An early entry in the Elder Scrolls Saga. See: Daggerfall on Wikipedia.

Massively Overthinking: Our MMO hopes and wishes for 2018

One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.

But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2018 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.

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One Shots: Thumbs up for justice

Even when humanity is on the brink of destruction, even when all hope is lost, it’s good to know that people will still be taking selfies and posting them to Facebook so that all friends and family members won’t forget what they look like or how important they are.

Deekay_plus brings us this Destiny 2 selfie starring… Marilyn Manson? Good to know he’s putting his musical skills to work in the techno-apocalypse. Thumbs up for justice, you scary-looking fellow!

Oh, it only gets weirder from here. Think “Willy Wonka boat ride through the nightmare dream sequence” strange. That’s just how our readers screenshot.

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Tamriel Infinium: Impressions of Elder Scrolls Online’s Falkreath’s Hold dungeon, part of the Horns of the Reach DLC

Although the vast majority of my time in Elder Scrolls Online is spent solo, running through the single-player storylines, I raid and have done a lot of group activities in other MMORPGs. So when I was invited to run the newest dungeons with some of the developers, specifically Creative Director Rich Lambert and Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan , I had to say yes. The actual run was livestreamed yesterday and since posted to YouTube. (I’ll post the video below.) But during that time, I didn’t really get a chance to give my impressions of what was happening, so perhaps now would be a good time to let you know what I thought.

Most of us here are PC players, so you will be glad to know that this dungeon releases on August 14th with the Horns of the Reach DLC for PC, but for those playing it on consoles, you will have to wait another couple of weeks until August 29th to actually play the dungeons. As for the whole DLC itself, it’s much like the Shadows of the Hist DLC: There are new achievements and meta-changes to classes, but for the most part, it revolves around two four-man dungeons. The one I ran was called Falkreath’s Hold.

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Tamriel Infinium: Am I playing Elder Scrolls Online wrong?

Elder Scrolls Online and I have had an on-again-off-again relationship for the last several years. A lot of that relationship stemmed from my being steeped in another online community in another game, and the other part comes from the game just not being what I had hoped it would be. Despite my low-key participation in the community for the last couple of years, ESO‘s community has thrived, and the game itself has received a lot of praise after adding some much-needed features.

However, some of my friends, who have been playing consistently, are complaining that there isn’t anything left to do in the game. That doesn’t mean that they have done everything. I don’t see them walking around with the Dro-m’Athra skin or the Emperor title. However, I do understand what they mean: Anything else they can do in game would be boring or unachievable.

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Elder Scrolls Online plans in-game jester-themed festival events for April Fools’ Day

It’s time to be sorry you whined and moaned for holidays in The Elder Scrolls Online. Or not sorry. It depends on whether you enjoy April Fools’ Day, I suppose, but I suspect the upcoming Jester’s Festival has the potential to annoy everyone who begins each new life in TESIII: Morrowind by murdering Fargoth.

“The Jester’s Festival kicks off on March 23, at 10:00am EDT. If you’d like to show off your zany side, you can travel to the pavilions that have been set up just outside the cities of Ebonheart, Vulkhel Guard, and Daggerfall. At each location, you will find one of three Jesters in extremely convincing dress up as either King Jorunn, Queen Ayrenn, or King Emeric. Talk to each Jester to receive a uniquely mischievous task once per day for the duration of the festival.”

Completing these quests will see you rewarded with an obnoxious hat, “fun new consumables” (read: probably pranks), trees and standards for your housing plot (what?) and “mementos” including “The Pie of Misrule,” which is unlikely to be the kind of pie you eat.

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Elder Scrolls Online: Deep-diving Morrowind’s PvP battlegrounds

At last week’s Elder Scrolls Online press event, I sat down in the ESO Live studio to talk to the PvP designer in person: Lead Designer Brian Wheeler, whose high enthusiasm for PvP in the upcoming expansion Morrowind is nearly absurd. Sheogorath-absurd.

Now, I would not consider myself an elite PvPer, but I am a fan of good PvP design, one that incorporates a good class meta, interesting maps, and meaningful leaderboards so that PvPers can prove to their friends how good they actually were. I was sitting on the edge of my seat as Wheeler and I discussed the ins and outs of this new game-mode for Elder Scrolls Online. Let’s dig in!

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Working As Intended: Two decades of Elder Scrolls housing

The Elder Scrolls Online‘s wildly anticipated Homestead patch has rolled out today, introducing housing for the first time for the MMORPG. But it’ll be far from a first for the franchise, which has been well-known for its housing systems for over two decades. In today’s video installment of Working As Intended, we’re taking a trip back through my (often gloriously overmodded) installs of Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, and then ESO itself to reminisce about just how far the series’ housing content has come. Bring your own silt strider!

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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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Leaderboard: Elder Scrolls Online vs. Skyrim HD

You might think this a biased Leaderboard for an MMORPG website to craft, but truthfully, I was an Elder Scrolls fangirl before I was an MMORPG player. Daggerfall was an ancient, pre-MMORPG obsession of mine, and I carried that forward with me into Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, the last three of which currently enjoy a permanent home on my PC with countless gigabytes of mods between them.

So with Skyrim’s HD re-release this weekend, I’ve been torn between spending time trying to make my old mod loadout work (sigh) and actually firing up Elder Scrolls Online. ESO I can play with my husband. But Skyrim I can mod. Skyrim is bleak and grey; ESO is lush and gorgeous. ESO works out of the box, while Skyrim has to be finessed into what I’ll tolerate as a playable-enough state. Too hard to choose! You choose: Which one should win our Leaderboard face-off? Elder Scrolls Online or Skyrim HD?

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Tamriel Infinium: Why I’m sold on Elder Scrolls Online’s One Tamriel

It hasn’t taken me long to fall in love with One Tamriel. This Elder Scrolls Online team has a distinct understanding of what makes this game an Elder Scrolls game, and One Tamriel really captures this understanding. I cannot wait to tell you about my experience in it so far. However, there are a couple of pieces of information that you’ll need to understand my perspective.

One Tamriel is ESO’s way of fast-tracking the leveling experience. Many MMOs create ways for its experienced players to game with the newer players: Some, like World of Warcraft, will do it with character boosters, and others, like Marvel Heroes, will do it with level-scaling. Still others will do it with both, like Star Wars: The Old Republic did. Elder Scrolls Online chose leveling-scaling to an extreme. As a new player in the One Tamriel update, you can literally go anywhere once you’ve passed the tutorial. I’ll get into more details in a bit.

I know that I’ve said this before, but I believe that to understand where I’m coming from I should reiterate that I play ESO solo for the most part. It’s not that I think that multiplayer is bad in the game; I just like to experience this particular game at my own pace and in my own way.

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One Shots: I heart you

Valentine’s Day is already well behind us (and greatly before us), but the love among the MMO community never dies down. Today we have a headlining pic from Ralph the Wonder Llama, who reminds us that we are all deserving of flowers, kisses, and irrational armor.

“With the whole heart themed weekend coming up, I was reminded of this odd little topiary I found inside one of the treehouses at Blessing Basin in TERA,” he submitted. “Hugs and kisses from my Gunner!”

D’aww… can you feel the love tonight?

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online predictions for 2016

Speculation can be dangerous because I tend to be too hopeful for the MMOs that I play. I’ve been critical of The Elder Scrolls Online in the past, but I do like the game, and I’m hopeful for its future too. I truly only want good things to happen to it. Maybe that’s why I’m a bit harsh about it sometimes.

This being the end of the year, I thought it only fitting that I do some speculation about my favorite fantasy game. I did vote this game the most improved in 2015 (although it didn’t win); maybe 2016 will bring some equally important improvements to the game. Let’s take a few moments and talk about the things that we know are coming to the game in 2016 and also what we think might be coming down the pike next year.

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Tamriel Infinium: Orsinium makes me forget the things I don’t like about ESO leveling

Anyone reading this column regularly understands that I have a bit of a tiff with ZeniMax because of the way it’s handled the leveling process in Elder Scrolls Online. And I honestly don’t think the devs are going to really change anything. However, I would like to give credit where credit is due. With the Orsinium DLC, ZeniMax might have captured the essence of my ESO playstyle.

I will log on, do a few quests, mostly by myself, then log out. I’m not hunting for group content. I’m definitely not looking for PvP. Sometimes, I’ll log in with a friend, and we will knock around a public dungeon or two. But mostly, I play ESO because I like the quests and I like being a werewolf. It’s not a hardcore game for me. In fact, it’s barely an MMO based on how I play the game. But I don’t have a problem with that. Everyone else can run around doing all the great group content and RvR PvP. I am content doing what I do. And with the latest DLC, it’s almost like ZeniMax read my mind.

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