I’m the proud (?) owner of 6 level 50 chars in Elder Scrolls Online, one of each class. And a 7th char is level 48 so very soon I’ll have 7. This seemed near impossible a year ago, and I don’t mention this as a brag – it’s actually relatively easy to do.
The secret is: the random dungeon queue. Well, plus the double xp buff during festivals. That festival xp buff takes the form of some themed drink/food (New Life Mead, Jubilee Cake, Witch’s Brew, etc) and also stacks with xp scrolls, which you can get from daily rewards.
Level up fast by group dungeons. You know, the main reason for playing an MMO. 😉
In ESO, each character can get a huge xp bonus and 10 transmute crystals for a daily random dungeon. Figure the queue time is 10-15 mins for DPS, the dungeon is 15-30 more (yes, this will vary wildly depending on what you get and the rest of the group), so ~45 mins per char for a huge xp chunk and 10 transmute crystals.
It was turbo mode compared to my usual leveling pace.
I found my two favorite classes are Templar and Dragonknight, so I’m focusing on them. But still doing the random queue on as many as time permits, for the transmute crystals (more on those in another post).
I went the healing route for dungeons on my Templar, and am enjoying that. For everyone else I enter as DPS. I’d be willing to tank but I’d like to be more familiar with every dungeon first… and ideally start tanking in the base game dungeons. Except there isn’t really a way to select that from the random queue – other than the workaround of taking a lower level character along (dungeon access unlocks as you level so taking a lowbie along limits what dungeons you will get). Or of course tanking for my friends, which is where the bulk of my experience comes from.
Tales from the Random Queue
Most groups are just fine, players just want to enjoy the content.
- Many groups try to avoid fighting as must as possible, mostly by running at the edge of the map and skipping “trash” mobs. Various rooms in Castle Thorn, jungle areas in Ruins of Mazzatun, the initial area of Falkreath Hold – consistently avoided. Even in one of the first dungeons you can access, Fungal Grotto, it is possible to jump off a waterfall and skip about 40% of the dungeon to beeline the final boss. And players do this – Fungal Grotto 1 on normal has got to be the fastest dungeon to complete.
Players are optimizers – the good loot drops off the bosses, not the trash mobs, so skipping the trash makes the run faster without sacrificing goodies.
It’s rough if you want to do the quest, you really can’t read the text or anything. Save that for friend groups.
- One controversial practice is the “fake tank” or “fake healer”. That is a player that queues for the tank or heal role, but actually isn’t one. Typically they are DPS, and do it because the queue times for tanks are extremely short (instant) and the one for healers is as well (not as fast as tanks but definitely shorter than the DPS queue).
Since the 4-man dungeon party is 1 tank, 1 healer, 2 DPS, the group winds up 3 DPS and tank or healer, or possibly 4 DPS.
To be honest, a full on tank and healer really isn’t necessary for regular base game dungeons. The thinking is 4 DPS will burn down all the bosses before most mechanics come into play. Or even 3 DPS will. In fact, sentiment online (reddit) is a player that is fully healing is a bit of a detriment.
And that’s probably true. Most healing builds I’ve seen have some damage skills, typically on the backbar (frontbar is for healing) even if you only do 25% the damage of a DPS player, that’s something.
A tank might not do a lot of damage, but if they can group the enemies up, DPS AoE can finish them off faster so having a tank can speed the run.
But for harder content, veteran mode dungeons or DLC dungeon, or veteran DLC dungeons, having a real tank and real healer become more necessary.
There’s some overlap of course, base game veteran dungeons are harder but not ridiculously so. Some end bosses in regular DLC dungeons can be tough unless everyone is playing well.
I’ve had fake tanks and fake healers and it gets ugly in some of the harder dungeons. Two come to mind: one time in Red Petal Bastion, the tank couldn’t take 2 hits without dying. They kept taunt on bosses never. The healer didn’t appear to slot any group heals at all, or energy orbs. Most large fights to this point were rez juggling – the tank or healer was down, so one surviving player stopped to try to rez them. We were fighting half strength most of the time, due to this.
At the final boss after trying a few times, I typed that I was leaving, and did. I think there is a requeue time penalty, but I just switched to another char and didn’t see it.
Another time in The Cauldron, we slugged it out to the final boss. Same deal, tank and healer just couldn’t do the job (different players than the other time). After a handful of tries, they both ported out and dropped group! Leadership passed to me so I requeued, we got another tank and healer, and were able to complete. Which felt really good.
- Sometimes, typically in a long DLC dungeon that isn’t as popular (i.e. it doesn’t have desirable gear sets), the tank will drop nearly immediately. This has happened a few times and I think it is for one of two reasons: 1) they were actually a fake tank and realized they weren’t at all equipped to deal with the dungeon the random queue gave them, or 2) they were a real tank that didn’t want to spend the time in the dungeon. There is a penalty for dropping, but tank queue times are short anyway, and sometimes it is faster to get a different shorter dungeon, if the only goal is getting the daily transmute crystals.
- I play my Templar as a healer in group content. I’m considering making my Sorcerer a healer as well, because I’m not liking them as DPS. That’s only if I can cobble together enough healing gear, without spending my precious transmute crystals, to outfit the char. I think I can do it.
I need to do a massive inventory clearing/consolidation anyway.
- Players generally don’t talk much in a PUG. It boils down to three main interactions:
- At the start, if somebody is looking for gear available in the dungeon, they’ll say so. Usually abbreviated like “looking for EC” (so if you were in Stone Garden, they meant Elemental Catalyst gear).
- In the middle sometimes they’ll say “HS” or “Chest”. HS is a Heavy Sack, an item everybody can loot. Chests can also be looted by everyone, after somebody picks them open.
- At the end, “TYFG” (thank you for group) or something similar. Here is where someone looking for specific drops will again ask. Players are generally receptive to trading gear somebody needs that they don’t.
EDIT: My 7th char reached level 50, from just starting level 48. I had a scroll going for double XP and also did the quest in the dungeon. After setting up their new level 50/160 gear I decided to apply a motif at the outfit station. This is Medium Glass Armor. Hm… I remember Glass Armor in Morrowind being a LOT more green. Maybe I need to dye the armor too!
EDIT again: ugh the in-game pics come out so dark. I suppose it was nighttime. The character load screen has better light at least.