Elder Scrolls Online, Launch Diary Pt II

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Hello all,

This is part II of a launch diary covering the first week of ESO, had to post a second blog because ran out of space.

I wanted to create this launch diary about the MMO launch of Elder Scrolls Online for a few reasons. For one, it's an ambitious game based on a highly praised set of solo-play RPGs that have only gotten better with every new release - how would this translate into the realm of MMO? Two, this will be the first MMO that ports to console (XboxOne, PS4 in June) which is very interesting. Third, and this is a personal reason but the most important, I wanted to blog the launch in memoriam of Bali, this (and EQ Landmark) are the first beta's that I've ever done without having Phil in text or in my ear on TS and he is sorely missed for his good-natured banter and fun he had testing games.

With those reasons in mind, I'd like to try to post a day-by-day (may miss a day!) of the first week of ESO, give my impressions of the game while not passing judgement and hopefully provide a brief chronicle of what is either going to be a great addition to the Elder Scrolls universe or potentially a missed opportunity to turn an awesome single-player experience into a community.

Tuesday and Wednesday, Day 3 and 4

Combining both of these days since I didn't have much play time on either. Ended up going back to elven starting area (Vulkhel Guard) and getting my first mount (Imperial horse! 1g thanks to CE purchase). Stable only sells horses ranging from 17Kg to 45Kg. They vary on color and height - the Imperial one is white. You can feed your horse to make it faster, I think there are recipes you can craft and dress it in various ways. You can also name the horse but I'm not sure where it shows outside of on your character sheet haha (I included a pic).

In Vulkhel I decided on sticking around and doing the local starting area quest lines even though I was level 7 and most of them were level 3-5. Similar to the Khajit starting zone, there were a few one-shot quests that seemed specific to themselves and then a broader quest of political intrigue involving a band of high elf (Altmer) supremacists and plot on the Queen's life that provided more background for the Aldmeri Dominion. There was also a quest line titled (like in Elder Scrolls) "Main Quest" which re-connected me with the Prophet from the Coldharbor tutorial so he could give me a history lesson on the Five Companions (they seem important..). Once again, the quests work great and have differences (even if they share similar mechanics) so they don't seem cookie cutter. For instance, in one quest on outskirts of Vulkhel I had to find a bucket of water to put out fires and rescue villagers from their burning homes - this shares the mechanics of the quest I'd just done the previous days to find the potions and help heal the ship crew but the quests are different enough visually and as a story that you don't feel like, "I just did this!".

I meant to delve into tradeskills but only really checked out the tradeskill area (with the work benches) and refined the raw material I had collected. this gave me a few skill ups in blacksmithing, cloth/leatherworking and woodworking. You collect raw mats in a single stack and then can refine it into material to create with - like x10 Iron Ore become x1Iron Ingot. Also, while you are refining material there seems to be a random chance of getting a rarer mat that can be used to "improve" current gear. To create magic or special items, you can research the skill or stat you're seeking to add to items, once you research it successfully you can continue to add that stat or skill to items. Since there is currently no auction house in game (and rumors are they don't intend to have one), it seems the devs are hoping a lot of trade takes place with "Guild stores" and there are some guilds that are recruiting in chat that intend to primarily be traders. I didn't find an alchemy bench or enchantment station but I assume they are in the mages guild house or in the NPC merchants area. My highest tradeskill so far is actually cooking (or "provisioning" as they call it. 14!) mainly because stopping to cook the stuff you find makes a bit of money and some ok buffs.

Once again, not really interacting much with other players outside of saving a few lowbies in the wilderness outside Vulkhel. I hear in chat the first dungeon is coming up at level 12 so that will be interesting, if the typical ESO player is like me and has no idea how to play in a group haha! Also, PvP will open up at level 10 and I hope to make it by Sunday to post at least one impression of that. Tomorrow is live launch day as well. Sitting at level 8 and got my "ultimate" ability so don't have to complete the whole tree to access those skill lines which is cool.

Friday, Day 5

Live launch day! Even with the bunch of new players there was no noticeable effect on game stability, in fact, zero crashed today and I did visit a capitol. I'm still doing all the quests in the noobie area (when I logged I had finally begun starting quests for level 7 - 9 so ended up seeing the town flood with new level 1's. Did a few more cool little quest lines around helping the Aldmeri Queen. Now that I have five skills I've been using steadily in combat and have killed hundreds of mobs (based on my achievement trackers!) it feels easier to describe... I think the biggest difference from other MMO's is the feeling that moving matters, you can dodge out of the way, pull back, or block. Even the lower level mobs have "cone" or point blank AOE effects so the game encourages a pace beyond standing toe to toe and mashing buttons.

I also came across my first "Anchor" as they're called in ESO - imagine rifts from Rift (although graphically they're better looking that Rift). They're a portal for Daedric monsters to slip into Tamriel. The one I fought tonight was very close to the elven starting town so it was mainly level 5-8 imps, clannfear and atronach's. You can see Anchors in the sky from quite a distance. I think we had probably 20+ players at it before it was defeated. I liked Rift so this was pretty familiar but at same time awesome. Fighting in larger group wasn't bad, even with the graphically stunning Anchor and large group of players game wasn't choppy. Also, there was a lot of chatting between players at the Anchor so it didn't feel so much like Elder Scrolls with a chat window as I'd been feeling before. A thing about group fighting - since the game doesn't rely heavily on the "trinity" (heals, tanks, dps) it can be very hectic. Yes, some of the Templars stood back and group healed during the fighting but a lot of the success was based on folks reacting to either their potential death or to help kill mobs on others before that player died. It def makes the fights feel more epic.

Figured it would be best to use my money wisely so bought 10 slot increase of my backpack and 10 slot increase of bank space (2,400 gold!) so I can keep collecting tradeskill items without cramping my inventory to much. I still intend to develop some crafting skills, just not sure what to focus on yet. The crafting element of the game is in-depth and a little intimidating because of the "research" element which I really don't understand yet.

Sitting at level 9, almost 10! Working this weekend but hope to get to 10 and try out some PvP on Saturday or Sunday! Wish I took a pic of the anchor but forgot to in the battle.
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Updated April 5th, 2014 at 02:59 AM by Erol

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