The dust makes cleaning impossible so why try so hard, yes…..My first week in ESO

So, my first week in ESO is history, give or take 24 hours of downtime.  To get it out of the way, the sudden downtimes and quest stopping bugs were troublesome and the bugs continue to be so.  Zone chat was confirmed to be full of scoundrels, cheats, and low lifes but that’s no discovery. Something new was that chests in instanced dungeons are a trolls paradise. Let me explain, in dungeons, bosses drop gear and other loot…traditional stuff all up to the RNG. Apart from this boss loot, there are also out of the way chest THAT drop gear and loot but are not rolled on by the group so it’s treated like a crafting node. You find the chest, pick the lock, ALL THE LOOT IS YOURS.  Grouping with strangers is a crap shoot and you can easily get trolled by somone who does not contribute to fights and simply runs around any pulls looking for chests to loot.  IF that happens to your group, you might be thinking well, just kick that douche out…that doesn’t work.  For one, the kicked person will NOT be thrown out of the dungeon AND as long as he is still in the dungeon, your group won’t be able to invite a replacement in.

She's quite grateful

She’s quite grateful

Ok, that was all the crappy stuff.  Oh, there was a billing issue once early access ended but you are welcome to read about that at Massively.

Considering this is launch week/early access, AND a rookie mmo studio, I think it’s been a success overall. Why? Because, despite the crap I described,  I’m getting lost in the storytelling and exploration in this game and time is flying by. This game is fun and immersive, no log in cue and relatively lag free experience.

I rolled an Orc Dragon Knight with the Ebonheart Pact.  I joined up with my old guild from Rift and GW2, Gaiscioch, and hit lvl 15 Sunday night with 2 days of /played time.  Leveling certainly doesn’t seem rushed but I wouldn’t call it slow either…rather well paced.  There’s no kill stealing, just need to get a hit on any named mob for credit.  Craft nodes are fought over and I found it to be some good competition.  I’ve discovered that bag/vault space is quickly gobbled up by crafting mats so I’ve created a number of alts to take advantage of the 60 slots of bag space and have them concentrate on 1-2 crafts. Leveling crafting does have some less efficient methods that, if you continue to use them, will certainly drive you mad while eating through your mats.  Best thing is to find a partner or alt to breakdown each others items.  It won’t be long before you see “most efficient” leveling guides, if they are not already out now. Crafting/bag space management can easily take over your descretionary game time, be forwarned.

He thinks he's smart

He thinks he’s smart

On my Dragon Knight, I gone back and forth on this but I think I’ll concentrate on sword and board, tank archetype with a 2 hander for dps moments as I’m leveling and starving for skill points.  Respec’ing is available but it’s very expensive, and the cost rise for every skill point you have.  Gold doesn’t seem to flow freely so far, hopefully its gets better at higher levels.  ESO action combat requires…you guessed it, movement and some pacing.  Pacing in that have limited pools of mana and stamina for skills so I’ve found it helps to squeeze in some “free” auto attacks inbetween those costly weapon or class skills.  Button mashing will quickly drain that mana/stamina pool in long fights and so this pacing gives you some tactical advantages so that you can strategically respond with a specific skill when needed. This really pays off in boss fights of course or any fights that require some length.  As far as landscape questings and mobs go, there’s no real facerolling.  Mobs 1-2 lvl’s above your character do provide a challenge and will take you down on some occassions. AFK in a tavern, not in the middle of some field where some crab-man demon will path by and eat you.

That brings me to immersion.  The NPCs in this game are actually interesting.  Going AFK in a tavern is a treat and reminicent of Skyrim’s tavern bards.  The screen shots I attached to this post give you hints of interesting characters and you’ll have to play the game to find out their stories.  IMHO, Argonians and Khajits have provided the most “ah ha” moments so far.  They are the best reason NOT to click thru quests text.

living up to his name

living up to his name

 

How I’m preparing for the TESO launch

Patching the beta client this weekend and that’s about it and perhaps some catching up on reading some TESO blog posts and glancing at TESO’s early access faq here.

One thing I WON’T be doing is taking time off from work.  That time honored practice has been become added to my “Murtaugh List” of things I’m too old for and dare say too smart for.  I’m confident that Zenimax has its’ bases covered but I wouldn’t be surprised if issues rise up in the first week of launch that would make me feel like an idiot for wasting some coveted vacation days for.

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying Blizzard’s River of Souls expansion for Diablo 3 and I feel very well set up to ping pong between the two which I hope keeps both fresh and enjoyable.  I just hit lvl cap on my Barbarian and slowly trying out some of the “elder” game that the ROS expansion has to offer.

I’ve put LOTRO on the shelf until update 13 comes out.  Even then, Turbine will have some groveling to do before I give up D3 or ESO inorder to come back for more than a few sessions a week.

King of da Etennmoors and metrics

King of da Moors!

King of da Moors!

I recently hit a milestone in my LOTRO PvMP fun…1200kbs.  Now what does that mean? Exactly 1200 times, I executed x skill that resulted in the last bit of damage that caused a freep to die. Significance of this? None at all, it’s only a number.  A player could have done 90% of the damage on an enemy but someone else could come in and use one skill and get the kb.  Does this stop players from attaching some meaning to this? Of course not, this is pvp!

Another metric Turbine displayes is the kills/death ratio.  It’s a simple ratio of how many times your actions lead to an enemies death compared to how many times you have died in battle.  Again, it’s not a performance metric as much as it’s an indicator of playstyle…. meaning someone with a k/d ratio closer to 1 is a solo’er while someone with a much larger number is a raider.  On my Reaver, it stands at 3.7 k/d…meaning I fall in battle once for every 3.7 enemies that die.  What does this tell me? I like to roam the hills solo looking for targets…and yes, I get nuked 75% of the time but that’s the creep life.  As a rule of thumb, between creeps and freeps, freep k/d ratios are higher.  Creeps are more likely to be found solo by groups (creeps have to do a lot of pve to earn maps) and creeps are several factors weaker than their freep counterparts.  Overall, I think this metric is bad for the game because too many players attach significance to it and play accordingly, meaning they don’t take risks in a consequence free environment.

On the one hand, completely ignoring these metrics can be beneficial while there’s nothing wrong with using them as motivators or achievement milestones.  As always, never beat your opponent so much that they don’t return to the battlefield, there’s nothing worse than having nothing to fight over in the online arena.

 

3 months into the year…

and my gaming trends have taken a turn.  I started off the new year playing a lot of LOTRO PvMP even though the server I was on had a noted downturn in activity.  I began the process of transfering most of my characters to new servers and that brought up some Turbine criticisms which I posted about here.  While the PvMP has been of better quality and quantity on Landroval and Brandywine and I was planning on posting something on Reaver builds,  the prevalent problems with the game itself, both pve and pvp, has been sucking the joy out of the game for me.  This isn’t anything new, the game has been losing players now for some time.  The last expansion just flopped imo and more people are leaving for greener pastures. I’m at the point where I need to stop playing for a while so that when I do come back, I have a fresher feeling about the game.

Just then, Diablo was patched and Blizzard made the game fun again!  In just a short time I had reached lvl 60 on my Barbarian and now stand at paragon level 34.  Did I say it’s fun! I’m seeing less junk and a lot more useful drops and I’ve gotten several pieces of legendary gear.  My Barb has gotten much stronger in only a short amount of time. Now, it’s still a simple hack and slash dungeon game so my advice is short play sessions with friends so the fun doesn’t get stale.  Speaking of Blizzard, I’m still playing WOW.  My Warrior has gotten up to ~lvl 87 and is questing his way through Panda land.

ESO: Now that the NDA has been lifted we are getting tons of information about this game  and while managing my expectations, I’m still excited about what I see.  I am on the PTS but I haven’t done extensive play throughs.  I’m playing a few hours a week on different characters in the level 1-10 range, getting a feel of how the game works: crafting, pve, leveling, etc. There’s already been some changes made by Zenimax that proves this is a beta for them and just not a trial.

Help Save Gamebreaker.tv

save_update1[1]When I discovered Gary Gannon’s gamebreaker site, I was blown away at the stuff this guy was talking about.  A video show about MMO’s???  Who would have thought there was a market for this content?  Anyway, I was hooked and kept coming back for more. Because of gamebreaker, I got exposed to the inner workings of Taugrim‘s head, new mmo’s such as Rift and SWTOR,  and suddenly my mmo world got bigger.

Well, I learned a few days that Gary needs some help to keep the site up and running.  If you value the quality content on gamebreaker and you have the means, please consider showing him some financial support at:  www.gamebreaker.tv/donate

I made a one time donation of $120 and added a monthly paypal payment of $10.  This is by no means a suggestion, I just wanted to put my money where my mouth is and disclose how I supported gamebreaker.