Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the category “Zellspeak”

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

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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

The Skooma Bubbler Conspiracy

If you got to this blog post from a “Skooma Bubbler” search, you’re probably looking for this information: the Bubblers and the pattern can still be gotten in-game, but only by pickpocketing npcs with the “Drunkard” designation. The Bubbler itself is a rare drop; the pattern is a very rare drop, but it’s possible. The best places to try are Inns, or towns with celebrations going on, like Skywatch or Windhelm. Good luck!

Now on to the Actual Post…

Khajiit-Skooma-BubblerIt’s the little things that keep me up at night, like the fact that we harvest honeycomb from wasps during the New Life Festival. What’s up with that ZOS? And this has bugged me from the first time I saw it. The picture on the left is a “Khajiit Skooma Bubbler”.

Look at the color of the glass and the curved shape of those weird pointy bits. I don’t know how much time you’ve spent looking at furnishing items, but I have an hour or two invested, and I call shenanigans.

Let’s take a look at some Dunmer furnishings:

Dark Elf furnishings side-by-side

And for comparison, here’s a few actually-Khajiit items:

Khajiit furnishings side-by-side

The shape of the pointy bits is different, the color of the gold metal is different, and no other Khajiit item is that green color.

That’s not a Khajiit Skooma Bubbler, y’all – that’s a Dark Elf Skooma Bubbler.

I’m imagining the dude who invented it was in the process of manufacturing and shipping out a few hundred of them when he got busted by Ordinators. He immediately pointed at his Khajiit slaves, shouted “All theirs!”, pocketed the gold in the confusion, and ran. The Ordinators said, “Sure, that tracks,” and killed all the Khajiit on site, because: Ordinators. They then labelled all the boxes “Khajiit Skooma Bubblers” and sent them to the evidence locker in Vivec City. Where, of course, they promptly went missing.

The Dunmer know darn well those things were designed with Vvardenfell glass by a Vvardenfell artisan, but as a people they excel at both self-deception and blame-shifting. Meanwhile, the Khajiit are like, “Meh, whatever, add the accusation to the list of injustices, just quit Bogarting.”

Conversations with Sotha Sil

This is what the inside of my head sounds like when I’m playing in Clockwork City. Happy Friday!

Screenshot_20171105_202049

People say life is the product of our choices, but I’ve never found that to be the case.
– Sotha Sil, at the culmination of Clockwork City’s main quest

Zells: Okay, but… the “Dancing Spider” fabricants: those were a choice, right? They didn’t exist, and you decided to make them, and now they’re everywhere, jumping on me, making that snickity-snackity sound with their pruning shear pincers as they try and sever my body parts… leaping clockwork spider-bots, Sil. You did that. On purpose. Choices matter.

Sil: Life is such a mystery; who among us can precisely define causality?

Zells: And hey, about that mega-processed “nutrient paste” everyone trapped in your Clockwork City eats to survive… I’ve noticed there are no graveyards here, no bodies. Have you ever considered that your choices are not the choices others would make, if they had the chance?

Sil: “Choice” and “chance” are both illusions, of course. The flow of time does not alter its course for the wishes of individuals, regardless of their nobility of purpose.

Zells: Riiiiight. Speaking of that no-graveyards issue – I also notice you encourage your apostles to be curious about all things, except information about the process by which you create your factotum servants is behind a hard firewall. And I’ve noticed the factotums say “By Seht’s Will I am bound” quite frequently. Would it be wrong to assume those factotums are powered by soul gems containing the souls of your former citizens? Perhaps that’s why so many of them end up “defective” and prone to attacking everyone? Since being trapped in a soul gem in a metal body is an unbearable existence that drives souls mad?

~cough~Asylum Sanctorum~cough~

Sil: Existential boundaries are always in flux, a continuum rather than a clear divide as we all like to fool ourselves into believing. From the long view, who of us can say what “life” even is?

Zells: Yeah, that’s what I thought. So glad we had this talk. You’re the worst, buddy.

Sil: I don’t disagree; I anticipate paying quite dearly for my many transgressions. If only I could have altered my behavior at some point and prevented any of this from happening.

Zells: If only.

Mournful Aegis!

I have a long lore post about St. Alessia and the founding of the Empire almost ready to publish. I was going to finish that today, but then this happened:

Mournful Aegis at Hundings

There are many like it, but this one is mine. ‚̧

I’ll be moving him to Earthtear once I’ve got it, but right now he’s floating at the entrance of my Hunding’s – primary residence – so guildies can stop by and see. I don’t have enough item space to have the funerary statues set up there, but they are all out for viewing at another house, which I’m happy to take people to. Feel free to stop by if I’m on your friends list, and if not, send me a mail or a PM.

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,
Zells

Earthtear Cavern / housing plans

@Zells - sepia stone - smallWhen¬†making player-house mods for the solo games, I sometimes start from scratch and drop a new building into the environment, but usually not. My favorite kind of housing mod is¬†when the character¬†finds a place they like¬†while adventuring and “moves in” after they’ve cleared the place. I find the exact cell and make the changes; once installed the mod removes enemy spawn spots, cleans up any bad-guy messes, and adds in the character-specific¬†furnishings.

Sometimes those mods are in proper houses or other structures, but just as often I retro-fit¬†cool environments I find¬†into living spaces, as though the character had renovated them. My thief will bust a smuggling operation and then take over their cave system with its little cove and boats and tricked-out Smuggler Boss¬†Bedroom of Stolen Luxury Items. My city-hating¬†Bosmer¬†finds a beautiful wilderness cave with¬†trees and water and sun pouring in from a break in the cave’s ceiling,¬†and I mod out the¬†bears and skeevers¬†and mod in a treehouse.¬†And my mage Zellfire finds herself some Ayleid ruins with a¬†majestic view and¬†makes herself a library,¬†lab,¬†treasure vault,¬†trophy room, and a bedroom worthy of an Emperor.

The first time I walked into Earthtear Cavern, I got chills. It’s so much like a place I once mod’d that it’s a little creepy, tbh.¬†Except Earthtear is so, so¬†much better than mine¬†– the way the view extends out of the cave structure at the far end is glorious, and I’ve never¬†made an Ayleid-ruins house with waterfalls, which just seems like a huge oversight now, because waterfalls make everything better, always. D’uh, Zells.

I always¬†knew I was going to¬†buy Earthtear,¬†it was just a matter of¬†time. But Earthtear’s a challenge – the open space requires¬†a plan; a lot of big, expensive furnishings; and will take a mountain of gold and raw materials. There was no point in buying it¬†when it was first offered.¬†I couldn’t have done anything with it.

A year after I saw first saw it: it is finally time.

In the solo games I only run one mage, Zellfire, and I only build one magey house for her. In ESO I have a couple of mages I play a lot, and almost interchangeably – Fire & Umbra – they¬†pass gear back and forth so much I decided they¬†were friends.¬†For the last couple of months I’ve been wanting to start work on a house for Fire, and as I was thinking about what kinds of spaces she would use, I realized: a) putting together a proper library with massive amounts of books, papers, and library¬†flotsam is going to be an expensive, time-consuming¬†pain in the butt*, and b) Umbra¬†also wants a library in her house, and there’s no way I’m doing all that twice.¬†At that point¬†they went from being friends to deciding to share a home.

*(It’s possible I am still traumatized from the Morrowind library I mod’d more than ten years ago, with Every. Single. Book. in the TES3¬†game present and organized by subject matter (yeah, really), then¬†alphabetized (oh yeah, I’m nuts) and¬†perfectly aligned¬†on three dozen bookshelves in 2 different rooms,¬†all with¬†no working snap-to-edge feature in the mod’ing software. (Seriously: nuts.)¬†But it looked great when I was done. :p )

So I started re-evaluating all the houses, looking for a place that fit both¬†Fire & Umbra. Was more of¬†a challenge than I expected,¬†tho’¬†– they want to share a library and lab, and they both want a trophy¬†space and a serious vault w/treasures, but Umbra also¬†wants an Azura shrine (and Sithis shrine) and Fire is not a huge fan of¬†religious devotion, so it¬†needs to be out of the way.¬†Fire, who is my main crafter, wants big, well-laid out crafting areas, but Umbra doesn’t craft and doesn’t care, so that also needs a somewhat-segregated space.

Neither of these characters would consider an Argonian or Bosmer house, and the Nord/Orc houses were also too… “rustic” for them. The Amaya Lake Lodge could have worked, but I really hate loading doors, and that place is full of them. Quondam Indorilia is… okay, but I don’t like the garden. The Velothi Reverie house has a great backyard where the Azura shrine could have gone, but it was too small overall, and the backyard is behind a loading door, so I wouldn’t have gone back there much (or at all) anyway.

Then I went back to look at¬†Earthtear again for the first time in months, and pretty immediately it all fell together in my head. Umbra’s bed here, Azura shrine there, Fire’s clothing crafting area in that spot, shooting range on that side, here’s the library area…

It’s going to take me weeks, possibly months, and¬†tens of¬†millions of gold. Earthtear can only be purchased with Crowns, so I’m going to hold off until Crowns go on sale again, then pick up enough to get both Earthtear and the Crown-store-only items I’ll need. I’ll also be buying patterns in-game¬†– many Ayleid, Dwemer, and Clockwork –¬†and those¬†will be tens or hundreds of thousands of gold each.

If I spend¬†300K on a pattern, make the thing, and then find it doesn’t fit in the space I need it to go, I will be a sad, sad Zells. Double my potential disappointment if I spend Crowns to buy furnishings and find they don’t fit. And I can’t move in right away anyhow, because I’m waiting on¬†a Crown sale.

So after more than two years of playing,¬†Earthtear is going to be the thing that gets me to finally log into the Play-Test Server, where I can get everything cheap & easy and figure out a shopping list. Until Crowns go on sale, I’ll be hanging out a lot in PTS!Earthtear, obsessively moving statues and Ayleid bookshelves around, figuring out exactly how many Jester’s trees and Gargoyles and which Clockwork patterns and trying desperately to precisely itemize the pricey pieces.

Drifted off to sleep last night¬†thinking about¬†which¬†objects I can use to simulate magickal wards on the treasure vault. ūüôā

Dear ZOS –
I need some environmental-special-furnishings like the Hag Fen¬†fog, but of¬†spell effects like the glowing sigils that appear in some AoE¬†areas,¬†and large, glowing, red/blue Daedric script that can be placed on walls & floors. Beams of flickering, colored light would also be nifty. Could you please add those within the next few weeks so they’ll be¬†available when I’m ready?¬†

Kisses,
Zells

I will, of course, post pics when I have them, but we’re a long, long ways off from that.¬†I have been poking away at a couple of smaller homes – the Mournhold¬†Flaming Nix apartment, mostly –¬†and¬†I’ll probably¬†get that done and have those¬†screencaps up first. Have also¬†been amusing myself with Sleek Creek, but I’ve decided I want a Dwemer airship tied at an air dock on that house, so I need more Dwemer & Clockwork patterns and that means that’s another long-term project.

Once I start developing a shopping list, I’ll be pestering everyone I know to find if they can make this thing or that thing, and what mats are needed. So y’all can look forward to that – thanks in advance. ūüôā

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