The Elder Scrolls Online’s control scheme lends itself well to controller mapping and for combat. Because there’s a focus on a few key skills and the timing of basic attacks, you have a full range of powers at your fingertips without having to worry about overbearing and overloaded hotbars. The sparse UI does an excellent job allowing you to see what abilities are available without taking up valuable screen real estate. The game’s controls feel fitting for console, and the combat seems to have bit more weight behind sword strikes and offensive actions than my trip to Tamriel last year. On the subject of crafting, it’s incredibly satisfying to load your pack up with dungeon loot, and then break it all down to craft fantastic equipment.
Ability morphing lets you hone your powers by adding special features to skills that may seem basic at first. Each class line contains ultimate abilities that can only be used for additional complexity and fun to combat. For my time on console, I piloted a heavily armored storm mage, who essentially turns into Emperor Palpatine, capable of electrocuting packs of enemies.
Voice chat is easy to access and use, though you may wish to turn it off in heavily populated areas. The game’s dungeon grouping system has improved some of the issues I had with risk/reward ratios during my first trek through ESO, but it’s still slightly frustrating that the group finder doesn’t simply match players and dump them directly into an instance – you still have to port around a bit to get to your final destination.
The crown shop contains a motley assortment of consumables and cosmetics for those that want to continue supporting the game after initial purchase. Things like pets, mounts, jester outfits, and other assorted items are available for a price. Players can also opt to sign up for “membership plus” which is essentially a subscription that provides crowns each month, and presumably other content offerings down the line.
Due to a comfortable control scheme and a buy-to-play model that takes the pressure out of being forced to “get the most efficiency” out of your playtime, Elder Scrolls Online is a solid fit for console – it’s far more fun to wander aimlessly, farm gobs of consumables and craftables, and spend thirty minutes trying to steal a goblet undetected if you’re not constantly thinking about a subscription fee ticking in the background.