ESO – DPS Check

My friend and I resumed our weekend dungeon running.

We warm up doing some Undaunted Delve Pledges, the ones that start by talking to Bolgrul. He gives out a quest a day, and they are shareable, so what we do is each grab some random pledge during the week to save up for when we are together. This way, we can do up to 3 pledges: mine, my friend’s, and whatever the current quest is when we meet up.

Then, we move on to the Undaunted Dungeon Pledges, the easier ones from Maj al-Ragath or lately a few from Glirion. These quests are not shareable, so when we made a plan to tackle Fungal Grotto 2, we both grabbed it when it came up and then waited until the weekend.

We had never done a “part 2” dungeon before and wasn’t sure what to expect. At the end of Fungal Grotto 1 was a door that couldn’t be opened, so we guessed part 2 started there. As it turned out, part 2 starts exactly where part 1 did, and used the same basic layout with graphics/texture modifications.

We fought our way through without too much trouble, except at Gamyne Bandu, due to the boss combo attacks “torture session” and followup “shadow execution”. Basically this attack incapacitates one player and the other player must kill at least one of the Shadow Tormentors that spawns, before too long. It took one death each before we figured out what to do.

The rest went well, and after killing Spawn of Mephala, the door I mentioned earlier (that couldn’t be opened in Part 1) led to another room with the quest item to retrieve. So we grabbed that and headed back to a fight or two.

But rather than run all the way back through the dungeon, a friendly NPC (some of the fighters we rescued along the way) directed us to jump in a stream and take a shortcut through a cave.

After getting back to the start and talking to our quest giver, the final fight began, against Vila Theran, who was a friendly NPC in part 1. Betrayed! Sort of. 😉 It went well for us and Fungal Grotto is the first dungeon we completed parts 1 and 2 of, woohoo.

Next up we tried Crypt of Hearts 1, a dungeon we hadn’t been to before. It wasn’t the daily Pledge either, we just wanted to check it out.

This was loaded with undead, necromancers, all that stuff, so it had some cool looking decorations like skull doorways:

This was fun and we finished with no major problems. My friend got excited because after we finished and checked our loot, we saw various drops from the Leviathan dungeon set, a gear set she wants to complement the Hunding’s Rage crafted set. We got 4 pieces of the gear so we’ll be sure to revisit and “farm” more pieces.

One weapons that would be nice to get is the Bonehammer, which drops off Death’s Leviathan, and giant skeleton who is surprisingly mobile:

With another dungeon completed (well, half a dungeon, we’ll come back for Crypt of Hearts 2), we decided to try an available Undaunted Pledge, Banished Cells 2.

This went great up until the end. We defeated the mini-bosses along the way, and setup for the final fight against High Kinlord Rilis XII. He’s got the usual boss mechanics, add summons, throws a bubble spell that takes you out of combat for a few seconds, gets healing spheres to watch for and kill, tosses a blue or red curse you can cure by running over some runes…

…our problem was with the adds. He summons daedroth faster than we can kill them. Between avoiding damage, fighting daedroth, clearing the curse (my Cleansing Ritual did not clear the effect) by running across the runes, we could only do a bit of damage to him; meanwhile the daedroth is about 25% health and another appears.

We tried two or three times and realized afterwards, when there were 3 or 4 daedroth at varying levels of health running around, with Rilis about 2/3rds health, that we were not passing this encounter’s DPS check. To beat it we need to kill the daedroth much faster in order to only deal with one at a time, and also free more time to attack Rilis.

Since we are two-manning the dungeon I don’t feel too bad about that – if the design is for 4 players then us not outputting 200% each isn’t bad.

So we abandoned the quest with the idea of coming back when we were stronger. My friend is wearing Defiler’s and random pieces, and looking into Hunding’s Rage and Leviathan sets as upgrades; I am currently wearing War Maiden and Winter’s Respite. The healing effect of Winter’s Respite is nice, but perhaps for our duo project a stronger choice would be something else like Law of Julianos or Mother’s Sorrow. I need to research this by looking at build write-ups from Alcast, Xynode, Hack the Minotaur, to get some ideas and make my own tweaks based on what we can get to.

Plus, we are essentially newbies on the CP scale – nearing 400 and 300 points respectively. With more CP we’ll be stronger as well.

In the meantime, between the Jester festival and then Anniversary event, we’ll have 3 weeks of double xp, plus whatever else you can stack on top of that. I plan to play my Warden as well and take advantage of this time to level up an alt.

ESO – Crafting

Over the years, I’ve lost my interest in crafting in MMOs. A few games make it a bit more interesting, the best example I can think of is the Gravity quest in Secret World, but most of the time crafting is busy work. Gather materials, craft identical pieces that wind up getting trashed, all to mostly be irrelevant as dungeon gear eventually surpasses it all.

But, I’ve gotten into crafting in ESO!

The overall system is more complex than typical. Crafters can control the look of an item (different style appearances learned through motif books), what inherent bonus the item has (via traits, learned when you research other gear with that trait), additional enchantments to apply (via glyphs), plus the usual stuff like level (character level needed to use) and quality (white, green, blue, etc).

There are also crafting sites out in the wild which allow a crafter of suitable skill level and trait research craft special sets of armor. For example, if I were interested in crafting Hunding’s Rage for my friend, I would need to show up at one of the 3 crafting sites, with the materials and so forth, and I’d need to be far enough along trait search to know 6 traits for each piece I wanted to craft.

What blew my mind was this system allows a crafter to improve quest items. I received a blue staff from a quest and wondered if I could improve it to purple. I figured I could walk through the crafting UI and back out if it looked like that would destroy my item, and I didn’t even expect to get that far – I thought I wouldn’t be allowed to select a quest item.

But I could, and I did upgrade my quest staff to be even better! That was amazing.

The other fun thing about crafting is writs, which are basically daily quests… for crafting. That may sound dull but it isn’t.

First, daily writs only take a few minutes to do.

Second, the rewards are more resources – not quite enough to be the only source of materials you need – and inspiration, which is crafting experience points.

Third, sometimes you get a “resource survey”, which will direct you to a spot in the world with 6 extra good resource nodes.

For example, I received this resource survey when completing a woodworking writ:

And traveling to the area, searching a bit, I found the wood – those are the 6 red and white logs surrounding me:

Once you loot the nodes, the survey disappears from your inventory, and these nodes don’t regenerate (unless you get another survey).

I look forward to my daily writs! They are nice xp, a bundle of resources, and sometimes include a fun treasure hunt for high quality resource nodes.

ESO – Alt Plans

One problem with planning too far ahead are unknowns – “unforseen circumstances” that change everything up. Six months ago I was playing FF14 on PC and dabbling in ESO on PS4; today I’m playing ESO on PC and Stadia and dabbling in LoTRO.

I’ve found I can’t really play 3 MMOs at the same time. So, while I did enjoy FF14 a huge amount, I’m putting it aside for now. The draw of playing ESO with a friend cannot be ignored, and LoTRO makes a great dabbling game – an hour here and there; I’m a lifetime subscriber after all so there is no monthly fee.

I have another friend who plays FF14 on PS4. We talked about it a bit – we were surprised each other played – and he mentioned that he is a huge FF fan and was a day 1 player on both FF11 (on PS2) and FF14 (PS3/PS4). In addition, unfortunately, the PS4 server he is on is full and isn’t allowing new chars or transfers. However, restrictions like that tend to come and go so there is a chance, perhaps small, that I might be drawn back to FF14 on PS4. I’d need to be able to join his server, buy all the stuff on PS4, and start from scratch… but that doesn’t faze me if I get to play a game with real life friends.

If that happens, I’ll wind up putting LoTRO aside, and also will have done a 180 in the last 6 months: from FF14 on PC and ESO on PS4, to ESO on PC/Stadia and FF14 on PS4. Haha!


So far in LoTRO on my new server, I’ve resisted this, but that’s a special case. In July I’ll have played 14 years (!!), all the classes to mid-levels (what used to be high levels but the level cap is now 130), through all of Shadows of Angmar and Mines of Moria content on at least 6 classes starting from level 1… I’m good with one char, my main on Arkenstone, a Beorning.

I like the Boerning, partly because shape changing is fun and partly because the Beorning is quite flexible. They can respec to serve capably as tank, healer, and dps in their blue, yellow, and red skill lines respectively. That class flexibility is a huge plus.

I’m also refocusing – skipping kill deeds while adventuring in various zones. This means my virtues will be lower than they otherwise would be, but I’ll worry about that when it’s a problem. For now, beeline the epic storyline, and pick the low hanging deed fruit – exploration based ones, and of course questing based ones.


Meanwhile over in ESO, I feel the draw of alts.

Some advice from reddit for new players wondering class to play is: create 6 chars, one of each class, all Dark Elf. Why Dark Elf? Because their racial bonuses are good for stamina or magicka, letting you benefit however you spec..

As it turns out, I like the Dark Elves – their character models, aesthetics, the wonderfully zany giant mushrooms across the colorful landscapes, their housing… I will admit a lot of this probably comes from massive nostalgia from TES 3: Morrowind.

I have 6 chars, one of each class: Dark Elf Templar, Argonian Sorcerer and Necromancer, Redguard Dragonknight, Wood Elf Warden, and Khajiit Nightblade. So I did make one of each class but with some variety in races/alliances.

I don’t plan to play all of them. My main is the Templar, so I’m covered if I want to try group healing and the dungeon finder.

I want to try out tanking, so I will poke along on my Dragonknight as well. I keep reading how tanks are so rare (aren’t they always, in every game??). Why not… worst case, it is terrible and I shelve it. I’m hoping for a better result of course – decent fun, not too difficult, great xp and loot, etc.

I’d also like to try a stamina DPS class. So… Nightblade or Warden. My char on PS4 is a Nightblade so I’m going to try Warden on PC. With the extra twist of picking up the Werewolf line. I’ll see if being a shape changer is fun here too (I’m sure it is), being a Werewolf will add some nice variety to the Warden, which is already has pets and class flexibility going for it. So that’s why a stamina warden – stamina is more useful to a Werewolf than magicka.

So that’s 3 chars: magicka DPS and healing on my Templar, stamina DPS and werewolf on my Warden, and tank on my Dragonknight. Plenty to do!

Stadia Thoughts

Google Stadia is in the news a bunch of places and MMO Fallout probably has it correct – the problem with Stadia is Google, not the underlying tech. Google seems to have corporate ADHD or very unrealistic timelines for success. They appear to half-heartedly launch product after product and then give up quickly. The joke is they’ll launch a product and also include its shutdown timeline in the same announcement. Or they’ll shutdown a product before it launches.

Stadia’s probable future is licensing the tech to game publishers that want to implement streaming without having to develop the tech (and data centers).

I have Stadia and enjoy it. I also have a gaming PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and haven’t thrown them away. I like Stadia because it fills a niche for me (gaming while traveling) and works really well. My friend likes it because it lets her access games that aren’t available for Nintendo systems.

I also think Stadia could have become a massive success. Maybe it still can but the window of opportunity is closing and a lot of time has been wasted. Amazon is probably a better steward for this tech – they have cloud computing, streaming knowledge, a game studio, and invest for the long term. I’d say Microsoft too but they are also trying to sell consoles and operating systems.

The reason why is: TV.

Yes, the humble TV. These days outside rounding errors, TVs can run apps and typically come with a few, like Netflix, an app that streams video over the internet. This is basically the same thing as Stadia, which streams game video over the internet to a Chrome browser tab. A TV that can run Netflix can also run Stadia. Yes bandwidth is an issue but if HD video streaming from Netflix renders acceptably, then so will a game. (This isn’t a battle to convert the 4K 120 Hz gamers).

That’s the key for Stadia. Screw battling for scraps of market share taken from PS4, Xbox, PC – instead, grow the potential market to everyone on the planet that has a TV, and capture a part of this much much larger pool.

Cut deals with TV manufacturers to include the Stadia app in future TV sales, sell Chromecasts and controllers for current TV owners… plant a massive amount of seeds that no other platform can touch. (Except the smartphone, but Stadia already can stream there too)! Answer the typical “who is this for, AAA gamers that don’t already have a PC or console?” question with “everyone on the planet that owns a TV”.

Expand the content library. It’s small but functional, it proves various high-graphics games can exist and run acceptably. So rather than getting more high resolution shooters, have the (now disbanded) SG&E division work on family friendly games, ones that don’t involve killing stuff non-stop. Games like Animal Crossing (not throwing AC under the bus but it isn’t my style game. However it does have large appeal). Games that don’t need cutting edge graphics so they stream well at lower bandwidth. License board games and develop Stadia implementations of them. Heck, buy Marvelous, get a deal with TenCent, somehow put Story of Season 2 on Stadia. Do the same with other studios.

This is all presentation – after all, who is to say that Pokemon isn’t a game that involves enslaving helpless animals to perform gladiator combat for you. But it isn’t presented that way and is instead seen as a kid-friendly collect-a-thon juggernaut of a franchise.

Ingress and Pokemon Go’s studio Niantic spun out of Google; get a deal with them for their AR engine and make a new game that also plays on Stadia (smartphones) with some hook to use Stadia on TV too.

Redo the subscription, lower it to $5/mo. Have a few staple free games always there (Destiny, PUBG, both are already there), throw in some kid-friendly games (board games, puzzles, etc), but save access to other games for a cheap subscription in order to encourage people to subscribe. Run specials, game X is free during the month so come check it out.

Get on sports licensing and add Stadia-specific hooks to games. Madden NFL 21 is already on Stadia, open the checkbook to get FIFA and some Formula 1 racing game there too. Baseball, basketball, hockey too, but football, soccer, formula 1 have a larger and worldwide appeal.

Sponsor these sports leagues, especially any form of playoff, at a level that lets Stadia run 2 minute ads after the game. During that ad, pull out a great feature of Stadia – State Share.

Kaylriene posted that State Share is only in beta for Cryta. I thought Hitman 3 was implemented with State Share working? I don’t own Hitman 3 on Stadia so I can’t verify.

Anyway, during the post-game show, State Share a scenario from the game that just aired, and let fans replay it themselves. Provide live real-time statistics on how it’s going.

Picture this: 5 years from now, Tom Brady is playing in his 15th Super Bowl, and completes a pass or gets intercepted. Doesn’t matter – post game, State Share the exact setup and make it easy for Stadia gamers to replay the situation RIGHT THEN. Can YOU do better than Brady, or can you defend against him?? Or the team goes for it on 4th down, or doesn’t go for it on 4th down – your turn! XYZ driver lost the race because he couldn’t pass on a tricky curve – can YOU do it? Your country just got eliminated from the World Cup, can you score the goal they needed?? Etc.

Basically issue a challenge and let fans play it IMMEDIATELY!

This won’t work as well for PC or console due to delays waking up devices, navigating the UI, starting the game, diverting attention, the classic “gotta wait for an update”, etc. But for Stadia you should be able to click a button and be dropped right into the game at the State Share point to play right on the same TV. Even better if you can also scan a QR code and pull it up on a smart phone, to get fans away from home in on the action too.

These are the kinds of strengths Stadia needs to capitalize on, not fight some war with pcmasterrace gamers over who the target audience of Stadia is. Answer that question with “every TV owner on the planet” and pull off gaming scenarios they can’t do as easily… leave them slightly annoyed their $5000 battlestation can’t do it as fast and convenient. (The point here is ease and immediacy; yes the PC will be able to since Stadia run there too, but going from watching TV to playing the scenario on their rig will take several steps and be delayed).

For all anybody knows, Google tried making deals which all fell through. So all we’re seeing is the slow wind down culminating in the tech being sold off to recoup costs. It’s sad, I think under better stewardship Stadia could have done so much better. Instead, I’m not even sure what the heck Google has done since it launched. Their reputation for killing off projects is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I get they are a 1.4 trillion dollar company and lots of stuff doesn’t move the needle enough. But games/entertainment could do it if they weren’t so half hearted about everything that isn’t directly feeding their ad business.