ESO – Logging

Many MMO players are familiar with logging or at least what a DPS meter does. I’ve recently discovered the logging capabilities in ESO and it is truly a wealth of information.

Logging is built into the game – to start/stop, just type /encounterlog in the chat box. You should see a confirmation message. Logs are written in your ESO directory. The file is simply a text CSV file and records just about everything you can imagine for the group.

To interpret the logs, most players use a site like ESO Logs. If you make an account, you can upload the logs and have a fantastic graphical UI to search around for all sorts of info.

I enjoy healing and dps, and am also trying to get more comfortable tanking. What I use the logs for, besides just randomly wandering through the info at whatever seems interesting, is gauging my “uptimes” when I’m healing.

Basically, healing in ESO means the usual thing of restoring health to players. But a significant component to the job is to buff the group, debuff the boss, provide resources or recovery, and perform misc tasks as needed. That last category depends on the trial; as an example, there are at least 2 trials where it is useful to have a “kite” healer who stays at range in order to deflect various boss mechanics. In certain situations, it is useful for the healer to have a taunt (!!) in order to draw attention (what also works is for the healer to slot a ranged interrupt and heal through the damage).

In a recent trial I did as a healer, Rockgrove, we were victorious at defeating the invaders (whew!) and afterwards I went to check my uptimes. One essential skill for all healing builds is Combat Prayer, a morph of Blessing of Protection which is a Restoration Staff skill so all classes can take it, provided the player uses a resto staff (and it is hard to imagine a healer not using a resto staff because class skills only go so far).

This skill is crucial because it provides Minor Beserk and Minor Resolve, giving the group +5% damage and boosted resistances.

I checked my contribution and I am providing this buff about 50% of the time. (Those huge gaps are non-combat times where we go over the mechanics for new folks. I drilled down into each boss fight and it looks like ESO Logs does the smart thing and ignores the non-combat times for the overall calculation).

So, that’s decent but could be better. It lasts 10 seconds so I am roughly only casting it every 20 seconds. I’m not an expert log reader but another possibility is I’m only getting roughly half the group in the cast, I think.

However it works out, I could be more careful with positioning and with refreshing, so for future trials I’ll concentrate more on that and see if my uptime goes… well, up.

Combat Prayer is just one of the skills, there are others skills and effects to look at too of course.

Sometimes I tank as well. I was in vet Sancum Ophidia as the off-tank, and I can do that same thing, check uptimes:

Hm… there’s that 50% thing again, I am “only” keeping the Powerful Assault buff up about half the time I could be. Something to work on. Another thing I can check is “Threat”:

I’m not sure how these numbers stack up – I have less experience as a tank. The Lamias I had ~48% tanking time on are adds in the final fight, and it did take me some time to locate and taunt them. (I have since remapped the controls for cycling enemies so it should be faster next time).

The ~1% tanking on Ozara – that’s one of the bosses along the way. The main tank died so for a few seconds I taunted to keep her from picking some random healer/DPS to attack. Then they were rezzed and took aggro back.

Finally, sometimes I DPS. ๐Ÿ˜‰ One thing I really like about ESO is you can perform all roles on the same character. That doesn’t stop me from having alts, but I do appreciate the flexibility. Even as I enjoy healing in groups, you can’t take that same healing build and do solo or overland content without being miserable.

At a recent Cloudrest trial I went to check on how I did:

Pillar of Nirn is the jewelry/weapon set I am using, from Falkreath Hold, Stormfist is the monster set I am using, from Tempest Island, and those two are contributing a fair amount of damage for essentially being passive effects (triggered by critical hits).

I’m basically a data geek and I just love looking through logs after we finish a trial. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s always something interesting and I play all 3 roles so I can get some good info by looking at how others do, what skills and gear they have, etc.

ESO – Trials

Once again I have been slacking.

In previous years I participated in Blaugust, but I didn’t sign up this time around because my work and travel/vacation schedule for August would have made it tough to post more than a handful of times.

Anyway, I’ve started doing trials in ESO, and it’s been quite a lot of fun. Intimidating at first, but now after several dozen runs spread out over the various trials (except for Aetherian Archive and Asylum Sanctorium, I’ve been in all the trials at least once and some dozens of times).

It’s crazy that when I started up again with my friend, we were satisfied gearing up in normal dungeons. Now, we’ve obtained a few trials sets, have ventured into veteran dungeons, and that taste of power has us searching for more, haha!

Crafted and dungeon gear is still strong. The actual power boost from trial gear generally comes from the 3 piece bonus, which is typically Minor Slayer – adds 5% damage to dungeon, trial, arena monsters – for dps sets. For healing and tank sets, the bonus is (always?) Minor Aegis – reduce damage 5% from dungeon, trial, arena monsters. 5% isn’t huge but why pass up some free mitigation or damage?

Of course the 5 piece bonus can be very beneficial as well – e.g. the bonus for 5 pieces of Claw of Yolnakriin, a tank set, is buff group damage on taunt, which a tank should trigger non-stop.

Groups already have various strategies for each fight, so I just listen to the leader and do what they say. Sometimes, as above, it is hard to see anything due to all the monsters, players, and various effects going on.

I mostly play as a healer, although I have tanked a trial or two and dps’ed a few times as well. In ESO, a trial group is generally 2 tanks, 2 healers, 8 dps, with some leeway for certain situations (sometimes 1 tank, 9 dps).

ESO – Rockgrove

One of my friends noticed our guild was running a “Trial 101” for Rockgrove event, and planned to do it. I found the event page and also signed up, as dps.

The group was short a few players so the leader went to Craglorn to recruit more, and added one too many. Rather than boot out a random player, the leader asked if anybody would be willing to (off) tank.

I paused for a minute before typing a question out – how hard is it to tank Rockgrove normal for someone who has never been in it at all?

The response was – oh it’s easy, all you need is to be CP 160.

I didn’t quite believe that, but I didn’t want to see a random player booted; I’m CP 1400 and have tanking gear and a build so I said I’d do it. A quick trip to the Armory in my home and I was a tank.

We grouped up and entered…

Spoiler – I’ll rate myself a C at best. Fact is, tanking is difficult for me.

What went well – this really was a “trial 101”. The leader, who played one of the healers, explained every fight. He’d say “OK I want main tank to grab X, and off tank to grab Y and Z”.

If there were adds to keep watch for, he’d mention them, but only the serious/mini-boss type adds, not all the trash mobs.

He’d point out corner of the room to pull to, etc.

He’d also explain special mechanics, such as the one fight that involved spawning flesh atronachs and fire behemoths, I had to taunt them out of the crowd; the final boss who turns the floor to lava, everybody be ready to run; stuff like that.

Nobody did a pull before the tanks did, I gather that is the basic expectation of dps players in trials. The leader would tell us “tanks, on your pull” and I’d watch for the other tank to move before I did.

What didn’t go so well – my survivability. I had ~48K health (buffed with food), heavy armor, a decent rotation, but I’d still hit the dirt. Part of that is probably not blocking the correct mob attacks – if you block all the time you drain your stamina, so you want to block the lighter hits, dodge roll the “boss mechanic” hits you can’t survive, and try to weave in some heavy attacks to restore resources. Plus do your skill rotation which will ideally will provide some group buffs and mob debuffs.

So, not having been in before, I wasn’t sure of what AoE’s I could stand in, which hits I could take, and which of either required evasive moving.

Another thing that made it tough was half the fights were blind. Not just in the sense I hadn’t done them before, I mean in the more literal sense where I hadn’t seen the room or mobs at all. Many fights were on a platform up stairs from where we were staging, and I couldn’t see what mobs I was supposed to taunt until I ran up the stairs, turned the corner, and searched in a panic for the 2 I was supposed to control. To be fair, generally the taller the monster, the more dangerous! So much of the time I’d end up selecting the 2 tallest enemies out of a group of 6 or 8 and those would be the correct ones.

Speaking of selecting enemies, I play ESO using a controller and I think maybe a keyboard/mouse setup would be better as far as tanking. That is, if you can mouse select. As a Dragonknight your fundamental “yoink them to me” skill is the Unrelenting Grip morph of Fiery Grip, if you aren’t a DK you use the Silver Leash morph of Silver Bolts from the Fighter’s Guild. For ranged taunting, everybody uses the Inner Rage morph of Inner Fire from Undaunted. All these require a bit of aim which is hectic when the target is in a crowd that is generally all moving. (The easiest mobs to chain are ranged attackers since they generally stand still!)

For taunting up close and personal mobs, there is Pierce Armor morph of Puncture.

Lastly, I could undoubtedly work on positioning. Not just facing mobs away from DPS to avoid cleave damage – I mean where to stand to remain in position of the healers, yet out of the way for the other mobs the main tank is handling. I’ve healed a lot more than I’ve tanked and I don’t have a good feeling of how far away the range is on my skills. There is a Venn diagram overlap of where the healers can stand to see everybody without moving, and I don’t want to range too far. I’m sure once or twice I pull my group out of range of everyone else.

I had fun, and more importantly, so did my friend who has never raided in an MMO before. Got some good loot – all 4 sets that drop in Rockgrove are useful for some spec – so we both came away with a few pieces of each set.

We’re both up for more and I’ll keep an eye out for more Trial 101 situations. Although I’d rather DPs than tank, and heal than DPS. I’m sure than nearly any other tank would do better than me.

ESO – RPO attained

Well I feel a bit silly… I got my Ring of the Pale Order and realize I was farming in the wrong place. That’s why it was taking so long. I already had the lead that dropped from the dungeon.

In my defense, I was going off the list from UESP, which shows the leads in a certain order… alphabetical. However, that is not the order the game shows them.

I was missing lead #1 and #4, which made me think it was the Aurmine Ancestral Signet (from treasure chests in Bangkorai) and Order-Etched Gallery Rail (mobs in Bad Man Hallows).

I was actually missing Direnni Elegy Loop (delve boss in Coldrock Diggins) and Pale Order’s Golden Band (lore in Nighthollow Keep).

ARGH!!

The reason I noticed this was due to another mythic I’ve almost completed – Thrassian Stranglers. I dug up an antiquity to get 4/5 needed, so I went to see where the 5th item was. That’s when I noticed the discrepancy, because I needed the Buoyant Steel (fishing in Stros M’kai; and I’ve only fished in Shadowfen for the New Life Festival, and Artaeum trying to get the Artaeum Takeaway Broth recipe – so I knew I didn’t have that antiquity) but that wasn’t the spot that was empty in the in-game list.

Anyway, ~30 minutes later, after picking up the Golden Band lead, and fighting the delve boss 3 times for the Elegy Loop lead, I had my Ring of the Pale Order.

Then, I went to a transmute station to make 2 copies (25 transmute crystals each!) for 2 alts.

Next up, I want the Ring of the Wild Hunt. Leads needed are Charm of the Shapeless (bosses in Murkmire) and Symbol of Y’ffre (world bosses in Greenshade).

I double checked to make sure those are the correct leads. ๐Ÿ˜‰

ESO – RNG Woes

You might think that I think ESO is perfect, from reading all my posts gushing about it. While I do think the game has many well-designed systems with great interplay between said systems, there is one design element I’m not a fan of… the random number generator (RNG).

OK, every game has this, I am specifically referring to how random it is getting leads for mythic items. These are powerful items that require getting (and digging up via the antiquities system) 5 or more leads that drop randomly. When I say random, I mean both low chance for the drop and spread out through all kinds of activities – killing world bosses, delve bosses, public dungeon bosses, opening chests, etc.

One in particular is the Ring of the Pale Order (RPO). This is an unusual item that appeals to both casual players, and hardcore players. Wow, how can that be?

It’s basic property is: return a percentage of your damage as healing… with the drawback that nobody else can heal you.

So for a casual player, who is probably solo most the time, this is fantastic. That extra bit of healing makes it easier to do the content. Especially if you are a class with a spammable damage/healing ability… say a Templar using the Puncturing Sweeps morph of Puncturing Strikes. You already get 40% of your damage as healing, throw on another 20 from RPO?!

And over on the hardcore side, maybe you’re chasing one of the speed achievements. Even though the healing is less in a group (4% less per ally), any bonus at all might allow you to do without a dedicated healer and go all-out damage – everyone self-heals, uses potions, the RPO, some combo of all of the above, etc.

So this item is very desirable and the leads are heavily farmed. And one of those leads drops off any monster inside the Bad Man’s Hollows public dungeon.

Since that is a public dungeon, it isn’t instanced for you. Depending on when you go, it will be empty or jam packed. The dungeon is a small, base-game public dungeon so all the monsters are pretty easy and you might get dizzy running loops.

And in a mind boggling design decision, there is another desirable mythic lead in the same public dungeon! It’s a lead for the Ring of the Wild Hunt, a mythic that makes you faster: 15% in combat, and 45% faster out of combat.

As you can imagine, this is also extremely desirable. Let’s be honest and admit that a huge amount of time in an MMO is spent traveling from one place to another. Getting a speed boost is something everyone benefits from.

So Bad Man’s Hollows is generally farmed with a steady stream of players all hoping for various leads. Me included.

Well, not for a bit, I burned out trying to get either lead. I estimate I’ve spent ~15 hours across several days without getting either lead. And I’m taking a lengthy break from doing it just because it isn’t all that fun killing the same mobs in the same small dungeon over and over.

Trying to collect armor sets from a dungeon comes down to RNG, but that is actually fun to do. And a recent patch introduced curated drops, where you get items you don’t already have. (Well that’s the goal but I’ve seen different behavior. Nevertheless, the curated drops do help).

It makes me think how other games have a token system, for example FF14 and Allagan Tomestone of Poetics. Do content, get a few tomestones, eventually you can buy what you want. Win Win!!

I know that Zenimax is in a tough spot. The players really want these items, if they made a predictable way to get them, everyone would have them. MMO players are all about optimizing the path to a result.

The random drop system is probably necessary but ugh it feels terrible.

ESO – High Isle Reveal

I realized I’m hooked on this game when I juggled around my work schedule so I could go home and watch the reveal earlier today. I also prepared last night by linking my twitch account (which somehow I have via Amazon Prime) and my ESO account.

I was lured in by the crab pet and stayed for the info.

Me and my new (non-combat) Barnacle-Back Coral Crab pet. I’m on the left.

We’re off to the High Isles, a small archipelago of four islands, steeped in Breton lore and history. The story looks political – tension between royal houses.

This sounds excellent, my favorite zone story so far is Wrothgar, all about royal ascension and who is fighting for the throne. There’s only so many “end of the world doom bringers” you can defeat before putting up a sign and telling the next one that comes along to reconsider their plans.

More new stuff includes a zone event – volcanic vents. They will be similar to Abyssal Geysers from Summerset.

Also an in-game collectible card game. They promise a mechanic to ensure new players won’t be at a disadvantage to someone who has unlocked everything – players select cards to use, and the combination is shuffled and dealt.

Two new companions – Ember (“with flexible morals”) and Isobel, who is more of a knight and wants to “do right by players”. Interesting… Ember might be a criminal companion, who might help out with Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood work. Or at least look the other way.

The stream then showed off an upcoming dungeon, a mix of flooded ruins and seashore, with coral enemies and overall great looking graphics.

The post reveal stream revealed a new assistant – Giladil the Ragpicker, a deconstruction assistant. This is so huge, can get rid of stuff out in the world rather than returning to a crafting area!!

There was more of course, new armor sets, new monster sets, new underwater house, etc. I’m looking forward to this! Releases June 6th and ~2 weeks later for consoles.

ESO – Many Chars

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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:
  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

ESO – Armory

Well it’s been a while. I’ve been playing ESO and FF14 of course, more ESO than FF14, but I’ve mostly been taking a break from blogging.

ESO

Things are going well in ESO.

My two friends and I decided to try our first Veteran Dungeon – Fungal Grotto 1. There’s a symmetry there; one friend and I tried when we were newbies – as I recall I was level 40 and she was just over 45 (high enough to get the Undaunted Pledge which is why we picked Fungal Grotto 1 in the first place) – and it was rough. We were attempting to duo and while we did finish we died a lot. Still it was extremely satisfying to beat the dungeon.

We thought it would be fitting to make our first Veteran Dungeon Fungal Grotto 1 as well. So we convinced our mutual friend and dove in. It went pretty well minus a few deaths at the boss – in Vet mode the boss AoE attack does a huge amount of damage, and my friends didn’t always dodge roll. I was a tank and had twice their health, but also moved out of the way. We did finish up and it went reasonably smooth overall.

We also tried a few DLC dungeons – Moongrave Fane and Lair of Maarselok. I picked those because I wanted the 3rd wing to my Hall of the Lunar Champion. ๐Ÿ™‚ One thing nice about tanking is I survived essentially everything and that meant the group did too. Even if I was the only at various times and had to combat res if I could get ~6 seconds away from fighting.

This could also mean I need to practice tanking more, haha.

Armory

ESO introduced a quality-of-life item, the Armory. This lets you save and reload a build, which is really handy. While you could always change up your char by a respec of attributes, skills/morphs, and champion points, the Armory lets you save the results and quickly switch back and forth… without spending in game gold.

It saves your current attributes, skills/morphs, champion points, gear, “disease” (i.e. vampire or werewolf), quick slots… but oddly enough not the mundus stone.

Still, the Armory is fantastic. Loading an empty build clears everything out, which let me more efficiently spend my skill points. And the save/load function makes it easy to add a second build to characters, so my main can now heal and tank (OK I bought a 3rd slot), my tank can have a dps build and quest a bit faster, etc.

FF14

So what about FF14? Well I’m still pursuing that ideal balance of (attempting to) play multiple MMOs. I have not bought Endwalker, mostly because I’m not there in the main story yet! But I will.

In the meantime while I sort that playtime balance issue, I’m considering transferring to Cactuar, to be able to join the Super Dungeon Friends (advertised here again).

I know that cross-DC play is coming to FF14, but the timeline seems murky/vague. So I’ll see what it takes (how much it costs) and if it is even possible given crowds and queues due to Endwalker.

Hey, it’s a good problem for a game to have!

ESO – Quasigriff Mount

Well I’ve been slacking since Blaugust. Sometimes I only have time to play games rather than write about playing games, you know?

I finally got my Dagonic Quasigriff mount, so I can ride around in style. Probably like thousands of other players, who also will obtain the mount… but I don’t care, I like the looks of it.

This mount is obtained by participating in various celebrations/events this year – collect event tickets, trade into the Impresario for one item towards the mount.

First you need to get the Unstable Morpholith, which in turn required Deadlands Flint, Rune-etched Striker, and Smoldering Bloodgrass Tinder. Then since I wanted the mount, I obtained Black Iron Bit and Bridle, Black Iron Stirrups, and Smoke-Wreathed Gryphon Feather. Combine, and voilร , there’s your new heavyweight mount.

This might sound tedious but it really wasn’t. It made you play a bit every day (during the various events), doing daily quests to get the ticket rewards. The dailies were generally: do a delve, fight a world boss. Since you could only get two tickets a day, you couldn’t obsessively farm… I suppose on the other side are players that for whatever reason couldn’t play enough each time. However I think ESO has them covered since there are supposed to be two more events with more chances to get tickets, etc.

ESO – Another Friend Playing

I had elaborate plans to advance in FF14… ok not that fancy, just keep following the MSQ… but on Mon my other friend did indeed buy ESO on the Steam sale, and messaged, asking if I wanted to play. Well heck yes!

We actually played Mon, a little bit Wed, and Thu as well. My friend plays tons of single player games but was leery of trying an MMO due to concerns about forced grouping.

Monday

I decided to roll a new character, with the plan to group as early as possible. I already had a named picked out: Amanita Phalloidies, that being the botanical name of the deadly White Cap Mushroom. Unfortunately, some other genius ๐Ÿ˜‰ had the same idea so the name was already taken. I had to spell the name Falloidies instead. I thought this was a great name for an Imperial Necromancer, Imperial because it is Latin, and Necromancer for obvious reasons. I joined the Ebonheart Pact since my friend made a Nord Dragonknight.

We called on discord and started in. I was interested in seeing the new tutorial especially with the finals room of portals to all the various starter zones.

While the tutorial isn’t a private instance, it wasn’t possible to join up. We grouped and I tried to “travel to player” several times at various points, and always got an error. It was fine, we had discord and I kept asking what point in the tutorial she was up to.

One point she said “oh no, I’m out of inventory space”. There’s a room in the tutorial where you can choose weapons and armor… and my friend apparently took everything. Haha!

When I got to the portal room I found the Bleakrock Isle portal and told my friend that was the one she wanted. I just wanted to make sure we started the correct faction storyline. My other friend that played bought a combo package that included Morrowind, so their starter zone was Vvardenfell. Which is fine, but then had no idea at all what faction they were and wound up doing zone stories in essentially random order.

Once on Bleakrock Isle, she was able to travel to me and we finally could play together. Our other friend soon joined us and we worked on a few quests together.

I pointed out aspects of the game as we went long. Skyshards for example, I explained that discovering 3 skyshards granted 1 skill point. ESO’s tutorials and help popups are pretty good but having somebody answer questions is even better.

As we ran across Bleakrock Isle, I stopped at various harvest nodes (wood, ore, plants, enchanting) and gave a quick description. I showed the slightly different icons of zone quests and side quests; the zone quests tell an extended story while the side quests are shorter and more local. I advised that if given the choice, do the zone quests first since those grant better gear and sometimes skill points, etc.

Some other key tips were wayshrine usage – at a wayshrine, clicking on it lets you travel for free to any other wayshrine already discovered; clicking on a wayshrine from the map costs money to travel.

We wrapped up the first evening still on Bleakrock Isle. With great progress though!

Later, I dug around my setting and passed on some changes to make:

  • options -> nameplates -> nameplates on options -> nameplates -> friendly npcs (show) -> always
  • options -> gameplay -> prevent attacking innocents -> on
  • options -> combat -> (display ability bars, timers, stats, etc)
  • options -> social -> auto-decline duels -> on
  • options -> audio -> (subtitles for NPCs and videos)
  • options -> gameplay -> quick cast ground abilities -> on

I think my friend absorbed everything and said she had fun.

Wednesday

The second session was short as I got on late Wed evening. My friend quested on her own and finished a few more quests on Bleakrock Isle. My only further advice was on spending attribute and skill points. She wants to play a stamina dragonknight (loves wielding dual weapons) but wasn’t sure how to allocate.

Fortunately I got her to spend all points into stamina, explaining that unlike many other RPGs where you try to balance stats a bit, ESO rewards full blown concentration into one stat. Mostly because how damage is calculated.

As far as skill points, she had already spent a few in the skills that the in-game skill advisor suggested. The skills advisor defaults to an “Initiate” build which is magicka-based. I told her how to change that and she selected the Venomous Dragon build, which is stamina-based. Now the game will suggest skills that build towards the playstyle she wants.

Thursday

My friend crafted my newly-playing friend some gear – a level 10 Hunding’s Rage armor set. Due to level scaling, your armor level being at your character level makes you equivalent to a level 50/CP 160 character, other than skills and champion points. So we’ll try to keep our friend in reasonably current gear.

We exited Bleakrock Isle to Bal Foyen and continued questing. Since Bal Foyen is even smaller than Bleakrock Isle we finished that and moved onto Davon’s Watch in Stonefalls. At this point, we leveled up to 10 and my friend could equip her armor.

In Davon’s Watch we took a break from questing to tour the city a bit. I got us to join the Fighter’s Guild, Mage’s Guild, Undaunted (my friend thought the initiation ceremony was funny). Since finishing the Undaunted initiation quest involved visiting – not finishing, just visiting – a group Dungeon, which in our case was Fungal Grotto, our other friend ported over there so that we could “travel to player” and save the run across Stonefalls. It isn’t much, but both of our lowbie characters have basically zero speed mounts, and no wayshrines along the way, so it would have taken a while, especially with stopping for fights.

Before logging off I pointed out another critical town service – the Outlaws Refuge. We explained this was where to go to sell or launder stolen items, and often sneak out of a city bypassing guards. This was handy because right before, at the bank, there was a safebox (which I managed to steal from when the NPC wandered away!) so I had some stolen loot to launder.

Later I checked and my level ~11 newly-join-Undaunted character is able to get delve dailies from Bolgrul. Excellent!

This is super cool. I haven’t had more than 1 real-life friend play the same game as me since… Asheron’s Call. Back then we used to stay late at work, conference call each other, and play for a few hours in the evening. Good times.

I’m glad I rolled a new character to play with my friend through the low levels. That way I can see the quests and objectives too. I could have used my warden or dragonknight since they haven’t done those quests but I figured I’d transition to those characters eventually, might as well try out a new character for a bit.

Speaking of that, I did stamina necro. I have a magicka necro that has terrible sustain problems (runs low on magicka all the time). Maybe I’m doing it wrong or it gets better with various passives, skills, etc. But the stamina necro plays solid right from the start, I like it more.

So I crafted myself a set of Night Mother’s Gaze and Mechanical Acuity gear, in the Daedric style because I have a ton of the materials needed for that motif. For a level 12 character, hehe, what the heck that’s the benefit of having your own crafter.