And now back to The Elder Scrolls Online

No sooner had a snuggled down into the warm embrace of Black Desert Online than my friends got pumped for The Elder Scrolls Online. Well hell, I’m down with that, I love TESO! But one small fly in the ointment…they all wanted to play on Xbox One and I play on PS4.

Once more into the breach! Because I am crazy, I already owned the game on XBox One, but I took advantage of a sale on Crowns to pick up the new Thieves Guild expansion, as well as the older Orsinium expansion.

My only character on XB1 was a level 7 dude that was just a random mash-up of race, class and stat points. My goal now was to get to grouping level (say 12+) ASAP and ideally to catch up with Talyn who was in his low 20s. I decided to roll a Daggerfall Alliance character since I’m nost familiar with that faction, and followed one of Deltia Gaming’s builds (a stamina templar).

At first I felt a slight bit of resentment for “having” to start all over to play with these folks but y’know, I just love TESO and before long I was in love with my new character and enjoying myself all over again. It didn’t hurt that the Xbox One community seems very healthy; there were people all over the place.

One of my favorite aspects of TESO is that it is so group-friendly, and I mean group, not Group. In other words, there’s no kill stealing or anything, so you can and often do find yourself working with another player without any formal announcement that you’re going to do so. That happened to me several times over the weekend when I found I was working on the same questline (apparently) with another player and we just started traveling together. I started hanging back and throwing heals (not that my spec is a dedicated healer) and DOTs and I let the other player(s) lead the charge while I kept them from worrying about their health levels. After some variable amount of time we just drifted in different directions. Never exchanged a word.

That’s my kind of multiplayer gaming, honestly. Sometimes someone will cheer or something (using the emote system) but that’s about it for communication. TESO has proximity voice chat on consoles (no text chat yet) but I find people rarely use it out exploring and mostly just use it to be annoying in towns.

Since I was being pretty determined about leveling I wasn’t constantly over-level for the areas I was in (something that often happens in the game thanks to me roaming around gather crafting materials and stuff) so some of the open world mini-bosses were a real challenge. After dying I’d just hang out and wait for another player or two to come along and I never had to wait long. Again, working together without entering in a Grouping contract. I love it.

Of course in spite of promises to myself not to do so, I started crafting because I am incapable of running past mats without gathering them, or running past a crafting station without poking it.

Anyway it was a good weekend and I ended up somewhere in level 14. We’re tentatively doing our first dungeon next Monday so I’m comfortably prepared for a level 12 dungeon, but it’ll be nice to hit 15 and get the 2nd weapon slot open (bow and dual wield for me).

I haven’t forgotten BDO but it’ll be there when I’m ready for it. That’s one of the joys of subscription-free MMO gaming. You can play when you want without feeling like you’ve wasted your cash. So I’ll continue to be an MMO vagabond and go wherever the winds blow me.

Needed a hit of fantasy, so back to The Elder Scrolls Online

For the last few months I’ve been playing games that take place in a modern setting. First it was Watch Dogs, then it was Dying Light, with a few The Division beta tests mixed in. Last weekend I found myself craving some good old fantasy gaming. With the launch of The Division so near, it didn’t make sense for me to start in on some 50-100 hour RPG so I turned to good old dependable The Elder Scrolls Online.

I have a curious relationship with TESO. I really like it, but I never make any progress in it (and I sometimes forget about it for months at a time). I started playing when the game launched. When the console versions came out I moved my characters to the PS4, which is where I’ve been playing lately (I own the game on PC, PS4 & Xbox One for some crazy reason). Last weekend when I went back to the game my highest level character was…. 23! I’ve seen videos of players who go 1-50 in under 10 hours and over the course of a few years I’ve managed to get to level 23!

But that’s OK because what I enjoy about TESO is just being in the world. I know the aesthetics of the game are somewhat divisive. I believe a lot of people find it all kind of drab. I find it believable. Adventurers wear armor that seems reasonably practical (though I question some of the helm designs) and villagers seem to have quests that make sense. To me the world feels like it could be real and there aren’t zany comedy bits to constantly remind you its a game (I’m looking at you, Wildstar with your guitar riffs and announcer voice going crazy whenever something happens).

Oddly I think it’s the food that best encapsulates this aspect of TESO. Instead of making a dish of, y’know, spider venom glands with troll spleen sauce, you’re making Alik’r Beets with Goat Cheese or Ginger Wheat Ale. The food I make in TESO sounds like food I would actually enjoy eating.

I know it’s silly and it doesn’t impact gameplay in any way but it just helps me to become (yes I’m going to go there) immersed in the world. I don’t make a lot of progress because I spend so much time roaming around reading books, talking to NPCs and picking flowers.

But last weekend something different happened. I got frustrated after losing a fight I should’ve won, several times in a row. For the first time I decided to research builds and boy did I ever go down a rat hole. I’ve watched so many videos from Deltia’s Gaming this week that I feel like maybe I need to put him on my Christmas card list.

What I learned was that my race/class combo just isn’t viable. (And I later learned that’s not really true.) And in fact most of my characters were awkward combos. That led to a shake-up that saw me deleting characters, creating new ones, and re-speccing one to rebuild him in one of Deltia’s images.

My (I thought) non-viable main, I decided, would become my crafter, doing all skills except alchemy (since fighting characters should learn alchemy for one of the passives). Of course to do that, he needed some skill points. I decided I’d just run around collecting skyshards for some easy skill points. So I started doing that but got side-tracked by some quests and…

Spent the last week playing him. My new and re-specced characters sit idle and my non-viable main is doing just fine now that I’ve tweaked my skill bars and re-learned2play a bit. Turns out the difference between a good class/race combo and a poor one is something like 8-10% damage at end game (don’t quote me on that, but the point wasn’t that you couldn’t play these ‘poor’ combos just that there are combos that were more efficient).

But man have I been hard-core into the game for the past week. I’ve been doing little else besides work and playing TESO. I have been taking notes to make sure I don’t miss anything. Like on paper with a pen like I’m some kind of dinosaur (hush you, no old man jokes). Progress is still slow because I still play my way, but my crafting progress has been good and I hit level 27 last night. Just finishing up Stormhaven and finally ready to move on to the next zone. And all my time spent with Deltia wasn’t wasted because the character feels SO much more powerful now that I have a better grasp on how to use the skills he has available. So no regrets for the time I spent doing that.

The Thieves Guild DLC hits PC tomorrow (I think) but us console players have to wait until March 22 or 23rd. That works well since I’ll probably be in The Division for a solid few weeks before I’m ready to mix things up. So after Monday night TESO will go back on the shelf again, but it’s comforting to know it’s always there waiting to scratch my fantasy itch.

Oh and it’s worth noting that the game seems to be doing well, on PS4 at least. There’re always people around; even when I started new characters there were plenty of other fresh avatar-faces entering the realm for the first time. I was happy to see that!

Playing Lately: Star Wars Battlefront & The Elder Scrolls Online

Holy smokes, time flies. I can’t believe it’s been over 2 weeks since I posted. I haven’t really been doing too much worth talking about I guess, but just so Google doesn’t decide the site is dead again, here’s a recap of recent gaming.

My last post was about being conflicted over Star Wars: Battlefront. Well OF COURSE I bought it, because when in doubt I always take the road of retail therapy I guess. The good news is that I’m glad I did. It is exactly the gaming experience (for me) that I expected it to be. I play a few matches a few times a week. It’s kind of my “side game” and it is perfect for me as a side game. I stick almost exclusively to Walker Assault, one of the 20 v 20 modes, and I tend to wind up somewhere in the middle of the rankings. At a guess I’d say that 11th is my sweet spot, though I have been as high as 5th and as low ~blush~ as 19th. I’ve dabbled with a few of the other modes and they’re more fun than I expected them to be, but Walker Assault always calls to me and after 3 or 4 matches of that I’m ready to play something else.

The game is getting a lot of hate but that’s EA’s problem, not mine. I’m enjoying my time playing and I’m glad I made the purchase. It IS too expensive for what you get but for me it was worth paying full price in order to be able to play while the servers are still nice and full. It takes seconds to get into a match right now and that is worth something to me, being as impatient as I am. There’s a lot of complaints about things relating to playing with your friends but since I don’t play with anyone else that stuff isn’t relevant to my enjoyment of the game. I guess what I’m saying is that while I’m enjoying myself, don’t take that as a recommendation; I’m kind of a weirdo in what I like and don’t like.

I was really enjoying Fallout 4 and I need to make sure it doesn’t drift off the homescreen of my PS4 but for the past couple of weeks it has been pushed to the side. My plan is to play Fallout 4 on and off for about a year 🙂 so I’m not in any great hurry.

I strongly believe in voting with my wallet when a company does something I’m enthusiastic about. When Zenimax released the Imperial City expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online it seemed to me like it was dedicated to the PvPers and instanced dungeoneers so I ignored it. But then they brought Orsinium to the consoles, and that expansion had a lot of stuff for solo/open world PvE players so I wanted to support it. I bought the big bundle of crowns and spent most of them on the Deluxe Edition of Orsinium (because, duh, it came with a mount and pet and how could I resist them). I wound up buying Imperial City too just for the sake of completeness. Then during the Black Friday insanity the big pack of crowns was almost 50% off so I bought ANOTHER one, and those will sit in my wallet until another expansion comes along (I know they’re working on at least one more, the Thieves Guild expansion).

So suddenly I’ve been playing Elder Scrolls Online again. This time out I am completely ignoring the instanced content; no grouping for me. I started to research builds and that wasn’t fun so I said “screw it” and came up with my own builds. The whole beauty of TESO is that you’re supposed to play however you want, and that’s what I’m doing, and it’s working during the leveling part of the game. If I get serious about it I can always re-spec after doing research. I’m not even playing to level, really. I’m just playing to explore. I’m jumping between 3 (sometimes 4) characters leveling them as a dysfunctional ‘family’ since they’re spread all around the world. I probably spend more time crafting than I do fighting, and that includes shuffling materials between characters with is time consuming but kind of soothing.

Basically Bhagpuss is my spirit animal for this Elder Scrolls Online outing. I’m focused on solo exploring and just kind of enjoying the world. I spend a lot of time reading books I find, or trying to get to places that I think I maybe shouldn’t be (yet). With 3 starting zones, a couple of which I’ve barely touched, there’s a lot to do that is more interesting to me than following instructions on a website to build a character that is uber-powerful and completely boring to play.

On Friday I’ll have a new game to play. Xenoblade Chronicles X comes out for the Wii U. I got a Wii U shortly after launch (through kind of a fluke, my boss ended up with two so he sold me his extra) and I bought two games for it: Zombie U for me and Scribblenauts for Angela. And those are the last two games I bought for it until this month, when I’m grabbing Xenoblade for me and there’s an Animal Crossing game that Angela wanted, though I suspect she was more interested in the Amiibos that came with it than the game itself. Zombie U was pretty meh but Xenoblade is getting lots of praise so I’m hoping that I’ll FINALLY get some use out of the Wii U.

Books and movies are influencing my gaming tastes

This has probably always been true but I just really noticed it for the first time.

A couple months back there was a Star Wars Celebration weekend, where they showed off trailers for the new movie and teased the upcoming game. That put us in a Star Wars mood and over the next month or so Angela and I watched all six Star Wars movies, and I started reading Star Wars comics via Marvel Unlimited. It only made sense that I should go back to playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.

I couldn’t have been happier logging in every night and enjoying the pew-pew of blaster fire and that seductive electronic hum of lightsabers clashing.

Then we ran out of movies to watch, I got tired of the comics and something distracted me (I find inertia is a huge motivator for me in MMOs; when I play regularly I keep playing but if something causes me to take a break it’s easy to drift away) and now I don’t find myself too inclined to log into SWTOR.

At about the same time the new season of Game of Thrones hit HBO and, having set aside comic reading, I went back to working my way slowly through the novels. So instead of a galaxy far, far away I was spending my media time in a pseudo-medieval world. And as it happened, circumstances caused me to log into The Elder Scrolls Online. I wasn’t intending to really play it, but I’d taken advantage of a $20 pre-order of the upcoming PS4 version, and I knew they were going to ‘clone’ our PC accounts onto the console accounts, so I logged in to do some housekeeping and get things orderly for when that happened. (I deleted some lowbie alts, cleared out my bank a bit, and things like that.)

But now I find myself logging in almost every night. I don’t even really do a lot (I’m kind of trying to keep the game ‘fresh’ for the console launch). I’ve been working on crafting writs and slowly working an alt through Betnikh. I do some fishing. Read books and talk to NPCs. But I just find it fun to kind of be in a world that is somewhat similar to that of Game of Thrones.

One of the things I’ve always really liked about The Elder Scrolls Online is that, like me, it doesn’t have much of a sense of humor. Or at least, it isn’t silly. It’s a fairly somber world in a lot of ways. And I think it’s safe to say the same about the Westeros. Not a lot of silly things going on there. I think that’s why out of all the pseudo-medieval MMOs out there, ESO is scratching this Game of Thrones-induced itch of mine.

I’m guessing next fall when the new Star Wars movie comes out, I’ll find myself back in SWTOR, though.

The Elder Scrolls Online — you can’t go home again

I think it was Divinity: Original Sin that rekindled my desire to play MMOs. I don’t know what it is about “leveling” that I find so appealing but damn, I love to do it! D:OS has leveling but they’re so miserly in dishing out new levels that it was creating an itch that needed scratching. So where can a person scratch the leveling itch? Pretty much any MMO.

But which one? I’ve been dabbling all week. Re-installed both The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 and dipped my toes in. Last night I went back to The Elder Scrolls Online. I loved this game just a short time ago, but then I had something bad happen to me and had to wrestle with customer support over it. I got my issue resolved but it took a few weeks. Between that and the failed experiment of playing Wildstar my TESO cadence had been shattered.

Part of the resolution of my problem was that Zenimax gifted me an additional month of access, so I’m paid up for something like 60 days of TESO at this point (I’d signed up for the 3 month plan). I figured if I was paying for it I should play it, right?

I logged in and my immediate reaction was joy. I love how realistic TESO is. I love that everyone isn’t wearing technicolor armor fighting bright pink killer teddy bears or whatever. I love the lack of sophomoric humor. I popped open my quest journal and spent some time remembering what I’d been doing. The nice thing about TESO’s limited number of active skills was that I hadn’t forgotten how to play yet (when I go back to EQ2 I spend about 2 hours just remembering what all my 30 or so skills do).

Within just a few minutes I was back out there fighting bad guys. Rolling out of danger, hitting them with a life siphon, then charging back in to send them flying. Combat in TESO just feels SO good. When you stagger an opponent and then wind up for a powerful hit that just knocks them flat it feels SO…DAMNED…GOOD!

But that joy didn’t last. After about an hour I felt like I’d had enough. Somehow the game just wasn’t the same for me, and I’m not sure why. The little annoyances (like managing inventory) were bothering me more than they used to. Combat started to feel rote, quests were feeling stale, and then I started thinking about spamming zone chat with LFG shouts to do the next dungeon and… I just logged out.

When I was in my 20’s and still living in my home town I spent a lot of time in bars. I had my favorites where I knew the bartenders and ‘the gang’ and walking in after a bad day was just uplifting.

A few years after I’d moved out of the area I went back to my home town and visited some of those same bars, and at first it was awesome. Lots of the same bartenders, lots of the same gang, warm welcomes from all. But I never stayed long. Nothing had changed really, except me. I wasn’t ‘connected’ to that world any more, I guess.

I feel the same way about The Elder Scrolls Online I guess. I no longer feel connected to what’s going on. I’ve been away too long. I do think I could re-connect if I just focused on playing for a few days but I’m not really ready to seriously commit to an MMO right now. I just want to dabble. I’m still playing Dragon Age: Origins on the PS3, and once the weekend comes I’ll be back into Divinity (that’s not a weeknight game…it plays too slowly to try to enjoy it in hour-long sessions), and next week the Destiny beta starts up and I’ll be playing that.

It’s a shame to let 60 days of game time run down without playing but that might be what I do, and it’s another good reason not to subscribe to an MMO unless you’re wholly committed to it. (To be fair, I’d convinced myself I WAS wholly committed to TESO when I subscribed.) I think I’ll go back to ‘dabbling’ in Guild Wars 2. Why is that better? I think because I’ve been away so long that it feels ‘new’ and I’m having to re-learn its systems. Sometimes I think I get more enjoyment out of learning about a game than I do from actually playing the game. Maybe that’s way I start so many and finish so few.

A month of Elder Scrolls Online

statueActually I guess it’s been 5 weeks of playing now, but ‘month’ makes for a better headline. In any event I’ve been playing #TESO for a while now and still really digging it. There’ve been maybe 2 days in those 5 weeks when I didn’t log in, and those weren’t by choice but by necessity.

I’ve seen a lot of hate directed at the game but I don’t understand it; I guess we all want different things from our MMOs. I want a world that feels real, looks real, and has combat that feels great and #TESO gives me all that. Some of the criticism I’ve seen is just based on the imaginations of the haters. For instance I’ve heard complaints about the ‘wall of text’ in quests. Quests are always delivered via a few lines of dialog (see image below). There ARE books you find that are very text-dense but if you don’t want to read them you don’t have to. Just opening them will give you any perk they may offer. But hey, haters gonna hate, right?

I think most of the critics, when it comes right down to it, may be put off by the pace of the game, which can be pretty sedate at times. Particularly folks who are beta-testing the frenetic Wildstar (the pace of which, frankly, exhausts me but I’ll still try it). If Wildstar is the Animaniacs of MMOs, #TESO is the Masterpiece Theater. The rest are people who just don’t like that an online game set in Tamriel exists; they’re the uninformed gamers who think #TESO somehow replaced the next iteration of the single player Elder Scrolls saga (It did not; a new team was put together to create #TESO and the single player Elder Scrolls team is hard at work on the sequel to Skyrim.)


Anyway, ain’t no one got time for dealing with the haters; let’s move on.

My ‘main’ in #TESO is only level 19 (Raptr says I’ve spent 84 hours playing). He has finally ‘finished’ the first major zone (Glenumbra, in his case). I thought I’d finished it last week when his natural progression led him to the next zone, but I checked my Achievements and saw that he’d missed a ton of Skyshards so I retraced my steps to Glenumbra and in the course of tracking those down, found entire villages I’d missed, as well as many mini-dungeons and heroic creature camps. Not to mention that there’s a public dungeon in Daggerfall! Who knew?

Back-tracking actually wound up being a lot of fun; since I was over-leveled I lent a lot of aid to folks trying to take down difficult content. Some of these camps can be tough and can require 3 or more characters of appropriate level to conquer (and even over-level I couldn’t solo some of them) but me and a level-appropriate character did OK. The Public Dungeon was a lot of fun as well; I can’t wait to find more of those. I did Spindleclutch once (the zone’s instanced dungeon) with a PUG that turned out to be a good group of players. In fact in all my time playing the only negative experience I’ve has is from gold spammers and once, someone ran past me to snag a runestone I was going after (but had to kill a mob to get to). Overall it’s been a very positive experience.

All in all I’m having a blast. But there is one issue that has started to impact my enjoyment and it is mostly self-inflicted: alts and crafting. I’d read somewhere that 1 character couldn’t do all the crafting skills (I’m no longer convinced this is true) and of course I had to try them all because I have a crafting compulsion. So I created 2 alts; one to do blacksmithing and alchemy, one to do woodworking and enchanting. My ‘main’ does clothing and provisioning.

#TESO is a little unusual in that your bank is 100% shared between all your characters. On paper at least, this makes it easy to have crafting alts. My main gathers iron, wood, runestones and reagants as he adventures and then tosses them in the bank for the alts to use. He also tosses in gear for the other characters to deconstruct in order to advance. The problem is that your bank inventory space is fixed; when you roll up an alt it doesn’t get any bigger (you can spend in-game coin to expand it but that gets expensive fast). In practice, if you’re a crafting hoarder your bank will fill up really quickly and in my case, I spend a LOT of time logging in and out, shuffling inventory from one character to the bank and then to another characters.

What I need to do is summon the intestinal fortitude to just jettison all this junk (provisioning supplies in particular, and anything I can simply purchase) and maybe abandon all but 1 tradeskill. Then I can spend more time playing and less time shuffling inventory. I’d actually like to play my Woodworker/Enchanter since she’s in a different faction and is an interesting class (Templar) but her personal inventory is stuffed full of Runestones.

Anyway like I said, self-inflicted but if Zenimax decided to give us some kind of ‘reagant bag’ or ‘provisioning bag’ that gave us some extra space to hold these materials, I wouldn’t complain.

Back to the good stuff. Before I back-tracked to Glenumba I started to encounter ‘open world groups’ of PvE foes. I’d heard we’d eventually start encountering groups of enemies but didn’t realize what that meant. I mean encountering more than one mob isn’t all that unusual, right? But what it means is groups of enemies that actually work together. The first time I encountered one of these groups I got my arse handed to me. I went back and tried again and the same thing happened, so I decided maybe I needed to level more.

But as I walked past this pesky group one more time I realized the problem was me, not my character. And I stopped to actually think about the encounter. And so I tried it again. In this case it was a healer, a mage-type and a melee dude (roughly). So rather than just charging in, I hit the mage with my Agony Stun, then charged the healer. Knocked him on his ass and followed up with a life siphon to keep him hurting and me healthy. The melee guy I just kept blocking for now, raining blows on the healer until he succumbed. By then the stun had worn off the mage and he was working up to some kind of nasty spell, but the direct application of my shield to his face put an end to that, and a couple of assassin blades in his liver ended him, leaving just me and the melee dude. 1 on 1 he was no match for me and a few moments later I was walking away with a fistful of gold.

After that I started looking at what I was facing before I charged in, and every fight became a satisfying win or a defeat I learned something from. It’s going to be so hard to go back to an MMO where you just run through the same ‘rotation’ over and over in every open world fight and only in dungeons do you get interesting encounters.

I’m looking forward to doing more exploring of Tamriel. I still haven’t set foot in the PvP zone, and I’ve heard great things about that. I have no idea how many more PvE zones are ahead of me in my journey to level 50, but bring ’em on!


Thoughts on The Elder Scrolls Online

skyshardMy first beta experience with The Elder Scrolls Online happened in July 2013. At least, that’s when my account was created. I can’t honestly recall my reaction to the game at the time because subsequently I was invited to many “weekend beta” events and there was a character wipe between each one. So over and over I rolled a level 1 character and headed out to help Captain Rana (that was the only faction offered back then). I came to really dislike the game (doing the same content over and over is deal-breaker for me) but I knew I’d passed a point where I was giving it a fair shake. I stopped accepting beta invites other than to log a character in to help stress the servers.

I told myself I was going to skip TESO when it came out. Whether I would have or not…who knows? I’m really susceptible to peer pressure when everyone is enjoying a game. But when Green Man Gaming sent me a 25% off coupon code for the game I figured what the hell. I’d get it, play it for a few weeks and move on.

In the run-up to launch Scarybooster and I started talking about approaching TESO in a vacuum, so to speak. Rather than read a bunch of blogs and fansite posts about what is right and wrong with TESO we’d just experience it ‘pure’ on our own terms. We came to call this #DARKOUT…or at least I did. I’m trying my best to hold to this policy but it isn’t always easy. In particular it means not joining a guild, at least not yet.

For me Early Access started on Sunday. From the moment I entered the game with my first character, it was different from beta. Knowing all your work isn’t going to get deleted at the end of a weekend changes everything. TESO starts you off in a prison, as per Elder Scrolls tradition. Generally in beta I ran through there as fast as I could, but now we were in launch and I spent nearly an hour in there opening every container I could find. I wound up leaving the prison with some decent armor, a huge pile of lockpicks and lots of (mostly provision-related) crafting materials.

Zenimax now offers you a choice of going to the “Starter Islands” or skipping them. During beta there were lots of complaints about the starter islands being too linear. With my launch character I choose to do them anyway, since I was in a new faction (DaggerFall). I’m STILL on the starter island and have been enjoying every moment. I’m not saying people who complained about them were wrong… maybe if your focus is on leveling as quickly as possible they’re awful. Or maybe like me, people in beta had played the islands too many times. But I’m enjoying my time on Stros M’kai.

I’ve been doing quests, but in no particular order. Mostly I wander about, harvesting materials and riffling through bookcases to find things to read (some of which are funny or interesting enough that I read them aloud to Angela). I talk to everyone and listen to what they have to say. I help other players. I learned that I can resurrect anyone if I have a full soul gem, and I carry a couple and keep them topped up so I can help folks. I’ve been crafting some: provisioning, blacksmithing and (leather and cloth) armor making. I can’t do all these seriously on one character but you can do low level stuff without spending any points so I’m just playing around to see what careers I enjoy.

My favorite/proudest moment was a particular quest that is a kind of treasure hunt. Y’know, “start at this landmark, head towards that one until you find the such and such, walk 10 paces south. gaze between the trees at something, etc etc”. Normally I would’ve got this quest, opened google and found out what to do. But keeping to #DARKOUT meant figuring it out myself. I cheated a tiny bit in that I looked up the text of the quest (in the form of a poem) so I could keep it onscreen on my 2nd monitor and refer to it easily, but beyond that I figured the quest out on my own. I mean it wasn’t THAT hard but I was just proud of myself for not giving in to the temptation of cheating by looking it up.

I am LOVING combat in the game. My character is no doubt completely useless for group content. I didn’t read any guides or consider what role of the Trinity he could perform. But I simply ADORE the fact that I don’t have to be a Melee character or a Spellcasting character. My character does both. He mostly focuses on his weapon talents but I put a few points in some magic-y class skills and soul magic. His magic talents allow him to heal himself to some extent (and to heal random people around him, which is awesome). And for anyone there’s a great routine where you block a heavy attack from the bad guy, and it staggers him her, and then you can pound him so he drops like a sack of potatoes. It is EXTREMELY satisfying and combat has a bit of a feel of an action game at times.

That said… I die a lot. This is NOT a complaint. I’m so sick of MMOs where the low levels are such a complete Safety Zone that you can play while you simultaneously watch TV, eat dinner, get a massage and daydream about Tahiti being a magical place and still never die. My combat experience in TESO is that things can go south really quickly, mostly when you get adds. And dying can hurt. Death means your gear can get damaged and instead of working at 100% until it breaks, damaged gear gets less efficient. So (making up an example) if you have a shield with an armor rating of 10 and a durability rating of 20, and you die a bunch of times so that durability goes down to 10, the shield’s armor rating will be 5 until you get it repaired.

Anyway this is getting way long…

TL,DR version: I’m really enjoying wandering my way through the world of TESO. I WILL have to join a guild in order to enjoy higher level content but I still am going to make a point of leaving myself plenty of alone-time to just explore and drink in everything the world has to offer.