This post actually covers play across three days–a triple session post! But only one of the three days covered had any real actual RP action, most of the rest of it was a whole helluva lot of crafting and running of writs, and gathering ingredients and materials for said writs. That stuff isn’t really worth a whole separate post, so it’s getting rolled into this one.
Main action here is Paul and me hitting another delve, Tor-Hame-Khard, where we stopped a rogue Justiciar of the Divine Prosecution from using another of those creepy pearls! Thalmor, am I right? Can’t leave ’em alone for an instant.
- Play date: 10/12, 10/13, 10/14/2022
- Session number in this run: 10-12
- Finished Enchanting certification, hunted around for more runes
- Came back and made a glyph, then deconstructed it to get certified
- Figured out which option to turn on to actually see proper quest markers on my HUD, which made things easier
- Went to the other certifier NPC and ran her quests to get certified as a clothier and as a blacksmith
- Went out ingredient hunting again (definitely easier to find things with the quest markers)
- Leveled up to 10 while doing that 😀
- Hurray, I got a horse! And also 3 skill points to spend, fuck yeah! Dropped them on crafting so I could bump up the kinds of materials I can farm
- Grabbed a clothing writ and a blacksmithing writ off the board
- Went back out again to hunt for flax and high ore to make into steel, a few times in waves, and gathered a whole bunch of materials so I could satisfy both of the writs
- Made over 1K that way in gold, awesome
- Notable things that happened while out gathering:
- Accidentally went all the way to Rellenthil, oops; sorry, Raz, not ready to come back and talk to you yet
- Found the entrance to something called The Vaults of Heinarwe; did not explore, saving that for later
- Started finding pewter in seams as well as high iron ore
- Somewhere in this whole part of the action i leveled up to 11
- Once Paul joined in for the evening, we ran the delve at Tor-Hame-Khard
- Leveled up to 12 when we found the place
- Took out a rogue Thalmor type in there with another of the creepy pearls
- Not much loot to be had, but first sighting of a flame atronach!
- Paul and I both wound up dying during the boss fight
- We stopped joint play at that point, but I went back for woodworking certification
- Did a writ for that which required more ingredients hunting
- Notable location found while hunting: skeleton in a niche between rocks
- Came back one more time and did another clothing writ
- Leveled up to 13 while out hunting for materials for that
- Pulled materials out of guild bank for that and will replenish them when I log in next
- Stopped near the crafting plaza for the night
- Picked up again on Thursday and basically ran a bunch of crafting writs, made it about halfway through level 13
- Did additional crafting writs on Friday, after getting certified in the remaining things, made it partway through level 14
- Also went ahead and joined the Fighters and Mages Guilds, which required me to go to Shimmerene and talk to a couple of NPCs
- Found Adept Rider set stations on the docks in Shimmerene so used those to do the bound stations I could put in my room
- Notable thing while swimming around the beach: killed by slaughterfish! Which unlocked an achievement, snerk
Wednesday’s session was the one wherein Paul and I ran a delve, but the delve activity was bookended by solo crafting work on my part, both before the delve, after on the same night, and on the couple of days of play since then. I got certified in all of the crafting lines, just to try them all out and see what running writs for everything is like. This got me an achievement, too.
Some observations about that. Because I’m feeling legit torn about the crafting experience on this game, and I think most of the things I’m finding annoying are probably caused by things related to it being an MMO:
- There are millions of players on this game and therefore doubtless hundreds of millions of objects, and they don’t want to flood the game with objects nobody will ever use once they’re made.
- They want to maintain some player balance and not make it possible for, say, a level 5 character to be running around in level 50 gear.
I get that this is an MMO and that maintaining player balance is a thing they have to care about. You can’t exactly have a bunch of lower level players going “fuck it, I’ll make myself higher level gear” and then go run a dungeon, or do PVP, and do a lot better than lower level players not fortunate enough to have that gear. Same idea re: if a lower level player, like me, has friends already playing who could invite them into a Guild. It’s not exactly fair to players not in a Guild to let such persons be able to use higher level gear immediately. So I expect they kind of have to enforce a rule of “you can only use gear at or below your character level”.
I’m fortunate as a newbie to be in a Guild right out of the gate, where I do have access to a Guild Bank and a large stock of available ingredients. But I feel like a lot of new players wouldn’t have that immediate option. And if they’re new players coming in out of playing other Elder Scrolls games, where they’re able to buy useful materials off of vendors and make immediately useful stuff with it, well. (Example: Paul. He’s also long familiar with Skyrim, and he’s coming into ESO with much the same reactions that I’m having here to how crafting works.)
I get this intellectually. But still it causes me to be annoyed, player-experience-wise, by these things:
- Once I actually make a thing, if I’m not actually going to wear it, I can’t sell it to a merchant for a useful amount of money. I can sell it, but the amount of money I get for that is pitiful. I can try to share the item with my Guild, but if Guild members are all more powerful than I am, the gear isn’t useful to them except maybe for deconstruction purposes. And I can’t just store the items to do something with them later, because the game locks down how much storage you can have, so your storage/inventory/bank can’t really be taken up by gear you’re not going to immediately use.
- Related to previous, the only way that seems like I can get decent levels of gold for making stuff is explicitly by fulfilling crafting writs. And while I do like crafting things (I’ve always liked that in Skyrim), this rides a very tight line between “this is a fun thing to do” and “this feels too much like work”. Particularly given that it seems like at least in one case, I have to explicitly go out and harvest ingredients rather than, say, pulling them out of the Guild bank. I noticed this happen trying to fulfill an Enchanting writ, since that expected me to acquire a specific rune. And pulling that specific rune out of the Guild bank didn’t count to satisfy the writ.
- I really wish the various vendors at the crafting stations actually sold a better assortment of the raw materials useful at their stations. Like, say, if I come up to the blacksmith, why the hell can’t I buy iron ingots from him if I need some? Why can’t I buy jute from the clothier? Or interesting ingredients from the alchemist?
- I am currently capable of making gear I cannot actually use, because I dropped skill points on Blacksmithing and Clothing, and got access to be able to use flax and steel. But anything made out of those materials is level 16 by default and as of this writing, I’m at level 14. It’s really not a positive user experience to be able to make stuff I cannot use. Plus, it makes no actual in-character sense to me. If I make a jerkin out of jute and another jerkin out of flax, why am I able to use the jute one and not the flax one? If I can make both an iron dagger and a steel dagger, why am I able to use the iron one and not the steel one? (You could argue that somebody who can use an iron weapon might not have the technique to properly use the steel one yet, but that makes less sense to me in regards to a jerkin. They’re both still light armor and I see no particular likelihood of functionality difference between jute and flax.)
Now all that said, let me talk about the parts of this experience I am liking so far.
- I don’t know yet how the writ situation is set up in other cities because so far I haven’t ventured off of Summerset much (except to go to Artaeum). But at least in Alinor, it’s super convenient that the writ boards are right there by the crafting stations, and the drop boxes for the items you make are just around the corner a short distance away.
- I like that the writs pay several hundred gold each. Which makes it actually worth the effort to go out and harvest ingredients.
- Being able to use flax and steel does at least let me get a peek ahead at what items from those materials will look like, which I’m currently finding kind of cool. I can have a sense of “oh maybe that’s something I want to actually wear”. It also means that right now, the writs I’m running are actually using those materials so I guess I get a little more than I would for writs with jute and rawhide?
- Enchanting things by glyphs is satisfying, since it doesn’t actually use soul gems, a situation I’ve always found morally dodgy in Skyrim! (Of course, if I want to actually recharge that weapon I just enchanted, I apparently do still need a soul gem for that, soooooo….) But I do like the glyphs. They’re pretty.
- Our Guild bank had a whole boatload of crafting motifs available, so I yoinked out a bunch of those and read them. So now I can make stuff with a bunch of different racial styles, and I appreciate being able to browse those at the Outfit station and see which ones I think look cool. I see a bunch of stuff there I’d actually consider wearing. I also want to experiment with the variations on styles that I can wear, since they all appear to have multiple variations and I want to see which ones I like more than others.
- I’ve also found the Dye functionality at the same station, and have noted that I’ve unlocked several dye colors, so I’ve started experimenting with that. One of my favorite things to do in Skyrim has always been making cool sets of armor. So in ESO, the ability to customize that armor appeals to me. Less so non-armor outfits, but we’ll see if I have reason to play with those, too. I don’t know how often I’ll be wearing outfits that aren’t armor.
Other thoughts that are generally more neutral:
- No immediate fucks to give about Provisioning, I think. Just because I’m not seeing an actual requirement that I need to care about eating food in this game. I got certified in it just to see what the Writs are like, but other than that not seeing myself actually doing much with this.
- I’ve made some useful potions with Alchemy but really need to get better familiar with quick-slotting potions so I can actually use them. I’ve experimented a bit with this on the Steam Deck’s controller layout but I’m not a hundred percent happy with it yet.
- I like the idea of the Jewelry craft, but I’m not necessarily convinced yet that this’ll be as interesting to me as armor and weapons. Maybe mostly in the context of having additional things to enchant? I do like that I can wear two rings instead of one, at least, as well as a necklace. And I will at least try out the certification for this for writ purposes.
And while I was out hunting for ingredients and materials on Wednesday…
I noticed a few interesting things on the materials hunts.
Found Rellenthil even though I didn’t exactly intend to go there. I made a point of not exploring that immediate area further, since I wanted to save it for the next time Paul and I were jointly playing.
I found a second Thieves Guild Dead Drop, which contained another mysterious artifact. I know now from wiki diving that this is indeed a plot for Summerset, involved with the Psijic Order. Chances of my engaging with that plot later are pretty decent.
I also found a couple more random treasure chests of loot and tried the lockpicking thing some more. Am not liking this lockpicking system. It annoys me that it’s timed. And this, unlike some of the other things about the game that I don’t like so far but can at least come up with a technical explanation as to why they’re done that way, is a thing I cannot see the rationale for.
The only thing I can think of here that makes any sense to me is that if I’m breaking into a chest at all, I’m running the risk of discovery, so I cannot fuck around and be slow at it. But mind you, this makes a lot more sense to me if I’m trying to break into a chest in a populated location–somebody’s house, or maybe a pirate lair that is known to be full of hostile pirates.
But if I’m on a deserted beach where the only real risk of discovery is whether a dire wolf is going to come up and try to bite me in the ass, why the hell am I on a timer? Particularly if the number of times I’m able to try the lock is still limited to the number of lockpicks I have on me regardless?
All putting a timer on there does is make me cranky as a player, because if it’s a puzzle I’m not yet familiar with, and I’m told I have only 25 seconds to solve it, that’s an additional layer of stress to me as a player. It makes me more likely to fuck up the puzzle, because I’m trying to solve it before the timer runs out. And since I’m having to rush, I am probably going to miss the necessary little nuances of getting the puzzle right.
Hrmph. So for now, anyway, what this tells me is that I’m going to have to ignore any tempting-looking random chests. At least I can console myself with the IC excuse that, if my moral compass is all “I’m a beacon of Stendarr and want to help the helpless”, I shouldn’t be breaking into other people’s chests anyway.
That said: I totally looted the skeleton I found hiding in a little niche in the rocks near a stream!
And last but not least, i found the door to something called The Vaults of Heinarwe. Which I did not attempt to explore, though that certainly sounded like a big ol’ plot look to explore later.
Aside form all the crafting and exploring, Paul and I did a delve on Wednesday night. The one we chose to run was Tor-Hame-Khard, which turned out to be not terribly far away from the Keep of the Eleven Forces, where we’d gone through the portal to Artaeum.
As with the previous delve, this one had a little plot involved with it. We found a wounded Justiciar captain outside the door of the place, and when we questioned him, he said one of his squad had gone rogue and taken a suspicious pearl into the place, betraying her squad in the process.
Suspicious pearl, you say? Well, you’re Divine Prosecution, and I’m side-eyeing you, but okay yes fine my Khajiit friend and I are on the case! Stand back, we got this.
And we did have this, mostly! The Sagacians put up a pretty decent fight overall, and Paul and I got in good practice with our abilities. Paul got in some impressive shooting, while I experimented with some of the more unusual Templar abilities I’d started picking up.
At one point, I did something that appeared to freeze one of my opponents–not sure how I triggered that, though! I have more to learn about the various abilities Gyllerah can throw around.
We didn’t get much loot out of this one compared to the first delve we did. And the plot, such as it was, didn’t particularly grab me; it didn’t help that the Divine Prosecution were involved. But one thing I will note in the plot’s favor is a thing I actually didn’t know until I looked it up on the wiki tonight: the rogue Justiciar, Avanaire, was motivated by trying to protect her skooma-addicted sister. This was apparently revealed in a journal of hers that Paul and I didn’t find?
And I do like that part. I’m glad that this plot, thin though it was, at least had a reason for the rogue Avanaire to be acting as she did.
Ingredient hunting and crafting on Thursday and Friday
After doing the delve, the main interesting thing was that I got far enough along leveling up that I decided to make a whole additional set of armor, just because the level 8 stuff from Cync was starting to get behind my actual level. And also, I wanted to experiment with the outfit station!
So now I also have a set of level 14 armor, dyed in shades of blue and yellow. I think this armor will be only temporary, though, at least until I get to level 16 and can kick up a notch in the types of armor I’m able to wear. I’m also now starting to toy with the idea of whether I should go Heavy Armor with Gyllerah. Grounds for this is, she’s a Templar, by definition a “knight”, and that suggests heavy armor to me. I’m tempted by the variations on steel armor I now have access to, as well.
While I went to Shimmerene to find the contacts for joining the Mages and Fighters Guilds, I also found where the Adept Rider set stations were. So since I had items in my inventory to generate my own copies of those set stations, I made them and stuck them in my inn room for later. I can’t actually make anything in the Adept Rider set, I have to research more traits, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens when I accomplish that.
And speaking of the Fighters and Mages Guilds
Went ahead and joined those since it was easy to do so, and I wanted access to their skill lines. So now I’ll see how working on their little side quests works.
Vaguely surprised that I had to go all the way back to Shimmerene to find the correct contacts to talk to, though? The Guilds don’t have facilities directly in Alinor?
Dunno yet! Paul and I are discussing running another delve, and whether to join some of the available factions. Or possibly doing a side quest.
He and I both have been doing a lot of exploring around Summerset and finding various interesting bits to explore later, but only on the weekends, really, do we have enough mutual time for serious playing. So we’ll see what happens this weekend!
Editing to add
- 11/24/2023: Restored missing gallery.