily and count on dropping a sword or two. This sucks.

    People are saying that I would have a sword for about ten minutes. I ran around outside Daggerfall and I never got another 1H weapon to drop in three hours of play.

  9. HeroOfEvbof March 15, 2014 at 4:21 am

    This change was awful. I want to level Dual Wield. Without two weapons, I can't. Since we immediately get sent to the city, there are no no cheap mobs that you can kill easily and count on dropping a sword or two. This sucks.

  10. Thorgrum March 14, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I subscribe to the old axiom if it isnt broke dont fix it. I mean the escape from the cell starter area wasnt great but it gave good backround on the starting point of the story. The addition of being able to select a weapon style straight away was an excellent choice IMHO.

  11. stevenonce March 14, 2014 at 5:39 am


    I don't know why it posted before I got to write out a reply…

    Now, I'm not going to pretend that I understand why exactly they made this change, but I, and a few others, found a way to exploit the system. You could run to the sword and shield stand, and take the shield. Then to the 2hander axe stand and take an axe, making you a cool Nord with a proper axe. But since you didn't take the whole inventory in the thing, you could choose yet ANOTHER option. I could take a bow, a 2hander… something.

    Now, it's not game breaking that I was able to steal a couple extra weapons, but I can see it as being a pain in the ass for them. Now I reported it, and my friend who pointed it out to me did as well. I don't know if this is the reason why they made a change, and they probably could have found a better work around, but you have to realize it may have actually been a good thing that they just didn't tell us about…

  12. stevenonce March 14, 2014 at 5:35 am
  13. Ledermayer March 13, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    I can say only two words: Who cares? I have to see it once in a lifetime…

  14. Mahal March 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Not a positive change….. but nothing to get your panties in a bunch over, either. You use the weapon you pick up there for a microscopic piece of time. It really doesn't matter.

  15. zal March 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Im sorry to say, but you couldn't be more wrong! That is some load of bull, IMO.. You're whining about the first 10 minuttes of the game? Are you seriously a spoiled brat who gets everything he wants? No matter how small and pety little detail it is?

    I like the setup they've choosed.. It's more realistic.. Did you get the weapon you always wanted in other MMO's or Elder Scrolls games? NO.. So stop using your energy on this petty thought and thank ZOS for making this fantastic game for us!

    OMG what a useless and disturbing idea…

  16. John Bridges March 13, 2014 at 6:55 am

    I quite like the idea that you only have an old sword when you break out of jail. It makes sense that you a scavenging whatever you can find. but on the other side this will be a real pain in the you know where once we hit the real world. It would be nice if in the anchor room there was some way to get hold of a better weapon more suited to your class. This could also make more sense as technically it is not a part of the prison.

  17. Kylod March 13, 2014 at 6:53 am

    I agree @Garbrac. It's an armory. An array of weapons should be there. I want to be able to run through, see a bow, get that "zing" / "love at first sight" feeling and start running and gunning with it. I feel this change only detracts from a character building experience and possibly alienates Cold Harbor more.

    I think I know why the devs are doing this, to push those of us who don't want a sword to explore more, but I don't want to be guided or pushed.

    Obviously it won't break the game for me (I intend on using a sword and shield as latter secondary) but I wonder how peeps would feel if it were an entire rack of bows to select from and no swords.

  18. Veralidaine March 13, 2014 at 5:30 am

    When choosing between a choice and not a choice, I would rather have the choice.

  19. Michael Chisholm March 13, 2014 at 3:54 am

    I don't have a problem with it being a sword since they added weapon and armor drops to Coldharbour. You might want to hold off using any skill points on weapons skills until you get the weapon you want.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment. If you're not registered yet, it takes less than 1 minute - Register Now