Elder Scrolls Online,  Gyllerah Playthrough

In Which Gyllerah Takes Back the Crystal Tower

Double session post! Main action here: Paul and I doing the climax of the Summerset zone plot, which involved wresting control of the Crystal Tower back from Nocturnal. Exciting stuff. 😀

Highlights

  • Play dates: 11/16, 11/18/2022
  • Session numbers in this run: 46-47

Wednesday’s play

  • Finished running the leftover enchanting writ, but it required me to go out and do an ingredients circuit near Alinor; fortunately it didn’t take long as I hit a runestone spot with the Oko rune, so returned to do that writ
  • And the writ board had reset so I did all the other writs as well
  • Finally got my jewelry “Engraver” stat up to 14 so that next time i level up I can drop a skill point on crafting things with copper; ABOUT DAMN TIME
  • Parked back in my room until next time

Friday’s play

  • Went out to find some of the remaining Psijic artifacts
  • Got three of them
    • The one in the coral forest
    • The one by the shipwreck
    • The one at the back of a gryphon den
  • Boinged to Artaeum to turn them in
  • Boinged briefly back to Alinor for inventory management
  • Then boinged with Paul back to Artaeum to make a run through the climax of the Summerset plot
  • Talked to Sotha Sil who then directed us back to the Dreaming Cave
  • On the way, talked with Darien, Razum-dar, Valsirenn, and Leythen for assorted “welp we sure are heading into the end of this plot” conversations
  • Raz had to return to Alinor to arrange defenses in case things didn’t go well
  • Reported to the Dreaming Cave
  • Sotha Sil summoned Mephala who actually showed up in the flesh and agreed to help us; she merged a couple of the Resolute Diamonds into a Resolute Anchor, gave it to me, and warned me not to lose it, because if I did we wouldn’t make it back and we’d be lost between worlds (NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING)
  • So that left me, Paul, Barbas, Darien, and Leythen to head through the portal to the Fields of Regret while Sotha Sil, Valsirenn, and Oriandra opened the portal and held it for us
  • Barbas however also had to stand down because Clavicus Vile demanded he arrange defenses for the realm in case we failed
  • So that left me, Paul, Darien, and Leythen to start running the tower
  • Lots of Shadow Sapiarchs in there, who had been corrupted by Nocturnal
  • Neat point that looked like a dead end until the chamber reshaped itself into a long corridor
  • Found a Sapiarch not corrupted and trying to mount a last ditch defense effort; she couldn’t hold it, and Leythen stepped in to make her final moments peaceful
  • As per Sapiarch’s last advice, had to gather parts to rebuild a ballista to blow through a blocked doorway
  • The tower got creepier and more otherworldly the higher we got
  • Reached the point where we had to confront Tundilwen who tried to slow us down
  • Leythen distracted her but wound up sacrificing himself because he got too far away from the Resolute Anchor I was carrying
  • We moved on, but Tundilwen caught up with us again, wielding Duskbringer (the corrupted Dawnbreaker) and she still lost the fight; she and Darien sparred, and she died
  • Nocturnal tried to swamp us with darkness, but Darien held her off with a burst of light–and then sacrificed himself to cleanse Dawnbreaker, sniff
  • That left me and Paul to do the final run to the top of the tower
  • I kept throwing off Dawnbreaker’s power while Nocturnal, a huge figure in the background, summoned the deceased Tundilwen twice, transforming her into a shadow form; the second one had six arms and was distinctly YIKES :O
  • We saved the day, hurray! The tower was restored and returned to normal
  • Valsirenn was able to port in, and we had to tell her what her husband did (sniff)
  • There remained the epilogue of the plot to do, but Paul wanted to save that for another time, so we called a halt here
  • Returned to Alinor for inventory management, and I ran writs
  • Logged off for the night

Some thoughts about making jewelry

Paul and I both have found it a little frustrating that crafting jewelry levels up a lot more slowly than crafting everything else does. Having looked it up on the wiki, I can now say at least that this appears to be because jewelry just doesn’t have as many variations of materials you can use. Between level 1 and level 50, there are literally only two materials to play with. The other ones don’t show up until you start getting Champion points.

I’m not quite sure what I think about this. I’m kind of leaning towards “this needs improvement”, just because the whole process of grinding through improving a skill isn’t as satisfying if you don’t have measurable progress to show for it. And you’re on pewter for jewelry clear up to level 25, which kind of suffers by comparison to, say, clothing and blacksmithing, where by level 25 you’ve already gone through two different material types.

Plus, making jewelry just allows you to make two specific things, rings and necklaces. Whereas with the other crafting types, you’ve got a lot more variety. Now of course, as a player character, you can only use two different types of jewelry, i.e., those rings and necklaces. Adding in more jewelry types (for example, tiaras or bracelets or earrings) would require having to consider letting players actually wear those things. Which would add additional complexity to the inventory, as well as to the rendering of player character appearance. So it doesn’t surprise me that the devs don’t want to go there.

Same deal re: adding variations on the types of rings and necklaces you can make. In Skyrim, you also can only make rings and necklaces, but at least in Skyrim you can add jewels to them, so that you can make, say, a silver ring with an amethyst, or a gold necklace with a ruby, or what have you. The problem with that is, you’d also have to keep track of those jewels if you implemented this in ESO. And as I’ve written before, ESO seems to be a lot more restrictive about what objects it lets out into the general world. So it doesn’t surprise me that they don’t want to keep track of millions of gem objects in the server databases, either.

Also, Paul tells me that the part he doesn’t like is how the materials necessary to improve jewelry once you make it are super hard to get. It’s possible, but drops of those materials are rare, even after you start spending skill points on the relevant skills. So it’s been his experience so far that jewelry he finds in loot is way better than anything he can make himself, just because that jewelry gets him way better bonuses right out of the gate.

All of which boils down to, how making jewelry works in this game is, for me as a player, understandable. It’s just not necessarily as satisfying.

Climax of the Summerset plot: The Crystal Tower quest

And now we come to the meat of this post: the climax to the Summerset zone quest line, in which Paul and I had to take the Crystal Tower back from Nocturnal. That was exciting. 😀

We started off by having another conversation with Sotha Sil. And Sotha Sil told us to go talk to our friends and then gather everyone at the Dreaming Cave.

Which led to conversations with Razum-dar, Darien, Valsirenn, and Leythen, and all very “gosh yes we’re heading to the end of this plot” kinds of conversations!

I was slightly disappointed that Raz did not participate in the finale! I adore him at this point and would have loved to have him along. But it was not to be, ah well.

I’m of two minds about why Sotha Sil stepped into the plot in earnest at this point. Part of me appreciated that he clearly saw the situation as serious enough that he needed to get involved, and my impression of this guy as a character is that he is usually pretty damned detached. Enough so that later on, this really divorces him from being aware of what’s going on with the people of Morrowind. That he was roused to action at this point of the plot certainly underscored the severity of what’s going on.

On the other hand, I also feel like his stepping in totally overshadowed Valsirenn. Was it really necessary to have the male living deity step in and go “let me orchestrate the rest of this, y’all”? (And I know eventually that Valsirenn gets to be Ritemaster–I did peek ahead on the wiki–but it’s interim Ritemaster. Valsirenn worked her ass off in this plot and she doesn’t get to be the one who calls up Mephala and opens the portal? She doesn’t get to be actual permanent new Ritemaster? Booooooo.)

That said: seeing Mephala show up in the flesh was legitimately cool. Maybe Mephala bothered to show up because it was in fact Sotha Sil calling her? Would she have bothered for a mortal? She didn’t even fully manifest when Leythen called her earlier in the plot, but for Sotha Sil, she actually showed up in person. So there’s that.

And she came with a big ol’ case of clearly not being thrilled with Paul and my repeatedly thwarting her. Heh. Way to go, me! Not only am I on the radar of the Daedric Prince of Murder, I’ve also pissed her off! How could this possibly go wrong?

Let me also note for the record that seeing Barbas in a non-dog form was distinctly weird. His Skaafin form, humanoid with horns, also had a prominent chin which very much reminded me of the actor Charles Napier, who I know best as the leader of the Good Ole Boys in The Blue Brothers. Of course, Barbas’ behavior in this entire plot also strikes me as kind of weird, or at least a hell of a lot less amiable, than it does in Skyrim. He almost doesn’t feel like the same character. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, I just need to get used to my expanded understanding of what Barbas is actually like!

Running the Tower, and seeing all of the Shadow Sapiarchs in there that we had to fight, put a whole new spin on the Nightingales plot from Skyrim for me. Because here’s the thing: the Nightingales plotline in Skyrim makes a point of saying how the Sentinels who’d been guarding the Twilight Sepulcher had someone become corrupted by the stealing of the Skeleton Key. But in this plot, the Shadow Sapiarchs really came across to me as looking a lot the same–and they were made that way by Nocturnal herself.

Which raises quite a few questions about what it means to pledge yourself to Nocturnal. She’s clearly not above transforming beings to serve her, whether or not they actually want to. And being transformed by her isn’t necessarily a good thing! (More on this below.)

I really liked the part where we got to a particular room that looked like a dead end, until the room reshaped itself into a long corridor. That was very cool, and reminded me of Labyrinth. I even made a joke to Paul at the time about reaching the end and telling Nocturnal, “YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME!”

The Sapiarch who hadn’t been corrupted yet by Nocturnal, and who was about to crumble, was sad. I did like how Leythen stepped in to make her final moments peaceful–which, again, surprisingly decent for a dude who frigging worships Mephala.

And speaking both of “service to Nocturnal” and “Leythen is surprisingly decent”, the next major plot point was in fact Leythen sacrificing himself to get Tundilwen off our backs. Noteworthy here because this was the resolution of Leythen’s redemption arc (though seriously, I still gotta side-eye the guy for worshipping Mephala), but also because it underscored Tundilwen’s devotion to Nocturnal.

Because this woman was after all Nocturnal’s earl, and entrusted with Duskbringer, the corrupted Dawnbreaker. And she was legit surprised when she actually lost to Darien, as he tried to get the sword back from her. It was probably an indicator of how Nocturnal thinks that only then, after Tundilwen lost that fight, did she try to swamp us with darkness–and an indicator as well that she hadn’t achieved her goal of becoming infinitely powerful yet, because even at that point, Darien was able to hold her off.

Which of course also leads in Darien sacrificing himself. Because he realized he was actually the repository for Meridia’s power–so he was able to pour that power into Dawnbreaker and restore it, even though it meant destroying himself in the process. Sniff. Goodbye, golden boy! You really did have nice shoulders.

This left Paul and me to do the remaining run to the top of the tower alone, where we then had our final fights with Tundilwen/Veya. Only now, she was resurrected by Nocturnal, and turned into something monstrous–twice, even. With the second time through giving her six arms. And she welcomed this, even going so far as to scream in triumph, “I will not fail you, Mother!”

She did, of course. Because Paul and I took her out, and with my throwing off Dawnbreaker’s power every chance I got, every time the game prompted me to hit the right button combo on my controller. But that “Mother” there caught my ear. Clearly, Tundilwen/Veya was so fanatically devoted to Nocturnal that she saw it as a good thing that she was so transformed.

Which is a very different dynamic than the one we see in Skyrim, where the followers of Nocturnal in the Thieves Guild are dealing with her as part of a transaction of business, and not of religion! I really gotta wonder if this whole failure of her scheme drove Nocturnal into a bitter funk and made her only willing to hold further followers at a significantly greater distance. Heh.

Next time

My next post will feature a bunch more exploration, fueled by not only looking for survey sites, but also scrying for antiquities! And revisiting the Alik’r Desert and Blackwood, but also Stormhaven and Bangkorai!

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As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.

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