The three people in my household aren’t quite ready to play ESO completely together yet, so for the moment, I’m just working on exploring Summerset, practicing with ESO’s unfamiliar UI, and seeing if I can get the lay of the land before we seriously start questing.
So this is a double session post, but it’s very exploratory and has no real game action yet. This is entirely practice!
- Play dates: 10/3, 10/4/2022
- Session number in this run: 2-3
- Did a little joint playing with Paul, who’s running a Khajiit named K’sragi
- We boinged out of the tutorial area through the Summerset Isles portal
- This landed us right by the Shimmerene Wayshrine, where we discovered one NPC flipping out about monsters, and a Khajiit who clued us in on what was going on
- Raz asked us to go and find three other NPCs to question them about what they think of the queen’s decree to open the island to newcomers
- Paul and I both had to do this little conversation separately?
- But we were able to wander around together just to explore and fight a few random low level monsters
- Mostly this was about just practicing with the controls, grouping up, and figuring out how the game UI works
- Paused after a short session of derping around
- Picked up the next night for more derping around without doing anything particularly significant
- This attempt to play was on the macOS side of my new machine, to see if I could get a controller working; PS4 controller actually worked once i turned off PS4 settings in Steam
- Was able to move around as expected, interact with menus, etc.
- Had to figure out best way to take a screenshot, and the answer to that so far seems to be the usual system-level macOS screenshot key combos; will have to figure out whether there’s a more elegant way to do that in-game
- Found the options for disabling the UI for screenshot mode, and also centering the camera on the player, cool
- Killed a few more dire wolves and imps
- Found a merchant and bought a few potentially useful repair kits and potions off of him
- Took a bunch of screenshots because boy howdy this game is prettyl much cleaner of design than Skyrim, without the same sort of insubstantial feel I get off of blades
- Paused there until next time
We have three people in the house, and one of us, my wife Dara, is the only one who has any history at all with Elder Scrolls Online. So when we started discussing playing as a household group, Dara resurrected her older character while Paul and I created our new ones.
Which presented us with a challenge: since Dara’s character was already out in the world, Paul and I had to figure out where to go to catch up with her. ESO completely rearranged how it handled the tutorial for new players since Dara started playing, so we could not necessarily come out of the new tutorial and expect to land in the same place Dara was.
All we really knew was that Dara was on Auridon. So I did a little research on this on uesp.net and discovered that this is the second largest island in the Summerset archipelago, Summerset itself being the largest. So I picked that portal for Paul and I to take with the goal of trying to catch up with Dara.
This did not quite go as planned. I didn’t realize at the time that Dara was not actually on the same island where we landed, so that means we’ll still have the challenge of what to do to actually find her properly. Plus, Dara is still having trouble getting a functional install of the game going. Her primary gaming box, where she regularly plays Overwatch and other games as well, is not letting her use her usual controller.
So until she’s at a point where she can either resolve that box’s issues or maybe go the same route Paul and I did and install ESO on her MacBook, Paul and I agreed that we’d just be relaxed and groovy and explore Summerset a bit as newbie characters.
(Mind you, I’m informed by our ESO-playing friends (hi John! hi Amy!) that Summerset is not exactly intended to be a starter zone for new players. For now, though, it seemed easy enough.)
Paul and I quickly discovered that we each had to talk to Raz separately to get his quest objective, if we wanted to run his quests together. So both of us did that, and then just wandered around a bit exploring the place.
Between us, Paul and I found the following:
- A few Guild merchants that we could interact with, even though they didn’t have anything we could actually buy, don’t know if this is because we aren’t in those Guilds?
- A few low-level monsters that we could actually fight: dire wolves and imps
- An actual NPC merchant I could buy things from, so I bought a few basic repair kits and potions
The repair kits I got from the merchant interested me, because what that told me was that ESO does appear to have a repair gear mechanic. This seemed immediately familiar-ish to me, since Morrowind also expects you to repair your gear. However, ESO’s got slightly different means with which to do that, apparently. Morrowind has various types of hammers and repair prongs, but what I could get off of this merchant was just general “repair kits”.
When I bought a few of those, I then explored through my gear and found where Repair hides on the menu for all the things I’m wearing and carrying. So that’s useful to know.
I also figured out how to go into screenshot mode, which completely turns off the UI, and how to center the camera on the character. Nice.
How I’m playing so far
It’s worth noting here that in the two sessions this post describes, I played both on my Steam Deck and on my MacBook. Between the two, I strongly suspect the Steam Deck is going to be my primary means of playing this game.
The reason for that is that if I’m on the Deck, I have more controller buttons to play with, as well as the Deck’s trackpads. And each and every control on that device is highly configurable. I’m getting the sense that I will need to take advantage of that due to just how complex ESO is.
But that said, I also enjoyed playing around on the Mac, once I finally got ESO loading successfully on it. One of the reasons I chose this MacBook is because I hoped to game on it, as well as on the Deck. And its larger screen really does render Summerset beautifully.
Taking screencaps on the Mac though promises to be slightly more difficult than on the Deck. macOS provides key combos to do that, sure, but it’s multiple keys and I also need to dig into the menus to find Screenshot Mode and turn it on. That’s clearly going to be a thing I’ll want to assign to a Steam Deck button, possibly one of the back buttons.
On the Mac, though, I did notice that once I had the PS4 controller working, I did seem to be able to do things on the keyboard sometimes? So it’s possible I could do a combo of PS4 controller + occasional keyboard here, something similar to how I handle playing Morrowind when I’m on a computer.
Steam’s usual F12 button for screenshots didn’t seem to be an option for me, just because the MacBook does use F12 as a means to control the volume. And there’s no such thing as a Print Screen button on this box. But I could possibly assign a different key, or maybe a key combo, in Steam to do screenshots? This will require some investigation.
One other advantage to playing on the Mac as well as the Deck: easier access to Discord, in case I actually wind up on a voice chat with people while I’m playing. And immediate access to keyboard for typing purposes, if I’m in chat.
I’ve installed Discord’s client on the Deck, and I know from a test of playing Skyrim Together Reborn that that allowed me to do voice chat while playing just fine. But keyboard access on the Deck is an issue with its screen being so small. I do have a Bluetooth keyboard for it, and that works fine, and is my preferred means of typing in game UI if I do in fact have to do so. Still, jumping back and forth between game and chat strikes me as probably easier on the computer. We’ll see.
For now, anyway, I expect to do more playing on the Deck but may switch to the Mac if whim and/or circumstances dictate on any given play session!
TBD. It’ll depend on whether and how fast Dara is able to join me and Paul in exploring the game.
If it’s just me and Paul, we may explore Summerset a bit more, and go find those NPCs that Raz wants us to talk to. If Dara’s able to join us, we’ll probably add her to the group that Paul created, so that we can actually either teleport to her, or have her teleport to us.
I’m also given to understand though that Dara, being a bit ahead of us (she’s level 5, Paul and I are both 3, I think), and being an older character from an earlier era of the game, has actually done a bit of the main quest. Paul and I may need to trigger an encounter with a certain Hooded Figure* to actually catch up to Dara properly.
We’ll find out!
Editing to add
- 11/23/2023: Restored missing gallery.