Vvardenfell and a warden

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a Twitter conversation about Elder Scrolls Online. After reading a bit, I just had to log in.

That’s not the entirety of the conversation you see when following that tweet. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that this thread also covers topics like playing MMORPGs solo, guilds, guild leadership and so on. Quite a few people chimed in. It’s a really worth your time.

So in I went. My wanting to play Elder Scrolls Online had three main reasons: one, because of our small guild. Secondly, because of that Twitter thread and third, because I haven’t gotten around to creating and playing a warden which was released with the Morrowind chapter/expansion- to give an idea of just how long I didn’t show up.

Of course, we had our second child in the meantime and our daughter is healthy, in a good mood and…a baby. But that’s not the whole story behind my prolonged absence from this blog and Elder Scrolls Online- I’ve been looking around, testing other games, different content output channels (looked into Twitch streaming in theory, but haven’t really streamed besides some guest appearances in a friend’s stream). And then, there was that guild I co-founded…almost two years ago, I guess. The longer I was away, the worse my conscience. I readied myself for some kind of “where have you been? Guild leaders can’t leave that long!” discussions in private or guild chat, but I’m pleased to say that selective recruitment, early fostering of community as well as putting a good replacement in charge of things were a very good decision- there were no bad words, just fellow players welcoming me back. So that went well.

It was very difficult to find a suitable name for my newly created warden, though. I hit a couple of name generators, but of course all of these names were already taken. I gave it about half-a-dozen tries and settled for a combination of a lore-appropriate name and a family name derived from my online handle (Lorana Feng, iirc). I guess that’s not too bad. With all those obstacles out of the way, I could take a look at the game proper, and found it to be surprisingly fitting to my overall mood right now. I also realized I’ve been demoted to noob again by the changes in game.

For one, now you have to discover skill trees. When I went to spend skillpoints on skills for the first time, I found that I was only able to spend them into class skill trees, one world skill tree and one crafting skill tree. No weapon or armor skills to be seen. Come to think of it, I think even racial skills were missing.

Lately, I’ve been playing games more deliberately. If I choose to play a game, I play it without distractions- no Podcast listening, no stream by the side and so on. I play for one or two hours, then exit the game and do something else. I don’t sit in front of my PC pondering about which game to launch- if I don’t know what game to launch, I do something else. This leads to two outcomes. First, I don’t dabble in front of the pc until I make a choice and watch crappy Youtube videos instead. On the other hand, when I launch a game, I want to experience it- you know, including quest- and flavour text, atmosphere and things like that. There are no goals involved other than having a good time.

Elder Scrolls Online fits nicely into this mindset, and that is also why I loved that “discovery of skill lines” thing. Quests are presented via dialogues, optional conversation choices and they usually take longer than your average “kill ten rats” MMO quest. Exploration is encouraged as there are no quest hubs, per se. All in all, I had tons of fun, even while not getting much done. Between chatting with guildmates, my noobiness and taking it slowly, I finished one quest in two hours of playing. Fun times!

Also, happy new year!

A word on crown crates

First: my own opinion, put shortly: I don’t like lockboxes, I don’t buy them and I wish nobody would. As we know by now, Elder Scrolls Online is going to begin selling what they call “Crown Crates” in their cash shop- turning one of my most liked business models/ingame shops into one of many.

Personally, I feel buy-/free-to-play brought a few niceties to us. However, I’m starting to realize there’s more to it than that and I’m starting to get fed up with cash shops, because they take away from the games we play. I’ll probably go over this discussion at another time, but the reason for this post is that I’d like to share the most recent episode of “Tales of Tamriel“. I was happy to see Isaari joining for this topic, particularly because of points he made before in regards to playing WoW and his will to grind for mounts, pets and hats. I can’t find it anymore, probably because it was a tweet- but I knew him to be very opinionated on mmonetization as he’s written about it a couple of times.

Now, this is a podcast dedicated to Elder Scrolls Online, but the discussion points are valid throughout the genre- it’s very interesting to listen to and if you’d like some insight/differing opinions or agreement on stuff like “it’s just cosmetic”, “but they have to earn money” and so on, I’d suggest watching this. It’s also very from the beginning that these fans of Elder Scrolls Online- themselves content creators in regards to this game for a long while and in all kinds of manners- are really upset about the introduction of lockboxes into their game and would like to talk about that topic from the first second.

The monetization stuff begins around minute 30, have fun.

Housing wishlist for Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online will get housing in its Q1 2017 update- we know this already. We probably also know that it’s semi-instanced. I’m very much looking forward to housing in ESO – but i do have a few wishes.


I hope housing will be accessible very early in the game and not be a max-level thing. It should also be somewhat attractive by default- players who like housing are a creative and loyal bunch, if housing is done right. However, housing players will only “suffer” through so much gameplay they don’t enjoy to get something for the part of the game they do. Leveling to 50 would be a bit long. Of course housing should scale very well and accompany players throughout their characters’ lives. At any point from level 10 onwards, i’d like to be able to see and do something about my house.

Not a byproduct

I hinted at that wish above, but i think this bears repeating: don’t make me run 10 dungeons to – maybe- get some housing item i’d like. Don’t simply attach housing stuff to achievements. Sure, do housing drops, they’re nice loot. Ideally, housing would be a different path to take in the game, maybe even accompanied by a new crafting profession or new recipes for existing crafting professions.


I hope we’ll be able to share our spaces, let visitors come in. A player owned house would be great for guild meetings. It would be even better if we were able to visit houses of strangers (if they set the appropriate permissions).


There are great housing systems out there- Wildstar’s and Rift’s housing systems are both very accessible and very complete- however, in both cases i had trouble to connect them to the virtual world they should be in. It’s not a lore- or immersion problem, per se, as the teleporting and locations fit into both games, but in both cases, i couldn’t shake the feeling of disconnect. In ESO, we already seem to know that the houses are part of the zones, so this wish seems to be granted.

Gold sink

It is very important for an MMORPG to have means of spending earned gold. The last couple of years brought us more and more alternative currencies in other games, often different ones for different activities (questing, dungeons, pvp etc.). You’d get some kind of token that you can then spend at some NPC for items. It’s an…ok system to have, but as with bound-on-acquire gear, i think of it as a band-aid that’s hurting the economy. You really only need one currency- gold. Elder Scrolls Online thankfully features gold as a currency mostly, to my knowledge. While i am always broke in this game (and think this is a good thing), i’ve heard others state that they didn’t know what to do with their gold- housing is a good way to get them to spend it.

Light on cash shop

Of course we know housing is going to be monetized in the cash shop- there’ll be exclusive items, possibly even houses, and i have no problem with that. As with everything, though, it’s important to keep a balance. I think it would be a shame, for instance, if crafters couldn’t create anything for the houses, in-game means would be quite limited and everything else would go into the cash shop. Housing items should be attainable through as many means as possible, including but not focussing on the cash shop.


Some time, i guess this month when i’ll be looking for inspiration, i’ll tell you the tale on how i got interested in MMORPGs. The short version is: i wanted to become a baker. Nowadays, i’d like to become a tavern owner. Sure, setting up one’s home is nice and all, but in the end, that’s kind of limited in scope- let us build taverns, bakeries, shops, barracks, hiding spots, casinos and more underground stuff. This ties into the wish of housing being shareable, as well- as a tavern owner, for instance, some visitors would be nice.

So that’s basically it- i guess i’d like it to be as close as possible to EQ2’s housing with a hint of Wildstar’s to add flavor.

Ending the summer break

Oh well, doing daily posts is going to be fun 😉 All in all, i’ve got a couple of drafts waiting to be written, but as i realize today, sometimes it’s not so easy to make time to write- i’ll need to flesh out some of those ideas when i have more time. So this will be a short one.

Yesterday, i ended my personal summer break from Elder Scrolls Online and logged into my main character to do a bit more than buying clothes. Finally, i’d have to say, as this was my plan for more than a week now.

Coming back in isn’t so easy, though- it’s good that Elder Scrolls Online has a limited skill bar that makes returning and re-exploring the rhythm of combat a bit easier. I’m still in Malabal Tor, level 38- i guess i could venture ahead into the next zone, but i’ll stay in Malabal Tor for another while.

It’s a wood zone, difficult to navigate, which makes it a bit more difficult to find the places i need to go to in order to continue questing. I managed to finish one series of quests and filling up my inventory, which surprised me- i thought my bags to be practically endless now with the crafting bag. But i guess at some point, 100 swords, bows, armors and intestines fill the backpack just as well.

Once again, as i’m playing on a new PC, i was surprised at how beautiful the game is and how much i like the minimalistic UI it uses. So, my feet are on the ground again, now i need to take a look and see where i am, where i wanted to go, what i wanted to achieve next.

What i liked about playing ESO exclusively

The time of playing Elder Scrolls Online exclusively has passed. The summer break put an end to that. Playing one MMORPG exclusively has positive and negative side-effects on my playing habit, although one could argue that the positive outweigh the negative aspects.

All in all, during those six months, i felt more invested and more connected to ESO in particular but also MMORPGs in general, which is strange considering my interest in other games was basically nonexistent in this time. Another interesting side-effect was that i didn’t think about what to play when i was in the mood for gaming, it was a simple decision of wanting to play or not. And for once, i thought of things like reaching the level cap and maybe playing single-player games as achievable.

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ESO shopping day

I’m slowly preparing myself to return to Elder Scrolls Online, which is supposed to be my main MMO again come september. Yesterday, i read Xannziee’s post with a couple of screenshots as well as her impression with ESO (she made a detour through Black Desert for a while). There was an outfit i liked, so i asked her what it was.

Of course, it turned out to be an outfit from the crown store. Knowing that a couple of those are going away in a few days, i checked the ESO website if that outfit was among those who are going “out of stock” soon- and it is. So in i went to purchase it. I also had a look at a few of the other items who only remain for three days now, and found another outfit and two sets that interest me. I haven’t decided on the sets yet, but i purchased the solo outfits that interested me. Coincidentally, they seem to be originated in the Valenwood, which is the region i’m questing in since…about forever. 

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One Tamriel! How’bout that?

When people talk about MMO comebacks, they’ll mostly give Final Fantasy XIV as an example. Of course this is true, FFXIV in its current state is immensely better than what they released as V1.0. But this one was essentially rebuilt- it wasn’t evolution that brought FFXIV from 1.0 to 2.0, it was recreation.

Elder Scrolls Online wasn’t too well-received when it released, although i believe this was born more out of disappointment of players who didn’t feel like their interests took the front seat in the game design- as we’ve often read, MMO players felt the game was not MMO enough and Skyrim players felt ESO wasn’t Skyrim enough. Both groups of players felt neglected to some extent. These days, i feel like we are seeing Elder Scrolls Online stepping up to satisfy both player types and the birth of the next great MMORPG- i mean, it has been in the making for quite some time now, but Elder Scrolls Online will be shaping itself up to a set of features and scope that will see it propelled to be one of the best if not the best MMORPG to be released in this decade at least. In my opinion, of course.

Elder Scrolls Online is a great MMORPG with a few things that hinder it at becoming the top MMO for me. To mention a few things:

  • at release and until recently, the prospect of having to quest through all three campaigns with each and every character scared me. That’s at least 300 hours of content if you rush and that would mean about a year or two of me playing only one character and only Elder Scrolls Online. After that, i’d be ready for DLC and Cyrodiil.
  • group options – for people like me and guilds like ours, level scaling is not optional, it’s very important to enable us to do stuff together. It’s great that the DLC are scaled, but going there and doing stuff would mean to almost skip over entire zones in the base game (i saw about a quarter of Greenshade, if it was that much)
  • non-combat content like housing is missing
  • trading with other players still requires us to join trading guilds

I might be a bit too optimistic here, but it seems that at the end of 2016, only the issue of trading with other players will remain, as housing is probably coming this year and yesterday, Matt Firor announced “One Tamriel”.

In other words, we’re bringing the same auto-leveling system (called “battle leveling”) that has been so successful in our DLCs to the entire game.

Here are the basics:

  • Characters will have their level scaled the same way that we currently scale players to the level of DLC zones (Imperial City, Orsinium, Thieves Guild, and Dark Brotherhood).
  • You will be able to explore the entire world in any sequence you wish – just walk across the world and you will always find appropriately leveled content.
  • You will be able to play and group with anyone in the game at any time (outside of PvP). No longer will you have to create a lower level character to play with a friend who has just joined the game. You will be able to group and adventure together from the moment your friend emerges from the tutorial.
  • We are dropping all PvE Alliance restrictions. You will be free to explore of all Tamriel, including other Alliances. It is up to you how you want to role-play your character while doing this. “Silver” and “gold” versions of zones will be replaced by Cadwell quest storylines that you can do in any order you wish.
  • Alliance restrictions will still be enforced in all PvP areas, of course. One Tamriel will not affect the PvP systems in Cyrodiil.
  • In general, higher level players will be the same “level” as lower level players, but they will have far more tools in their arsenal: better gear, more abilities, and of course more Champion points.
  • We will adjust gear rewards to scale appropriately to make sure that there is always a way to get more powerful via crafting, questing, PvP, and dungeon/trial boss loot drops.
  • All Trials and Dungeons will continue with standard and Veteran difficulty modes, and you will have to be Veteran level to play veteran dungeon modes.
  • The Coldharbour zone will be “roped off” from players who have not yet completed the quests that lead there. However, if you are invited to a group that is already there, or travel to a friend who is there, you can immediately access the zone.

Sooo, level scaling in the whole game. Removal of alliance restrictions in PvE. Imagine what this means for a small guild like ours: finally, we can tackle all the content together. At any one time, we’ll be able to meaningfully form groups to help each other, be in each other’s company, run dungeons. We’ll also be able to recruit players from the other alliances, as we’re PvE-focussed anyway. I don’t know yet what that might mean for our leveling group of DC characters, but i guess it might have an influence, because we don’t need to watch each others’ character levels as closely as before and we’ll also be able to simply join up with whatever character we like.

Now give me a place to call my own, please!
Now give me a place to call my own, please!

For the solo player- and in my personal opinion questing is still better when doing it alone- this means that outleveling content will not be a problem anymore. This opens up so many possibilities like playing through whole DLCs before getting to 50, changing zones and so on. With this change, the leveling experience from 1 to 50 will be very alt-friendly indeed, because while you still can do everything with every character, the order in which to do that will be up to us, the players. This move alone will make the game feel even larger than it is right now.

I am very excited to see where ESO is going this year and i’m very happy with the current state as well as the prospect of what’s coming.

Tamriel together – experiencing ESO in a dedicated group

We’ll start our “level together” series in our guild soon. Right now, we’re in the “prologue” part where we’ll play alone until we reach Daggerfall. From there, we’ll make an effort to play together. However, when i thought about ways to do this, normal questing left me with an uneasy feeling. If we were to do all the quests together, there’d be logistics involved- what questlines to follow, what decisions to make and always noting and telling others where we are in the questing process. And overlevelling content would soon begin to be a problem, as well. In the end, i put together a different plan.


We’ll concentrate on the following types of quests:

  • Main Story Quests
  • Quests that grant skillpoints
  • Mages guild quests
  • Fighters Guild Quests
  • Undaunted Quests

Open World

Instead of questing, we’ll give things in the open world priority, with the added advantage that everything in this category is actually easier/faster when it is done in a group. Most of these things are also marked on the map and for the items that aren’t, i’ve got some addons installed.

Before we decided to found a guild in Elder Scrolls Online, we had already met a few times to play together. At that time, there were four of us and we did everything together- mainly because none of us was actually playing Elder Scrolls Online by themselves (that was something that just happened after our meet-ups) and so the quests were still new to us and also, because my research didn’t show many guides/topics on how ESO could be played in a small or full dedicated group. Now, with some knowledge of the game, i actually think ESO provides plenty of content for small or full dedicated groups- maybe even more than other contemporary MMORPGs. So here’s what you can do as a small or full dedicated group in Elder Scrolls Online and how we’re planning to progress through the zones in our group(s).

  • Delves – Each map contains 6 delves and there’s a skyshard and a boss in each of them. I guess this will become the thread we’ll follow throughout a zone, hopping between Delves, World Bosses, Points-of-Interest and Dolmen. Normally, Delves can be done solo, but it’ll be faster when done in a group. Delves also count towards the Meta-Achievement of zone explorer.
  • Group Bosses – There are 6 group bosses in each zone- you can solo them, but they do get difficult from time to time.
  • Landmarks – These are marked as “eyes” on the map and often, there’s not much to do there, but they are beautiful places, sometimes contain a nice story element and give some xp. They also count towards the meta-achievement of zone explorer. I thinke there are usually five of them in a zone.
  • Dolmen / Anchor – I tried to do an anchor by myself yesterday and it didn’t end well. Anchors are group content- and as such, they’ll be more fun and more rewarding being done in a group. There seem to be three Dolmens in levelling zones.
  • Public Dungeons – Each zone contains one public dungeon- they’re similar to delves but are bigger. We’ll do them when we see them on the map, as the last PvE content in any given zone or to get some progress before doing the zone’s instanced group dungeon.
  • Skyshards – Last but not least, before leaving a zone, we’ll make sure to uncover all skyshards- to get the associated skill points.


In every zone, there’s an instanced group dungeon that can be done in a group of four. I don’t know yet how we’ll approach these, it depends on how many of us are logged in and playing together in a session. We are enough to build two groups, but that’s assuming everyone will log in. My plan is to do them unscaled when we meet the level requirements.

Helpful Addons

While i don’t like using addons much (i much prefer exploring/solving riddles when i’m by myself), in this case it’s advisable, as “exploring”- or “searching for something” is actually a boring thing to do in a group.

  • QuestMap – shows quests on the map and provides filtering options such as “skill point” or “Cadwells silver/gold”
  • Destinations – shows the other locations on the map
  • Skyshards – shows skyshards on the map

With all these, you should know where to go at any point.


My hope is that this system will allow us to make progress in the game by doing the content mentioned above, while not levelling too fast or too slow for any given zone. Logistics-wise, this will be easy: all players who miss out a week or two or want to catch up to us later have to do is reach about the same level as the group (+/- 3). Doing things this way also allows each player to play these characters outside of that group without being afraid to lose touch. While crafting and questing of course do give experience, it’s not necessary that we’re all exactly on the same level at all times, even without level scaling.

How could ESO improve trading?

Elder Scrolls Online has employed a unique way of doing player trading. As we all know, there are no global auction houses. What’s more is that materials used in crafting have no or quite low value when selling them to NPCs. Instead, there are trading guilds, guild merchants and merchants in Cyrodiil. Here’s a statement from Nick Konkle:

You don’t necessarily want to do a global auction house for a game with one giant server because that generally leads to all the best gear being available at very, very cheap prices, a lot of times that can trivialize the game. You cannot have a healthy economy when there are no restrictions on getting the best stuff in the game.

I’ve read another statement somewhere that the way ESO does player trading is the closest they can get to simulating regional pricing for goods in a game where fast travel is a thing.

I respect both of these explanations and find it quite refreshing that a developer leaves out a “standard feature” of MMORPGs in favour of game design. However, this approach isn’t working out for me- and possibly a few other players out there, if i were to assume i’m not the only one having some trouble in using either chat or trading guilds as market places.

As i’m also playing EVE these days, i began to think about ways Elder Scrolls Online could add public market places into the game without breaking aforementioned guidelines.

Add a guild finder

I think ZOS has plans to introduce a guild finder in the game. While it’s not too difficult to find guilds who are advertising on the official forums etc., having an ingame interface would make things easier. After seeing EVE’s corp search tool, i’d wish for ESO’s to be more elaborate. In my opinion, there’s a few key factors when looking for a good fit and i think all of this should be considered when designing the guild finder:

  • Play time. Either give a few options to enter your average weekly time you spend in the game or give the option to enter time of day for your activities.
  • Gameplay focus: Questing, Dungeons, Raiding, Crafting, Trade, Thieving, Fishing, Roleplaying and PvP are already in game, with “killing” coming soon. Provide checkboxes to select the content you’re interested in.
  • Target Group: Hardcore, Casual, Social, 18+, family-friendly and more
  • Language


EVE's corp search is great.
EVE’s corp search is great.

When you present the results, be sure to add ways to join that guild- provide a button to text with a recruitment officer and/or a simple “apply” button with an optional text message just like they already have with friend requests.

Create regional markets

The market places / merchants would need to be located in the game world. No fancy interface, just a house in a city- let’s say one per zone. I’d also prefer it if the prices weren’t scannable by addons which could be making it easy for players to figure out where to buy/sell stuff.


To get regionally different prices, there needs to be a way to control these prices. As you can’t rely on players to do that themselves, as you can indeed fast travel through the world, there’d need to be taxes. Luckily, Elder Scrolls Online already has something that denotes the origin of the item: the crafting motifs. So they could put different taxes on items in different regions.

Let’s say you craft an armor in breton style but want to sell it in Auridon- you could do that, but it would be heavily taxed because the Bretons aren’t even in the same alliance. I think Auridon is also Altmer territory while Grahtwood is Bosmer- you could set taxes accordingly. They’d be lower than the Breton style taxes, but still different.

Of course, there are additional styles that might not be as easy to locate in the geography of Tamriel. I don’t know enough about them to make suggestions, but i’m sure one could figure out a way.

Limit trade

Of course, you’d be able to buy on each market you visit, but selling would be restricted in some ways – otherwise, players would simply teleport around Tamriel to avoid mentioned taxes. I could think of two ways to do that:

  • limit selling for one character/account to one location. If you sell stuff on the Daggerfall market, you can’t sell anything in Wayrest, for instance.
  • limit selling by taxes, again- raise taxes for each location an account wants to sell stuff in and make it hurt, at least when the number of markets per account reach 3

Of course, one thing would happen: we’d have trade hubs in Elder Scrolls Online. But this still wouldn’t be a global market as there’d be incentives to sell in other regions (to pay lower crafting style taxes or get higher profits) and it would actually be believable.

Market Halls with player shops / guild traders

While i can understand that ZOS doesn’t want to litter the landscape with guild traders/merchants, i think there are too few of them right now to make them really interesting. It’s a nice feature, of course, if you are a member of a successful trading guild, but it’s a bit of a hassle to find one of these. If they’re not willing or able to develop easily available player trading for individuals through NPCs, they could create “market halls” in cities where a guild or individuals could open shops. Let’s say you have a building and room in there for 20 merchants- add some costs (without making them absurdly high) and allow guilds or individuals to open a shop for, say, 60 minutes. The merchant they hired will then sell their stuff for 60 minutes before the contract needs to be renewed. You could also raise the costs for each successive hire and differentiate between locations.

Create a variety of different trading guilds

ZOS could also create more than one NPC trading guild- let’s say 10 or even more. Each account has to join one and can only buy/sell stuff in this NPC guild (well, and in player guilds, obviously).

Armchair much?

Yes 🙂 But there are two things that do bother me with trade in ESO right now: first, to be able to trade, you have to find and join trading guilds. That’s an active part you have to play and you have to do this outside of the game. The second one is that one-to-many player trade isn’t part of the game system design but part of the guild system design. I get that in Elder Scrolls Lore, guilds are important, but there has to be a merchant/trading guild somewhere in the lore.

Thinking about it, improving player trade could be bolstered up to become a stand-alone DLC.

Why i am excited for Dark Brotherhood

Yesterday the first news regarding the Dark Brotherhood DLC for Elder Scrolls Online were published, and i’m pretty excited for the changes as well as the content that come with it. I’m nowhere near to needing new content, however, after seeing what the previous PvE-centric DLC looked like, i’m pretty sure this one’s going to be a blast, too. But it’s not only the content i’m looking forward to.

Crafting Bags

Inventory management is a big part of Elder Scrolls Online, and it is by design, at least to some extent. As the developers told us, we don’t have to hoard everything- we can and should sell our stuff, to NPCs or players alike. The trading system of Elder Scrolls Online is unique in a way that seems almost old-school, as there are no auction halls, global or regional, so if you want to profit from trade, you’ll have to be part of a trading guild. There are two points of view i have on this: first, i like it, because on the surface, this system fosters socializing- you need to join other players actively to be able to trade. The downside, however, is that you have to join other players actively if you want to trade with them. That’s like having mandatory dungeon runs without a group finder tool- it’s just a hassle. However, the trading system of ESO is not today’s topic- and there’ll come a solution with the DLC.

Now, where did i put this?
Now, where did i put this?

The crafting bags for subscribers. They’ll be endless and hold crafting materials- great! I can see inventory problems simply going away with that addition alone- although it is entirely possible that one simply keeps other trash in the inventory. We’ll see, but as it stands, they’re already the reason for me to be and remain subbed to Elder Scrolls Online, because the moment i heard they’ll be coming, i subscribed, as i knew i would do that whenever they’ll drop. Until then, there’s no need for me to buy DLC and i accumulate some crowns for the ingame shop to spend on fluff. As for the crafting bags- if they’re account-wide, i’m game.

The downside, however, is two-fold. It will allow us to keep all the mats. If you think about it, normally, the need to prioritize would be a good thing- if there was a good trading system. Interdependancy is a good system to have in your MMO, and making players prioritize on which mats to keep and which to sell could improve the ingame player market.

The other one is that maybe, guild banks are in for a rough time then. Right now, our small guild bank holds 180 different stacks of items already, and it has only been open for a week. Clearly, we aren’t talking about generosity alone- putting stuff in the guild bank is one way of easing your own inventory stress. When the crafting bags come, it might take a more deliberate will of sharing stuff with others to fill the guild bank. Thinking about it, that’s not a bad thing at all.

Removal of Veteran Ranks

I’m actually kind of sad. I’ve bought the game at release and played it for a month or two. I returned for a short time when it went buy-to-play. I haven’t played much and didn’t fall in love with the game until i discovered Laeloria. But that one took me in- of course this isn’t the only reason for me liking the game so much, but it is the reason for why i feel a strange “connection” with the Daedra Azura and might make her symbol part of our guild’s heraldry. However, my main character is level 34 right now and i don’t expect her to reach her 50s before Dark Brotherhood hits, so i’ll probably never see Veteran Ranks in action.

Here's Nuria in 2014.
Here’s Nuria in 2014.

It will be interesting to see how progression works, then, and how it’ll be different. As far as i know, champion points are the new veteran ranks, so it might just be that there’ll not be much of a difference- although i believe the CPs to be better suited as they come quicker.

Character slots

I don’t need them- i’ve deleted some of my characters and stand at 3 characters now, possibly 5 in the close future. But Elder Scrolls Online has so many different ways to build your character- at the most basic view, you can create all classes with a magicka or stamina focus. Doing that would put you to occupy all currently available character slots. You could also play every class in every role- then, you’d need 12 slots. There are lots of ways to build your characters and, in my opinion, despite being a linear affair (though with all the DLC it isn’t so bad anymore), there’s lots of replay value in the game.

So i really like the addition of character slots to the crown store.

The actual DLC

Oh yes, there’s a DLC involved, too. After seeing how great being a thief works in the game and how much fun it is, this might be the first time i’m excited about being able to sneak around and eliminate targets in the game. While i haven’t seen much of the Thieves Guild yet, i can already see that playing the DLC is a change of pace and very interesting gameplay. Also, Isarii likes it- and when it comes to MMO design, i have a high regard of his opinion since he wrote that great post about shooting ourselves in the foot by joining multigaming guilds. While forming an opinion on his alone wouldn’t make sense, i think reading about his enjoyment adds in nicely with my own impressions.

Azura statue in Laeloria
Azura statue in Laeloria

So here i am, looking forward to sneaky content. Who would have thought? But by now, nothing’s surprising me anymore- i wouldn’t have thought to find MMO homes in Elder Scrolls Online (2 years old) and EVE online (ancient), and yet, here i am.

Information about the next DLC

This might sound strange regarding the paragraph above, but i actually look forward to when we can file both Thieves Guild and The Dark Brotherhood into the “released” folder, because i am highly curious about what’s to come. I do hope for non-combat content and/or improvements to trade (no global auction house, though) or maybe even a new class, i don’t know and i have no idea. But i’m sure i’ll play it.

Travel Log: Cyrodiil fun

Yesterday evening marked the beginning of our guild-activity series. The poll decided that we’ll go with Cyrodiil PvE first- that means going in there, unlocking skyshards, finish delves and dolmen, explore places and so on. Questing might be part of it, but it’s a sidenote. As we aren’t into PvP, we’ll begin in Aldmeri Dominion territory and simply hope for the best. The best being no enemy players around, all the more as we couldn’t join the non-veteran campaign due to one of us being in their veteran ranks. I’d have thought they get scaled down, but apparently, this campaign is for <50 players, stat.

Suspense is other people

Of course, there’s still tension. After all, enemy players can be anywhere in the landscape, in delves and as you are able to see dolmen/anchors from far away, there’s enemies to be expected. First of all, i’ve got to say that i love this. I wouldn’t want it all the time, but when traveling through Cyrodiil (or mining in a 0.4 sec system in EVE), i’m always on the lookout for others and there are things to be considered as soon as you see enemy players.

So it happened when we met others- a small group of maybe two or three players in one of the delves we ventured in- the Pothole Caverns. I couldn’t make out how many there were, because they went into stealth as soon as they saw us. And that’s when it became really interesting- this group was in a delve, after all, so it was entirely possible that they didn’t want to seek out fights, but so aren’t we and we still fight enemy players when we see them (we don’t hunt them, though). They could also be hiding and sneaking around to attack us. We were hidden by that time, as well, and i don’t know enough about the stealth mechanics in pvp to know how we’d be able to see them. I sneaked around a bit, then i decided to come out of my cover- maybe lure the enemies into attacking us.

On the lookout
On the lookout

Nothing happened. Still, can’t be sure, right? So the next thing i considered was that they were waiting for us to get engaged in a fight with the mobs around- so i started a fight. Again, we were not attacked. We relaxed a bit, but when it came to the delve boss, i became cautious once again- they could be lurking out there, waiting for us to clear the way and then “steal” the bossfight from under our feet. But they weren’t. I don’t know where they went, but we never fought them- at least not in this place.

After some time, we travelled to Vlastarus for a skyshard. Vlastarus is in Aldmeri Dominion territory, if the map is in its initial state. Yesterday, it was at the border to the Daggerfall Covenant, so all kinds of stuff happened- there were DC guards and three enemy players. This time, we got into a fight. While we were first just looking at one enemy and still considering whether and how to attack them, they took their chances when a guard attacked us. And there were some friend, as well. It was a very interesting, not too short fight with some players and npcs- and it was a lot of fun. Made even sweeter by our victory.

When we went to tackle an anchor, i advised our group to avoid standing too close to each other, because i didn’t want enemy players to hit all of us with one AoE attack. Surprisingly, nothing pvp-related happened there, though.

Then, we called it a night. But “calling it a night” in Cyrodiil means trying something new and exciting. So we decided to attack a mine owned by the Covenant close to one of our castles or towers- to teleport to the southwest and then use the wayshrine to get out of Cyrodiil. This was a very difficult fight. I’m not sure if we would have been able to defeat the NPCs- probably not, but it would have been a close call, but they weren’t alone, as some players came by to defend the mine. Then it was over quickly.

Cyrodiil fun

This suspense- or tension, coupled with the open and vast zone design of Cyrodiil, really good loot, resource nodes and so on, are what i love about Cyrodiil. Of course, it wouldn’t have been half as much fun without the company, so there’s that. The funny thing is, the way the players in our guild are, we’re new to many of the things we do together. Many of us play Elder Scrolls Online because they like the IP. They played solo mostly and kept to themselves. So while we have veteran rank players in our midst, many of them haven’t seen a dungeon from the inside, and Cyrodiil, with its pvp nature? It’s new to all of us. So we’re basically noobs, but we’re having some great times together.


Monday Quick Notes: Dual Wielding LFG, new chars in Elder Scrolls Online

Dual Wielding LFG edition

This was so much fun. I love writing in coop-mode with Ironweakness, so having three others join us made this whole thing even more fun. Of course, reading my own entry now feels as if i…overshot a bit. The others kept their posts shorter and more on point, while my mind wandered- as it tends to do. I feel like i still didn’t mention everything this topic has to offer so maybe there’ll be follow-ups.

I really hope we’ll do that again- maybe with others, the same people or even simply more, but we’ll see. This exercise alone made me think about the possibilities of multi-blogger sites and/or a Discord channel for bloggers. This connection to others is what makes blogging so great at times- and it’s one reason for me not to blog in my native tongue.

I actually tried to find german bloggers writing in german, but all i found were quite old entries. This is strange, though, because i think germany is the biggest MMO market in europe. The only “private blogger” i know of is a new guildie, but i haven’t given up yet. So if you’re reading this and maintain a german mmo blog, tell me about it in the comments, please.

Elder Scrolls Online

Tempest Island

We formed a guild group for a random dungeon again. Thankfully it didn’t take the dungeon finder tool 40 minutes to get it started and we were lucky to find us in Tempest Island, the group dungeon of Malabal Tor- so actually not one of the more sophisticated. I wasn’t tanking this time, so things went a lot better than in our first run. We were still having some trouble and i really have to improve my skills in dungeon-delving, because more often than not, it was me lying in the dirt.

Nuria needed a drink after this.
Nuria needed a drink after this.

Tempest Island centers around the Maomer once again trying to summon storms and bring chaos into Aldmeri Dominion lands. The dungeon design in ESO is impressive- they’re vast, many times contain indoor areas as well as the outdoors, and they’re atmospherically dense. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them.

It became clear, however, that i need to look into my Templar build- something’s not working there. I’ll probably develop Nuria into a full-blown Magicka Templar.

More characters

I have quite a few characters in the pipeline:

  • Nightblade Blood Mage / Leech Healer – i love the idea of leech healing. Or healing by doing damage- it’s the ultimate dps/heal hybrid. I need one for our guild’s leveling group in the Daggerfall Covenant and i’ll probably create another one for me
  • Dragon Knight Tank – i don’t like tanking, but if we’re going to do dungeons in our guild, i’d like to be able to provide us with a tank
  • another Templar – depending on how i change Nuria

In the end, i’d like to have one character for each armor class, be able to tank, dps and heal, do all the crafts and have lots of combat variety (stamina/magicka/melee/ranged etc.). I still have the goal of getting the Dragon Knight to 15 this month- it’s not too late to achieve that. Other than that, my DC Nightblade needs to go to level 8 in the next two weeks.

The Guild

Weekly update here, as i’ve seen there’s some interest. Granted, i don’t do the topic of guild management much justice by always making it part of my Monday’s posts only, and i’d like to do more, but not as much has changed regarding our current goals compare to what wrote last time.

What’s changing, though, is that activity is picking up within the guild. We were joined by three new people in april, with all three looking to be very good fits. I’m especially happy that we were joined by Everskies, who even picked up blogging again. Our planned activities of doing Cyrodiil PvE achievements and leveling characters in DC will start in the next couple of weeks, attendance of events and of simply “being online” at night is rising and we now also have secured access to the guild bank- which means, even if we seperate ways with “inactives”, we’ll be more than 10 accounts in the guild.

So, it’s an exciting time- the guild project is picking up steam and getting shaped now.