Archive for the ‘Elder Scrolls Online’ Category

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Battle Bards Episode 38: The Elder Scrolls Online

November 4, 2014

Battle Bards

A new episode of Battle Bards is up!

The Elder Scrolls soundtracks have a legendary reputation in the video game community, but when you take Jeremy Soule (mostly) out of the mix, can the MMO score stand up to this legacy?  Syp, Syl and I investigate in an exploration of this massive OST of one of the new MMOs of 2014.  Keep your ears open for Nordic Santa!

LISTEN NOW

TESO

Episode 38 show notes
  • Intro (featuring “Winged Twilight” and “Moth, Butterfly, and Torchbug”)
  • “Three Banners: Fanfare”
  • “For Blood, For Glory, For Honor”
  • “Weapons Drawn”
  • “The Towers Cast Long Shadows”
  • “Greenheart”
  • “Beauty of Dawn”
  • “Lute Emote”
  • Mail from Draculetta
  • Outro (featuring “Three Hearts as One”)
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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.

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ESO: Storming Spindleclutch

April 14, 2014

whisperer

The first time in a new MMO’s dungeon is always such a learning experience — it not only gives you such insight on the play style of your role or class, but also into the game and its mechanics as well.

On Friday night my husband and I along with guildies Tententacles and Ryan ventured into Spindleclutch (with Musei cheering us on in the sidelines and Pid setting up to go next in round 2), the first instance in The Elder Scrolls Online. I hadn’t gotten the chance to try any group content in beta, so it was all new to me. First of all, four seemed like a curious number for group size, but if it worked for Star Wars: The Old Republic, no reason it shouldn’t for ESO.

spindleclutch2

Thus far I’d been leveling with a sort-of-tank-sort-of-damage build so I wasn’t sure how I would fare, but I was reassured by the fact that most group make-ups can handle the instance without much problem as long as there’s some heals. It took a lot of the pressure off and I saw it as a way to learn the ropes and practice…even if I didn’t have an optimized tank build or abilities.

Let’s just say there was definitely a lot of flailing involved on my part! But it’s so much easier once you know who to target (healer mobs die first!), when to dodge (there’s a lot of that) and for the love of the Nine Divines keep up your stamina and magicka stores for your taunt and evade abilities. Once we got that down, it was all smooth-going. Though, ah, still quite explosive.

spindleclutch3

For a first instance I was surprised to see it was pretty well balanced in terms of difficulty. I’d dreaded being in there for hours and was all prepared for wipe after wipe…but for the amount of time we were in there frustration was minimal and it was very painless. More importantly, I definitely know where my build needs work. Overall a very awesome time!

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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.

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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:

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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!

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Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me

January 8, 2014

4 bday

Holy crap, as of yesterday this blog is four years old! Time really flies, doesn’t it? It feels more like three, though that might be because I completely forgot my blogiversary last year. Would have forgotten this year too, truth be told, if Rowan (who will be celebrating his own blogiversary very soon as well) hadn’t reminded me. I am just bad with birthdays.

Anyway, since my blog’s anniversary is in January, technically this post could also serve as a look back at 2013. Once again, this blog didn’t see as much activity in the last year as I would have liked. In my defense though, it was a busy year in terms of real life, and quite honestly, it was a pretty tame one for MMOs. Tame…but definitely not lame.

I only participated in the launches of mainly two games — Defiance and Neverwinter — and both released during the first part of the year (though in the latter’s case, an um, open-beta-that-really-wasn’t-a-beta).

nw

Instead, I spent the last year revisiting a lot of old favorites. World of Warcraft, of course, is as ever the dependable standby. I would play a couple months, take another couple months off, then do it all over again. I know I can always count on it being there whenever I feel like a romp through Azeroth.

panda

Star Trek Online saw some play too because of their new expansion. I rolled a Romulan, got to have some fun with the duty officer mini-game, and got roped into doing dailies for their summer event. This was the year I truly came to develop an appreciation for a free-to-play STO.

romulan

A few months ago, I also surprised myself by resubbing to Star Wars: The Old Republic. This was thanks to the revitalization of our guild, which included a faction change to refocus our efforts on the Empire side. SWTOR saw an expansion too, and I’m still hopping in now and then getting in my Galactic Starfighter battles. They’re a lot more fun once you get a hang of the controls and start upgrading your ship.

ops

And finally, there’s The Secret World. TSW Mondays are still going strong, and in terms of social events, it’s probably Mercy Gaming’s greatest success. I don’t think anyone would have believed it a year and a half ago, but it’s true that our weekly group has steadily grown since Secret Mondays first started. To the usual gang, thanks for making this such a great year in TSW.

headstand

Other highlights of the year that aren’t really related to gaming (and in fact, they actually took away from my gaming time, but I wouldn’t change that for the world!) include some of my new hobbies:

1) Pathfinder! I have reason to look forward to Sunday nights now that my friends and I hold weekly games over Fantasy Grounds 2 and Teamspeak.

2) Miniature painting! I’ve always wanted to get into this, and this year I finally took the plunge!

3) Podcasting! Recording Battle Bards with my co-hosts Syp and Syl has been such fun this year.

4) Book blogging! I’ve always read voraciously, and this year I went one step further and started a book blog with a couple of my friends. It has been amazing.

And of course, nothing beats spending time with my family. My little girl is almost two now, and every day she fills my life with surprises and delight. My husband and I don’t get to play video games as much anymore, spending a couple hours a night in our MMOs only after we’ve put the baby to bed. When she’s awake, we don’t want to miss a moment with her!

Finally, to my readers, I want to thank you for another fantastic year. 2014 looks to be another great one with a couple big MMOs on the horizon. I haven’t mentioned these games a lot on my blog the past year, mostly because I’ve resolved to keep my excitement in check going forward, but I’d like to go on record to say that I am very much looking forward to BOTH Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online.

wildstar

ESO

I have no doubt I’ll be gracing this blog with my thoughts on both sometime in the future. And perhaps more! Thanks again, and I’m definitely looking forward to another year of blogging. Ciao!