choose my adventure

Choose My Adventure tours a new MMO every month — with you, the reader, as the co-pilot, voting for how the writer plays from week to week. Our current captain is Eliot Lefebvre. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Choose My Adventure: Assassinating randoms in The Elder Scrolls Online

It’s weird how attitudes towards death vary depending on the video game and the structure set up. In Saints Row the Third, a friend and I played a madcap duo named Morgan and Ryoko, and I have never once given a second thought to Ryoko’s habit of flinging grenades into the other lane of traffic for no reason outside of the fact that she could. The consequences of her actions would fall under the header of war crimes in any sensible world. Yet it wasn’t really the sort of world where that mattered.

What I’m getting at is that The Elder Scrolls Online made me kind of uncomfortable when it told me that the quest to get into the Dark Brotherhood would start when I killed someone. Just… someone. It didn’t really matter whom, so long as the person I killed was an innocent, arbitrary victim. That seemed wrong somehow.

Still, this was how the vote went, and thus I was off to the Gold Coast. Unfortunately, I didn’t get nearly as much time to play this week as I would have liked, but I made the best use of the time I did have to get in and start doing stuff for the Dark Brotherhood.

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Choose My Adventure: My first week in the Elder Scrolls Online

Despite the fact that for this round of Choose My Adventure, I am jumping into The Elder Scrolls Online in an era of doing whatever I want at any level I choose, it still makes sense to just go through the starting experience in a rather straightforward fashion. Obviously, the starter experience points you in a pretty obvious direction right away, but once you’re past the starter experience it still makes a certain amount of sense to keep rolling along with the storyline. You’re surrounded by quests and stuff to harvest right away; it’s pretty straightforward.

A lot of things, however, haven’t changed since I played the game in the beta forever ago. The story is, in many ways, in the same space it was back then. I wasn’t terribly enamored of the experience then, and so I will admit right off of the bat that I didn’t have high hopes this time. I mean, it was the same story, same overall experience — so how different could it really be once I started moving beyond the earliest parts of the story and into adventuring within the frozen lands of the Pact?

The answer, it turns out, is pretty darn different — for a variety of reasons.

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Choose My Adventure: Getting ready for The Elder Scrolls Online

The votes have been tallied and the verdict is in; the next month of the column will be all about The Elder Scrolls Online. Technically, yes, the votes were tallied a few days ago, but let’s just roll with it. The important point is that our destination is Tamriel, more specifically One Tamriel, and even more specifically…

Er, well, that’s kind of the point of the polls, isn’t it? So I guess that’s as specific as I can get.

Of course, where I start doesn’t actually matter as much as it used to due to the aforementioned “One Tamriel” update. For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, let’s go over what the game has to offer as well as my own history with it before we get to the voting and get on with the adventure.  If you’re already intimately familiar with all of it… well, let’s hope you’re still entertained by sparkling prose, or as sparkling as prose can be when the writer still giggles at words like “fart.”

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Choose My Adventure: Don’t call it a comeback

Hello, dear readers. Would you like to tell me what to do for a while?

Choose My Adventure has been absent from the site for a little while due to a combination of factors, but it’s time to get this ball rolling again, and that means I’m in the hot seat once again. Which is pretty familiar, really, since I’ve been doing the feature on and off since the days of That-Site-We-Only-Reference-Obliquely (or “the before times,” if you prefer). It’s a chance to break out of ruts, try new things, and provide a snapshot of a running game in four weeks of playtime. And it’s all on you.

Well, it’s partly on you. Here, come along with me, I’ll explain the premise and then we’ll start in on our first round of making decisions to shape everything moving forward. That’ll be fun, won’t it? I sincerely hope so.

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Choose My Adventure: Amnesia and exploration in Project Gorgon

Hello, friends, and welcome back to Choose My Adventure. If you’re just tuning in, you need to know that this round of columns is focusing on indie sandbox Project Gorgon. Last week, I asked y’all to vote on my character’s race and gender, and it was a close race, with the innuendo-loving Elves and the feral feline Rakshasa vying for supremacy while the ever-milquetoast Humans watched from the sidelines. I thought for sure that the Elves had it in the bag, but in the end, the Rakshasa cinched the victory. The contest to choose my character’s gender was a good sight closer, as it always is, but in the end, the decision went for male by a slim margin of 10 votes. The result of your votes is Koshekh the Rakshasa, pictured above in all his fabulous feline glory.

Although Koshekh and I have only just begun to dip our toes into the fathomless deeps of Project Gorgon, we’ve already had a few delightfully bizarre escapades. Koshekh’s adventure, like all others in Project Gorgon, begins at character creation. Following a brief introductory scene where poor Koshekh was incapacitated by a trio of grotesque, levitating crones who lamented that they were unable to break his will and ultimately decided to just wipe his mind and call it a day, he awoke on the shore of a desolate island.

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Choose My Adventure: Priming up for Project Gorgon

Hi there, friends! Welcome back to Choose My Adventure, where this week I’ll be unveiling the results of last week’s poll, fine readers like you (perhaps including you) voted to select the game I’ll be diving into for the next however-many weeks, where I’ll be obeying your every command so that you can play vicariously through me.

The Division and Tree of Savior were basically out of the running from the get-go, barring a feat of divine intervention. Alas, the divines were apparently too preoccupied to bother, and the pitiful pair came out with a paltry 7% and 19% of the overall vote, respectively. The race between the two real contenders, Project Gorgon and The Elder Scrolls Online was a good bit closer, and although Project Gorgon got off to an early lead, ESO was never far behind. But, to my admittedly pleasant surprise, Project Gorgon – an underdog for sure, I’d thought – kept its lead until the very end, crossing the finish line with 42% of the total vote to ESO’s 32%.

And so, as Caesar said, the die is cast. I’m not sure that Caesar’s was a d20, but I’m going to assume it was. So without further ado, please join me as I prepare to cross the Rubicon into the world of Project Gorgon.

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Choose My Adventure: Revenge of the CMA

Hello, friends, and welcome to the long-overdue return of Choose My Adventure. I don’t have a lot to say in the way of preamble, for once in my life. You guys know how this works: You choose a game for me to play, tell me how to play it, and I come back each week to report the consequent joys and/or psychic trauma that I experience.

This week, I present to you four games that will be contending for your votes, all in the hopes of being the primary object of my gaming attention for the next few weeks. Will I walk the ruined streets of The Division’s New York City, explore the many possibilities of Project: Gorgon’s sandbox, kick it old-school in the isometric-2D Tree of Savior – which has been hailed as the spiritual successor to Ragnarok Online – or will I wander the expanses of The Elder Scrolls Online’s Tamriel? The choice is yours, of course! So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at each of our contenders.

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Choose My Adventure: Crafting catastrophes and dungeon doldrums in Blade & Soul

Hello, friends, and welcome to the fourth and final installment of Choose My Adventure with Blade & Soul. Last week, as you may recall unless your memory is somehow worse than mine, I asked you to cast your votes to make two decisions about how I should go about wrapping up my time with the game: First, I asked which tradeskill guilds I should join in order to take the game’s crafting system for a spin. The Merry Potters and the Soul Wardens beat out the rest of the competitors with a fairly decisive 39 and 34 votes, respectively, while the next-runner-up, the Acquired Taste, garnered only 21. Second, I asked y’all to choose whether I should spend my last weekend in the game taking part in structured arena PvP or running the game’s first six-player group dungeon, Blackram Narrows. Based on the poll results, however, I may as well have asked whether I should punt wombats into a crocodile-infested lake or end world hunger; the vote wasn’t even a contest, as Blackram Narrows earned its victory with a resounding 114 votes to the arena’s 28. And before anyone says anything, don’t even try to pretend there aren’t at least 28 people on the internet who would vote for the wombat-punting.

Over the course of the weekend, I did as I am programmed – I mean, as you voted for me to do, and… Well, let’s just say this: If you were hoping for an upbeat ending, I’d recommend that you pretend this column was never published. If, however, you’re interested in reading along as I spend several paragraphs balking at dubious design choices and bemoaning wasted potential, then you’ve just hit the jackpot. Either way it’ll be cathartic for me, if nothing else, so let’s dive in.

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Choose My Adventure: Blade & Soul’s questing, PvP, combat, and impractically revealing outfits

Hello friends, and welcome back to Choose My Adventure, where I’m in my third week of exploring NCSoft’s martial-arts MMORPG, Blade & Soul. Last week, I asked you to choose which of the game’s two main factions I should align myself with, and what my level of participation in open-world PvP should be. On the first matter, the Crimson Legion edged out a victory with 54% of the vote to Cerulean Order’s 46%, while you overwhelmingly voted that I should just dabble in oPvP rather than committing myself whole-heartedly to the endeavor.

Unfortunately, only one of those votes actually ended up mattering. As some of you pointed out in the comments, those two factions have population caps in order to keep the contest between them at least relatively balanced, and on my server, Crimson Legion wasn’t accepting any new members. Alas, I had no choice but to join the Cerulean Order in order to get my taste of open-world PvP. For what it’s worth, though, a taste was really all I needed.

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Choose My Adventure: Blade & Soul’s school of hard knocks (and mysterious, potentially deadly curses)

Hello friends, and welcome to week two of the February series of Choose My Adventure. For those of you who are just tuning in, this month I’m diving headlong into the mystical martial-arts adventure of NCSoft’s Blade & Soul. Last week, I asked y’all to vote, as first-week tradition dictates, on what my character’s class, race, and gender should be. Despite each poll receiving somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 votes, the contests were all pretty close. But in the end, of course, there can be only one.

The vote for my character’s class, against all odds — or against 4:3 odds, at any rate — went to one of the non-race-exclusive classes, the Kung Fu Master, which came out of the contest with 24% of the votes, beating out the second-runner-up, Force Master, by a respectable 21 votes. The vote for my character’s race, however, was considerably tighter; Yun, Lyn, and Jin all put up a valiant effort with 21%, 24%, and 25% of the vote, respectively, but it was the big, brawny Gon that wound up winning out with 30% of the total vote. And last, but not least, on the subject of my character’s gender, the vote was much more one-sided, and female emerged victorious with a fairly commanding 61% of the vote against male’s 39%. So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Aesong, the female Gon Kung Fu Master.

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Choose My Adventure: Entering the fray in Blade & Soul

Hello, friends, and welcome to a spankin’ new series of Choose My Adventure. This month, I’m going to be diving into NCSoft’s wuxia-inspired Blade & Soul. I know many MMO fans have been anxiously awaiting the Western release of the game, which finally landed stateside last month. For my part, I admittedly didn’t have a whole lot of interest in the game until I was able to futz around in the beta, which piqued my excitement with its action-centric combat and flashy martial arts. I didn’t get to delve into it too deeply, however, so I’m looking forward to see how the game pans out beyond the small taste I got during beta.

As is the custom ’round these here parts, this week’s article will be all about creating my character so I can jump headlong into the game for a new and (hopefully) exciting adventure.

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Choose My Adventure: Brewing disaster in Shroud of the Avatar

Hello, friends, and welcome to the final (belated) installment of Choose My Adventure: Shroud of the Avatar edition. Last week, I asked y’all to make a few final decisions about my character’s build. The blades-bludgeons-polearms vote was a close one, with polearms edging out victory, and it was by a fairly significant margin that you decided I should eschew a shield in favor of a two-hander, relying solely on heavy armor (which beat out light armor by a hefty 26% of the vote) for protection. Meanwhile, magic-wise, you folks decided that I should abandon all pretensions of being an even remotely benevolent wizard and take up the study of the Death and Chaos schools of magic which won with a resounding 36% and 29% of the vote, respectively.

I also, as you may recall, decided that I would close out my time with SotA by dabbling in a bit of crafting, and I asked you folks to choose which trade I should take up. Blacksmithing and alchemy were neck-and-neck for a while, but in the end, alchemy pulled away with the victory with 38% of the vote compared to blacksmithing’s 29%. Well, as always, I did as I was told, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily enjoyed the experience. I don’t know about you folks, but I’m about ready to wrap this one up, so let’s get on with it, hm?

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Choose My Adventure: Exploring Shroud of the Avatar’s (not so) open wilds

Hello, friends, and welcome to the penultimate installment of Choose My Adventure: Shroud of the Avatar. Last week, in addition to giving the game’s combat system a piece of my mind that I will never get back, I also asked you fine folks to vote on how I should build my character and how I should spend my playtime over the course of the weekend.

On the character build front, the vote went soundly in favor of melee-magic hybrid, which received a fairly sizeable 34% of the vote, though pure magic and ranged-magic hybrid both put up a decent struggle with 23% and 19% of the vote, respectively. Meanwhile, on the playstyle side of things, y’all resoundingly decided that I should put both questing and crafting on the backburner in favor of some old-fashioned exploration, which won with a commanding 51% of the vote.

So as always, I have done as you bid me to do, and I’m here this week to report back on my adventures, though in this case, “misadventures” is probably the more appropriate term. At any rate, let’s go ahead and get down to it, shall we?

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