Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the tag “housing”

Summerset How-To Essentials: farming, quest-starters, skill lines, dailies, etc.

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No lore or fluff this time – this is a comprehensive, nuts-and-bolts, “How To Get The Thing” guide to Summerset. How to start the big quests, where the motifs drop, how to get the collectibles, achievement furnishings available, etc. Let the checklist making begin!

After the cut:
Main Quest – how to begin
Psijic Order – how to begin
Skill lines – Psijic; jewelry
Dailies – where, who, how
Jewelry – how to begin / new traits, how to get
Motifs – where to farm pages
Crafting Stations – set descriptions / station location map
New Alchemy Reagents – what to farm
Housing – where, how to purchase
Furnishings – what, how to get
Collectibles / Mementos / Emotes – what, how to get (public dungeon info)
Additional events – Abyssal Geysers (w/map); Relics of Summerset (w/map)
Additional Achievements – new Crafting achievements
Daily Log-in Rewards – what, how
Read more…

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Crown Sale! Earthtear! Whee!

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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. 🙂 wooooooooooot

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

Update 17 review

@Zells - sepia stone - small

 

I realize the game devs don’t make changes to the game based on what I personally want – I’m merely dead center in their target demographic.  Nonetheless, I do continually feel the updates are personal love notes just to me.

Dearest Zells,
Of our millions of players, we want you, personally, to be happy, so have some segregated housing storage and a new way to completely customize the appearance of your gear no matter what drop-set you’re wearing. Also: leveling rewards! And did we mention there’s new dye colors, and you can dye weapons now?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
XOXO,
Game Devs

I ❤ you, too, Devs!  ~makes little heart shape with hands~

~pauses, looks at all the patient faces in the audience~

Uh…. so that’s not a “review” in the strictest sense of the word, huh? Yeah, okay, valid response on your part.

I’m going to try and talk my usual Thursday night group into doing the new dungeons this week (shouldn’t have to twist their arms much), and hopefully by Friday I’ll have something to say that’s more coherent than the high-pitched dolphin noises I’m making now and was making last night when I was cleaning furnishings out of my banker and putting them into my new storage containers. Because there’s segregated housing storage now, have I mentioned that already at any point? 🙂

Have a great week!

‘Fire’s Workshop (Black Vine Villa tour) part 2: Interior

@Zells - sepia stone - smallI had everything perfectly under control as of Thanksgiving.  Then December happened.  Now it’s mid-January, almost 2 months since my last post, and I honestly feel like it been simultaneously 6 years and about a week. Whew.

I was in the middle of a two-part post giving a tour of one of my houses.  Let’s finish that.  The tour of Zellfire’s Black Vine Villa workshop begins with part 1: the Garden.

Post begins after the cut.
Read more…

‘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…

Training Dummies: why they’re cool

@Zells - sepia stone - smallFor some reason I’ve been hearing a lot of people bashing training dummies in zone chat lately, and I feel like most of them are completely missing the point.

Here are some statements I’ve heard repeatedly:

1.”It’s a false number, actual combat is different.”

Yes, actual combat produces radically different DPS data than the training dummy due to a variety of factors.  However, the DPS stat conveyed by attacking a training dummy consistently gives your top-end DPS under perfect personal conditions – it’s a control number.  That means the environmental variables are reduced, and we can compare apples-to-apples.

If you tell me you just did 25K on a certain boss, that number doesn’t mean anything to me – was it higher because that boss was susceptible to your attack type, or because you had a perfect storm of crits and procs?  Or is that number much lower than your usual because you had to do a lot of evasion?  By contrast, if I tell you I can do 21K DPS on a training dummy, you know precisely where I am, and have a much better chance to gauge how effective I’ll be in a party.  That’s what a control number is.

2.”They don’t actually help with anything.”

Zells: Well, maybe they don’t help YOU, but…

If you want to test a particular kind of attack to see if it triggers a proc or special ability, it can be really difficult to find the right conditions “in the field” to accurately assess that, particularly if you need a large sample size for extensive testing of meta-data.  And it can take time to wander around and find the right kinds of mobs.  But with a training dummy in your back yard, all you have to do is go try the attack and see.

3.”They don’t actually help with anything”, part 2

Smoothing out your rotation is a big part of raising your DPS.  You’ll switch abilities around your bar a lot when you’re trying to improve, and having a way to simply practice going through the motions is hugely helpful in terms of developing the muscle memory for real combat.  For real.

4.”You just like it ‘cuz it’s pretty.”

Okay, not JUST because it’s pretty, see above.

But also: y’r damn right I like it ‘cuz it’s pretty.  Aesthetics and visual appeal are a big deal to me, and so is the role-play and personality aspect of my characters.  Being able to have a combat dummy in some of my character’s houses enriches the game experience for me.  If aesthetics weren’t important, we wouldn’t have dozens of armor motifs.  If the community didn’t enjoy having custom-made, personality-driven spaces in the world, we wouldn’t have player housing.  Just because something doesn’t have value for some players doesn’t mean it isn’t providing value to the rest of the community.

Lastly – you are correct, my combat dummy IS pretty, thanks. 🙂fight club

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