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Love The Witcher But Hate Your Friends, Family, Career Advancement, & Hobbies? Try Elder Scrolls Online

Can I, in good conscience, recommend that anyone play any MMORPG? It feels like telling you oxycontin and Russian Roulette are fun. I started playing ESO after moving to Los Angeles during the two worst years of my life and I would rather show you my PornHub search history than how many hours I’ve spent playing this game. But also, I own a $100 in-game boat, and they’re paying me $25 to write this, so I may as well start to climb out of the hole.

If you liked the beautiful open worlds, creatures, and magical lore of The Witcher, you’ll probably enjoy ruining your life in The Elder Scrolls Online.

In The Witcher, you stare at Geralt’s chiseled butt as he swans around the Continent stabbing monsters and bagging sorceresses. The butt you stare at in ESO is up to the race and class you choose. Will you be a Furry Khajiit assassin? Or a Nord necromancer? Mix and match at will. 

As an MMO, ESO is broader than The Witcher—there’s more content, and the storytelling is less specific. Quests and characters vary more widely in quality. ESO is also quite a bit more inclusive: you encounter equal numbers of men and women on quests, including Big Bads. Gwent-heads rejoice, ESO even has an in-game deckbuilder called Tales of Tribute now (which I like, although it has not been broadly popular).

If one of your favorite parts of The Witcher is summoning Roach and running over random hills, then you are in for a treat with ESO. Tamriel is huge and beautifully detailed, from the carnivorous swamps of Murkmire in the south to the mushroom towers of Morrowind. If the stories are sometimes broad, the places feel very specific—the world is full of hidden nooks and visual jokes.

The $10 base game will get you more content than a human with any semblance of a life could reasonably finish: save the world for a blind guy, join a guild, fight off a bunch of pirates, and slaughter a seafood buffet’s worth of mudcrabs. You can go almost anywhere with a low-level character. You can build and decorate houses (I built a comedy club during the pandemic and immediately ran out of gold).

If you think you’re going to spend any real time playing, the $15/month subscription is worth it for the improved inventory space alone. Plus it opens up the map. 

The real cost of ESO is not the money, but the time. During several years of my life when I hated everything, I didn’t hate Tamriel. Enter at your own risk.

Try ESO if:

  • You love running around huge, cool fantasy worlds
  • You hate everything else, in general

Don’t try ESO if:

  • You’re bad at moderation and don’t want to lose two years of your life
  • You have kids and are afraid they might become ESO orphans

You can purchase Elder Scrolls Online for yourself here.