Elder Scrolls Online,  Gyllerah Playthrough

In Which Gyllerah Participates in the New Life Festival

This is a low key post for the most part, covering a whole lot of sessions in which my ESO action was focused on a) running writs, b) periodic surveys to get materials for writs, and c) participating in the New Life festival. Gathering a whole bunch of sessions up into one post here, since none of them by themselves were really interesting enough for a single post.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 12/15-12/17, 12/19-12/21/2022
  • Session numbers in this run: 72-77

Thursday the 15th’s play

  • Ran writs
  • Paul sent me some topgrain hide so I could finish off the clothing writ
  • Then we boinged to Kynesgrove to run New Life Festival stuff
  • Got a quest from Breda to go jumping in freezing water
  • We ran that and got a festival box off of it
  • Also got a quest to go to an Old Life shrine and write and burn messages of remembrance
  • Got a festival box off of that too, and in that, got an Imperial charity writ
  • Boinged back to Alinor to run that writ and also do inventory management
  • Paused there for the night

Friday the 16th’s play

  • Logged in long enough to run writs
  • Did a round of the New Life Festival
  • Sent to Stormhaven to perform in three places there
  • Did Imperial charity writ as well

Saturday the 17th’s play

  • Logged in long enough to run writs
  • Also did a round of the New Life Festival, which sent me off to the island Betnikh to gather meat and honeycomb for the local orcs
  • Did Imperial charity writ as well

Monday the 19th’s play

  • Ran writs, and Imperial charity writ
  • Did another round of New Life Festival
  • This one took me to Rawl’kha in Reaper’s March
  • Ran an Alchemy survey as long as I was there
  • Not a fan of the Khajiit New Life thing because it was “run these three chests for lockpicking on a timer”
  • Hilarious in character for a Khajiit festival idea but not fun for me as a player
  • Returned to Alinor for inventory management
  • Made a few furnishings for my Moonmirth house, then called it a night

Tuesday the 20th’s play

  • Ran writs; had everything in my inventory for once
  • Deposited a bunch of stuff in my bank as well as the guild bank
  • Boinged to Kynesgrove to run the New Life Festival
  • Which sent me to Shadowfen this time to help Argonians with a fish feast
  • Fought assorted kagoutis and alits and wisps and wasps on the way
  • Then caught three fish and turned them in to the Argonian collecting them
  • Boinged back to collect the festival box from Breda
  • Parked in Moonmirth until next time

Wednesday the 21st’s play

  • Ran writs
  • Had to run a Clothier survey in the Rift to get topgrain hide to finish them off
  • This landed me in the northern portion of the Rift, around Fallowstone Hall Wayshrine
  • Ventered by accident into an area to the southwest with a lot of hostiles in it, so had to plunk myself back at the wayshrine as a shortcut to get out of there
  • Found the Clothier site, then returned to the Fallowstone Hall Wayshrine
  • Boinged to Kynesgrove and a new round of the New Life Festival
  • This time I got sent to Skywatch on Auridon
  • And ah this is where the mud balls come in
  • Had to hit an ambassador, and also ten general Skywatch celebrants, with a mud ball
  • Had to turn off ability to hit innocents to finish out the set of 10 though, so I could hit NPCs as well as players (but made a point of turning it back on afterwards)
  • Returned to Breda for the festival box
  • Boinged back to Alinor and finished off the writs
  • Parked in inn room until next time


Let me get this out of the way right off: I am not a fan of the idea of running around pelting everybody with mud balls. Because yuck. It’s messier than snowballs, and even though the game has the mud magically disappear off of you after a couple of minutes, that still doesn’t eliminate the fact that I would not find it fun to be hit with a mud ball in real life. So I’m not exactly finding it fun here.

That said: I do kind of like the idea that it’s the Altmer on Auridon, specifically in Skywatch, who have this festival. This suggests to me that it’s a movement of certain Altmer who are explicitly trying to get their people to not take shit so seriously all the time. That part of it I do actually kind of like from a worldbuilding standpoint.

Just, meh. Not a fan of the idea of people pelting me with mud balls. And now I have 30 or 40 of the damn things, which I’m probably going to have to destroy because I am not going to throw them at anyone outside the context of a specific quest objective, and I can’t sell them, so.

Also not terribly a fan of the Khajiit lockpicking contest. I think that’s hilarious as a festival idea, and entirely appropriate for them, in character. But for me as a player, again, not enjoyable. But this is more of a question of, I am not a fan of timed puzzles. And while I’ve gotten better at the lockpicking system in ESO, I am still not good enough at it to whip through Advanced tier lockpicking in a timely fashion. Sure, yes, you got as many chances to try as you liked, but it still meant I was under the pressure to hit all three of those chests before the timers ran out on them.

Third thing I want to cover: the New Life Festival is one of those things in ESO where I find my sense of immersion strained, but for reasons I know are because “it’s an MMO”. Namely, this festival is expecting me to boing all over Tamriel and participate in this, that, and the other local celebration. Tamriel is an entire continent, and yet, I’m boinging from province to province with hardly any time passing, and I’m able to return to Breda while the festival is still apparently going on!

Now, of course, the issue of passage of time is relevant to all of ESO, not just this festival. Every player character in the game boings instantaneously all over the map, with the help of the wayshrines. It’s baked into the entire game setup. And by and large I’m fine with that, because again, “it’s an MMO”. But still, the back of my mind keeps periodically bitching about time very clearly not passing on the game at all. This is an objection I’ve tried to quell with the headcanon that Gyllerah is unstuck in time, and time is passing normally for everybody else. But that is a workaround and doesn’t ultimately really solve the problem, as far as that part of my brain is concerned.

Remember, I’m the nerd who is explicitly playing Skyrim’s Survival Mode because I want that additional level of immersion. And where I have no fast travel at all, and where I’m digging into the challenge of riding around everywhere on a horse, having to prep for cold environments, etc. ESO’s complete lack of fucks to give about the passage of in-character time is the exact opposite of that, and while I understand why they have to do it, it’s still not entirely satisfying to my gamer brain.

All that said, let me talk about the aspects of the festival that I do like.

I do like the opportunity to boing around and visit various local cultures for non-hostile reasons. It’s a splendid opportunity to get new areas onto the map.

I like that Breda cheerfully describes how she totally has a day job most of the year, but during this festival, she explicitly functions as a herald for New Life customs. She seems like a fun character.

For that matter, I also quite like the Old Life custom of writing down little scrolls of remembrance and burning them. That felt extremely familiar just because of my household’s New Years tradition of The Burning of the Things That Suck, in which you write down all the things you hated about the previous year and then burn them for catharsis. Not entirely the same thing, but definitely in the same family of things.

I’m not quite engaged enough with this whole festival to try to get the maximum number of event tickets, just because my patience for running around to random areas and doing random tasks without much actual RP is kind of limited. But I’ll at least try to get enough tickets to collect the Evergreen outfit style pages. I want to see what the whole thing looks like.

Next time

I’m on vacation from the day job at the moment, so I do have additional time to play games right now. But ESO’s fighting with Skyrim for my attention, and I also want to get in some Morrowind time over the next few days. So my next immediate Gyllerah action will probably be more festival stuff. But I want to do at least some plot progress for the next post, so I’ll try to target some main quest action this weekend.


Editing to add

  • 11/25/2023: Restored missing gallery.

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.


  • Erin Schram

    I have been waiting for your reaction to the New Life Festival. I like the non-combat festivals.

    Nevertheless, you are right that Breda sending Gyllerah across Tamriel during a single festival breaks immersion. If my character travels across Tamriel following survey maps or antiquity leads, then I can pretend that finding the goal is the result of weeks of travel that I skipped over in my chronicle. But a festival has a strictly defined time, the last weeks of December (the Month of Evening Star in the Tamriel calendar), so Breda’s quests means that my character really is teleporting across Tamriel via wayshrine magic. And Breda is not surprised by this.

    Of course, the continent-wide festival is a Zenimax event rather than a Tamriel event. Regular Dunmer people will be dancing the Lava Foot Stomp in Ebonheart, but most Nords of Windhelm never heard of that dance and take the Snow Bear Plunge into icy water instead. Each people has their local New Life Celebration customs. But Zenimax tries to encourage their players to go new places and try new activities to make them more excited about Elder Scrolls Online. Thus, Zenimax treats local celebrations as a worldwide event.

    I suppose we could pretend that Breda is telling stories about the New Life Celebrations across Tamriel and that our visits to those places are merely in our imagination or memories. Except for the nearby Snow Bear Plunge and the visit to Betnick for the Stonetooth Bash. The protagonist tells Matron Borbuga, “Breda sent me to celebrate the Stonetooth Bash.” I love Borbuga’s response about Breda being an old friend.

    You said, “Also not terribly a fan of the Khajiit lockpicking contest. I think that’s hilarious as a festival idea, and entirely appropriate for them, in character. But for me as a player, again, not enjoyable. But this is more of a question of, I am not a fan of timed puzzles. …” There is a cheat for The Trial of Five-Clawed Guile and for the other timed event Signal Fire Sprint. There are group activities, so you can group up with friends’ characters and split the individual activities between the characters. Aubatha, who runs the Signal Fire Sprint, suggests this for slower participants, “Working together to light the fires does honor to her memory.”

    You also said, “I am not a fan of the idea of running around pelting everybody with mud balls.” Ironically, the April Jester’s Festival, for which mud balls would be appropriate, throws rose petals at the residents of Skywatch instead. For easy travel to Skywatch my primary residence is the Barbed Hook Private Room in the Barbed Hook Tavern.

    By the way, did you notice the Enchanted Snow Globe on a table at Breda’s pavillion? It is a magical player home.

    • Angela Korra'ti

      I did notice the Snow Globe, yeah. I actually noticed it before the New Life festival started, first time I swung through Eastmarch and into the vicinity of Windhelm.

      And heh, running the timed things in a group is all very well and good, but that also assumes I have a group immediately available to play with. 😉 Paul’s on vacation still, and coordinating across time zones is problematic. Especially during the holidays.

      I did figure out though that the Signal Fire Sprint worked better when I actually actively sprinted. More on this in the next post.