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Thread: The Elder Scrolls: Blades

  1. #1
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind

    The Elder Scrolls: Blades

    Looks like this subforum hasn't been posted to yet this year so might as well make a thread for this thing. For those who aren't aware, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is the new mobile game to fleece appease fans of the series during the 10+ year wait between titles, currently in "early access". I completely blanked over the opening exposition if there was any, but it seems to be set shortly after the defeat of the Empire by the Thalmor but well before the Skyrim times, and appropriately enough you play as a member of the Blades. The game starts with you returning to your hometown which has been mysteriously destroyed, and you need to scrounge up the materials to rebuild it and beat up some baddies. The bulk of the game consists of you accepting randomly generated quests which instantly port you to a little dungeon or similar, in which you kill four bandits/find two townspeople/collect six frost salts. The location and objective get shuffled in an effort to stave off the boredom, but it does get extremely repetitive extremely fast. There are also more handcrafted main quests which progress the story, but those are pretty thin on the ground so far. Another option is The Abyss, which is a dungeon you go down as far as you can until you die, and get some modest prizes. There is also an upcoming feature called The Arena, which I hope isn't PvP because of the shameless pay-to-win nature of the game.

    So, the monetization. During your adventures you accrue chests, which take time to open, and you can only open one at a time unless you cough up gems which you can buy in the store. You can buy 160 gems for 2,29 but that's not really going to do much for you, so might as well go for the Best Value of 14000 gems for 109,99 (first time offer!). Want to actually fix up your buildings instead of waiting hours and hours of chest timers in the hopes of getting copper? Buy the Imperial Shipment for 400 gems and receive enough building materials to build 1,3 buildings! Today's deal: a daedric weapon for 2500 gems, which translates to 21,99. Also the lowest wooden chest takes 5 seconds to open, but after that it jumps to 1 hour for silver, 6 hours for gold and so forth. The silver chests used to take 3 hours to open until it was changed in a patch yesterday, and apparently people were going to huge lengths to avoid picking them up because you can't drop them and they fill up your inventory way faster than you can ever open them (increase your chest storage with gems!). The seemingly random chest reward for quests followed a pattern, so the optimal way to play was to figure out your spot in the reward algorithm, keep your inventory full of wooden chests so that you couldn't pick up the silver rewards, and when you are due for a gold reward you'd open one wooden chest so you could pick it up. I've only played for two days and in that time accrued almost a hundred hours worth of silver chest timers; it was completely impossible to open them fast enough. I don't think the 1 hour timer is going to fix the problem at all. You still get a silver chest after almost every quest, and they take maybe 2-5 minutes to finish, so in the time it takes to open one chest you'll have picked up ten more.

    Anyway, the game is pay-to-win from top to bottom. Everything has a timer and the bottleneck ones are pretty extreme and can be skipped with purchasable currency. I don't play a lot of mobile games but I know that's par for the course, yet there's always a scale and Blades has to be at the very greediest end of it.

    Oh, and it looks real pretty and runs smoothly on my Snapdragon 845/Adreno 630 phone.

    I've loved the series, warts and all, since I got Daggerfall for Christmas 1996 so I had to give this a go, but it's hard to justify playing unless they dial down the greed a couple notches even if the gameplay loop is somewhat entertaining in small bursts (yet can't really be played in small bursts if you want to get anywhere and don't want to pay a ludicrous amount of money to do so). Hopefully people will vote with their wallets, but Elder Scrolls fans seem pretty desperate for anything new (I am). On the PC side public opinion seems to have turned against cynical microtransactions which even Valve had to find out the hard way with Artifact, but I have no idea if that extends to mobile. I hope so.

  2. #2
    Registered: May 2004
    Ok, I'll admit that I lost interest in this series after Oblivion and didn't even manage to make it 2hrs into Skyrim, but this piqued my curiosity, and boy is it crap. These design decisions make absolutely no sense. Why is it in portrait instead of landscape, making the field of view uselessly tiny? Why are they using VR style touch to walk controls when it's perfectly possible to implement standard movement (see: Deus Ex: The Fall)? Why did they think it was a good idea to force you to stand in one place for combat encounters, making them hopelessly boring? Why were they so cheap that they didn't even put in voice acting? And, most shockingly - it isn't open world? I thought that was literally the only reason people like this series to begin with! I haven't even made it to the monetization part yet, but good lord this is lazy and terrible even beyond what I expected (and I didn't expect much). It may be early access, but I don't think there's any way to save this thing without a complete redesign.
    Last edited by froghawk; 13th Apr 2019 at 00:34.

  3. #3
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind
    You can actually play it in landscape mode, unless it's device-specific, but that would be strange. Make sure you have autorotation switched on in phone settings! The landscape mode also has virtual joysticks for less infuriating movement.

    I tried to find out what the general mood is about the game and found this piece that lists a couple more issues with the microtransactions that i missed (Forbes Warning): 'Elder Scrolls Blades' Is A Glimpse Into The Potential Dystopian Future Of AAA Games. Evocative title, but it's not like I disagree. I've resigned to the assumption that Bethesda will once more try to monetize mods with TES VI at the very least.

    Anyway, the article also suggests that Blades is a roaring success so far as far as profitability goes.

  4. #4
    Registered: May 2004
    Ok, that's a slight improvement, but these joystick controls are weirdly hard to use as well.

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