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Procrastination Intensifies

I am still dabbling with trying to get into Elder Scrolls Online.  Probably because this was the last week before I went back to part time hours.  The inner ape is in turmoil over a change of routine.  Unhappy inner ape equals difficulty staying on task.  Difficulty staying on task means increased procrastination.  If I absolutely must procrastinate, MMORPGs beat what idle hands would do with the Internet.

Pity, then, I've been miserable with trying to decide on a character to play in The Elder Scrolls Online.  Each of the five "classes" play with an over-the-top feel that has more form than substance.  It as though the designer psyched himself up with this kind of inner monologue when creating them:
Pee chee with doodles on it.
Just play these characters and try to tell me I am wrong.  Each ability is rigged like they were designed by somebody who never moved past a stage of their life involving doodling awesome on their high school Pee Chee.

Lets dial it back a bit and just say class choice comes down to, "Tone."  If only I could choose a tone and go with it, my problems would be solved.  Unfortunately, I could imagine myself identifying as any of these, while simultaneously being not particularly satisfied with how any of them "feel."  There is a certain disconnect in the core gameplay, a lack of tactile feedback, that leads to dissatisfaction in every option.

However, since I seem hell bent on trying to access the content of this game, I turned to identifying what gameplay mechanics I enjoy in MMORPGs.

In the past, when I played City of Heroes (may it rest in spectacular spandex peace) I made hundreds of "alt" characters, and the first one to finally make it to maximum level was one that combined "Illusion" and "Storm Summoning."  Why?  I decided it was because this was an unusually effective combination of three categories of things I look for in a character:
  • Variety Of Active Abilities - The more "toys" I have to play with, the less likely I am to get bored and move on to another character.
  • Difficulty To Master - Because the alternative is easily mastered and bores me quickly.
  • Effectiveness - Because it is gratifying to see my character is doing well.
Along these three categories, I should definitely know what to look for in the various classes in Elder Scrolls Online.
Fairly recent character selection guide, good for people who are less into over-thinking than myself.
But I dabbled with them all and they all seem roughly equal in those criteria:
  • Variety - The difference is minor. 
    • As others have noticed, magicka-focused characters get more class-based abilities, but you can only slot 12 things at a time anyway.  
    • By my count, Nightblades have greater overall utility and unique stealth mechanics.  
    • The Sorcerors' "Overcharge" ultimate give them a third hotbar.  
    • Wardens probably have the best overall variety, but not by much more than the class with the least.
  • Difficulty To Master - Difficult in what way? 
    • Opinions seem to vary on what the hardest class role is. 
    • An expert's assessment of maelstrom arena, puts the stamina-based classes on the harder end of the spectrum because "damage shields" greatly increase survivability, and the same applies to PvP.  
    • I often hear mastering rotations mentioned as a source of difficulty... but when there's only 12 abilities (plus a light and heavy attack) it seems to me that no rotation's skill requirement is beyond the time investment MMORPGs demand.
  • Effectiveness - This generally is not a problem unless the developers screwed the pooch on the balance.  I doubt it is as bad as the verbal minority would say; there is no truly ineffective character in this game.
It seems I won't be making any lasting decisions upon the game mechanic, the most important crux for me of a game.

I resorted to begging the reddit for an answer, and I received some great answers.  Summing up everybody's answer, there is no definitive solution to Elder Scrolls Online altoholicism.   I feel that this one in particular gets at the root of the problem:
Have to remember ESO is a simple game, there really isn’t any class that are hard to master and therefore not played much but once mastered more powerful than others.
I agree: ESO is a simple game. As such, it's unlikely I will ever be satisfied with a single character, the gameplay wears thin too quickly!

My best bet is probably just to embrace my altoholicism, have several characters, and just play whatever I am in the mood for.  In fact, the way that the three realms are laid out with unique content, I could probably enjoy three independent climbs with very little reiteration in content until I reach the end game.
With three separate progression paths for pre-50th level gameplay, I basically MUST alt to get to all the content.
There is one big downside of this lack of commitment: upgrading my bank slots benefits all my characters (who share that bank space), and I am pretty sure I can earn more money at higher levels.   But this same down side is also a strength: shared bank space means I can split up crafting responsibilities between those characters.

This game's RPG mechanic is just as frustrating now as it was last week, but the content remains just as appealing.  As soon as I am not being interrupted by more impromptu babysitting, I really ought to get back to doing something productive with my time. 


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