Jaded's Pub

Zenimax announced that the “One Tamriel” update for The Elder Scrolls Online hits PC on 10/5/16 and consoles on 10/18/16. While a lot of people are excited about the update, I’m a bit more hesitant. I’ve already written about this and had some people disagree with me, pointing at Guild Wars 2 as a game that works the same way and that is successful.

Since that time I’ve spent a lot of time in Wrothgar, one of the DLC packs for TESO that works very much the same way One Tamriel will work, and so far I’m standing by my hesitance.

It was when I hit Wrothgar after playing through the Daggerfall Covenant that my interest in TESO started to wane. I would hit content I couldn’t complete and knew I’d never be able to solo it so I’d just write it off. I mean I already had written off Dungeons, but now I have to write off world bosses and delves too. There’s no more leveling up a bit and going back to try again since there’s essentially no more leveling up. (You’ll still have levels for some reason but will get bolster to 160 Champion Points from whatever level you are.)

So One Tamriel, for the solo player, means less content that you can do. That’s my biggest concern. Maybe once you get more than 160 Champion Points you’ll be able to do it? We’ll see. I’m only to 65 or so Champion Points so far.

A more subtle concern is that I personally kind of enjoy gated content. It feels aspirational to me. I enjoy entering a zone and running deep into it until I am over my head and then backing off, getting stronger, and heading back into that content now that I can tackle it. I also like how monster levels can help guide you through a zone. Now everything is the same level so that goes away as well. In Wrothgar all my quests are the same level and I wind up spending more time running back and forth across the zone than I do playing since there’s no logical grouping of quests based on level any more.

I certainly understand why people who love to group in TESO are excited about the change. You can now play with anyone no matter their level or alliance. I’ve just always enjoyed TESO because it felt like a hybrid of a single player game and an MMO and I have solo’d 99% of the time. One Tamriel feels like they’re pushing harder into MMO territory and de-emphasizing the solo game. That probably makes sense from a business standpoint and I don’t fault them for it; I’m just a little sad.

The one bright spot is that Craglorn is getting a make-over. Currently you need a group to do Craglorn. And when I say need I mean it; there are places where you have to stand on 4 spots concurrently to proceed. Now the story mode of Craglorn will be solo-able so I’ll be able to go and experience that.

I guess that’s the take-away. Solo players will be able to do all the story content in the game and pretty much nothing else. Everything else sounds like it is now scaled to groups.

On the bright side, the re-mastered Skyrim will be out soon and I can get my single player Elder Scrolls fix from that.

If VR takes off to the extent some seem to think it will, I have to imagine we’ll see all kinds of “VR accessories” crop up from the same companies that try to sell us controller charging stands, extra console cooling fans, and the like.

Here’s a couple of ideas to get them started. I guess I’m thirsty this morning since they both are drink-related.

1) Adult Sippy Cups. I predict a lot of spilled drinks as people wearing VR headsets reach out to grab their drink in the non-VR world. These would be basically the same as kid’s sippy cups only bigger and without the cute animals or whatever they put on kid’s sippy cups. Optionally they’d have a straw. These are for casual VR users. There’d also be a deluxe model that has tracking dots on the cup and that comes with a plug-in for your VR system so that, on command, the VR system can display the cup inside the VR world, making it even easier to grab. (Disclaimer: I don’t know if any of the VR systems support plug-ins but they should.)

2) For the hardcore VR enthusiast, there’s the VR Camelback Pack. This is a pack you wear on your back, with a long straw that runs over your shoulder and ends next to your mouth. Long distance bike racers have these…maybe some runners too. But since we’re gamers the VR Camelback Pack will have an adapter so you can snap in a can or bottle of your favorite beverage and it won’t spill. So whether you game with a beer or a Dr. Pepper, you don’t have to pour it into the Camelback but instead it snaps into a holder. The only cleanup is rinsing out the straw.

The plug-in for this one will both indicate fluid levels in the container (via a temperature sensor probably) and would remind you to drink if you go an hour without taking a sip. We don’t want people getting lost in VR worlds and dying of dehydration!

An optional accessory for the Vive or any other ‘full room’ VR systems will be a cable management arm that protrudes from the back of the camelback. You’ll run the cable from the headset through the end of this arm and it’ll just hold the cables a couple feet away from your body so you’re a little less likely to get tangled up in them. Having all those cables dangling around your ankles seems like a good way to trip yourself so this accessory will at least help with that. The arm will swivel from side to side freely so that it’s always as close as possible to your computer.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and I’m sure if we put our heads together we can beat Mad Catz, Nyko, PowerA and whoever else makes crappy gaming accessories to market. We’ll all get rich together!

I’m still playing Mad Max, that game I snagged during a sale back in June. I finished the ‘story’ a long time ago (on July 4th) but now I’m chasing Trophies.

I used to hate Achievements/Trophies (which, tongue firmly-in-cheek, I will refer to collectively as CHEEVOS from here on out). I felt like they were intrusive and as a gaming ‘purist’ I felt like you should play games because they’re fun, not to get some arbitrary bragging points. But I mellowed over the years and finally my buddy Talyn converted me to a CHEEVO fan.

In particular I appreciate them in open world games since so often you’ll finish the story and have a ton of content left untouched. CHEEVOS give that post-story playtime a bit of structure and a way to track what is left to do and even when you can finally say you’ve ‘finished’ a game. Now mind you I’ve NEVER gotten all the CHEEVOS in a full-sized game, though check back in 6 months and I should have them all in Microsoft Solitaire (I need 6 more Bronze medals and you can only earn 1/month).

In the case of Mad Max there was a TON left to do after the story finished. I’ve been vacillating between uninstalling the game and trophy hunting for a week or so, mostly because even after 3 weeks of play the game still makes me sick thanks to a camera that lags a little and adjusts itself constantly. Makes my head throbs and my stomach churn whenever I’m on-foot in an enclosed area. After the story was done one of the biggest goals I had left was taking out camps that had me, yup, on foot in enclosed areas. So on the one hand, my stomach said “Ditch it!.”

On the other hand, as a single-player title I feel like I COULD get all the CHEEVOS if I just stick with the game. I pretty much suck at playing games so almost any MP CHEEVO is out of reach because they expect me to not-suck. Mad Max’s CHEEVOS are more or less based on putting in lots of time with the game.

Last night I finished the last camp though, so from here to the 100% complete line is mostly car combat (by far the best part of the game) and clearing out a lot of little on-foot bits. But there are 190 of the latter! Damn that sounds like a job. I’m at 66% complete now, CHEEVO-wise but there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit I’ll be knocking out in the next day or two. Then we’ll see. In my mind I see myself getting all the CHEEVOS then uninstalling the game to free up some drive space.

I dunno how well Mad Max did but I hope they make another one and take into account feedback from the first game. They did a great job of capturing the feel of the Road Warrior movies when it comes to the car stuff and the setting. The first part of the game takes place in a desert that is actually the bottom of a sea that somehow drained, so its full of white salt dust and crazy coral formations that splinter wonderfully when you lose control and smash one. Tracking a convoy by following it’s dust cloud feels really authentic. Very fun.

But when you get out of the car things are less good. First there’re the camera issues, but then there’s the requirement that you go into hideouts and find a bunch of collectibles. That’s just tedious. The combat is pretty fun but gets super easy once you power up Max a bit. The boss fights are all very easy. They charge, you roll to avoid then punch them in the back a couple times and roll away. Repeat until they’re dead.

All-in-all I’d give the car parts an A and the on-foot parts a B-. I’d love to see a sequel that improves the weaker areas of the game while retaining the fun car combat.

Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter launched on PC this week, after a year or so as a mobile title. While I had taken the game for a brief spin on an aging iPad, I don’t really ‘do’ mobile gaming so didn’t spend much time with it. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, though, so I was excited to give it a go on PC.

Fallout Shelter is free to play, with revenue generated through the sales of various consumables that make running and growing your shelter a little easier.

You install Fallout Shelter through the Bethesda.Net launcher after logging in with your Bethesda.Net account. I installed it on my desktop first. Started a vault and found that it was a pretty enjoyable game. I figured it’d only be a matter of time until I bought something to try to spiff up my shelter.

A few hours later I decided to install it on my Surface tablet. The good news is it runs very well on that hardware. The bad(ish) news is, I had to start a new Vault on the Surface. For some reason, maybe because I had to login to d/l the game, I assumed that Fallout Shelter ran on a server somewhere and that I’d be able to access my vault from any machine. Not so.

And for some reason that makes me less inclined to spend money on the game, I guess because I feel like I’d need to pick a spot where I was going to play before I started investing $$ on a particular vault. I kind of feel bad about this and in fact I might still buy some stuff just to support Bethesda but it’ll be a 1-time thing.

I guess it feels like playing Civ and spending $$ in order to build something in a city, knowing that you’re spending money on just one saved game and you will probably play many more; will you spend cash every time you play? With Vaults being local to each machine they just feel like a saved game rather than a persistent thing that I want to invest in. I know this isn’t really logical; I’m writing about it just because I find my own reaction kind of interesting.

I’m a little sad that this means there’ll never be any way to visit a friend’s vault either, I suppose. I’m sure there will be trainers or hacks that tweak the save file directly to get you all the stuff you could buy, so letting us interact with other players would mean spreading hacked materials around the game’s community.

None of this takes away from Fallout Shelter, mind you. It’s still a fun little game. And I’m sure it works the same way on mobile devices; since I only have one iPad and had moved on by the time the Android version came out, I’d never noticed. This is more an observation of my own buying habits than anything, I guess.

During and since E3 I’ve read and watched a bunch of previews for VR titles, often done with the developers of those titles. One of the best trends I’m seeing is that VR developers worry a lot about player comfort. They really don’t want their customers getting sick while playing their games/experiences. This is obviously good news for potential consumers and good business sense on the part of the developers.

But why did it take VR to get developers thinking about this? There are plenty of people who struggle with “motion sickness” in non-VR games but most developers don’t seem to think about them very much, at least based on my experience as one of the sufferers. I’ve actually written about motion sickness at least twice (here and here) and the constant struggle between my love of gaming and my dislike of having headaches and nausea.

Over the past few years I’ve been kind of self-evaluating myself and motion sickness. I found some things I could do to help fight it: play in a well lit room, get enough rest, and work on acclimating myself to a game. But more and more I’ve been noticing what causes it and it’s all to do with camera control.

I recently downloaded the demo for the new DOOM. I’d heard that it was super fast so I assumed it would make me sick, but it didn’t. Speed of movement doesn’t seem to factor into my motion sickness.

Conversely I’ve been playing through last year’s Mad Max this week. The game is broken down into two basic parts, driving bits and on-foot bits. I can play the driving bits all night long comfortably, and if I get out of the car and fight in the open, I’m good there too. But as soon as I go into a building I start getting sick. This really illustrated what causes my motion sickness.

The problem boils down to games where I have to fight the camera. In DOOM there’s no head-bob and the camera (at least in the time I played) never moved itself on me. So it was completely comfortable. In Mad Max when you’re in buildings in narrow hallways, the game is constantly taking control of the camera and adjusting things. Since I also am moving the camera, this causes discomfort.

I finally came up with a real-life analogy that maybe some of you can related to. Have you ever been sitting in your car at a stop light and the car in the lane next to you starts to move, and for a split second you think YOUR car is moving and you micro-panic and your stomach gives a lurch since your eyes are saying your car is moving but your body isn’t feeling it? (Hopefully this isn’t just me!) Well that’s the same kind of situation.

I’ve been playing this game and moving the camera. My brain, eyes and thumb are on the same page and everything is good. Then the game decides it doesn’t like where the camera is and moves it (and it doesn’t have to move it much to cause issues). My brain gets confused. It didn’t tell my thumb to do anything but the eyes are saying things are moving. And the headaches and nausea begin.

Now if a game doesn’t ask me to control the camera at all, I have no problems. But when a game asks me to take control of the camera, please let me control the camera and don’t correct things on me. If I can’t see something, that’s on me…I’ll move the camera until I can. Don’t “fix” the view for me.

I hate when game players say adding a feature would be simple because we don’t know, but it seems like offering an option to turn off “Automatic camera adjustment” shouldn’t be that hard and it would make a lot of games so much more comfortable for people like me who suffer from this style of motion sickness.

This weekend I felt like I needed a break from The Elder Scrolls Online (it was starting to feel like a job rather than a game) and Sony is running one of their “Flash Sales” and have last year’s Mad Max on sale for $15, so I snagged it.

So far (3-4 hours in) I’m really enjoying it. It definitely captures the desperate, kind of insane feel of the Mad Max movies and it looks really good. You spend a lot of time in your car racing back and forth over desert roads. You can drive most anywhere but you’re much slower off-road. Combat tends to be “ram the other guy” at low levels since ammo is scarce. On foot combat tends to be fisticuffs for the same reason.

It’s one of these “open world but not really a sandbox” games, kind of like Assassin’s Creed. You have story missions that advance the plot but you can also go around doing lots of side missions and stuff. As you gain wealth and progress through the story you can upgrade both your character and his car.

It’s not perfect and you can tell it was rushed to meet some arbitrary deadline. For example you’ll come upon remnants of what was probably going to be a morality system. (NPC’s will say something like “You going to help me recover this scrap and we’ll split it, or are you going to kill me and take it all for yourself?” but you don’t actually make a choice, you just automatically go the good-guy route.) Probably scrapped in order to make a deadline. The controls are kind of odd at times too and they definitely could’ve used more polish and more customizability.

Anyway, I don’t have screenshots ready or anything but since it’s a Flash Sale I assume it ends Sunday night or Monday, so I just wanted to mention it. I’m certainly getting (have already gotten, really) $15 worth of fun out of this title and if you like the IP you probably will too. If you’re not a fan of Mad Max’s filthy, brutal world, though, maybe give it a pass.

I looked at ~gasp~ MetaCritic and it got pretty awful reviews but I haven’t read any of them to see why. All I can say is I’m having fun so far. Maybe it gets repetitive or something but again, for $15 I won’t feel bad if I never finish it. For now I gotta get back to playing…

I’ve been on the fence about Playstation VR, as mentioned in an earlier post. Last night I pretty much made the decision to go through with my pre-order, based on this video from E3. The game is Robinson: The Journey and it’s honestly not even clear how much of a game it is. It might be kind of a VR walking simulator. And that’s actually fine for me…honestly that’s the kind of experience I’m most excited about. I don’t know that I need to shoot people in the face in VR; that feels like it might be a little too real, plus the fast movement will probably make me sick.

But stuff like this seems cool, and it isn’t even the gameplay that has sold me, it’s the reaction of the guy trying it. This is one of the regulars on the channel so this is a jaded gaming journalist and I loved how his colleague had to keep prompting him to talk because he was so swept up in the experience.

I’ve been pretty skeptical about VR up to this point. Actually scratch that. At one time I was super-stoked for VR but that was back in the days of yore, when my first taste of crappy VR was the arcade game Dactyl Nightmare. It blew my mind. I know that sounds ridiculous now, but in its day is was amazing that you could enter this world and walk around. Here’s what it looked and played like:

I was so hyped on VR that I cobbled together my own VR rig using Sega’s 3D glasses and a Mattel Power Glove. I learned how to do this on CompuServe but here’s a post on putting such a system together. I still remember playing a VR handball game with that system and being dumbfounded that it actually worked. Back then we were all reading Neuromancer and listening to Jaron Lanier talk about our virtual reality future. I fully expected to have a VR port installed in the back of my head by the time I got old.

And then, of course, it all fizzled and I let go of my dreams of “jacking in to cyberspace.”

Fast forward 25 years or so and here we are, ready for VR again. This time it all seems a lot more viable, but now I’m old and curmudgeonly and I think I have a “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” kind of attitude towards VR. I also have physical concerns. I struggle with motion-sickness in non-VR games and I can’t imagine how much worse it would be in VR. Also I wear progressive bifocals and had a lot of concerns about how VR would work with them.

When Sony put the Playstation VR visor up for pre-order I jumped on it, just to kind of hold my place in line. I wasn’t, and am still not, sure I’d go through with the purchase. I realize Vive and Oculus both offer better experiences but neither is within my budget.

Anyway the biggest question was my glasses, so at the suggestion of someone on Twitter I ordered a Google Cardboard visor. It was on sale so cost me less than $11 delivered and it arrived a few days ago. The good news is, my glasses seem to work fine, or at least as fine as they work in the real world. Stuff low in my viewport is blurry but I only notice that if I deliberately look down. The more natural inclination is to move my head to look down and the everything is fine.

So one obstacle down. Motion sickness is harder to measure using Cardboard because it really is a crappy VR experience for me. Keep in mind my phone is 2 years old at this point; if I had a newer more powerful one the experience might be much better. With the default cardboard you have to hold the whole thing up to your face (Angela is already shopping for a plastic model with a head strap). It’s something I play with for minutes, rather than hours, at a time and basically I look around and have one button and that’s the extent of my interactivity. (The button on the Cardboard visor links to a bit inside that taps the screen via a conductive strip of some kind of foil or film.)

But hey, it was less than $11 so I’m not complaining.

My guess is that motion sickness will be an issue for me because even after a few minutes with cardboard I feel kind of a pressure in my head. What isn’t clear yet is whether I can adapt. When I spend a lot of time playing fast-moving FPSs (in 2D) I build up a tolerance and my motion sickness issues become much less severe. I’m hoping the same will happen with VR.

Cardboard has nudged me towards keeping my Playstation VR order for a few reasons. First I know that it should work fine with my glasses. Second, Angela tried it and was excited, so it wouldn’t just be me using the visor. And third and most importantly, cardboard rekindled a little of that excitement I had back in the early 90’s.

The strangest bit is, I don’t think I’d enjoy playing a FPS or any kind of fast-paced game in VR. I’m more leaning towards wanting “experiences” that are about exploring weird virtual worlds at a leisurely pace. That’s good news because I find it hard to believe the PS4 has the power to deliver a fast-paced VR game at frame rates high enough to prevent nausea. I also find it oddly pleasant to just sit back and watch 2D videos on a giant virtual screen.

I still have some concerns about the social aspects. As I said, you hold cardboard up to your face and I haven’t been bothering with headphones so it’s really easy to stay ‘connected’ with the outside world. I worry a little that using the PS VR will be kind of off-putting to whomever isn’t using it, but now that I’ve tried cardboard I find it hard to imagine we’d wear the PS VR visor for hours at a time. I think it’s going to be something you just dip into for 15 minutes now and then, and that doesn’t feel problematic.

So I think I’m tentatively on-board the VR bandwagon again. I think we’re still a long way away from it taking over our entertainment (if it ever does) and I’ve given up on my cyberspace neural implant, but as a kind of adjunct to gaming and a way to experience new worlds now and then, I think it’ll be cool. I’m still on the fence about whether it’ll be $400 worth of cool though. So now it’s all about the dollars and whether I think we’ll get enough use out of it.

I’ve had a few people respond to my earlier post saying that having a scaled world works for Guild Wars 2 so it’ll be fine in The Elder Scrolls Online. I’m not so sure, for two main reasons.

First, not everyone likes Guild Wars 2. To me, the scaled world in GW2 makes the game pretty awful. I never felt a satisfying sense of progression in GW2 since I never had that experience of going back to a lower level zone and swatting down enemies that used to own me. I want to feel mighty when I play an MMO, at least some of the time, and I felt about the same at level 80 in GW2 as I did at level 20. Now clearly this is extremely subjective and if you enjoyed GW2 then maybe you’ll like One Tamriel better than you do ‘vanilla’ TESO.

Second has to do with world population. Since GW2 was built from the ground up to be a scaled world, there are systems in place to support that. For example (and forgive me if I get this wrong, I’m going from memory) if you’re on a ‘shard’ with low population in GW2, you’ll be asked if you want to move to a more populated shard. This means there’s almost always other players running around in GW2 so it is rare that you find yourself trying to complete an event solo. When I have had to do GW2 events solo they’ve been tough, but usually my experience was that there was a huge zerg that steam-rolled over content before I even knew what was happening. Bleh.

TESO doesn’t have a similar system. I just finished running through Bangkorai (a 37-43 zone) in TESO and I did probably 80% of the delves (basically mini-dungeons) and 90% of the world bosses solo. I was able to do them because I’d out-leveled the zone, and I had to do them solo because there were no other players around. At the end of my time I headed to the public dungeon and was fortunate to run into one other player and between the two of us we were able to handle things. If it had scaled and we’d needed 4 players I might still be there waiting.

Now of course ZOS could build a system similar to GW2’s that’ll push the existing player base into fewer shards so the world is more densely populated, but then they’d have to tweak mob density as well. And even if they got that all right, it would fundamentally change the nature of the game. One of the reasons I love TESO when I’ve pretty much given up on other MMOs is that ZOS promised that TESO would be a solo-friendly game, and up until now they’ve delivered on that promise. My character is 48 now and has never Grouped, at least insofar as I can recall. And I like that. I like that sometimes I’ll see other players and we can organically work together to take down baddies, but I also love that some days I’ll be in an area where I never see another player and I feel like a true lone wolf out there being a Big Damned Hero to the people.

TESO to me is like a hike through a state park. Lots of time alone, and then when you do encounter other people it’s a delight. GW2 is like walking in a city park. You’re constantly surrounded by people and noise and you’re never alone with your thoughts. I like TESO much more and I hope that One Tamriel doesn’t change the feel of the game too much. But I guess ZOS needs to risk alienating current fans in order to try to bring in new blood. We’ll see how it works out.

So yeah, you might be right that One Tamriel will “work” because GW2 works. But in order to make it work I fear they’re going to have to make some fundamental changes to the game. Damn, comparing TESO to GW2 scares me. “This game you love will be fine when it changes to work like this other game you hate.” That gives me no comfort!!!

Zenimax Online Studios has announced a new “One Tamriel” system for The Elder Scrolls Online, and most of my friends seem to really like the idea. I’m not as convinced, but before I get into why let’s recap the story so far.

When TESO launched, it was an ambitious game with 3 factions, each having their own content to level through, though there was a main storyline and some guild storylines that were the same for all players. The downside of this design was that not only did you have to make sure you were on the same server as your friends, you needed to be in the same faction, too. The upside is that if you wanted to roll an alt, you could level up a 2nd (and 3rd) character through content that was new to you.

Since launch things have changed a little. Servers collapsed into mega-servers, for one thing. The new DLC/Expansions are the same for all factions, though each faction gets its own instance. Separate but equal. More importantly, recently ZOS let us start forming cross-faction groups for instanced dungeons. Since you really need a group to do instanced dungeons, this was a great change.

Back to One Tameriel; when it launches all these faction-walls get torn down (the one major exception being the PvP areas). The amount of content will stay the same but you’ll be able to go to any faction you like at any point. Aside from role-play concerns, I don’t see any downside to this aspect of One Tamriel.

Now let’s talk about leveling. At launch your journey through TESO was a classic one of leveling-up and moving from zone to zone as you did so. Cap was level 50 and vanilla TESO content leveled you smoothly through all 50 levels, presenting monsters that would challenge you each step of the way. Since then ZOS has tried a few post-50 systems, I guess (I’ve never got that far). Currently once you hit 50 you start earning Champion Points that you can spend to buff your character in various ways. ZOS is using Champion Points almost like a Gear Score to indicate character and monster power.

Dungeons are treated somewhat differently. Dungeons scale in level (with each having a minimum level), and in particular scale to the level of the group leader.

The leveling system presented another barrier to friends playing together, sort of. If I’m level 40 and my friend is level 20 and we group up, content is either going to be trivial for me, or impossible for him. Personally I don’t see this as a big deal and I’m happy to help out lower level friends but some gamers aren’t interested in playing unless they’re getting rewarded.

The DLC was different from vanilla TESO and worked something like dungeons. To make DLC packs of interest to all players, mobs are all max level, and characters get ‘bolstered’ to max level when they enter these areas. So now if I take my level 40 character and my friend brings his level 20 character, we’d both get boosted to max level and earn awards and experience appropriate for our levels. Sounds good, right?

One Tamriel brings this system to the entire world. Every mob in the world (once you get out of the brief tutorial) will be an equal match to a level 50 character with 160 Champion Points (that’s the current max level for mobs). When you leave the tutorial you’ll be bolstered to the equivalent of a level 50/160 CP character and that’s where you’ll stay forever. Of course you won’t have all the skills of a max level character so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle that.

Anyway this is the aspect of One Tamriel that I’m not as sure about. My friends, who are casual players of TESO, think it is awesome because they can group up no matter what level they are. That’s true. But I don’t think many of them are thinking about what is going to happen when they’re not grouped. And let’s face it, in practical terms most of us spend a lot of time soloing whether we want to or not.

Under the current system if you find a quest or a world boss or an open dungeon that is too difficult for you, you can just skip it, gain a few levels, then come back and try it again. Maybe your gear isn’t up to snuff. Maybe you’ve put together a feeble build and are still trying to work out the kinks. Maybe it’s content intended for several players (world bosses or dolmens come to mind) but there’s no one around. You can just come back later when you’re more powerful and try again.

As someone who solos a lot, I have had to lean on this system pretty heavily at times. It goes away with One Tamriel. No longer will you be able to skip world bosses and come back and mop the floor with them later. If there aren’t a group of players hanging around, world bosses, open dungeons and dolmens will probably be beyond your ability to solo. The exception will be folks who’ve been playing long enough to get best-in-class gear and who have perfected their builds. But casual players, the ones this system seems to be built for? They’re going to be frustrated. When they don’t have a group, a lot of content is going to be beyond them.

Basically in the same way that casual solo players have to skip dungeons now, they’ll have to skip world bosses, dolmens and public dungeons once One Tamriel hits. As a casual solo player, I’m pretty bummed about this.

Of all the MMOs out there, TESO has been one of the most solo-friendly I’ve played and that’s a big part of why I enjoy it. It’s fun having that single-player story-driven gameplay but in a world where you see other players and do kind of organically help them out. To me its the best of both worlds, but I have to just skip the instanced dungeons. Fortunately for me by the time One Tamriel arrives I’ll be comfortably at cap so it won’t impact me much, but I think we’ll see a lot of casual players return and find that maybe the system isn’t quite as awesome as they’d hoped it would be.

I’m hoping there’s some aspect of this system that I’m not quite getting and that solo players will still be able to progress smoothly through all the content. I guess we’ll find out this Fall.