Posts Tagged ‘Musings’

h1

Updates From Tamriel

May 22, 2014

knight of the dawn

It’s been a while since my last Elder Scrolls Online update, and I figured there’s no better time to do it than the one-month mark.

To cut to the chase, I’m still kicking around Tamriel on my Dragonknight, since I’d paid for a three month sub up front — ESO just feels like the kind of game I’d like to take my time in; I knew I was going to need at least that much time, and I think for the most part my instincts were correct. Granted, I’d like to throw myself into the game, but things have just been crazy this month. Thankfully I’ve been able to play here and there as time allows.

forge

But already though, I can see and feel the effects of the post-1-month flight. Most nights, I don’t see as many people in the guild anymore, and some of the barrow instances where I used to see tons of other players going through to get skyshards — I never even used to have to fight, everything was always already dead! — well, they’re like ghost towns now. I think we’ve seen enough MMO launches to expect this cycle; it’s a pattern that has established itself since time eternal, but its effects are still very noticeable.

On a more positive note, I’m still enjoying my time playing. The quest writing in this game really is phenomenal. My Dragonknight is currently sitting at level 28, making my way through the content in Rivenspire, which probably puts me in the middle of the pack. It’s still a long way until 50, but I do plan on getting there, even if it takes me longer than the three months.

gargoyle

Right now I’m still sitting on the fence regarding WildStar. That I’ll be playing WS is probably a foregone conclusion, the only question is when. I’ve long given up being a game juggler, and if I’m to have any chance of seeing level cap in ESO, I’m going to have to simply not commit myself to another game until that happens, and stick to that plan no matter how tempting it might be to cave. It’s not looking like I’ll be able to play WS on day one, but I’m just crossing my fingers by the time I do get to buy the game and jump in, a lot of my friends will still be very active in it.

h1

ESO: Happy Launch Day

April 4, 2014

launch

While those who preordered have been playing in headstart, today is the official launch day of Elder Scrolls Online for PC. If you’re already in the game, I hope you’ve been enjoying the experience as much as I have.

Despite some server down times which is to be expected, the game has nevertheless been always up during prime time evenings and nights which is when I usually game. I wouldn’t say launch has been perfect; there were a couple instances of major quests bugging out, but thus far ESO has been one of the smoothest launches I’ve personally experienced. Maybe it’s because it’s high time we’ve had another major MMO launch again, or the fact I refrained from going anywhere near beta in the weeks leading up to the release date, but starting out in ESO these past few days felt fresh, exciting, and even more fun than I anticipated.

I’ve rolled a Dragonknight, because for all the flexibility in the classes available in game, I always have a soft spot for the warrior archetype. Imperial race, Daggerfall faction. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve tentatively decided on a tanky-type route when it comes to leveling and allotting my points. At this time, House Stalwart the new guild I’ve joined is almost 90 members strong and it’s been kickin’ every night!

dragonknight

Things I’ve been enjoying so far: questing and exploring — now that the game is live, I’m taking my time to poke around in every nook and cranny, loot every crate or barrel, talk to every NPC. Barging into people’s houses and stealing all their crap has always been one of my favorite things to do in Elder Scrolls games (oh god, you should have seen the way I hoarded in Skyrim) and I won’t even go into how often I get distracted in my adventuring by a lone trunk or urn sitting by the side of the road that I just have to stop and check out. Even if all it holds is thin broth, pathetic drippings or a bunch of stupid grapes.

And another thing I love: CRAFTING! Who would have thought? ME! The person who has always thought crafting in games was a pain in the ass, who always leaves it until level cap because before that it’s just a hindrance to questing and progressing. I don’t know why, but there’s just something about the crafting in ESO that appeals to me. It’s so layered and complex, but not so challenging either that I couldn’t be bothered to gather materials and actually try my hand at all the professions.

I love that expression...

I love that expression…

So, those are my opening thoughts. If you’re playing, how have you been feeling about it so far? I hope to get more time into the game later this month; because of my lack of time and my dawdling, I haven’t gotten very far yet. Currently my Dragonknight is at level 8 but I’m hoping to share more of my experiences as I progress further into the game and see more of its world.

h1

Elder Scrolls Online Impressions: Characters

February 26, 2014

Inspired by some of the comments on my last Elder Scrolls Online post, I’ve decided to talk about my experiences with different classes in the game. I think I’ve mentioned before how I wasn’t initially that impressed by the game in this regard, though that definitely changed as I progressed through beta and leveled more characters.

The gameplay was by far the biggest surprise, I think. I liked being able to make my own class the way I liked, so that it fit my playstyle. It wasn’t like that at the beginning, when admittedly I was still stuck in the mindset that my Nightblade had to be more of a traditional-style dual wield rogue, or that my Templar had to be a heavy armored sword-and-board tanky type character. That was my mistake.

It turns out the classes are a lot more flexible than I could have ever imagined. What I discovered is that there is a lot more customization with classes, as well as weapons, armor, enchantments, and of course skill points and talents. There’s really no set-in-stone way to play your character. I learned that I could go in and make my class the way I wanted and play the way I most prefer.  And the moment I started to branch away from convention I started being able to dominate more fights, being able to survive better. More importantly, I started having more fun.

Now as promised, here’s a showcase of some of my characters from the different weekend betas and the test server beta, and the way they looked:

ESO1

ESO2

ESO4

ESO3

h1

Elder Scrolls Online Impressions: Intro – Are You Going To Play?

February 15, 2014

skyshard

So you might have heard, the NDA for The Elder Scrolls Online has been finally lifted…up to a point. I’m still not allowed to share higher level experiences in the PTS (though that’s okay, I haven’t gotten too far in that anyway) but it’s nice to be able to talk about my impressions. I don’t have any big huge comprehensive post planned or anything about my “weekend beta” experiences because I’m sure that will be covered extensively elsewhere by other bloggers, but I probably will scatter this blog with thoughts on ESO all the way up to release and beyond, with whatever I am able to share from the test server.

I have some future topics kicking around in my mind — character creation, grouping, graphics, combat, etc. — but first, the intro post. And my question is, are you going to play ESO? I think most people generally are going to be interested in that one question anyway. My own answer is a definite resounding “Yes.”

I suppose that also answers the question about my overall impression of the game. It’s quite positive; I do like it. And honestly, it only gets better, especially if you have a buddy or two to play with in a group. I’ll admit I haven’t been paying attention to the press reviews lately, but I understand they haven’t been glowing. And that’s fair; not every game will be for everyone, and I think ESO may have a harder time finding its audience in its awkward straddling position with one foot in the MMO world and the other being held up by the success of Elder Scrolls franchise.

The truth is though, my standards are probably less rigid than they can be, and I’m someone whose gameplay style and tastes are pretty flexible, as long as I’m having fun. And to be brutally honest, I wasn’t having any of it when I first joined the beta in its earlier versions. But over time, the game has evolved to a point where I’m actually quite impressed, with the last beta weekend giving me the most enjoyable experience I’ve had so far.

It’s still not perfect, of course, but we’ve got a couple months until release so I’m optimistic. At least, my confidence was high enough that I’ve already preordered the game, so I hope I’ll be seeing some of you at launch!

h1

TSW: Nightmare Darkness War

January 31, 2014

nm dw 2

Wait, what’s this? A Secret World post on a Friday? Surprise!

Yesterday, a few of my guildies and I put together an impromptu TSW night, to try our hand at another Nightmare. Thanks to the tips and advice from helpful commenters in my last post, we had a better idea of which dungeon to do. Seems to me the overall consensus is that Darkness War is the best entry level NM, so that is exactly what we did. Sometimes I have to remind myself that TSW is a whole different beast than other MMOs, that typical assumptions — such as, the first chronological dungeon in a game is always the easiest — are not always the case!

Polaris, for example, is apparently quite the toughie on NM mode. Now I actually feel a lot better about getting as far as we did, for a group just starting out. And to have almost beat the last boss too. It didn’t occur to me that most groups do the first five bosses in the various dungeons first, getting more adequately geared up in epics before tackling the sixth bosses. It just sounds so contrary to intuition especially if you’re used to playing other MMOs, but in TSW actually makes a lot of sense. And like I said, TSW is not like other MMOs.

nm dw

So how did we do in Darkness War? Quite well, to be honest. Was it actually easier? Well, compared to some of the bosses in Polaris? Yes. I don’t think we would have made it as far as we did (killed the first give bosses and left the last boss, as per the plan) if it wasn’t. So folks who commented were absolutely right about that. Still, compared to dungeons I’ve run in other games, it was still a bitch.

Again, this is TSW after all. Sometimes I do feel this game is pure evil, pretty much leaving you zero room for mistakes. But after much trial and error, practice and persistence, the feeling you get when you finally kill a boss for the first time is very rewarding. Case in point, it felt so satisfying to finally bring down the Unbound Ak’ab (to tell the truth, bringing down any Ak’ab is satisfying). Ironically, this boss is a cakewalk when it comes to normal and Elite modes, but on NM he gave us a lot of trouble.

mayan battle mage

The fifth boss, the Mayan Battle Mage, wasn’t much better, though his fight is all about knowing when to run away from bad stuff on the ground. The fact that even one misstep can kill the unsuspecting healer or DPS was the problem. In the end, I think he finally had it with us and just decided to bug out in one place, throw all his adds out at once, and keel over dead. Hey, I don’t care if we beat him by default, a win is a win! And we would have gotten him on our next try anyway *wink*

h1

TSW: Nightmare Progression

January 28, 2014
facepalm

Speedos…this is why the bosses kill us.

Our Secret World Monday group has reached a milestone, with all of us having gotten attuned for Nightmare dungeons…which means that now everyone can experience the pleasure of getting their clocks cleaned again and again by the sea monsters in Polaris.

After a couple weeks break, I wish I could report that we finally cleared the dungeon, but the place is still getting the better of us. The truth is, there’s definitely no shortcut to success, and I can kind of see now how casual players will have trouble getting far in this game. Especially when so much of it is about practice, practice, practice.

Case in point, I can’t tell you how many times the Varangian has wiped the floor with us, but all those times we failed have been learning experiences. I think I know all his tricks now, and sure enough this time when we went in, we got him down in one shot. Going in with heavy DPS is also how we finally managed to take down the Primordial Dweller, but even that took a bunch of wipes to understand the best way to control the fight. This was actually the first time I’ve beaten him though, so there’s that personal victory at least.

dead in the water

Dead in the water…

The Ur-Draug though, was a beast. Literally. That guy hits like a Mack truck on Elite, and on NM he’s upgraded to freight train. We came close once to defeating him, but that was one time in a dozen tries. It tells me we’re definitely capable of bringing him down, but simply put, we just haven’t done the fight enough to know how to push his buttons.

Still, this is the farthest I’ve ever gotten in NM Polaris. At least I know now it’s just this one last pesky boss.

h1

TSW: Tanking…It’s A Love-Hate Thing

January 14, 2014

bunny slippers

Ah, tanking. It’s really a role I fell into, not just in The Secret World, but in a lot of other “holy-trinity” type MMOs as well. After all, you can’t get nowhere without a meatshield. Since my husband and I always play as a healer-tank team anyway, and I’m typically the one who enjoys running around with bigass swords, the threat-magnet duties naturally always fall to me.

For the most part, I love it! A lot of people will tell you that tanking is a pretty thankless job, but I find that even making a simple healthy lifestyle choice such as staying away from toxic PuGs will cut down on 90% of the stress and anxiety. The other 10% for me is mostly personal, because I know I’m hard on myself. Even when I’m playing with a group of friends and guildies who I know are casual and cool, I still can’t help beating myself up feeling responsible whenever a wipe happens. Some might joke that I take the role of “guardian” or “protector” (or in the case of World of Warcraft, “druid mama bear”) too seriously, but really, they’re not that far off!

Anyway, not that a lot of wipes have been happening in TSW; I think weeks of running Elites and working to get everyone Gatekeeper-ready has made most of the fights feel like old hat. I think in some ways it’s this complacency which has made the transition to Nightmares such a…well, nightmare. It’s like slacking on your workout regime during the holidays and having to pick it up again after the new year. It’s like, all of a sudden, strategy and rotations are a big deal again!

Practice makes perfect. Right now at this early stage it’s starting to really sink in that everything pretty much has to go down flawlessly during a boss fight. I find now it’s especially true for the tank, and with my hit rating where it is still, I really can’t afford to head into a NM dungeon with less than three interrupts. It’s like adding a whole other layer of complex micro-management into the mix, one involving things like minding cast bars and saving cooldowns, or in general watching the timing for everything. That’s on top of that whole maintaining aggro business.

Mind you, this isn’t really a “complain” post. In many ways I love how an MMO is challenging me again, and this is like going back to the old school days of experimenting, trial and error, and the hurling-our-dead-bodies-over-and-over-at-the-boss-until-he-dies style learning that I’ve come to embrace again in recent days. Even though I might not feel it at the time, heh, looking back, I guess there is a such a thing as a fun side to that. Like I said on Twitter though, there are times when I simply love to tank, while at others I’d rather have maggots chew out my eyes and brain. Some days, NM dungeons seriously make me feel like the latter.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,296 other followers