Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the category “ESO news & info”

Crown Sale! Earthtear! Whee!

@Zells - sepia stone - small

Have been super busy lately (sorry about the silence!), but I almost posted yesterday just to whine about the fact that it had been 19 weeks since the last Crown sale. I’ve been waiting since February to buy Crowns for Earthtear Cavern, and I was beginning to drum my fingers impatiently on the desk. There may have been some frowning.

But lo! Today begins a Crown sale! Huzzah! Much rejoicing! Earthtear shall be mine!

(!!!All Teh Exclamation points!!!)

And yes, I’ve seen the Aldmeri Grotto, and yes, it’s… all-the-superlatives. Truly magnificent. Outclasses Earthtear by a solid mile. So much so that it was a bit overwhelming – I’d actually rather try and talk my favorite guild into getting it than have it myself. Also… I have plans for Earthtear; I’ve been playing in it for months, I will not be side-tracked. Gimme. :p

Summerset Isle as a whole is a spectacularly beautiful zone, in that super-manicured-lawn-way of the Altmer. I’ll put up some screenshots next week. I also have a couple of posts mostly-finished about alt builds – speed/harvester build, thief build, etc. – and hopefully will get those up next week. Also planning a farming guide for the new motifs. Oh, and I’ve been doing research on the Psijic Order and Altmer history/mythology.

Hm. Perhaps another reason I haven’t posted lately is because I’ve started a half-dozen things I haven’t finished, lol.

But for now I’m basking in the glow reflected off my new shiny stack of Crowns, and looking forward to logging in tonight. ūüôā wooooooooooot


Morrowind access changes!

@Zells - sepia stone - smallSuper big news just hit, and I want to help spread the word. The official press release from ZOS is at this link.

In a nutshell: when Summerset drops on June 5, the patch update will change Morrowind access – it will become a DLC. That means all ESO+ subscribers will have it. Additionally, the Battlegrounds will become part of the base game, available to everyone. The Warden class will not be fully unlocked, but it will be available for purchase in the Crown store, and there will also be a Crown store pack that will contain the digital extras currently available by purchasing Morrowind.

When Morrowind was first announced, there was a collective uproar from the community because the ESO+ description says subscribers have access to all DLCs, yet to get around that, ZOS deliberately defined Morrowind as a “chapter” instead. It’s still a point of contention, and I get why. But I was in retail a long, long time, so I also understand profit margins, and the pros and cons of living in a capitalist society. I didn’t like ZOS’s decision, but I understood it. There’s a reason pay-to-play expansions are a standard in the MMO world.

No decision is going to please every single person in the community, but this feels like a great compromise, and if it’s the new model, I approve.

Happy Birthday, ESO!

ESO is 4 years old this month, but there were no holiday events the first year, so we are heading into the 3rd birthday party. Official announcement release is at this link.

The birthday event may be my favorite. Possibly because it was the first event – they have holidays in WoW and I missed them in ESO, so I was excited they’d been introduced, and I like that they started with a birthday celebration.

But I also like the event because the rewards are linked to dailies & weeklies, which means a wide variety in activities you can do to participate. My biggest single issue w/the the events (which I think is everyone’s issue) is that repeating the same activities for the rewards gets boring. Not an issue during the birthday fest.

Also: rare motif pages can drop in the reward boxes, and as a craftaholic, I’ve been looking forward to those reward boxes for months. ūüôā

It amuses me that the cakes get a new tier each year; that’s going to be a biiiiig cake in a decade.

Chef and Jubilee Cake - ESO 2nd yr birthday

Last year’s two-tier cake.

In addition to announcing the event, the promo article also listed a bunch of fun stats, which I’m copying below… and congrats to my EP buddies, I feel I should add. ūüôā

ESO Turns Four!

In these four years, we’ve been proud to hit some big-time milestones, including 10 million players last year. That said, the ESO community has hit some pretty amazing milestones of their own. Check out these incredible in-game statistics from PC/Mac launch until today:

  • Total number of monsters killed: 15,881,472,493
  • Total number of players killed: 1,346,033,201
  • Total number of Soul Gems used: 1,183,836,570
  • Total number of quests completed: 2,064,266,404
  • Total number of items crafted: 7,415,834,454
  • Total number of achievements earned: 1,145,234,018

And, finally, here’s some additional numbers that might surprise:

  • Most popular race: High Elf (14.98% of all characters)
  • Most popular Alliance: Ebonheart Pact (36.33% of all characters)
  • Most PvP Kills by Alliance: Ebonheart Pact (122,490,253 kills)
  • Highest unpaid bounty: 248,655,731 gold
  • Highest paid bounty: 362,324 gold

Chapter 2: Summerset Isle

@Zells - sepia stone - smallBack in this post I speculated on the content of the next chapter, and at that point I had my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t be Summerset. Not that I hate the idea, but there are just so many other areas I’d have liked to seen them add first.

Not too proud to admit when I’m wrong, however, and I was. As y’all know by now, we’re heading to Summerset. There was foreshadowing galore, it makes sense… my denial had more to do with how much I want to see Azura’s realm of Moonshadow more than, y’know, logic. Maybe next year. ūüôā

The Altmer are interesting, and I’ll do a lore post or two about them before the chapter hits. And I’m certainly not going to argue about how beautiful the promo footage looks. But there’s one thing in the new chapter I didn’t anticipate at all, and hadn’t heard anyone speak of in rumor: the Psijic Order.

The Psijic Order is mysterious but super cool, and I’ve wanted to know more about them for years. Excited to finally meet them, and even more excited that we get to join. This is a much bigger deal to me than Summerset itself. The new skill line sounds… game-changing, in many ways. I love the idea of the Do Over ability as time manipulation, since that’s their thing. I’ll probably also be doing a lore post on the Order – there’s not a whole lot we know about them, and I think they’ve flown under the radar of a lot of players. Entirely possible for a TES player to not know of them at all if they haven’t played Skyrim. And even then, you know of them, but not necessarily about them.

And, of course, the biggest news to hit the game for a while: jewelry-crafting is coming. We don’t know a lot right now, but in the stream Rich specifically mentioned Hunding’s Rage jewelry, so we’ll definitely be able to craft jewelry for currently-craftable sets. That will make a huge difference in building set combinations – to date it’s been impossible to wear two crafted sets unless you were wearing the Endurance/Willpower/Agility jewelry, which beginning players – or those who don’t do PvP or group content – won’t have. It eliminates some of the jigsaw-puzzle aspect of set-building, and, of course, it will mean a drastic change in how much folks have to farm to complete an end-game set.

Honestly, I’m impressed with how much effort they’ve put into eliminating the worst of the grinding – between transmutation and jewelry crafting, it will no longer be necessary to run the same dungeon a jillion times to get a gear set. IMO, it’s a bit of a risky move for an MMO – the standard model across most MMO platforms is for end-game content to suck up player time with forced-grinding situations. It’s why a lot of players leave MMOs, get bored, or don’t play them to begin with. So I applaud the shift, and also the guts it took to step away from the standard formula.

On the off chance that you haven’t seen the official announcements, here’s the link to the article on the ESO website, and if you missed the original announcement interview, here’s the Twitch link. Rich is wearing pants this time. ūüôā

ESO’s Play-Test Server (PTS): what, how, why

@Zells - sepia stone - smallThanks to Earthtear Cavern, I have logged onto the Play-Test Server for the first time, and it’s been both frustrating and fun. Not everything was intuitively obvious, so I’m going to walk through what the PTS is, how you can access it, and why you might want to.

Annnnnd: cut. Read more…

March Crown Store offerings

Literally two posts ago, I wistfully asked ZOS to add magick-y-looking sigils and glowy bits to the furnishings. The reason I wanted them right now was so I could get a handful of Gargoyle achievement statues and make them look like they’re capable of coming alive to protect the treasure vault I’ll be building in Earthtear. It was a Plan B idea, since I couldn’t get large, animated monsters to put in there.

The March Crown store offerings have been announced, and this is the promo pic for a furnishings pack called Hubalajad’s Treasure Bundle:

RaGada funerary furnishings pack

That’s a “Mournful Aegis” in the center. It’s a guardian. Of treasure. It comes with the pack, which will be available March 8 through March 12. Also: tons of glittery valuables for the vault.

I mean…

Dear ZOS,

‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

Thanks & Kisses,

Event Catch-Up: Wild Hunt, Jester’s Fest, Happy Birthday, ESO!

@Zells - sepia stone - smallI’ve been having so much fun playing with my dollhouse I haven’t done much of anything else.¬†¬†(Downstairs is done now,¬†hopefully will have the next post up tomorrow or next week.)¬† But for now…

Wild Hunt Crown Crates – RNG is a bizarre mistress.¬† Bipolar,¬†gives mixed signals, yet here we all are, courting her.¬† Back in December I had¬†some Christmas money,¬†and decided to buy a big pack of the storm crates.¬†Didn’t have much luck, as I described –¬†15 crates, no mount, very few big items, ended up converting¬†all I could¬†to gems and buying the belly dancer veil that way.¬† Wasn’t impressed. Of¬†the available treats in the Wild Hunt crates,¬†I wanted two: the methrot multicolored hair, and the ancestor moths pet.¬†¬†I had gems left over from¬†before, so I got¬†4 more crates, and¬†could convert enough trash into gems¬†to¬†get the methrot hair,¬†but not enough for the moths.¬† However, I did much, much better in terms of getting the high-end prizes: an apex mount¬†(the wolf),¬†two pets, the leaf aura,¬†and the Hircine banner.¬†¬†Nice, but¬†I wouldn’t have¬†bought any of those outright,¬†and I’d absolutely trade in both pets for the ancestor moths.¬† In other words, whether I do well or not, I’m still ambivalent about Crown Crates. Grade: C+

Jester’s Festival – Hm.¬† On the plus side, like with the New Life fest, I love how it was integrated into the world lore; it felt like something that was really happening in Tamriel.¬† On the other hand, I got super tired of doing those 3 quests, and quit after only 1 character had the full achievement, compared to the 5-7 each for the Halloween and New Life fests.¬† And partly I bailed because distribution on the drops was so off – I have ~20 of those Jester banners now, and I wasn’t excited about the other prizes.¬†¬†Jester’s wasn’t my¬†favorite so far, but it was a fun little diversion, and not every holiday event has to be huge.¬† Grade: B-

2nd Anniversary Party! (for ESO’s 3rd birthday, lol) – This was great.¬† No caveats, no “buts”.¬† Fantastic set-up.¬† Hooking the rewards to dailies meant every player could play/celebrate the way¬†we each wanted, but there was still a group element, because players were grouping for dungeons and WBs.¬† And there was incentive to participate, because the rewards in the boxes were real rewards – pre-existing, highly-sought items people already wanted, and not simply event-related gimmicks.¬† Even the “trash” in the boxes were still useful (mats can be sold, if not needed), and seemed skewed towards housing mats¬†(yay). In addition to¬†sacraments/heists, guild, and WB dailies, I did a hella lot of writs¬†because those were the fastest dailies, and as a crafter I had 9 alts already certified in all 6 crafts.¬† (9×6=56/day, which I did several times,¬†and yeah, it took hours.) Normally I don’t do writs on the alts with lower-level skills, but for the low price of maple or iron, I got another present box with a chance of a great motif page.¬† Picked up a lot of Akiviri, Celestial, Glass, and alliance motif pages, in addition to the more common ones.¬† Happy birthday, indeed! Grade: A

As a general rule, I like the events, and I like having incentive to do particular things to help break me out of ruts.¬† I have to admit, however,¬†that¬†after New Life, the Jester’s Fest, and the birthday party, I am looking forward to just playing the game for a while. And¬†by “a while” I mean:¬†less than 5¬†weeks ’til Morrowind!

Patch Notes & Morrowind beta

@Zells - sepia stone - smallMorrowind beta is on the PTS, patch notes were released on the forums, and probably you have already heard the wailing.  Zone chat and YouTube are both full of expletive-filled rants; Deltia is done and will no longer be producing new ESO material.

Let’s all take a deep breath.

Solo games are¬†static, and you have total control¬†–¬†the only changes are mods you¬†install.¬† After a while, you figure out the combat mechanics, max out a character, and¬†start walking through¬†the content without trying hard.¬† And then you’re bored, and you go play another game.

MMOs are not static. The game will change, and¬†you do not have control over that – it’s¬†the nature¬†of MMOs, and it’s a good thing.¬† The goal is always perfect game balance, but¬†that’s an elusive mirage;¬†it will never be perfect, and¬†an¬†MMO¬†will never be “done”. As the rules flux, the build you’re attached to will change. That gear you worked so¬†hard to get will become obsolete.¬† That spell that slays in PvP will get nerfed. The more you rely on¬†something that always works, the more likely it is to be dialed down – that’s the very definition of balance.¬† It’s okay, you can adapt, you can learn a new trick.

The harder you work to¬†get into the¬†top tier of end-game players, the¬†more precise¬†your build gets, and the more¬†rule changes will affect you – that’s why PvPers and trial lords react so strongly. Any combination of crappy gear and skills will get you to 7K dps, after all, but if you’re pumping out 45K per second, it’s because¬†you’ve¬†set up¬†an¬†exacting combo of build, gear,¬†and skills¬†– change any¬†detail, the dps will drop.¬†Going from 7K to 6K isn’t noticeable, but going¬†from 45K to 35 sucks; cue the drama.

Specifically, the patch will be lowering sustain for all classes, and there’s a perception it’s being done to make the Warden the bestest class so everyone has to buy Morrowind in order to be competitive.¬† I have many thoughts on that. (The crowd gasps in shock.)

  • You can’t¬†truly grok mechanics changes from patch notes, you need to play them. Stuff¬†in patch notes doesn’t always affect playability¬†the way¬†people assume.¬†A lot of the bitching is coming from ppl who have only read the patch notes, so: grain of salt time. For those who have played, an NDA clause is in effect so no one can give details.¬†¬†I’m not saying it’s all lies, but I am¬†hearing a lot of untrue, wild-ass¬†rumors in chat being stated as fact – chill out.
  • Some people just like to hate things;¬†they¬†want to¬†feel¬†they’re better than¬†whatever it is that they’re doing, somehow above it.¬† That crowd is jumping in to shout “ZOS sux!”, whether they know what they’re talking about or not.¬†Some unsolicited life advice: H8ers are bottom feeders, don’t let them control your life choices.
  • PTS stands for Play-Test Server.¬†TEST.¬†Changes are implemented first on the PTS exactly so the mechanics can be evaluated –¬†mechanics can and do get changed before¬†content¬†goes live, often because the community has strong opinions.¬† The PTS literally exists so the devs can assess changes and get feedback; saying ZOS doesn’t care about what we think is nonsensical.
  • The sustain nerf isn’t happening just to you – if implemented it will effect everyone. Your Nightblade won’t be able to sustain, but neither will the enemy’s tank.¬† That does radically affect how combat plays out, yes, but it does not automatically mean that combat will suck or that you personally will be¬†affected more than the next guy. If you were a great player before, you can be a great player afterwards.
  • I keep hearing the sustain nerf is a money grab, but that doesn’t make sense.¬† Yeah, yeah – “If only Wardens are effective they’re making us buy Morrowind!” – but that’s not a working model for the game.¬†Any game. The system requires a mix of balanced classes to be viable – people like to play different ways.¬† At any given time that balance is going to be off (see above), maybe off a lot, but if it’s so skewed as to make all classes but one ineffective…¬†that doesn’t work, and the devs know it.¬† The balance¬†may be completely broken¬†the PTS right now¬†– I’m not in the beta, so I don’t know.¬†¬†But I am saying if that’s true, it’s highly unlikely it will¬†still be¬†true at launch.
  • ZOS definitely likes to turn a profit – Crown crates, yeah? But look… I’m sure there’s a small number of on-the-fence people, somewhere,¬†but the vast majority of us made the decision¬†to buy Morrowind (or not) when the trailer hit.¬† It’s Morrowind; ZOS doesn’t need strong-arm tactics, they just need Vivec and nostalgia.¬† They have far more to gain by putting out a solid game than they do by¬†forcing people into buying it against their will.
  • Many of the devs have played TES games since Arena, and they love¬†the game¬†as much as we do.¬†I choose to believe they care about making a good game, and I also¬†assume they’ll continue to work¬†on improving it. I’m a fangirl, and maybe I’m na√Įve, but I genuinely do not believe they sat around a table and said “let’s make all the other classes suck so ppl are forced to play the Warden!”

I¬†did receive a beta invite, but haven’t logged in yet and probably won’t.¬†¬†I play a fair amount – okay, a lot – but every time I log in, there’s still¬†more¬†that I want to do than I have time for.¬† Playing on the PTS always seems like a waste¬†to me, because it’s time I could have spent developing my “real” characters.¬† It’s the same reason I didn’t download the PTS to see housing before Homestead was released.¬† Also, I don’t¬†like spoilers or experiencing art in bits and pieces –¬†I want the full, in-context¬†experience as the artists intended.¬† Generally speaking, I prefer to give up the chance to see something¬†early in lieu of seeing it polished and complete.

So yeah, I’ve heard it all, and I’m still excited.¬† The classes will change, builds will change, the CP system will change… the game will continue evolving, sometimes in radical ways.¬† Some of¬†Morrowind will be buggy and some¬†aspects will be unbalanced, sure.¬† Always. But I have faith that most of it will rock, and the parts that don’t will get patched in the future.¬† I have faith that the devs are good at their jobs, and that they actually¬†care¬†about the game, goofy as that¬†may sound.

It’s nearing the end of the Spring semester; finals are getting close.¬† Everywhere I look, people are quietly (or not-so-quietly) losing their minds. Remember to breathe, and eat, and sleep, and like the Hitchhiker’s Guide says: DON’T PANIC. ūüôā

Gold Farming Techniques

@Zells - sepia stone - smallTaking a break from the house tour (will finish, tho!);¬†thought I’d talk about gold farming a bit.¬† I’ve gone through¬†a couple million gold¬†since Homestead dropped; someone asked me if I had a huge bankroll to start with and was surprised I’ve been¬†making 100 – 200K a week to fund my furnishings addiction.¬† They wanted to know my “trick.”¬† Honestly, that amount of gold is not extraordinary – the highest seller in my trading guild made 2 million gold in the first 3 days of this week, and she made 9 million last week.¬† A 150K average is not hard.¬† I rarely focus solely on gold farming;¬†mostly I’ve¬†just figured out ways to make gold while I’m doing the stuff I like to do.

Search “eso gold” on YouTube and you’ll get¬†dozens and dozens of vids.¬† They’re¬†mostly fine, but¬†each focuses on one¬†very specific method,¬†and¬†most don’t¬†work for me because I don’t like to do¬†the¬†things they describe.¬† And¬†some¬†rely upon exploits that have been patched, or describe a random lucky break that’s impossible to replicate.

So here’s “The Zells Guide to Gold Farming for Beginners & People Who Hate Gold Farming.”¬† Like my post on running Dark Brotherhood Sacraments & Thieves Guild heists,¬†it will be¬†long-but-thorough, and I’ll update it if I think of something new or¬†if¬†a patch requires it.

Read more…

Luxury Furnishings

@Zells - sepia stone - smallBoy, have I been goin’ through the gold.¬†¬† Theoretically I’m saving money for the Sleek Creek house in Rawl’kha, but the achievement furnishings are so cool that it’s hard not to buy them.¬† I’m farming more, auctioning more, finishing up achievements I’ve put off… what a huge boost Homestead has been w/r/t to player activity.

What’s really kicking my bank account’s ass, however, is the luxury items.¬† I have no regrets – those glow-y flowers are glow-y… how can I be expected to resist that?¬† Also, drapes and the gazebo…

My screensaver at work is an ESO slideshow of ‘caps I take as I play.¬† Yesterday, this popped up:


This was taken in Hew’s Bane, during a Thieves Guild quest where you attend, yes, a wedding.¬† There’s the wedding gazebo, and the huge hanging drapes.¬† The rose trellis is also part of this cell.¬† That’s why those pieces are called “wedding drapes”, etc.

I’m weirdly excited about this, because I often see cool objects in special quest areas, and now that we have housing I’m looking at the world with a modder’s eye again – “how could I reuse that piece?¬† would it work in that one spot if I turned it on its side?”.¬† I’m hoping that the luxury vendor continues to pull cool set pieces from quest events like this.

Btw – I am continuing to farm Remains Silent with both my DB characters, and I got another rare furnishings drop the other night that’s not one of the three I shared before.¬† It’s a set of candles stuck in and dripping¬†down wine bottles.¬† So there are definitely more than the 3 I mentioned before.¬† I will post a screencap¬†soon and update that other post.

Enjoy your farming!

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