Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the category “Zellfire”

‘Fire’s Workshop (Black Vine Villa tour) pt. 1: The Garden

@Zells - sepia stone - smallBlack Vine was actually the first player home I bought – it’s relatively cheap, has indoor & outdoor space, and it allowed me to jump in and start playing with the housing editor.  But it took me months to figure out how I wanted to use it, and months more to find the right ways to do it after I knew what I wanted.  Then additional weeks to pick away at the list of expensive, shiny achievement furnishings.  And then Icy put up her preview of the Clockwork City furnishings, and I waited a couple more weeks until CWC hit so I could include those shinies.

Black Vine Villa is Zellfire’s magical workshop.  It isn’t her home; it’s the secluded place where she tinkers with things that might explode or create portals or gain sentience and start eating people.  Which is really exceptionally considerate of her, given that she’s a product of Divayth Fyr and Telvanni ethics. 🙂

(Y’know, now that I think about it, she probably just moved there to keep nosey people from poking through her stuff.  Yeah… that sounds more Telvanni.)

It’s also the place where ‘Fire stores shiny things she picks up while adventuring.  If you’ve ever had an art studio, or builder’s shop, or if you do any kind of crafts, then you know how items that “might be useful some day” end up shoved into corners.  That’s how ‘Fire uses Black Vine – she sees something that might be useful (or just strikes her fancy) and has it shipped back to the workshop to play with later.

Because of that, I wanted the place to be half storage area / half mad scientist studio, packed to bursting with bits and bobbles shoved into every corner, but I also wanted it to be ridiculously pretty, with aesthetically-pleasing clutter.

This post’s pictures (after the cut) are of the garden; interior shots will be in part 2.
Read more…

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9/9!! (almost)

Zellfire profile pic - face onlyTonight when I log in, I will start research on the last trait Zellfire needs for blacksmithing.  And with that, I will be a mere 28 days away from being 9 of 9 on all crafting skills.

I don’t regret splitting the crafting skills up over 5 alts in the beginning – it allowed me to focus skill points and max out the skills faster.  If I had to do it over again I would do the same thing, except I would have started ‘Fire’s research simultaneously.  As it was, I didn’t start her research until I learned how rare motifs work, so she got a really late start on wood-working and blacksmithing.

But now it’s finally at an end.  After almost 2 years I can throw away the sticky note I’ve had in my calendar that I’ve been using to track when the next research starts.  Yay. 🙂

In other exciting news, the Witches’ Festival will be beginning next week, really looking forward to that.  They’re re-releasing the Grim Harlequin motif and the Scarecrow and Pumpkin costumes are back. I like that new people are getting a shot at those items, but I’m also hoping there’s something new in the mix.  And Clockwork City will be dropping on the 23rd, which…

::babbles incoherently for 20 minutes before stopping to take a breath::

I’m looking forward to seeing it, let’s leave it at that. 🙂  It’s a good month for Tamriel.

One other update: I am still working on the YouTube channel and hope to have my first video up next week.  It’s been a learning curve – had to find and learn recording software, editing software, figure out the voice-over recording, etc.  But I think the technical aspects are mostly beaten into shape.  I’ll do another post with an announcement once there is content on the channel.

Happy Fredas, everyone!

Excuses, Midyear Mayhem, and a Screencap

@Zells - sepia stone - smallIt’s very nearly August; I have no idea how that happened.  Time is a concept I don’t fully understand.

Excuses
Lately the time I usually spend on posts has been soaked up by a couple of things:

1) I am still obsessively doing research to fine-tune Zellfire’s build and have learned a ton about meta building along the way.  I might do a post on meta builds, because even though I’m far from an expert, and there’s a lot of information already out there, most of it is that “give a man a fish” type of advice – “here’s a build, do it this way”.  And that’s a good place to start, but when I hear people discussing how they can’t get past this or that threshold, it’s because they don’t understand how the meta information fits together and/or are doing something they were told to do that doesn’t work for them.

2) My other distraction is that I have an IRL friend who will hopefully be joining ESO soon, and I’ve been emailing them “Beginner’s Guide to ESO” information.  I may do a series of linked posts with those write-ups.  There were so many things I learned eventually but would have loved to have known sooner: stable training, crafting research, how zone sets drop….  I’d like to provide a source of basic starter information for someone who doesn’t yet know how to ask Google for specific things.

Midyear Mayhem is underway!
Midyear Mayhem is the latest holiday event, and it’s PvP themed.  I kind of have a love/hate relationship with PvP.  I do enjoy it once I’m in Cyro – even when I’m dying – but most of the time when I think of going it sounds… stressful.  I’ve also heard complaints about the purely code-driven aspects of the event – achievements not recording, servers crashing, queues in the hundreds, various other things.  I’ve experienced most of that myself.  I have started doing the event achievements, but for the first time I don’t know that I’ll finish them all, even on one character.

Having said all that, I think it’s a well-designed event, for the most part.  Part of the devs job is to get people to try content they’re avoiding, and I like that they’re giving incentives to give PvP a try.  And I really do want that laurel crown.  So I guess this weekend I’ll take a deep breath and give Battlegrounds a try even though I find the idea super intimidating and have been putting it off.  Way to go, devs, ya got me.

If you see me in Cyrodil or in a Battleground this weekend, wave hi before you kill me.  🙂

(Just being friendly!  Not at all an opportunity for me to get another couple of seconds to run!)

Screencaps
This week I sorted through a bunch of my screencaps and added new ones to my computer’s slideshow.  Here’s one of my favorites.  Happy Friday!

Screenshot_20170708_202243

DPS Build Tweaking

@Zells - sepia stone - smallFor the last few months I’ve been working on getting my dps game up to the next level.  Or, to be honest, any level at all.  I originally made all my skill choices for RP reasons – Zellfire has been a fire mage for twenty years; she’s part fire atronach, she uses fire.  I was a little disappointed that the mage skill lines include a shock-based line (Storm Calling) but no fire-based skills.

In the solo games, the choice of element was purely aesthetic, but what I’ve found in ESO is that Zellfire just isn’t effective using only fire-based Inferno Staff skills – the Storm Calling line has serious advantages, and not using it really hamstrung me in terms of end-game performance.  The first time I tested my dps numbers against a training dummy, I was under 6K.  Which did get me through solo/PvE content, but in end-game… sucks.  I couldn’t pull my weight in group-play, and that was not acceptable.

It took me quite a while to fix the build, because in addition to farming gear, I also had to put Storm Calling on my bar and raise it first – when I started this merry up-my-game adventure, my Storm Calling skill was 3, even though ‘Fire was at the CP cap.  I had literally never used it and couldn’t even buy most of the spells.  I had to raise the skill line, level the spells themselves, learn how to use them, respec her skill points, her CP, and completely change her gear…

Finally got the build to a point where I felt like I might be approaching “competent”.  So I installed the combat metrix add-on and went out to farm dolmens and see where my numbers were.  Most of my dolmen-boss fights ended up in the 17-28K range, which actually is mostly-sort-of-competent, go me.

But also – this happened, and I’m still giggling about it:

DPS 60K 2

60K DPS!  This is what statisticians call an “outlier”.

Screenshot or it didn’t happen, right?  Totally a freak moment, but for a little over a second there, I was a serious badass. 🙂

In real terms, I’m still not quite where I could be / want to be, but after studying the numbers, I’m pretty sure I know what needs to be adjusted.  I need to farm Burning SpellWeave gear (because I’m not letting go of fire damage without a fight, dammit), so I’ve spent some time this week watching YouTube vids of City of Ash runs.  There were several “solo run” vids, and those players were running various kinds of combat-stats add-ons, so I could see their numbers.  Their dps was better than mine, but not by a huge margin.  I decided to try it myself and see how it went.
First solo
This is ‘Fire, standing over the body of the final boss in City of Ash.  I totally did it, my first solo run through a group dungeon.  I burned through about 20 soul gems on the Warden mini-boss, but Razor Master Erthas went down the first attempt.  Don’t know if you can see the HP, but I was down to 5.6% when he fell.  I was also on fire and was so excited I didn’t realize it.  All the mobs were down, so it didn’t really matter, but by the time I figured out I was still taking damage and jumped into the water, I was at .2%.

I can still say I cleared the end boss without dying, though. 🙂

I need a full set of BSW gear.  I need practice in the dungeons with groups so I know where to stand and when to run and where to run and which enemy to attack and how to better coordinate with the tanks and healers.  But I’m getting there.

Before I wrap this up, I have to say: I ❤ my Grothdarr set.  The first time it proc’d and the lava pool erupted around ‘Fire’s feet, I was so happy and caught up in how cool it was I quit paying attention to the fight and got ‘Fire killed.  Poor Zellfire, she tries so hard, but her player has the attention span of a squir – oh, look, something shiny!

 

Happy Friday, everyone, and happy hunting!

Quotes from Tamriel

“Have you heard the one about the Telvanni chef?  Her idea of a hot meal was burning down the tower!”
– Guard at Kragenmoor, Stonefalls

“Sheesh, you forget one plate of Fishy Sticks in the oven, burn down one mushroom tower, you hear about it for years.  This is why I don’t cook.” – Zellfire

Zellfire’s ritual journal notes

Screenshot_20160404_190121 - faceI expected the Khajiit in Reaper’s March to be more concerned about my shadow-cat mount, given how strongly they react to their corrupted Dro-m’Atha kin, but no one seems to care – they seem to recognize their enemy Namira is not part of it.  The level of nuance in their understanding has surprised me several times, and not just in this.  It is possible that I have underestimated the strength and complexity of Khajiit magic.

I certainly did not expect them to ask me to help complete an extensive ritual to choose the new Mane.  Winning over Ayrenn and gaining access to the Altmer royal court was the largest coup I anticipated.  Nonetheless, the new Mane now considers me a friend and owes me a debt.  I’m sure Divayth would be pleased, if I told him.

And I find I’m missing the arrogant bastard, but when I think about contacting him, all I want to do is yell and argue.  Have to wait longer until that passes.

Apologizing is in neither of our natures, but I still do not understand why he reacted so badly – looking back, it seems it was the Dro-m’Atha mount that set him off.  Makes no sense; has to be something else going on in Tel Fyr – why should it bother him more than it does the Khajiit?

They are calling me “Hallowed” now, as a title.  It is… oddly touching.  As aware as I am that having the new Mane indebted to me will no doubt be useful in the future, I must admit, here if nowhere else, that’s not why I did it.  It was enough in the moment to follow the path to its end, and enjoy the satisfaction of fulfilling that purpose.  I do not generally put much stock into prophecies and sacred titles or duties – they are constructs – but… well.  I will repeat that there is more to the Khajiit magic and beliefs than I first suspected.  What I used to see as an obsession with the moons is actually a rich and powerful system.

Another surprise: I am nearly certain that Azura has become involved in my affairs.  I’ve suspected the Prince’s presence a couple of times since I summoned the Dro-m’Atha mount, but I am certain I felt it during the Moon Hallowed ritual, even though I have no proof.  It is interesting that I have caught “her” interest; we have not had many dealings in the past, though I know Divayth sometimes does.  I have never thought much about Azura, but given what I’ve seen, I can imagine it would be… interesting, at least.

It was incredibly satisfying to kill Javad Tharn; such a delight to find he was behind the attacks in Reaper’s March and the Mane.  I had to work with Abnur last week, and his continual, petty insults get under my skin.  I should have killed him when I had the chance, despite what Divayth wanted.

writing myself into various corners

@Zells - sepia stone - smallWhen I started this blog, I assumed I’d be writing regular story-line updates for my mains as I did the quests.  What actually happened is that I binge-played through a whole bunch of story very quickly during my downtime on the weekends, but didn’t have time to update the blog as much as I wanted during the week due to grad school.  So story-line-wise, the blog is way behind where the characters are.  That dampened my enthusiasm for writing the blog for a while, but lately I’ve been mostly farming motifs, so there’s been no real “story” for my characters, and I’m working on catching up with the threads I started.

On that note, however – couple of story issues have also been giving me trouble.  Generally speaking, TES world is well-realized and makes internal sense.  When I see things that exist solely because it’s a video game, I have to fan-wank it until I can smooth out the edges and make it fit. I saw the Dro-m’Atha mount and immediately wanted it, but I’m at a loss to explain how my reasonably-good-aligned characters are okay with riding a creature made by Namira specifically to bring corruption to the world.  (Both the Maw of Lorkhaj and the Reaper’s March zone quests directly involve fighting the Dro-m’Atha; they’re bad guys.)  Nyx wouldn’t touch anything of Namira’s with a ten-foot pole.  Zellfire is more morally flexible, but being a creature of fire she’s metaphysically opposed to Namira, as fire is traditionally what is used to cleanse corruption.

So my fan-wank was to decide the Dro-m’Atha also exist in Azura’s Twilight Realm, that there’s “overlap” of the spheres in Oblivion, and the “tame” mounts we’re all riding are Azura’s, not Namira’s.  That works fine in my head and soothes the “but whyyyyy” itch, but it’s also not canon, and as I proceed forward with Zellfire’s story, it includes more Azura and gets less canon.  I’ve been disinclined to write it here for fear the “what the hell is she on about?” quotient just gets too high, since it doesn’t exactly jibe with what’s in the game.

I didn’t intend for ‘Fire’s argument with Divayth to stretch out for weeks of real time, but I had to figure out if I wanted to resolve it in the way that I’d originally conceived, or if I wanted to change the approach and write-out Azura.  I don’t, though.  So I’m going to keep proceeding forward, and I’ll flag the non-canon bits as I can.

(“Nobody cares this much but you, Zells.”  Yeah, I’ve heard that before.)

Related note: before we lost “baby maw runs” to OneTamriel, I finished collecting all the motif pieces for the Dro-m’Atha armor and weapons, and they are awesome-looking.  Nyx is a night-themed character (“Nyx” in mythology is the Greek goddess of night) and she looks gorgeous in her Dro-m’Atha armor.  I’m looking forward to posting pictures. 🙂

Zellfire, to Divayth

Screenshot_20160404_190121 - faceDivayth,

Your courier caught up with me; I burned the letter unopened.  I told you I would let you know when my temper had cooled.  It hasn’t, yet.

Incidentally – you asked me not to attack Abnur Tharn unless he attacked me first.  He has not, but I did enjoy killing his nephew Javad, who did attack me.  I hope that is not “inconvenient” for you.

Seraphiira

 

Zellfire, to Divayth

Screenshot_20160404_190121 - faceDivayth,

I have received your messages.  Or rather, I received the first eleven of them, decided I had seen all I needed to see for a while and that eleven was a fortuitous number at which to stop.  I have instructed the Mage’s Guild to destroy any further communications from you until I give them different instructions.  They balked at first, but I told them they could charge your account three times the usual fee as compensation for the extra service and that resolved the matter quite nicely.

At this point you are already ranting aloud at me in your study, but honestly, if you wanted an obedient minion, you should not have crossed your own DNA with a fire atronach.  I have a difficult time feeling sorry for you regarding the “trials” I am putting on you – I mean that, as you should know, quite literally: sympathy is not an emotion that comes easily to me.  By your own design, as you might recall.

I am not normally inclined to justifying or defending my actions.  As you are not.  But out of respect and affection, I will address your concerns. Read more…

Zellfire, to Divayth

Screenshot_20160404_190121 - faceSer Paatr,

Have you ever met or had dealings with Abnur Tharn?  Is he a necessary contact or source of information?  Is he useful to you?

Am fantasizing about setting him on fire.  Please advise.

Your flame,
Seraphiira

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