Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the tag “OMG”

Trait switching! zomg!

@Zells - sepia stone - smallI was excited about the Clockwork City DLC from go, because – well, you’ve met me.  The huge TES: Morrowind geek is excited about getting to see more of Sotha Sil’s clockwork city, what a shock, right?  To be fair, if you’ve been inside the Halls of Fabrication trial, or finished the Morrowind chapter’s main quest, then you know how potentially cool this is.

But let’s set aside the fun of getting to hang with Divayth Fyr and kill fabricants again, and talk for a second about this other upcoming change mentioned in the press release: trait switching.

Yeah, that’s right, you heard me.  Switching traits on gear that’s already made.  Cue the choir of angels bursting into song…

The Clockwork City DLC game pack and Update 16 also introduce the all-new Transmutation system, allowing you to change the traits on your gear, including weapons and armors.

In order to Transmute an item, you must locate a Transmutation station and have the item trait researched in your crafting Skill Line. This means if you’d like to add the Sharpened trait to your dagger, you must first ensure you have the ability to craft daggers with that trait. You’ll be able to find a Transmutation station in the heart of the Brass Fortress within the Clockwork City or acquire one for your home from a certain Master Writ merchant.

In addition to the crafting skill requirement, Transmutation requires a special new resource called Transmutation Crystals that you’ll need to collect and save. You’ll be able to earn Transmutation Crystals by completing veteran level content (such as Veteran Mode Dungeons or Trials).

That changes the end-game grind entirely.  I never expected to see this, not at all.  The devs have said in live stream chats they intend to implement jewelry crafting at some point.  I’ve wished for that, but I wasn’t sure we’d ever get the ability to improve dropped jewelry, and sort of assumed it wouldn’t happen, since it would change/diminish the end-game grind.  But being able to switch traits on gear has an even greater impact on that than improving jewelry would.

I’m a happy, happy Zells.  Now lets hope those “Transmutation Crystals” aren’t harder to get than, say, a sharpened vMA Inferno staff. :p  I know the TCs are not going to be easy, and it almost certainly will be true that they’ll come in fragments that have to be assembled into a full crystal.  Or possibly they’ll be rare drops in vet mode.  But some vet dungeons are way easier than others, and some I really find fun.  I’m okay with running a dungeon multiple times to get the crystals, if it’s one my friends and I can enjoy and not, say, vCoA2.  As a purely random example.

Sweet Divines, the gear I’ve decon’d and now wish I had back.  Not sure how to approach grinding at this point.  Do I just keep one of everything until CWC drops?  Decisions, decisions.

No release date yet; all announcements say Fall. <fidgets impatiently>

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my toy arrived

In every character house I’ve mod’d, there has always been a miniature Centurion sitting on a shelf or display somewhere, about a one-foot scale, if it’s sitting on a bookshelf.

Now there’s a one-foot scale Centurion sitting on MY real-life bookshelf.  I am way too old to be this deeply happy about a toy, but here we are. 🙂

Morrowind unboxing pic

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

Early-release Morrowind is live

@Zells - sepia stone - smallI walked around Vivec City last night, literally crying the whole time. It’s so beautiful, and it is crazy how much it feels like home. I said something in zone chat about my eyes leaking, and immediately chat was filled with people saying they were crying, too.  I wanted to collectively hug everyone, including (especially) the devs.

I have nothing coherent to say, sorry. By the time the patch finished DLing it was pretty late, and I spent very little time on Vvardenfell. I wrapped up a couple of things with the character I want to take to Morrowind, started the starter quest, but then teleported to Vivec City instead of Sayda Neen because I wanted to see it more than I wanted to do the quest.  Promptly began crying, and wandered around the city just looking at things way past the time I should have gone to bed.  Never did even finish the starter quest.

It’s true. It’s real. It’s Morrowind. I can’t even.

I used to always get turned around and lost in the cantons because the layouts are identical.  I got lost last night and had to pull up the map to figure out how to get out, and even that made me happy in a perverse way.  “Aww, I’m lost in the cantons! It’s just like old times! I really am in Vivec City!” Absolutely. Ridiculous. This post could have been “omg omg omg <sniffle>” 200 times. So… I guess this is the “restrained” version.  You’re welcome?

Actual Content next time – I’m going to start doing posts about TES lore, and I have one almost ready about Lorkhan, which was super fun to put together. In the meantime, may all your lootz be legendary. 🙂

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 naïve, 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. 🙂

Housing reaction: yay

@Zells - sepia stone - small

I won’t bury the lede: I’m just as happy about housing as I hoped I would be.  Yay, ZOS.  Cookies all around.  The housing patch represents an immense amount of work on the devs part, really staggering.  The system has a ton of options that make it extraordinarily customizable and yet the overall set-up is still very accessible to casual players.  I’m really impressed. Specific comments after the cut. Read more…

June 6, 2017

@Zells - sepia stone - small

If you read this recent post about the housing patch, then you got to see me gush about Morrowind when I described my history with TES games, and you already know how I feel about Bethesda’s big announcement yesterday.

I’d heard rumors the next zone added would be Vvardenfell.  I thought that would be cool, but it didn’t really register until I was watching the twitch stream yesterday and the Morrowind logo came up on the screen – my eyes immediately filled with tears, and I watched the whole cast with a leaky face.  Morrowind, y’all, for real.  All of it.  Vivec City.  Ald’ruhn and city halls made out of crab shells.  The new warden class will be able to summon a cliff racer.  The main quest takes you to speak with Vivec.  There’s Sadrith Mora and Balmora.  The Morag Tong will be in the main quest.

I’m making a squee sound so high-pitched only dolphins can hear it.  Did I use that joke when writing about housing?  Whatevs.  M’fing MORROWIND IS BACK.

I’ll link the trailer first, because it’s so goddamn pretty.

And just in case you’ve just escaped from solitary confinement on a small island and haven’t heard the news, here’s a link to the official announcement on the ESO site.  To sum up: Morrowind: June 6, 2017.  What else do you need to know?

 

Housing: OMG

@Zells - sepia stone - small

Hi, and welcome back from winter break!  Or maybe that’s just me.  At any rate, welcome to 2017. 🙂

Housing is coming to ESO in February.  Right now it’s on the PTS, and I considered diving in to the PTS to try it, but I decided to wait.  I don’t want to hassle with downloading the game all over again to get PTS access, but more importantly, I don’t want to “re-do” any work I put into housing – don’t want to decorate one on the PTS and then decorate it again when Homestead goes live for real.  But the preview vids are hitting YouTube and I am drooling.  The rest of this post is a verbal rendition of that drool, and my personal history with TES. 🙂  It’s extremely TL;DR. Read more…

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