Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the tag “DLC”

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.

Scalecaller Peak – review/boss tips

@Zells - sepia stone - smallI was able to twist my group’s collective arms and get them to run Scalecaller last Thursday (by which I mean I said “hey, let’s…” and they said “YES”). I also did Fang Lair Keep this weekend, too.

Fun dungeons, both. Challenging, but that’s good. The DLC dungeons have been harder than base-game, and that’s true in this case. But it’s been long enough since I’ve been in any of the DLC dungeons that I can’t really compare this one to any previous – Scalecaller seems easier than Cradle of Shadows, for example, but the last time I ran CoS my DPS was at least 10K lower, maybe 15…

(Wow, hadn’t realized it, but that’s true. I suddenly want to re-run every hard dungeon that’s ever kicked my ass. Suppose my boss would understand if I told him I needed to take today off, go home immediately, and run DLC dungeons all day?)

We got hung up a couple of the fights and looked around online for walkthroughs detailing those mechanics, but couldn’t find any with the info we needed, so we wiped and watched and wiped and experimented and wiped and eventually figured them out. A couple of those wipes were frustrating, but I’d much rather have battles in the game I can’t walk through the first time.

(Alcast now has an excellent walkthrough guide with all boss mechanics detailed at his site, this Reddit user posted some good tips, and I have some brief notes after the cut.)

The story for Scalecaller Peak: a group of Peryite cultists found a Dragon Priest lair and is using it as a base of operations to concoct a powerful new disease to ravage Tamriel. All the previous lair-dwellers are now infected w/the disease – skeevers, ogres, leimenids, etc. Someone in your group needs Purge slotted on their weapon bar.

Peryite is the Daedric Prince of pestilence, and he is depicted as a wyrm (skinny dragon) as a sort of insult to Akatosh; when you get to the final battle you can see statues of him the cultists have erected. I mention this because it confused me – they’re obviously not statues of proper TES dragons and just as obviously not part of the original Dragon Priest construction, and I forgot Peryite is depicted that way. My group asked me about them; I rolled and failed my Daedra-Lore check. How embarrassing. Hopefully doing the follow-up research will redeem me. 🙂

Peryite Shrine - Oblivion

This is where you’ve seen that statue before – Peryite shrine, Oblivion

It was nice to see the Dragon Priest trappings again. (For a value of “nice” that includes enemies trying to melt your face off, natch.) The “interior” of the dungeon is very reminiscent of Skyrim – after the entrance the path leads up the mountain, taking you outside for beautiful vistas of snow-and-ice-covered ravines and peaks before leading you back to disease-filled cave corridors and then ultimately up to the mountain’s summit overlook for the final battle. Really beautiful work.

In summary: tough, fun, pretty, fun, slot Purge!, fun.

Armor sets and boss tips are after the cut.
Read more…

The Asylum Sanctorium (subtitle: The Tribunal Are the Worst)

@Zells - sepia stone - smallEvery time new DLC is announced, I always think this’ll be the one that gets me to log into the PTS.  Once again, however, now that Clockwork City has gone live on the PTS, I’m deciding to wait.

But I read all the press releases, watch the live streams, and the Asylum Sanctorium cracks me up:

Half house of healing, half shrine, this isolated area of the Clockwork City serves as a sanitarium for inhabitants driven mad by the strangeness of its artificial environment. It is also the permanent home of three Dunmer Saints that Sotha Sil transformed into immortal machines. The sanity of these fearsome creatures has been eroding ever since.

The Tribunal are just the worst, aren’t they?

Let’s break this down.  In the history of Elder Scrolls games, have you ever once met a hybrid construct that was NOT insane?  It’s almost like the act of shoving a living soul into a machine is not a good idea.  Go figure.

So there’s these three saints, heroes who served the Dunmeri people and are venerated by them, but Sotha Sil doesn’t care about any of that, because hey, it’s Tribunal Time now, the Velothi saints are yesterday’s news, and besides, Sotha’s got an experiment he wants to try.  It’s never in the history of Mundus been a viable idea, but he’s Sotha Friggin’ Sil, right?

Souls in the Elder Scrolls mythos are never destroyed; they just move from plane to plane.  It seems likely our genius inventor buddy would know that.  But even so, he grabs these souls, shoves them into metal bodies, and when he sees they are not handling it well (because no one ever does), he… builds a Clockwork Arkham to contain them.  He could have released them, rather than locking them in a bigger box, but he didn’t.

(The same way Vivec could just set that moonlet down somewhere, but instead chooses to leave it hanging over Vivec City as a constant threat to “his” people.  “Love me, or I’ll kill you with a rock. This rock right here.”)

In their lifetimes, these saints could have been Secretly Horrible People, but we don’t know that, and even if they were, who deserves that fate?   And even if they did, do the people who will be slaughtered by those monstrosities when they finally break free deserve that?

(Tony Stark has more ethical restraint w/his inventions than Sotha Sil does.  Let that sink in.)

Sotha Sil has to know imprisoning the Saints is not a long-term plan.  He has to know they’re going to get worse.  He has to know that when they get worse, they’re going to be “worse” forever – these are souls he’s torturing, when they break, they’re permanently broken.  And eventually, everybody escapes Arkham and causes havoc, death, and destruction, right?  James Gordan could have told Sotha an “Asylum” wasn’t a good plan.

My last comment contains MAJOR Spoilers from TES 3: Morrowind, and speculation about the Clockwork City plot, so I’m putting it behind a cut. Read more…

Housing: DB exclusives

@Zells - sepia stone - smallZOS indicated the Shadowy Supplier skill in the Dark Brotherhood skill line would have a rare chance of dropping special housing furnishings.  I knew about one item, but didn’t know details, so I went looking for the how and what of that, and the info was not available in one place.  So here you go!

Remains Silent, your local Shadowy Supplier, gives you three options to choose from each day.  Each option has the (rare) possibility of dropping one item.  To get all three items, you have to farm each option.  Because it’s a rare drop you might have to farm a long time, and you only get one shot each day (per character).  RNG is a fickle friend, be patient.

(None of the following pics are my screencaps, and are used without permission.  My thanks to the ESO community.)

Choosing the Potions/Poisons option gives a chance of getting a Vial of Poisoned Blood.


Two Vials of Poisoned Blood in an empty pie dish.

Choosing the Stealthy option gives you a chance of getting a Light-and-Shadows candle.


Light and Shadows candle

And choosing “Gear” gives you a chance to get the Sacrificial Heart.


Sacrificial Heart

As far as I can find, those are the only three items available from Remains Silent, at least for now.  Good luck!

And I’m closing with a random YouTube video, just because it amused me.  I’m more than a little afraid of heights in real life, so much so that jumping and climbing in video games gives me vertigo and makes my stomach lurch.  I am very, very bad at jumping puzzles, it was always a problem when I played Tomb Raider.  When I learned that the ESO housing editor allowed objects to be permanently placed in the air, I knew immediately there would be people who would construct elaborate jumping obstacle courses.  I came across this vid today, which is a “climbing map” for Kilnerdyne’s house.  I don’t know Kilnerdyne, but I’m impressed with the hours that went in to making this crazy death-trap.  Kudos. 🙂

“ESO Climbing Map – Kilnerdyne’s House,” posted by Eddie Banks

Shadows of the Hist upgrades

@Zells - sepia stone - smallIs there anything more certain than the phrase “Imma post more” followed by weeks of not posting?  It’s like a blog trope all on its own.

So the Shadows of the Hist went live on Aug 1 and there’s new dungeons.  I haven’t been to any of them; I actually don’t run group dungeons all that much, yet.  I used to in WoW, and I will in ESO, eventually.  But right now I’m mostly soloing, and the exciting part of this patch for me is all the new aesthetic options available.  I build “theme” characters with a specific look in mind, and I hate it when the clothes/hair don’t reflect the character.  Pretty much no matter how many hairstyles are available, I want more – I always end up putting new hair/clothing mods into the solo games.

So naturally I’m delighted about the Style Shop hair additions, and I think buying the pack with Crowns is not a bad option.  They also added the ability to dye costumes, and that’s super cool.  Never expected to see that; I figured they would always be static.  It made the costumes much less appealing to me, because a) of all possible costumes, only 1-2 would work for any particular character of mine, and b) that exact same costume is worn by a lot of characters.  My little noble Breton chef is simply beside herself every time there’s someone else in the bank wearing her dress.  Quelle horreur!  But honestly, that dress is everywhere, which makes it less interesting to me.  It isn’t “customization” if every tenth person is wearing it.

With the addition of costume dying, the ability to truly customize drastically increases.  I never used the Shrouded Armor or Thieves Guild leathers, b/c one is overwashed-red and the other is meh-brown.  But they are great-looking sets when dyed, full of interesting detail.

Related note: on the whole, I’m really impressed with the clothing in ESO.  I love that low level clothing is rough, cracked, full of seams, and doesn’t take dye well – the raw material itself is coarse – while the higher-level armor is smooth, detailed fabric with fine seams that dyes richly.  I like that the disguises and costumes can be worn over armor so it’s easy to appear to wear “clothes” in town without losing your armor buffs and protection.  (I don’t know how many times in Skyrim I’ve forgotten to change out of street clothes and got killed by  skeevers the second I walked out of town.)  And I really love the dye system itself, where colors are unlocked by achievements.  I’ve done a lot of questing the game specifically to get this or that color.

I finally got a character to vet level last week – Zellfire – and at the Champion 20 level there’s a Golden Saint costume reward.  It’s a great mesh, but I never would have worn it because the “gold” colors it comes in are weirdly bland.  I can dye it now, though, and in dark red, gold, and black, it looks stunning on Zellfire.  Since her backstory is that she’s part fire atronach, it’s wonderfully thematic.  And dyed black, Covenant blue, and silver, it looks fantastic on Nyx, too.  I’ve gone through and dyed each costume for each character I have, and now each of them have several great options that I can switch on a whim.

I know – I’m such a girl, right?  But look, if I’m going to spend literally hundreds of hours staring at a character, I want lots of attractive options I can easily switch out, because otherwise I’m visually bored.

600 words to say: COSTUME DYING, Y’ALL!  PRETTY!  What can I say – I’m easily amused.

subscription vs. free play

@Zells - sepia stone - smallLast month I decided to sign up for the ESO subscription.  It was a big deal for me; my income is extremely limited and the only reason I talked myself into playing ESO was b/c it was open play.  I bought the base game with Christmas money, and figured the world was more than big enough to entertain me until next Christmas without DLCs.

Historically, I have played without DLCs in the solo games for at least the first run-through, and often through more than one.  I’ve used the DLC content (when I even get it) as a way to freshen the game and make it interesting again after hundreds of hours of play.  And in Oblivion, which I played on the console and with no home internet access, I never did buy or play the DLCs. Read more…

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