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Yours For The Looting: Elder Scrolls Online's Exploration

I must (and have previously, and will continue to) admit that I wasn't overly impressed by what I played of The Elder Scrolls Online. One thing that did take me by surprise, however, was all the random doodads lying around that I could just snatch up. One by one, bristling baskets of apples went right into my increasingly delicious pocket. Bread loaves, too. Oh, and bottles and lighting fixtures, because why not? I guess they were all for crafting, but I was just trying to fulfill my gamerly dream of possessing all objects. The latest Elder Scrolls Online video delves into all that and more, which is nice since these are kind of Elder Scrolls cornerstones. And it all looks quite attractive, too! I continue to worry, though, that Zenimax may not entirely be getting the point.

The point, of course, is cheese wheels. WHERE ARE ALL THE CHEESE WHEELS? I mean, come on: Skyrim's were basically the reason the Havok physics engine was invented.

OK, also, the feeling of discovery just wasn't there for me. A couple (rather signposted, in retrospect) books aside, nothing really took me by surprise. The world didn't feel like it'd been hit by the subtly chaotic tornado that is mundane living. On the simplest and most disturbingly voyeuristic terms possible, I didn't feel like I learned anything about this place's people by going through their stuff. It all felt obligatory. Apple baskets, food tables, and obsessively scavengable crates were piled all about because they were supposed to be. Because Elder Scrolls.

That said, the crafting system itself sounds enticingly experimentation-driven, which is a place the former (pre-NGE) Star Wars Galaxies player in me wishes every MMO would go. Also, lockpicking! There are locks, and they can be picked. Thank goodness.

A closed beta is still ongoing, and you can sign up for a chance to join here. I'd ask participants to talk about their experiences, but I'm pretty sure they're under a rather weighty NDA. So, what should we talk about instead? My vote's for cheese wheels.

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