Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the tag “@Zells”

New Life Festival review

@Zells - sepia stone - smallOops – wrote this days ago; it was still sitting in drafts.

To cut to the chase, the New Life Festival is pretty much everything I said I wanted in a holiday event when I was bitching about the Witches Festival, and I’m really pleased with it overall.

Summary: you go to the Crown store and “purchase” (for free) a scroll that is the New Life kick-off item.  It drops into your inventory, and reading it gives you the quest to go see Breda in Eastmarch.  She then sends you to celebrations hosted by each of the races, nine total, and after attending each festival Breda gives you the festival quest reward: a gift box with a random mix of festival items.  Breda’s quests are dailies, so you can do each of the celebrations once per day per character. Read more…

Pictures from Tamriel

I’m going to throw another element into the mix – landscape screencaps.

(I swear I will get back to the fictional elements of this blog.  I’m just having a hard time focusing creative energy because my brain’s too busy screaming in rage at my government.  So… pretty pictures! Yay!)

Aesthetics are super important to me; I love eye candy.  It guides my choices of character clothing and appearance, but I also spend hours at a time wandering through Tamriel just to look at it. MMOs are always a little bit limited in terms of the highest-end graphic capabilities, because the game has to be run on a large number of devices, not all of which can handle all the bells and whistles.  But wow, did the devs do a gorgeous job rendering ESO.  I screencap constantly as I play and use the shots as my screensaver at work.  How pretty is this?

I’m starting with this one because it was a bit of an emotional moment for me.  I’m pretty sure it’s Auridon, because  I hadn’t been playing long, and it was the first time I’d run into Ayleid ruins in ESO.  Up to that point I had known I was in Tamriel, the TES world, but when I walked up to this brazier of welkynd stones, the sense of nostalgia for Oblivion hit me really hard – I was looking at something in the landscape that I recognized.  Not those particular ruins or stones, obviously, (Oblivion was in Cyrodil) but still: Ayleid ruins and welkynd stones… I felt like I was home. 🙂

I had been heading somewhere for a quest, but instead immediately ran to the ruin you can see in the distance.  Esp. funny for me because I had gotten so sick of the homogenous nature of those ruins when playing Oblivion, but there I was, racing across the field, going, “ermahgawd, Ayleid ruins!” like a total dweeb.

Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend, and don’t let the bastards get you down.

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. 🙂


dead Javad Tharn

@Zells: I’ve hated the Tharns since Arena in 1994, when Jagar Tharn made his simulacrum, and of course Abnur Tharn is a condescending ass.  So having a Tharn go full-on Bad Guy in ESO made me very happy.


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.

on a personal note…

@Zells - sepia stone - smallGrad school takes a lot of time.  Who knew?

However, I’m done as of last week.  I can haz Master’s.

Looking forward to playing and posting more. 🙂

Navigating this Site

Greetings, and welcome to Letters From Tamriel!

The categories (see the menu in the right column) are grouped primarily by individual character, and the posts for each character proceed sequentially from the oldest date forward.  You can begin by jumping into the blog feed, but I would recommend going to the posts tagged “<Name> – backstory” to read about a particular character’s premise and background; the individual letters will make more sense that way.  If you’re interested in Issa, for example, the post tagged “Issa – background” will give you her starting concept.  Another approach is to use the “Character Cast” category to hop to a collection of “background” posts for all characters.

The remaining, non-character categories (“About This Site”, “ESO news & info”, etc.) are from me as a player, not speaking in character voice.  Those posts do not need to be read in any particular order.

Thanks for stopping by and encouraging my obsession.  🙂  @Zells - sepia stone - small


voice actors of note

@Zells - sepia stone - smallGoogled Ayrenn’s name when writing the last post, and discovered Queen Ayrenn was voiced by actress Kate Beckinsale.  How cool is that?

So then I had to go look, and there’s a bunch of big names.  John Cleese of Monty Python fame is the voice actor for Caldwell, of all people, but I suppose it’s fitting that his ESO avatar runs around with a cookpot on his head, singing nonsensical songs.  Bill Nighy voices High King Emeric.  Lynda Carter, the Wonder Woman of my childhood, returns to Tamriel as Azura (!!) – I say “returns” because she did the voices of all the Nord women in Morrowind.  Here’s a gamespot article if you want to see more.

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