The trouble with master writs in Elder Scrolls Online

Probably the loudest complaint about the otherwise-nifty Homestead housing in The Elder Scrolls Online comes from the players who argue that acquiring the necessary master writs is an intentionally time-consuming and grindy process.

Master writs, ZeniMax explains in a dev piece this week, are high-end trade contracts for elite craftables, granted to master crafters completing difficult regular writs, at a rate boosted by the number of recipes the character already knows. The studio has promised to expand new motifs, traits, and crafted sets to the writ system.

But as players have argued, it could take months for even an above-average crafter, never mind a casual, to work through the system and acquire something genuinely useful for housing, making the writs more of a revenue-generating tool than a boon to crafters as many players will just put down a few benjamins in the cash shop to skip the ordeal.

As Massively OP commenter Camren put it, “You can go the long way around, or you can pay to cross the river here. In this case, though, [ZeniMax] made the river and own[s] the ferry.”

Redditors do note that the cost of sealed writs has fallen to a third their spiked value from last week, while prices on materials like heartwood, flour, and runes continue to climb.

The whole dev diary is available on the official site.

Source: ESO
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

83 Comments on "The trouble with master writs in Elder Scrolls Online"

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Y-lee Green

Sorry that most of you feel that its unfair that certain things aren’t available to you unless you play the game harder or pay. If you just want to have fun then the actual game play ends at the missions. The grinding and hard core playing that people do that earn these achievements and milestones is because they wanted to go beyond the game play and become masters. If you think it’s a waste of time go play a new game and come back at the next DLC. As for the rest of us we’ll just socialize and grind.

Yieley
Aldmeri
Nightblade
CP415+

Reader
Y-lee Green

And by the by its so easy to put up provisioning and enchanting, twas the first 2 i did. Then came wood working, blacksmith, & clothier, which took a little longer. Finally i saved alchemy for the end and got it maxed in a few days.

Play smarter, not harder.

I just created 3 mini toons and got their provisions maxed, each took just a few days and now i have 4 provis hirelings mailing me ingredients.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
D'Kho

“as players have argued, it could take months for even an above-average crafter, never mind a casual, to work through the system and acquire something genuinely useful for housing” – I assume that what these players are talking about is the “attunable” crafting stations, which allow you to create items from any of the game’s craftable sets from the comfort of your own home. Those stations are genuinely useful, no doubt, but they’re also the pinnacle reward of this whole crafting system! A player should have to be a true master crafter to acquire them with any ease.

I am not a master crafter, and I’m not a hardcore ESO player, but I do enjoy crafting quite a bit. My jaw dropped when I came to fully realize what it would take to acquire one of these stations, but it only took a few more moments for me to realize that this is correct. I haven’t spent my entire time in ESO devoted to crafting so, no, I shouldn’t be able to just go out and get the “Best Crafting Thing Evar” within the first week, or even month, of it’s being released.

As for regular home furnishings, I’ve had no trouble acquiring designs (I have ~40 green and white, 5 blue, and 2 purple designs; generally acquired through thievery), and while I have gone out and farmed up some mats, it’s far from necessary… Even just hitting up the nodes I pass while running around for a few hours with my guild, I find that the mats are coming in slowly but surely.

The most challenging part of this furnishing system I’ve run into is that some of the blue and purple designs require skill in more than one crafting line. For example, the first purple design I found was for a tapestry. If I recall correctly, that design required Clothier tier 9, Enchanting tier 4, and Alchemy tier 4. My main is a tier 10 Clothier, but was still tier 1 in both Alchemy and Enchanting, so I had to work on those skills for several days in order to craft this (totally awesome) tapestry. It wasn’t “so much work” that I started cursing the game – in fact, I had fun – but it was enough effort that I’m proud to look at that tapestry and think what I had to do to make it.

I’m not going to throw around overused words like “entitled”, ’cause that’s unnecessarily belittling and dismissive of my fellow Tamrielic citizens, but I will encourage everyone to put in the time and effort to get what you want out of the game. If you want to be a master crafter, go become a master crafter! If you’re unwilling to go through that learning process, ask yourself if you really want it in the first place.

shadanwolf
Reader
shadanwolf

With Zenimax……just follow the money ….. selling master crafting writs….or subscribers having to pay again for that expansion.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Kayweg

I keep finding blueprints and rare mats at an acceptable rate.
Here is the thing though.
Have i found a single blueprint for something as basic as a bed, a chair or a table ?
Have i bollox !
I share the criticism displayed in the article and the comments btw.
That said, early days, this is the whale milking phase…i just keep hoarding.

Karma_Mule
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Karma_Mule

I was lucky and got blueprints for a nice dunmer dining table and a bed. The hard part is finding enough heartwood to make the damn things.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
D'Kho

It’s not as hard as it seems – just hit up a generally less populated zone (like Betnikh) and run around for a while. Or just hit every node you see while you’re doing what you normally do – you’ll have more than enough in no time!

I’ve got quite a bit of decent furniture going (and crafted quite a bit for our guild hall as well), but I haven’t bought a single mat and have only done a little farming around Craglorn (which I was doing anyway for nirncrux).

Screenshot_20170221_020229.png
Reader
Daniel Reasor

I’m a very new player in ESO, but I’m okay with housing decorations being a long term goal. I want to explore Tamriel before I start thinking about where I want my toon to settle down.

In the interest of disclosure, I’m comfortable with a lot of empty space in real life. I don’t clutter my own home with knick-knacks just to make the space look busy. It may be as much a matter of aesthetics as it is game design.

Reader
Totakeke

ESO is nice because there are a lot of long term goals in the game. Like trying to complete trait research for a trade skill is a pretty long one on it’s own.

Reader
Emiliano Lozada

I feel they need to rebalance out the master writs while keeping the original idea in mind. Other than that I still love ESO.

Reader
Vellik

I’m noticing something with the comments here.

We seem to have a disparity between people arguing that acquiring the materials, Master Writs, furniture and associated recipes should be easier than it currently is. Then we have people defending the current difficulty, saying that people are entitled, or to just suck it up.

My question is this: Aren’t we playing, and in some cases paying to play a game to, above all, have fun? Where did this attitude of “people are entitled and need to put in work in the game” come from? I understand that yes, it’s admirable to have a good work ethic, but the majority of people, after spending a day at work, don’t put in another shift to unwind. We don’t say “man, dealing with costumers today was awful. I’m gonna go deal with that for a few more hours to relax.”

I’m not saying that everything should be served to us on a silver platter — we do need to put in some time to progress in an RPG like this, after all. But at what point do we say that it’s too much? At what point do we say “this isn’t fun, this is work, and it’s not what I’m paying to experience”?

Reader
Totakeke

I think it’s still too early to really see what’s going on with the system. Like the raw resources did have a spike in value, but that happens any time a new resource is introduced into an economy. We really wont see any sort of leveling out on the cost of that for a good month or two.

Reader
Castagere Shaikura

Remember when it used to just a game to play for fun. Sorry the hardcore players have the devs ears and they have to do what they are told.

Reader
Robert Mann

The worst part isn’t the hundred or so styles you need to go find on rng. It isn’t the materials to craft what comes up. No. Please note that the following is meant as comedy, not a rant… although the system deserves every rant it gets.

The worst part of this system is that it inevitably values those things which are the most annoying and grindy that it can. You want to get a good amount of reward for your work, expect the item in question to have a nirnhoned trait! Oh, you didn’t want to spend a thousand hours grinding that, and you don’t spam stuff through a guild trader? You’re SOL! Also, we might just throw the set to requiring it as well, just as an extra insult to players who didn’t quit their jobs for that trait!

Now that we have that covered, how about we decide the next thing worth any reward is… to send you into the lair of the random gankers! Yes, you must go to the PVP zones to get your rewards! Aren’t you so glad we did this, when your entire goal here is for your house? We know you all secretly love running around and getting nowhere as people try to farm you!

Seriously, remove those two parts, and the reward value shrinks to something small enough that you can bet on a year to get one set of what you need. After that, you get some very minor benefit. No thank you! I don’t mind working a little for something, but the grind and pain of these things just isn’t worth it.

Reader
Totakeke

Styles has always been on RNG. A lot of the issues right now are just going to go away with time. ESO at launch, styles were hard to come by, but now they’re on ever retainer.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Schlag Sweetleaf

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

“as many players will just put down a few benjamins in the cash shop to skip the ordeal.”

Zenimax is like “Yes, just do that! Problem solved right?”

The issue is that it’s a buy to play game with optional subscription that they are running more and more like a free to play game with IAP as time goes on. What I mean is they’re doing the cheesy moves that shady F2P games do to make it so people really feel the need to spend money rather than the option. They’re purposely trying to make it so aggravating that players will just spend money to skip things, which would be a cheap move in most free to play games not to mention the buy to play title we’re talking about here.

There are a great many players in ESO right now. Definitely the new housing stuff is bringing people back but they also have been high on the sales charts on Steam so a lot of new players have been pouring in too. The crafting components bag they added to the optional subscription makes it so it’s a must buy subscription for many people. They sell a lot of stuff in the Crown Store (cash shop), I don’t really see why they also feel the need to make things so annoyingly difficult that they’re not the least bit fun to do in order to force people to spend to skip doing them.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
D'Kho

There’s very little in ESO’s cash shop or ESO Plus that can be considered “shady” – it’s all convenience and cosmetics. The only potential example might be, as you stated, the craft bag. But even then, a little investment in bag and bank space, and a little time making sure you manage your inventory between adventures (like we all had to do before the advent of ESO Plus) and you can handle it.

(PS – If you’re an MMO hoarder, I’m sorry! There’s not much hope for you here… Even with ESO Plus, some of my guildies have bag/bank management problems!)

Reader
Vellik

Just want to add on to this. Every few months they also seem to be adding motifs that were formerly only available by doing delves, killing world bosses, as crafting or pvp rewards to the crown store. They’ve done this with Xivkyn, Glass, and a few other motifs. I also notice that, compared to when motifs first started dropping from bosses and delves, such as the Outlaw’s motif, and Assassin’s motif, the drop rate for the aforementioned motifs now seems much lower. Before, I used to be able to run into Hew’s Bane and within 3 world boss kills, be able to get at least one motif. Now, when I go to Hew’s Bane, I can kill an assortment of delve and world bosses 10 times and not see one motif drop.

It almost seems like ZOS is stealth nerfing motif drops so that they can entice players to buy them from the store. Considering that motifs now increase the chance (supposedly) to get Master Writ’s to drop, this is getting into dangerous territory for a store that once only sold cosmetic items.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
D'Kho

Yeah, like @Totakeke said, I think you may have angered the RNG gods. ;)

Every weekend my guild gets together to do various dailies/bosses/delves/etc. that drop pages. Usually I’ll get at least one page, some weekends I get nothing, but this last weekend I got 6 pages in three hours between Hew’s Bane dailies and Craglorn group content.

Reader
Totakeke

Could always just be really bad RNG. I ran Gold Coast Dailies on a few characters the other day, each one of them got another Assassin motif page. Today, I got one page from Folly.