Ending the summer break

Oh well, doing daily posts is going to be fun ūüėČ 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.

Gaming goals for may

First one: make this post about quantifiable goals and more bullet-pointy than the last one.

Elder Scrolls Online

ESO_logo-blackReviewing april’s goals

  • level my main to 30 – done. She’s 35 right now
  • craft an armor/weapon set – still to do
  • figure out a way to skill my Dragon Knight – not done
  • level the Dragon Knight to 15 – not done

Goals for may

  • level my main to 50. Yes, that’s a stretch- but i feel i could do it if i concentrate on it- would be nice to reach 50 before the veteran ranks go the way of the dodo.

Other games

April’s goals

Not quantifiable, but i haven’t reached any of these. I didn’t play Black Desert and/or The Secret World. Instead, i resubbed to EVE Online and dabbled in Lord of the Rings Online.

Goals for may

EVE Online

  • keep at it!
  • finish the career agent missions

Battleborn, Stellaris, Overwatch

  • no real goals but to actually play each of them

Our guild

Reviewing april’s goals

  • have a guild meeting – done.
  • tackle another dungeon or two – done.
  • have a social event (crafter’s market) – still open.
  • short and middle term strategies for homepage and growth – possibly done.

I feel we’ve overachieved here. Last month, i was worried that my absence damaged the community a bit- this was either totally unfounded or has been corrected during the month of april. We’re now in peak times regarding activity- we visit Cyrodiil regularly, we’ll level characters together in the Daggerfall Covenant, we continue to do dungeons from time to time and a member stepped up to invite us into Imperial City.

Goals for may

  • have a guild meeting
  • begin levelling our DC characters
  • continue in Cyrodiil
  • tackle a dungeon or two
  • write a “How to get involved” post on the forums

Blog & Meta

April’s goals

  • seperate Real Life¬† and gaming stuff – not done. In fact, i’m back to the “normal” blog layout with whole posts on the home page.
  • write more China posts. No, i don’t think this’ll happen. Somehow i feel MMORPG, RL and movie/book blogging don’t mix very well
  • Still need to look more into Anook
  • Still need to get better at commenting

Goals for may

  • have a bigger range in content length. Everything i write is about 1000 words long. I need to be able to keep it short, as well, making the blog more fun and easy to read and maybe get more posts up
  • figure out how i want the site to look and feel. Work on the navigation.
  • provide “deeper” content. I can’t really do guides, because i’m inexperienced, but i’d like to try and offer more value.

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.

 

Milestones: Nuria’s 30

First goal reached! Nuria Solstrum, Nord Templar of the Aldmeri Dominion professing a strange combination of skills & armor, is now level 30 in Elder Scrolls Online. And it only took about two months to get from 25 to 30.

So i’m in this dreaded mid-level range now- it’s rare for me to see the end of the leveling process in MMOs, mainly because i think the mid-game is so terrible in most of them that i’d rather start a new character- and¬†the mid-level range sucks the fun out of my experience , so i take a break, only to return and not remember anything, and take that as an excuse to create a new character.

This time, it feels different, though, as i think i’m enjoying the game more and more- sure, there’s some dedication needed on my part to keep going- i’d say this resembles the connection you have to an acquaintance- you’re not friends yet, but you might be at some point- but stop calling or meeting up and you’ll stay acquaintances.

The Labyrinth
The Labyrinth

Nuria didn’t need to do much to go from level 28 to 30 in two sessions- all she had to do was to get the birthday cake, go to Silatar, navigate a labyrinth, make Aranias the new Wilderqueen and pick two flowers on the way, track a thief in Marbruk,¬†go to Woodhearth and catch/kill a bee. All in all, not too much- and again, very interesting. I wanted to take a determined look at that, but i think there’s actually very few “kill x of y” quests in Elder Scrolls Online. I think there are some, but mostly, killing stuff is just what you do to reach other goals.

I liked the “Artisan” quest- you have to catch a thief, after all. Unfortunately, the correct answer has a pointer over his or her head, so you could stumble upon the solution by accident (it’s not marked on the map though), but what you have to do is gather a few clues about the identity of this thief by asking citizens what they know, deduct the thief’s¬†identity and then confront him or her. It’s a nice little riddle, although the clues paint a quite clear picture with only one hint being slightly misleading. It’s not The Secret World level of thought you’ll need here, but it’s a nice touch, nonetheless.

The story told in this book has similarities to Aranias' story
The story told in this book has similarities to Aranias’ story

The labyrinth / maze was also very nice- what you get here is the story of the Wilderking by way of a stone being named Sumiril. He’s got a book there, probably telling the story of its creation, but he isn’t sure if he wants to know what’s written in the book. So you take the book, and read it passage after passage. The passages are unlocked by way of traversing the labyrinth. Again, unfortunately, there is a pointer- you “follow the words” (kind of like that creepy tune you follow in TSW’s kingsmouth) which is essentially a glow leading the way. You’ll reach platforms and a new passage in the book will become readable. Afterwards, you know how both Sumiril and the Wilderking came into being.

Right before transforming to the Wilderqueen
Right before transforming to the Wilderqueen

Aranias, meanwhile, goes for the Wilderking. Turns out she’s actually destined to become his successor and she feels that. Unfortunately, her companion wants to kill both her and the Wilderking. So Nuria killed him, of course. Aranias will then be a bit afraid to turn into the Wilderqueen, but with the support and encouragement of her friend Nuria, she’ll do it. I also liked that the story we were experiencing on Silatar seemed to be a almost forgotten but still present memory in her mind.

Aranias, the Wilderqueen
Aranias, the Wilderqueen

The travel to Woodhearth and the killing of the bee were standard affairs- although one has to crouch to follow the bee to its hiding place. But that’s just so little of a touch that, with this game, it doesn’t really deserve mention.

I am very optimistic that the next five levels won’t take her two months.

 

Goals for April in Gaming and Meta

Hey, if it works for others, it might be helpful to me, as well. Unfortunately, i’m still recovering a bit from jetlag, so i haven’t played anything since our return from China. I can’t remember jetlag being so bad in the past, but this time, it really got me. Our son, as well. Anyways, i’d like to put some gaming goals for april in writing- i’m very eager to jump back into Elder Scrolls Online, sort out the website a bit and have a few thoughts about our guild i’d like to put in motion this month.

 

ESO_logo-black

Elder Scrolls Online

First of all, i’m very glad that i chose to go the subscription route with this game. Because those cosmetic items, mounts and pets coming this month? I like them very much. Going with a subscription means i don’t have to keep a keen eye on my crowns and am free to spend them for fluff. And that’s without going for the assistants.

A¬†few words on their pricing. Yes, they’re quite expensive, coming in at 5000 crowns each. But i actually like that for a few reasons. First of all, inventory management is part of the game,¬†albeit an annoying one, the game was designed with us having to sort out mats we don’t need, connect to other players to sell them etc. The assistants are actually something that, while it doesn’t come close to being “pay-to-win”, they’re giving buyers a lot of convenience. I can’t imagine many players will spend that much real money on the assistants- so i view them more as being some kind of subscriber reward. And if a few players decide to spend those 30$ each, all the better for the game from a financial point of view.

Here’s what i’d like to achieve in april:

Nuria Solstrum, Templar

  • reach level 30 (28 at the moment, so yes, i’m aiming low)
  • craft some kind of set for her

Naria Leotra, Dragon Knight

Last time on guild evening, we decided to tackle a dungeon, the Banished Cells. We were four, but we lacked a real¬†tank, so i decided i’d try and tank with my magicka templar. As you might imagine, this didn’t work out so well. We finished the dungeon, but it took quite a few wipes, most of them on bosses, and i wasn’t really able to hold the mobs attention- at all. So i decided i’d roll a tank, which is a sign on how much i like the guild- usually, i avoid being the tank at all costs- tanks have to lead and they have a huge responsibility for their group. Doing that with strangers, i would be screamed at very quickly. With our guild, i have no troubles- they don’t care if they die 10 or 100 times in a dungeon.

  • figure out a way to skill her as tank/dps, stamina-based, of course
  • reach level 15 to be able to go into dungeons and use two weapons

Others

There are still three characters i’d like to build: a “cleric” type Templar that resembles a Paladin in terms of being able to take a hit as well as provide some healing, a leech healer Nightblade and perhaps even a dedicated healer. Don’t know if they’ll take of this month, but it might happen.

Other games

I’d also like to visit other games at least one or two times this month.¬†Black Desert Online is all the rage these months, and i do want to go out and explore more of its world and features. The Secret World remains my favourite game i never seem to play- i’d love to see all it has to offer, but somehow, i never really play it.

Our guild

We’re still doing fine, thank you. Our growth came a bit to a stop, mainly because we didn’t advertise much and the new recruits seem to have lost interest either in the game or the community. At least they’re not vocal in our forums. So we might have to say goodbye to some of them. But that’s really just par for the course- when creating a guild, you’ll always have people losing interest in the game or the guild; it’s very important to keep sorting them out if your goal is to build a small, tight-knit community.

With the guild, i’d like to:

  • have a guild meeting
  • tackle another dungeon or two
  • have a social event (i’d like to do a crafter’s market but i’m still figuring out the best way to do it)
  • see if we can decide for a short-term and middle-term course in terms of growth and our homepage

Wait, what? Yes, while being in China my thoughts ventured out into thinking about whether Enjin does meet our needs. It’s a similar thought process i had with my old blog- the longer we stay with Enjin, the harder it will be to move. And it’s not like it looks very good- the design seems a bit outdated and it’s not responsive- you’ll get the “normal” website when visiting from smartphone/tablet. Also, it comes in at 8$ per month. Compare that to the 0.50‚ā¨ per month to get a domain.

discord

And then there’s Discord, where i finally understood what it is thanks to a post from Belghast¬†on gamer social media. It’s a free voice chat app with added text chat and mobile as well as desktop apps. I can totally see a homepage working on the basis of wordpress, a forum plugin and Discord working much better for us- especially in terms of recruiting players.¬†It could look better and provide more opportunities to socialize and put us on display on our homepage.

The blog and Meta

Blog

There’s a few things i still need to work out here- i think, this time i’ve settled for a theme- but i’d like to make use of its “magazine home page” as well as add a menu to seperate MMO and real life/other media stuff a bit more. I’d also like to give out the opportunity for feed-subscribers as well as normal readers here to make a choice of what they’re interested in. I really don’t think everyone who’s reading my MMO ramblings is really interested in what i watch or the latest China pictures. Speaking of which, i need to draft these posts i planned to write about it quickly, before i forget half the things that happened there and impressions blur a bit.

 

anook

Meta

Again, thanks to Belghast, i’d like to make some effort into going to Anook. I like the idea of a social network for gamers, especially as i’m making more and more connections with other bloggers and players. Discord is another thing. Well, i’ve added both contact information to the group up page, so feel free to add me to your friendslist or some such (really need to take a better look at Anook).

And i’d like to up my commenting on other blogs.

Final words: i was really surprised by the positive reaction on yesterday’s post. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement, kind words and well…being generally simply nice people!

 

Travel Log: Entering Greenshade

Last week i started venturing into Greenshade, but only entered Marbruk and did some guild quests there. Then Black Desert Online happened, so i gave it two nights to play around a bit. Yesterday and today, i wanted to venture out in Greenshade. It turned out that i didn’t get to quest¬†at all yesterday because of a very active guild chat (we have two new recruits, raising our count to 9), so it had to be today. I did a main quest and then set forth to explore Greenshade a bit. After the amazing wood-zone of Grahtwood, the more open design in the beginning of Greenshade is a welcome change. Just like all the other zones, Greenshade seems to be beautifully designed. I like how the zones in Elder Scrolls Online are open and “realistic” while still being breathtaking almost all-around.

I have the task to bring these Bosmer clans here under the umbrella of the Aldmeri Dominion, so i went out to the first village and see what they wanted.¬†They wanted me to drive an orc clan away.¬†Difficulty is ramping up here- i wasn’t in any trouble, not by any means, but that orc clan area was quite full of orcs-¬†don’t pay attention and you just might pull too many of them. I think it’s funny that Belghast did the same thing a few days ago and wrote about it yesterday, although i think he’s doing it in Veteran Ranks. Then i went and talked to that Wilderking of theirs. He’s strangely curious about someone who’s coming to kill him.

So for today i’ll leave you with a few screenshots of the area.

Monday quick notes: what does a Black Desert look like, anyway?

Black Desert Online

Anticipation for BDO rose to an all-time high for me this week. Granted, almost everything i read that also contained an opinion was mixed, to say the least, and i didn’t participate long enough in the beta to form an opinion on my own. What got me was the impression that here’s a game you can actually play in many different ways. Beginning with the different “currencies” and skills up to the fact that the only thing granting leveling xp will be the mobs- suddenly i saw myself riding off into a world to explore on my own. And i think this will have to be it, as the developer-created content seems quite thin. But i have another game for that and i¬†was¬†actually really looking forward to beginning my journey in BDO.

So i did- i wish i could tell you more, but at this point, i’m trying to make sense of all the game’s offerings myself. I followed the questline as long as it took to leave Olvia behind, but still feel i missed something back there because i haven’t gained even one contribution point while the quests there seem to have dried up. This leaves three possibilities: either i haven’t found all the quests, the quests in the next town count toward Olvia, as well or it is highly recommended to run multiple characters through Olvia. Right now, i need contribution points for two things: connecting nodes and buying a house, although i’ll put that last part off a bit until i know what i need the house for.

Introducing Nuria Mersault, Witch. I chose something different than this smile- unfortunately, now she's running around with her eyes closed.
Introducing Nuria Mersault, Witch. I chose something different than this smile- unfortunately, now she’s running around with her eyes closed.

So far, there’s one thing that game managed very well: giving the impression of being in a vast world. I began gathering resources and soon found myself with a full inventory- thankfully, there’s a warehouse in Olvia- here’s the thing with that, though: as far as i know, those warehouses store items¬†locally, so i can’t actually access them in the next town. If you take this into account as well as the fact that there’s no fast travel in this game, it’s obvious that at some point down the line, you’ll set up a “home” or base of operations. For me and right now, this is Olvia and i need to figure out how to get more contribution to unlock two nodes- thereby allowing me to sell a “trade material” (that’s basically expensive “junk” you can sell to certain npcs for bigger amounts of silver) at 100% of its value- that would be around 10000 Silver (current balance: 3500 Silver)- without those two nodes, the npc will only pay 30%.

The giant in the background keeps your stuff safe in the warehouse.
The giant in the background keeps your stuff safe in the warehouse.

I haven’t touched crafting yet, because i don’t have any idea how to do it- but gathering is interesting: if you kill a fox, for instance, you have three options: to get fluids from its corpse, to skin it or to get the meat- that’s one mob giving you three options to utilize it for crafting material depending on the tool you equip.

The game itself doesn’t tell you much- or maybe it is slower in telling than i’d like it to be- because i saw there are video tutorials for gathering and crafting, but i haven’t reached the point where the game lets me watch these yet. Grinding mobs is hugely satisfying- although i have to say the respawn rate is quite high right now. Wolves, for instance (they attack) spawn so quick that i can’t even harvest the resources from those i killed before. I’m level 10 now and this game is still a big question mark in my book- but that’s really nice, because now, i’m eager to go back in and explore further. My feeling is that in this game, the player will have to utilize intricate knowledge of the game system to his or her advantage.

As a last note- i haven’t had any troubles playing on a NA-server from europe. Seems to be working fine.

ESO_logo-black

Elder Scrolls Online

I began questing in Greenshade with Nuria Solstrum and tackled the two guild-quests that sent me there. I got to see the Earth Forge.

I don't like lava zones but i can take one instanced cave. It's very atmospheric.
I don’t like lava zones but i can take one instanced cave. It’s very atmospheric.

I also played a part in a “theater piece” written by Sheogorath, the Daedric prince of Madness. Somehow i think that the content of the play will become true down the line- it was about the three alliances turning against the mages guild because they refuse to pick a side.

All in all, i have to say: with Elder Scrolls Online, Black Desert Online and The Division upcoming, MMO-wise i’m in a very happy place right now. And there’s also The Secret World in my rotation. Since the beginning of the year, it was so easy to simply ignore news coming from all the other titles, i’m not tempted in the slightest. It’s a great place to be in and i expect this to continue throughout this year.

Others

Rocket League’s newest DLC release will be the Batmobile. For 2‚ā¨, i think i’m in.

Rocket League still takes up about half of my available gaming time, i’m so happy i bought it. Sometimes i play with two friends and that’s when the fun really starts. I’ve paid 13‚ā¨ and played 100 hours- i think i can put another 2‚ā¨ in for a cool looking car.

Goals for this week

  • further exploring in Black Desert Online
  • creating that guild with Ironweakness and Aywren in BDO (maybe we’ll start as a clan? A clan is free, a guild costs 100000 Silver) and hope we’ll be joined by more folks
  • continuing my Templar in Elder Scrolls Online, maybe even reaching level 30 (don’t think i will)

Travel Log: Rkindaleft

We’ve finished Rkindaleft tonight. All in all it was a nice, if not very challenging, experience. But i have to say- i love public dungeons. The whole experience reminded me a lot of public dungeons in Everquest 2, a part of that game i really like. Granted, you won’t get lost in there- its design is too linear for that- but it’s big, it took us about 90 minutes to finish, it’s beautiful, offers an interesting storyline and a few boss fights. Here are a few impressions of the dungeon.

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Travel log: Orsinium sights

Tonight, our guild group has been to Wrothgar, again. I have to say, i love how we can simply set off out of the city and go exploring. We tried to follow quests, but were soon distracted by stuff we saw in the landscape- and also, because Edu is one difficult boss to kill.

On our travels we saw a museum, fought and were killed by Edu, maybe a Goblin boss, i don’t know, because we didn’t see him for all the ogres he sent our way, an arena where Orc clans settled their war, a giant statue of Malacath and Coldperch Cavern, a delve in Wrothgar. And also, a lot of beautiful sights.

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