Elder Scrolls Online,  Gyllerah Playthrough

In Which Gyllerah Ventures into Cyrodiil

And now, time to catch up on what Gyllerah’s been doing! I’ve got a lot to report on so it’ll have to be spread out across a couple of posts. In this one, main action was finishing up the Argonian artifacts plot that’s the prologue for the Murkmire DLC, and then my first visit into Cyrodiil–PVP territory!

Play by play

  • Play dates: 4/7-4/10/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 175-178

Friday the 7th

  • Ran writs in Alinor
  • Boinged to Vulkhel Guard to pick up where I left off with the Argonian artifacts plot
  • Found contact murdered in the Outlaw Refuge; had to find a couple of clues about who did it
  • Met there by Jee-Lar who teamed up with me to head off to Shadowfen
  • Hit the Chid-Moska Ruins, first of the two delves hit in this session; recovered an Argonian nightmare idol
  • Took Jee-Lar’s boat to Stormhold
  • Found Concordia in Stormhold to report in; she concluded our quarry Margus was seeking the Golden Skull of Beela-Kar
  • Concordia sent me back to Jee-Lar
  • Jee-Lar and I split up some work to question potential contacts
  • Found and questioned three Argonian contacts about what the Blackguards were up to
  • Then had to go hunt down three pieces of a map to an island
  • One of the map pieces was in the Gandranen Ruins delve, second of two delves hit in the session
  • Met a Khajiit named Zahra who asked for my help in the delve; she wanted to find the Crown of Ascension
  • Got that back for her, as well as getting the map piece
  • Went with Jee-Lar to the island of Norg-Tzel; searched assorted dig sites there for clues
  • Then headed into the main ruins, the xanmeer
  • Fought an Argonian behemoth called Yakh-Xul the Destroyer, who was not actually the boss of this dungeon, but was a pretty impressive fight
  • Then had to disrupt a ritual, during which I killed a boatload of Argonian zombies (creepy much?)
  • Disrupted the ritual by turning some cylinders to turn off the flow of energy to them
  • Then had to kill the guardian of the Golden Skull, which looked like a giant flesh atronach (and the wiki calls it a flesh colossus, so yes)
  • Got the Golden Skull and returned to Stormhold
  • Gave the Skull back to Concordia to conclude the quest
  • Boinged back to Alinor to do inventory managing
  • Then boinged back to Cliffshade for the night

Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th

  • Ran writs both these days, got Anniversary Event loot, no other significant action

Monday the 10th

  • Ran writs in Alinor and got more Anniversary Event loot
  • Then decided to try to run one of my master writs, but this was unexpectedly challenging because that set station is in Cyrodiil
  • Tried to see if I could get in overland, by boinging to Riverhold in Northern Elsweyr
  • Did a little exploring there and found a skyshard
  • Found a path out of Northern Elsweyr but it took me into Reaper’s March, not to Cyrodiil
  • So I pulled down the Imperial City DLC to get access to Cyrodiil
  • Figured out how to get in via the Campaigns menu
  • Which landed me at the Western Elsweyr gate controlled by the Aldmeri Dominion
  • Started poking around a little and saw that the Vlastarus Armory, the place I had to get to, was a little ways northwest of where I was
  • So I tried to go overland to check it out
  • Killed once by a player when I stopped to fish
  • Reached the place and discovered I could not get in as it was currently controlled by the Daggerfall Covenant
  • Hung out a bit and saw it change hands over to the Ebonheart Pact
  • When it changed hands to Aldmeri Dominion again I made it into the armory
  • Only to realize shit I didn’t have the Shimmering Sands necessary to make the damn sword, AUGH
  • So had to go all the way back to the Western Elsweyr keep and use the wayshrine there to get back to the main game
  • Landed in Alinor, but none of the guild traders had Shimmering Sands and there was none in the Guild Bank
  • Boinged to Rimmen and finally found some with the guild traders there
  • Boinged back into Cyrodiil via the Campaign menu
  • Tried to hit the armory one more time since it was still in Aldmeri Dominion control
  • Killed by trio of Golden Saints en route
  • Thrown back to the keep and had to leave it again
  • This time made it to the armory, only to realize I didn’t have the damn Powered trait for the sword, so still couldn’t make it, AUGH
  • So returned to the keep again (hauling ass on my now pretty damned fast senche-leopard mount) and boinged back to the main game
  • Returned to Cliffshade for the night

Ruthless Competition and The Cursed Skull quests

Finished up the pending action I had with the Argonian artifacts quest action I had going on. And although I’m definitely ambivalent about the whole marshy nature of the Argonian sections of the map, I did enjoy this pair of quests. There was a decent balance of investigation and action, and in the final stretches, a definite strong Indiana Jones vibe that I could not help but appreciate. ;D

Also, a shoutout for the NPC Dus-Geet, who led her commentary to me with being in a snit about the pronunciation of “Blackguard”. Ha!

I don’t own the Murkmire DLC, so I can’t follow up on the main quest line that this prologue is supposed to lead to. And my chances of picking up that DLC are pretty small. Since I don’t really like the swampy areas of Shadowfen (because really not fond of the giant wasps, yikes), I can’t see myself wanting to run an entire quest line there.

Fortunately, it’s not like I lack for other things to do in this game!

Like, say, venturing into Cyrodiil.

Unexpectedly challenging Master Writ situation

But first, a few words about Master Writs.

So now that I’ve started getting these, I’ve come to observe that it is absolutely possible to get a Master Writ that requires you to hit a set station in a DLC you don’t have.

And I’m not exactly happy about this. Because it sets up a situation where the game is clearly telling you “if you want to run this writ, go get the DLC so you’ll have access to the set station! All you have to do is either buy the DLC or sign up for ESO Plus!” Or, to put it another way, “If you want to run this writ, you gotta pay actual cash for it.”

Now, in the case of my specific character, I’ve been told that my Guild has actually set up a crapton of attuned stations in a Guild house location, so that should be a viable fallback plan for me for any master writ pointing at content I don’t have. And that’s great and all. But I’m talking here about a general principle.

And don’t get me wrong–I do buy that a master writ, by definition, should require you to make extra effort. You’re doing master-tier crafting, right? It should take some effort to pull off. Learning the necessary traits, hunting for the location where you can actually make the thing, acquiring all the necessary materials, etc. That part I’m down with.

The part I’m not down with is the part that requires you to spend money to get access to set stations if you don’t already have that access, or you don’t happen to have a friend or a Guild with access to an attuned station you can use as a backup.

I suppose I see an argument here that “working on a backup plan to get access to the relevant set station if you don’t want to pay for it” is considered part of the necessary level of effort to do master-tier crafting. And for some players, maybe that level of effort is a thing they’re willing to do.

For me, though, it tips the effort required over into “chore” rather than “fun”. Or, worse, “blatant cash grab”.

So what this tells me is, any time I get a Master Writ, I’m going to have to do a bit of research on it to confirm whether or not it’s expecting me to go hit up a set station I don’t actually have access to. And if it’s not in territory I own, follow up with my Guild and see if the set station exists in our Guild house.

Getting into to Cyrodiil

With all of the commentary above as background context, let me now note that one of my current crop of Master Writs wants me to make a sword at a set station that is available only in Cyrodiil (barring a handy Guild house full of attuned set stations).

In this particular case, I went ahead and nabbed the Imperial City DLC because it’s free, so getting it didn’t cost me anything. And while I have few fucks to give per se about PVP, I was a bit curious about how the game’s mechanics for Cyrodiil actually work.

The first big question I wanted to answer was, how the hell to get into Cyrodiil in the first place. Because unlike with every other area of the map I have access to, there didn’t seem to be a way to get into Cyrodiil just by overland travel. And you can’t get in there via wayshrines, either.

I don’t dispute the logic of needing to lock it off like that–because all of Cyrodiil is a PVP zone, so it would make sense that they set it up to be hard to get into on purpose. You wouldn’t want a player not interested in PVP to wander in there by accident. And if you go through the necessary steps to actually enter Cyrodiil, you’re coming in with full knowledge that you are setting foot in a PVP zone, so you accept the consequences.

That said: wow is it difficult to get into Cyrodiil. I would not have figured out for the life of me, if I hadn’t looked it up, that I had to go in via the Campaigns menu. Particularly since getting back out again is doable via wayshrine, as long as you’re at your Alliance’s home keep. It seems really non-intuitive to me to have different mechanisms for getting in vs. getting out.

But I’m not sure how they could do this differently? 🤔

Actually wandering around Cyrodiil

Now that I’ve played a little bit of Oblivion, one thing stood out very quickly to me: yep, this sure did look like the countryside I’ve seen so far in Oblivion, even accounting for the difference in graphics quality between Oblivion and ESO. So I say this sincerely: good job, game designers! This meant what bits of Cyrodiil I saw did look immediately familiar, as well as just generally lovely. Southwestern Cyrodiil is very pretty country.

And a big part of my wandering around was pretty much “to wander around”, and see what was there. I came in in the southwestern corner of the map, since that’s where the Aldmeri Dominion has its home keep. Which meant I was a fair distance away from the Imperial City. And that was fine, because I was not prepared to wander in there yet!

But even in the very sparsely populated southwest corner of the map, I was feeling a rather satisfying bit of suspense, just because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen if I ran into anybody. I stayed off the roads as much as I could, just to minimize the likelihood I’d bump into a passing player.

Mostly, I got away with it. Except for the part where I made the mistake of stopping to fish, and then had my ass handed to me by another player who ambushed me. Oops.

(Welp, other player, you didn’t get any Tel Var Stones off of me!)

Reaching the set station

The main challenge for getting to the Vlastarus Armory was this: you can only enter the place when it’s in the control of your character’s own alliance. And when I initially arrived, it was in the control of the Daggerfall Covenant.

I wasn’t sure how exactly that would change, because I didn’t see any signs of obvious attacks on the place. But according to the map areas all over the place were continually changing hands. So I waited until the place came under Aldmeri Dominion control.

At which point I ran into the next challenge: discovering I didn’t have the Shimmering Sands necessary to make the sword for my writ. AUGH.

So I had to figure out how the hell to get back somewhere familiar so that I could buy some. Answer: I had to haul ass all the way back to the Western Elsweyr keep, so that I could access the wayshrine to get back out into the main game.

Boinged out, got Shimmering Sands, boinged back in… only to discover, once I finally made it back in, that I couldn’t make the sword anyway. Because it wanted the Powered trait, which I did not have. AUGH^2.

So overall it was an interesting but ultimately fruitless expedition. Not sorry I did it, just for the sake of checking out a new thing about the game. And Amy helped me out by sending me a weapon with a Powered trait so I could research that. So now I’m waiting for that research timer to run out, so that I can actually finally make the weapon!

Next time I try it, though, I’ll be boinging to the Guild house to use one of our set stations there.

Next time

I’m behind on doing posts, so I’ve got more Gyllerah action already waiting in my notes. The next post will feature my defeating the Shade of Naemon, the undead resurrected lich form of Queen Ayrenn’s brother. And also, launching the plot in Western Skyrim, to start hunting for pieces of Winter’s Respite armor!


Editing to add

  • 11/25/2023: Restored missing gallery, and also put in a couple of screenshots of the skull guardian that I’d mistakenly assigned to the gallery for Gyllerah’s previous post in her run.

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

    You said, “And Amy helped me out by sending me a weapon with a Powered trait so I could research that.” Ooh, Amy is so adorable. I love her. (For other readers, I am Amy’s husband. Amy often helps other ESO players and I am the peanut gallery in the background of her Discord chat.)

    I also send the Master Writs I cannot make, usually because they involves a set I never learned, to Amy. Putting up new specialty crafting stations in the Swamp Haven guild house for each new expansion requires a vast quantity of Writ Vouchers, and Amy generates most of them for Swamp Haven.

    I have encountered the problem of the crafting locations in Cyrodiil villages being closed to my character because another faction has conquered the village. While I readily use the Swamp Haven guild house crafting stations on the NA server, I go to locations on the EU server. My characters are powerful enough to conquer the village alone–all that is required is taking over the three flags in the village by killing the guards next to them and standing next to the flag for a minute–but I usually don’t want three big fights when I am in the mood for crafting. Thus, like Anna I simply leave and try again another day.

    You said, “Welp, other player, you didn’t get any Tel Var Stones off of me!” Tel Var Stones are lost to other players only after defeat in the Imperial City or its sewers, not after defeat in the Cyrodiil countryside. Those areas are technically both in the country of Cyrodiil, but ESO treats them as separate zones and the gameplay in each follows different PvP rules.

    • Angela Korra'ti

      Ah, thank you for the tip about how Cyrodiil locations change hands. Because boy was that not obvious by casual observation!

      Also, thank you for the tip about the Tel Var stones!