Glad they finally lifted it, because I have a lot of pent up impressions (this is me warning you about the length):
I really should try PvP one of these times, because I loved WvW. Eventually. I know I'll get hooked on that shit and these weekends are pretty short as it is.
Really been trying to mess around with different character builds to see just how flexible the skill system is....I'm one of those MMO players that likes to have a ton of characters, each with different play styles and I'm really digging the potential of ESO's character builds. You're drawing active skills from so many different places - class, weapon, armor, world, and guild, then you have the morph options on top of that. It's really satisfying running the kinds of characters you can't run in other games because of all the restrictions most MMOs have. But it also strikes a balance so that you do have to have a plan and you do need to invest wisely. The combat is also pure resource management, so you don't have cooldowns arbitrarily slowing down combat. It's more like a Force Unleashed scenario where your bars replenish quickly enough that if you plan your attacks wisely you can just continue to drop skills...It's a better balancing concept and it's more fun to play. They do need a run bar, though.
Exploration has been really great. I mean, most MMOs, there's zero reason to not just go from quest arrow to quest arrow, but this game has optional dungeons hidden through the landscape, many of which have their own quests and skyshards (3 of which gives you an extra skillpoint), randomized locked chest spawns, anchor events and treasure maps. There are also little radiant events, like say a trader being robbed on the road. In that sense, it's a very familiar experience for TES players, as there's just so many one-off opportunities outside of the major questlines. The way they've done the graphics, too...TES buildings were always very small and so cities tended to feel small. But I'm swimming off the coast of daggerfall, and I see this massive tower in the distance (in the direction of the stormhaven region) and instantly I just want to go there. Pretty much find myself looking up a lot in the game. Really curious to see the capitols in this game and if any of them can live up to Divinity's Reach (best RPG town ever)
It's a very traditional MMo structure in a lot of ways, but what I really appreciated was the way they tried to incorporate all the subquests into a local area storyline, so that you'll see an icon on the map, unfilled, and it will usually say something about what's going on in that area when you mouse over it. When you go to that region, there will be all these quests related to what's happening there and they will all build towards a conclusion. A lot of times this conclusion will come with choices along the way and in a few cases the final choice will actually affect quests deeper in the region (slightly) and/or actually transform the local area into a different phase. This quest structure just made me more invested in the game world and was just so much better than the typical MMO subquest structure of "go here and kill/collect x amount of y, because I said so." It's not quite the living world GW2 is, but I think it's the same concept applied to static questing and I thought it worked well.
MMOs are hard to evaluate without spending significant time with them...I mean, I've had some where it took me about a month to figure out I didn't like it (because you do have to be patient with these games). It's hard to say what I will ultimately think of this game without seeing the total progression across 50 levels, what there is to do after (though I've heard you can go into the other faction areas and complete their quest lines)...but that last beta I was in for a big MMO was GW2 and I knew in the beta, even while I was still having fun, that I was gonna get bored within a couple months and I also knew why I would. I haven't had the same sort of reservations with ESO, so I'm hoping that's a pretty good sign. In the end, I don't think anything will sell or maintain like WoW or EQ before it, again...not with this MMO model. But I can see myself having a lot of fun with this.