As a long standing player of World of Warcraft, literally since the first few weeks it was released, plus it was the fist real MMORPG game that I had ever played and it got me hooked from level 1. It sucked me into the gaming environment and made me spend 12 hours a day leveling up my character, killing mobs, trawling through dungeons, adventuring through the virtually endless landscape and making a nice bit of gold on the way. I leveled a few characters to 85, but then quit about 12 months ago due to the fact that I didn't have the time to go through the end game dungeons to try and get the best gear. So for the last year I've felt pretty lost and lonely with no other MMO game to play.
Since then, I've tried and tested many of the other MMO's out there: LOTRO, Aion, Matrix, The Secret World, DC Universe, DayZ, GTA Online - As you can see some are completely different game niches. But for some reason, they always make me think of going back to WoW. But then I think, Elder Scrolls Online will be out soon so I might as well wait, rather than re downloading to many Gigs of game data and patches and restarting my paying subscription to Blizzard.
Don't get me wrong, I loved and still love WoW, I made many friends there that I still talk to now outside the game. But it just got boring after those years. This got me thinking, will ESO make me feel the same? Will I start playing and think "Oh, well in WoW you could do this" or "WoW's engine was better"? Or will the Elder Scrolls MMO make me feel the same way WoW did when I first entered Azeroth and make me inspired to play literally forever and give up my social life? Here's my verdict between the two, but to be fair, until ESO is released all we can do for now is speculate.
No doubt, this will play or probably be the major part in which players will associate the biggest difference between WoW and ESO. World of Warcraft seems more cartoonish - but considering it was released 9 years ago and that they made the game to be able to run on low end and high end systems so more people got the chance to play the game, you can't really class this as a bad thing. However, as the expansions move on and especially in Mists of Pandoria you can tell there's a major graphics overhaul especially when your flying through the beautiful created forests and over rivers seeing the full view of the landscape surrounding you. I also always thought that WoW's magic effects were pretty cool and some of the AOE effects looked pretty neat.
Within the Elder Scrolls series, graphics have always been important to Bethesda. Take a look at Skyrim, a few months after release they added 2 DLC packs with HD texture packs for free. Then with the addition of community addons, you can completely chagge the way the world looks with improved grass and trees, sky and sun glare as well as a full overhaul of new HD textures, clothing, textiles, items and more. Compare screenshots of Skyrim all kitted out in HD textures to a real life photo of landscape and you wont be able to tell which one is real life! From the screenshots we've seen from ESO far, the graphics look on par with Skyrim. However, the "full HD look" may be toned downed a little due to performance limitations. After all, were not just playing by our selves anymore, but in a whole virtual world with thousands of other players moving and fighting around us.
The user interface is also a major factor in any MMORPG, this minor but most used part of the game is also one of the main areas in which players send suggestions to change, update, add or remove things from to the game developers. If there's a poll for the most hated thing in any MMO, the UI is normally on top, so it has be to perfected to a high standard, keeping everything in easy range of a click, letting important factors show on screen but not limiting the players visibility or RPG factor of the gaming environment.
In World of Warcraft, your interface was just a big open space for you to put your Addons onto. Putting extra boxes and buttons on your screen to show or warn about various things that are happening around you and helping you do things faster, especially fighting, casting spells and healing your fellow team members. This typically put players at a disadvantage if one person had a certain addon and someone else didn't, so in the end, everyone had to have them!
Elder Scrolls Online method is the total opposite. Minimize the UI to as little as possible, but still letting the player see important things that are happening to their player or what they are involved in. This in turn helps the player have a more immersed feeling and gaming experience, we can actually enjoy and experience the game for its content and for the world, rather than for buttons we have on our UI bar. As long as there's a bar for my spells and the option to show/hide the chat screen then I'll be happy!
So, both WoW and ESO have their differences, but due to the fact that millions of people have played WoW and still do who may try ESO, ESO has a lot to live up to. They have a major advantage graphically due to the fact that they are releasing a game 9 years later than their main competitor . But if they don't have the features that WoW does then that faze won't last long. What's your verdict between the two? Let us know in the comments below. Don't forget to look out for Part 2 of our Elder Scrolls Online vs World of Warcraft analyse coming soon!