Of all the elements that a MMO game brings to the table the environment is the one that can really make the game feel like a Home for it’s players.
In a usual single player game the environment can be highly detailed enough to dispel belief for the 20 to 30 hours it takes to complete the story-lines, maybe 100 hours for bigger world like in games like in Skyrim or GTA V.
The voice over work is very well done, as with The Secret World they are filled with humour, quips, flippant remarks and feel mostly believable given the setting.
Below is a screenshot of the dialogue during our weekend venture while rescuing someone and we quizzed him about his predicament.
The continents feel big yet the content isn’t spread out too thinly like I found in Trion’s Rift game, quests can be picked up in towns and villages, but organically via exploration similar to how you stumbled across many quests in The Secret World.
The quests organically push you forward towards the increasingly higher content, so you don’t end up at quest hubs only to hand in 4 missions, pick up 4 more and head off in to the wilds to kill another ten rats.
I think it’s worth mentioning that the game doesn’t shy away from playing with the traditional MMO functions. I good example of this is when you are handed a quest to collect 25 crocodiles teeth, a usual MMO collect X things from beast Y type of quest.
This quest is completed after kills 2 to 3 crocodiles as they yield about 8 or more teeth each. Nicely played.
The elements that I enjoy the most are the little pieces of lore that briefly hints at a building past, or the belongings of a house strewn over a house. These allow you to dream up your own history behind them or left wondering why part of a town has been left to fall into ruin.
It really boils down to that lived in feeling that comes from the effort Zenimax have put into making each environment and the characters feel very unique.
Funnily enough as writing this post took me a couple of days my companion in Elder Scrolls Online, Dok, blogged about his experiences in the game and I’m happy to say they match mine on many elements.