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05 June 2015
Posted in Elder Scrolls

It's been quite a while since I played Elder Scrolls online for a prolongued time. But now that it's Free2Play I have picked it up and am quite hooked. I'm even *THAT* hooked that I'm streaming ESO a lot during the evening hours. A big PLUS which I didn't realize when I started streaming ESO is that next week it'll be released for XBOX One and PlayStation 4 as well and I attract quite a number of viewers who're on the fence of buying it, of have already pre-ordered it and are watching to get to know the game a bit.

Yesterday I hit level 12 and I figured it was time to get into Spindleclutch. I remembered this dungeon to be very hard and I feared for the run with a random party. First things first, find a party, and that had proven to be pretty easy. What ESO lacked at start is not available: a dungeon finder. Though it only forms the party, the players still have to walk to the dungeon itself (good thing a teleport spot is close by ).

With my character (a high elf BTW, though you might not tell is from the looks ) being a wizard specializing in the healing staff and using summons only, I was the one player to take the healing role on me, and with one of the players being level 10 (the main tank ) I feared the worst for the party. I also feared the worst because of my previous (at ESO's launch) experience of this dungeon where I played the healer role as well. But truth be told, we've had only one party wipe and that was when I took too much aggro and died, while there were also a couple of player deaths (3 or 4 total).

Then the end boss herself - The Whisperer (see the movie above). I remembered this to be a very hard boss, but this time she wasn't so hard. That either means that I've done a good job on healing and the rest of the party did their role very good as well (which certainly counts for that level 10 tank!), or Zenimax has tuned down the boss a bit (or both are true). In all I think that we had a good run and I've added 3 new friends to my list.

An other note, watching this movie I found out that OBS-MP gives an extra boost to the microphone compared to the regular (and old) OBS. Guess I'll have to tune it down a bit, because I thought I was plain yelling there, while I was just talking normally...

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A new start
08 April 2015
Posted in Elder Scrolls

It's been a year since The Elder Scrolls online has launched and that I bought it. Back then I thought the game was okay, b ut not worth the monthly subscription asked for it. With me there were a lot more players thinking that and as a subscription based game ESO did kinda fail. It's a good thing that Zenimax saw that as well and that they changed the payment model to Buy2Play with cash shop, which matches the game a bit more.

Because I can now freely play ESO, I decided to give it an other go and see how it is now. Because I had no idea what I was doing a year ago I decided to start all over again. I also made a new character to see what has changed in the general gameplay.

First off, I noticed that there are only 4 classes. And looking back now to the character creation video I made a year ago, those same 4 classes were there as well back then. And of course, ESO only needs the 4 ache type classes because of the character creation model used. With the 3 skill discipline lines per class you have actually 12 different classes and the way played customize them you can make your character as unique as you want to...

Secondly, the starter quest as shown above. I'm not sure, but I had the feeling that Zenimax did some 'tweaking' there and that compared to a year ago it was a bit more dull than before. I also recalled that the Prophet was in an actual cage back then and now he's just locked in a bubble.

In all, I will be playing ESO a couple of days a week for 1-2 hours. When playing I will also stream the game to twitch and upload the feed to DailyMotion where I have created a playlist for the ESO gamefeed. As usual, on twitter a tweet will be posted when I'll start streaming (automated from twitch )

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ESO unplayable for me
19 March 2015
Posted in Elder Scrolls

I was hoping I could return to the Elder Scrolls online and enjoy the game now that it's Buy2Play. Sadly, the engine used (a modified Hero Engine along Havok) is not really allowing me to enjoy the game because of resolution issues

Elder Scrolls online starts in the 'borderless windowed' screen mode and on my system that means it's a resolution of 5760x1080. With most games this is not a real issue - I can just set the game to 'full screen' and a resolution of 1920x1080. This I also did with ESO, and after two screen flickerings, nothing really changed. Below is a screenshot of the result after the chenge to a full screen 1920x1080 resolution. Yes, it still is 5760x1080 and when I start to play it seems that only the texture resolution has dropped to 33% (yups, it's ugly as hell after the resolution change )

 photo eso 2015-03-17 12-37-34-09_zpscgt8rzb7.jpg

Having trouble looking at the UI of the screen all to the left? I did that on purpose. ESO has a 'fixed UI', meaning that you can't move the elements around. And the location of these 'fixed UI' elements is compeltely to the left and right side of the screen. As I've already reported for EVE online, I keep shaking my head to see what's doing on on the screen, while for EVE online I can still move around a lot of UI elements. Sadly, in ESO I can't move stuff around and it becomes totally unplayable. Add to that that I have only 1 GTX660 now (I sold the 2nd GTX660 2 months ago) and I'll get a lot of performance issues with I set the game to max (which would not be an issue if I could play in 1920x1080).

I have already contacted Zenimax online about this issue, and I was told to make some modifications in the UserSettings.txt file (located in MyDocuments/Elder Scrolls Online/liveeu). It was not as it I didn't find that file already and tried to change a couple of screen settings. Problem there is that ESO is NOT LOOKING at this settings file when it comes to full screen resolutions. Even better, changes I made (like actually write the 1920x1080 resolution) are overwritten to the default for the full screen resolution (5760x1080 in my case). Making the file READ ONLY doesn't help either. After having made the changes to 1920x1080 and setting it READ ONLY, nothing happens and ESO still starts in 5760x1080 (and displaying that resolution in the game's config) but nothing is written.

I hope Zenimax online will pick up this isseu so that in time I can play ESO again. I have my doubts though. After all, Zenimax online has already seen that ESO has failed and changed from a subscription based system to Buy2Play and they also have laid off a large portion of their development team. And with less developers in-house it will make it hard for Zenimax online to fix issues like this that few users have.

I know I can always change my monitor resolution from 1x 5760x1080 into 3x 1920x1080, but that's not a real option for me. When I'm programming, I really do need that 5760x1080 resolution for Unity3D because I have a lot of UI elements dragged out of the main program and set onto the left monitor (which reminds me, let me ask my son how it works on his 2-monitor system - it might actually work) and when starting Unity3D my whole UI setup might be messed up again (and it just worked so nicely). On the other hand, if it actually works, games made with Unity 4.6.x (Shrooud of the Avatar and Shadowrun online) might also have a 'fix' to their similar resolution issues...

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Elder Scrolls online Buy2Play today
17 March 2015
Posted in Elder Scrolls

Just a quick reminder to former Elder Scrolls online that the game has gone Buy2Play as of today. This means if you have bought the game in the past (like me), though it sucked and was not worth a monthly subscription (again like me ) that you can download it now and continue to play where you left off back then.

I'm already downloading the game right now and will continue where I left off, or I will re-roll all together. Right now I'm not entirely sure which of the 2 options I'll take, but it's very likely I will re-roll and start over..

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ESO going Buy2Play confirmed
21 January 2015
Posted in Elder Scrolls
I'll keep it short this time. I just read the news on PCGamer that ESO will change to a Buy2Play system with optional subscription per March 17th. It's also confirmed that the XBOX ONE and PlayStation 4 releases will be June 9th.

All I can say is grab a cheap-ass ESO copy now before it goes up again after March 17th

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Elder Scrolls online to go Buy2Play?
09 January 2015
Posted in Elder Scrolls
For the last couple of months, there's a been a lot of talk about Elder Scrolls online not living up to it's expectations and low subscription numbers. With that speculations about ESO going Free2Play or Buy2Play runs everywhere in the MMO community as well. Though Free2Play sounds very unlikely for an IP like Elder Scrolls, Buy2Play seems plausible. But I never reported about it, because it was just sheer speculation. That was until now...

Somewhere half December on the forums a couple of posts were made where ESO players mentioned that the 6-month subscription option was removed, leaving only the 1 and 3 month subscription model available for players. Zenimax responded to the players on their forums that 'due to the lack of interest in the 6 month subscription option they removed it'. Well, I never heard such nonsense before, and on the forums the F2P/B2P speculations fired up (again).

Yesterday Australian EB Games stores were reported to remove ALL Elder Scrolls online related products from stock per January 14th. Later it was said to be a return for excess x-mas stock, but why return it all, while other games only require a partial return?

Today the big news that Elder Scolls online will be released for the XBOX ONE on February 24th. And now it's time for me to hop into the discussion on ESO becoming Buy2Play. Why? In this XBOX ONE announce I miss 2 very important things:
  1. Includes 30 days of free gameplay
  2. Monthly subscription required to play
These 2 things are a *MUST* to be added to any subscription based game. Why leave it out for this XBOX ONE release?

I figured that if the XBOX ONE announcement didn't have it, then what about the PS4 announcement? Sadly, I can't comment on it yet. Okay, it's missing those 2 important things as well, but there's not yet a date and price set. Though I'm pretty sure that with the announcement of Final Fantasy XIV: A Real Reborn the subscription notice was there already..

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Bots, goldsellers & Customer support
26 April 2014
Posted in Elder Scrolls
As in most MMORPGs, Elder Scrolls online also has a problem with bots and goldsellers. And using the in-game report option really works. Zenimax even has made it possible to directly report players when you receive SPAM through the in-game mail system, which is only good!

Using that same in-game report system you an also report bots that you meet on your way in Tamriel. But what if you find a while group of bots camping public dungeon bosses? Using the in-game report system takes about a minute, but reporting the group will become somewhat more troublesome because you also need to keep track of which bot you have already reported. In most of these cases I record the bot party, upload to YouTube and report the whole party through the out-of-game customer support system.

But Zenimax seems to be thinking extrmely rigid in this case with a  assumption that their in-game report system is the best way to report. After I have made my oog ticket, here's the reply I had from Zenimax:

Hail and well met Alex!
Thank you for contacting The Elder Scrolls Online support team! In particular, thank you for taking the time to report (botting/cheating) in-game, and helping make the ESO community a better place.
Remember that you can Hold F and target the character. The interaction menu will appear and the option to report them is there.
Rest assured we take all reports of cheating, exploits and bots very seriously and will be investigating thoroughly.
All the best,

Are you fucking kidding me? Look at the movie and see that there are half a dozen bots there. Oh wait, you didn't even bother to look at the movie and with the reply being over a day after the incident, the bots will certainly be still there and waiting for me to report them properly. Really, what kind of 'customer support' is this done by that 'Gamemaster'?

It's things like that that really wonder if I should keep playing ESO when my paid time is used up (~65 days left). With the support being of this calibre and me not being the only one who's complaining about their support, I fear that ESO will be a no-go when the game-time is used up...

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Nightshade healer
17 April 2014
Posted in Elder Scrolls
Okay, this might sound a bit odd, but my main character is a Nightshade (rogue like class with stealth and assassination skills), and I have taken a healing staf as alternate weapon. Where with dual wield I do massive damage, these same skills also provide some healing for me and my party members. This made me think if using a healing staff would be an option to be a party healer. For this I had to take a close look at the skills I have that involve healing and how to set them up with the maximum effect.

 photo eso2014-04-1707-52-32-83_zpsc9af9fe6.jpg

Obviously, I'll equip the 2 healing skills I have unlocked for the healing staff. The one in slot one is perfect for area healing of allies. That is IF they stay in the area The one in slot to is a bit more tricky I found out. It feels somewhat as a random healing to two allies. I'm not sure if and how I can control the two members I'll be healing...

Killers Blade (slot #3) is more a healing skill for myself if I have last hit with it, but at least it's a lot cheaper than normal healing Funnel Health is one to use during combat and I think is certainly more efective than Healing Spings. Lotus Fan is one that seems a bit out of place but as support character it';s not. Snaring is always good when you're in combat. Last but not least, the ultimate skill Soul Shred. I don't think I need to explain why that one is there. Lower the enemies magicka and allow the allies to use a leech ability...

Now you wonder how this looks in a party. For that reason I did the Spindleclutch dungeon again yesterday. It was my first time as healer in the Elder Scrolls online, and I saw it more as a learning thing that a serious attempt to clear the dungeon

The one thing I did learn from this dungeon is that I also need to do something about the my magicka and magicka regeneration. By now I have gained an other level and have dropped the +10 to extra magicka. Next up is trying to get some more magicka regeneration items...

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My first dungeon
10 April 2014
Posted in Elder Scrolls
Two days ago, I've made my first dungeon run: Spindleclutch. This dungeon is one where you have to search for a group of soldiers in a dungeon (duhuh ^^) filled with spiders. But there was only one problem when doing this dungeon - it was during the day and we had no healer with us but we though to give it a try anyway...

The start of the dungeon was pretty straight forward as with most MMORPGs. You get lots of monsters (pretty weak ones I must say) and a couple of semi-bosses to make it a bit harder for the players already. So far nothing's wrong, though we all died a few times already due to the lack of a healer in the party...

When we finally came to the end boss (a horrific huge spider) things went from bad to worst though. We had 2 full wipes there and one of the party members (it was a PUG BTW) said that the day before he did this dungeon and the party gave up after a dozen wipes. Now that was very encouraging

After the 3rd wipe, a 4th wipe was already imminent, but I found out that jumping when the boss started to do it's horrific AoE skill helped a lot to keep me alive. None the less, two members died anyway, and me an the tank were left, with me having the aggro of the boss (gotta love DPS classes ).

At that point I decided to make a run out of the boss room, but sadly the boss followed me everywhere in the dungeon. I hoped to loose the boss to ress the other 2 members, but that didn't work. The tank was a good one and started to use aggo skills on the boss, and after a couple of minutes he finally managed to take over the aggro (imagine how much aggro I had ). With the boss off my ass I went back to the main room and ressed the other 2 members (no respawn during party battle) and by then the tank saw what my plan was and complimented me on it.

With us 4 back on our feet again we didn't have a hard time to kill that boss anymore since it was already halfway. The party was grateful of the ress and we had lousy drops from is (which is very common). Good thing we all had a shot on a chest in the dungeon (I had a blue ring) and a very nice quest reward (blue medium armor pants).

This dungeon also showed me the importance of what to pick as 2nd weapon set. I decided today to make it the healing staff. Though it might sound odd for a Nightblade to use a healing staff, it's not. A lot of skills I have use some soft of healing, including group healing. I decided to slot all those healing related DPS skills when I use the healing staff, and I hope that the next time we're in a dungeon I can take toe role of healer...

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Somewhat forced social play
07 April 2014
Posted in Elder Scrolls
If memory serves me correctly, I have made a similar topic about this for Guild Wars 2. But then with the remark that you're playing in party without a party (thanks to the public quests). Elder Scrolls online also has a somewhat forced social play system, but does it the other way around...

Lets start with the most important thing: the guild. They (read: ArenaNet) said about Guild Wars 2 that the guild was the most important part of the game. Because without guild, going to the PvP area was useless. Zenimax kinda thinks the same way, and without guild it's no use to go to Cyrodiil (the PvP area). BULLOCKS!
In both games you can go to the PvP area without problem because there's always a group doing some sieging. This was true in GW2, and is true in ESO as well (despite my level 10, I have already played 'PvP'). In both cases though, the term PvP is somewhat overrated. Most of the times the 'siege' is a PvE thing where the attackers zerg the stronghold and only NPC defenders are there to be slain. But in ESO, a guild can obtain a stronghold (no clue how though ), giving some advantages...

One of the biggest advantages of a guild to have a stronghold (which will also bring me to WHY you should be in a guild in ESO), is that the guild can open it's guild stores to other guild, and you as guild member can shop with other guilds as well.
Though it doesn't sound like a big deal, it really is. You see, ESO doesn't have an auction house, but instead, the guild you're in has a guild store where (if the guild has 50+ members) you can sell your stuff to other players. Having a stronghold your guild store will take up the function of the regular auction house...

An other thing I have noticed is that after level 8, the game starts to become harder (unlike a lot of other MMORPGs out there). It's not the monsters that really become harder and get more hit points, but it's more the number of monsters appearing together. Much like in the single-player Elder Scrolls games, in ESO you can handle 2 perhaps 3 monsters, but that's about it. And in between you have to wait to heal (or pop potions), which takes time (hmm kinda reminds me of old-school Lineage II ). In quite a lot of areas you just don't have the time to wait a bit for healing, and playing in a (small) party will come in handy. Right now I have already played in one party of 3 because without party the quest would just be impossible (or very hard ) to complete.

There are also a couple of spots on the map where where an event will occur. Those are real tough (they are marked with a skull and 2 crossed bones with reason ) and you really need a party there (or play with others around you).

I think Zenimax tries to break the solo-minded play style of a lot of players and get the players to team up more than other developers do. I hope what I have seen so far will stay truth higher up in the game (levels) as well, and I might have found myself a new home to stay...

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