Tamriel Infinium: Dealing Elder Scrolls Online justice

    
130

When The Elder Scrolls Online launched, many people had high expectations for the game. Of course, given the number of people who loved the Elder Scrolls series of games and the number of people who love MMOs in general, no developer could ever satisfy the playerbase. The devs could have completely recreated Skyrim in an online form and there would be complainers.

Although I did some complaining about the game myself after its launch last year, my primary gripe was not the game itself. The storytelling and character progression mechanics were great. My primary issues was ZeniMax‘s handling of its playerbase and that knowledge that the PC subscription that many people have been paying for this last year has actually been a pay-to-beta model without ZeniMax ever actually admitting it. But after March 17th, that all ends, and the game, now called Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, is more than worth your money to buy.

I am a returning player filled with all the bitterness that returning players carry. ZeniMax murdered my family and ran off with my dog, but right now, I am super impressed with what it’s been able to accomplish over this last year.

TI-header-2015-back-to-coldharbour-01

When Update 6 was on the test servers, a couple of my friends were playing the game still and couldn’t stop talking about this update. I remained extremely skeptical. But they were telling me that they did not want to leave the PTS for live because Update 6 so drastically changed the game for them. At first they talked about the nuances of specific classes that so long after launch really meant nothing to me. But then they started talking about the Justice system, and that’s what roped me in.

I had already heard about the Justice system, but it was different coming from people I knew who were experiencing it rather than some developer who was trying to sell his product. Remember, ZeniMax had already destroyed my childhood, so I wasn’t about to let it do it again. So let me run down the bare bones of the Justice system for you without any hype.

TI-header-2015-back-to-coldharbour-02

The Justice system at its most basic level allows players to be criminals, basically two different kinds of criminals: thieves and murderers. Nearly every NPC can be interacted with, and nearly all objects can be picked up or searched through. The latter part was already in the game, but this system changes it slightly.

If you are in friendly territory such as a city, you can rummage through any crate or knapsack lying on the ground. However, most items like that throughout the world belong to one NPC or another. This will be annotated by red text and a phrases like “steal item” appearing as you mouse over the object. If you take such an item and no NPC is in range to see you or you have added passive skill points to sneaking, then you can take the item and wander around with it in your inventory. If you do get caught, the item is confiscated and a bounty is placed on your head. The size of the bounty depends on your level and possibly the location of the crime. (I haven’t been able to fully test that second part to see what the differences are.)

Besides random crates and knapsacks, you can also steal directly from people via pickpocketing. Unlike the sneak skill (which is thankfully purchased with skill points), the pickpocketing skills are learned by doing. This means that if you want to learn how to pickpocket, all you have to do is start doing it, just as in any other Elder Scrolls game. There is a bit of player skill, situational awareness, and luck involved, too. But the basic idea is just that you crouch until you’re hidden, sneak up behind any NPC who has the white glow around him (the white indicates that he is a “friendly” non-quest NPC), then hit the action key on your keyboard to pick his pocket. Some NPCs will really not like your picking their pockets, and they will turn red and attack you. You could kill them if you want, but you will incur more penalties.

That leads us to bounties. Bounties are placed on your head every time you’re caught committing a criminal act. This could be stealing from crates, pickpocketing, or even murdering an NPC. The bounty is subdivided into multiple parts. The first part is the bounty cost. This is a fee in gold that you’ll have to pay to clear your bounty and stop the guards from approaching you. You can be cleared by paying a guard or paying a fence to take care of it for you. The bounty slowly ticks down as time passes, but it could take a day or more to clear a high bounty.

The other part is reputation. You gain an extremely high reputation right after you commit a crime, but that goes down quickly. But you also have a second reputation tick that doesn’t go down at the same rate. If you have any reputation at all, a guard will stop you on sight. If you have a high reputation, then a guard will attack you — you don’t want to fight a guard.

TI-header-2015-back-to-coldharbour-03

This is what I did all weekend. On the surface, this minigame — if you want to call it that — doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but what it does for immersion within the Elder Scrolls world is incredible. It not only reinstates popular activities from the singleplayer games but also makes the world feel a little less on rails. The justice system convinces you that you aren’t tied down to the main story. It really makes the world feel more open. If I want to stick around and become the Thief of Glenumbra, then now, I truly can.

You can check it out yourself if you’ve got an active sub, of course, but come next Tuesday, ESO’s subscription drops, and if you bought the ESO box for PC you can just hop in the game any time you want. And I honestly believe you should.

(Note: OK, OK. ZeniMax did not do anything to my family or my dog, and there is no title “Thief of Glenumbra” in the game. Yet.)

Traverse the troubled land of Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls Online. Larry Everett will be your guide here in Tamriel Infinium every other week as you explore together the land created by ZeniMax and Bethesda. If you have any burning questions, send them his way via email or via Twitter.
Advertisement

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
syberghost
Guest
syberghost

CTaylorBioSci01 syberghost if what you’re purchasing has monetary value, then trading it for something else with monetary value is a taxable transaction. If what you’re purchasing has no monetary value, then trading it for other items of no monetary value is not taxable.

If you’ve got access to a lawyer, go print out the TOS for WoW, GW2, RIFT, FF XIV, Neverwinter, and Planetside 2, and have him compare them with TESO. You’ll find there’s little fundamental difference between them. He or she can explain to you more detail why.

Go paint somebody else as sexist; I didn’t know which direction your genitals pointed until you told me, and I don’t see its relevance in a discussion of MMO legal terms.

CTaylorBioSci01
Guest
CTaylorBioSci01

syberghost CTaylorBioSci01

No, sweetie, it’s not my first MMORPG–by nearly two decades now. 

I am a careful reader and we have an attorney in the family. Oh, and this reply is with equal respect of course. 

I must admit I fail to see how taxes have anything to do with arbitrary, subjective decision making regarding the treatment of players (the way ZOS reserves the right to delete accounts without warning or notice, eg). 

The idea that one should reasonably expect some return and/or due protection under the law/full access to legal recourse when cash is paid and service not rendered, even for an electronic service/game is hardly naive, as you seem to suggest. Perhaps I misunderstood you. That little side-trip into Accounting Land (yawwwwn) had me nodding for a moment.

Also, I am wondering why you found the adhom and lengthy explanation necessary at all if you were asking “with all respect”.  It felt rather more as if you were being condescending, which is amusing in it’s own silly way under the circumstances, but not all together appropriate. 

I am, at worst, idealistic, though not in this case. Idealism and attempted denial of due process do not mix. It has been well over two decades since I’ve been naive in any case. Military service will do that to a person. So will working in health and psychiatric care…not, as a previous writer suggested, that I have done anything with my life. I am, after all, a mere female. I MUST be vapid and vacuous, right? Aren’t we all? It’s so “cute” when we try to play games with the boys, isn’t it?

Forgive me, I must take off my shoes and get back to the kitchen now…

syberghost
Guest
syberghost

CTaylorBioSci01 I ask this with all respect, but:

Is this your first MMORPG? Because its terms are basically standard for the industry. And I don’t mean “half of them are like this”, I mean “virtually identical to every other MMORPG in existence”. For that matter, virtually identical to every other online game.

They kind of have to be, since if anything you purchase in an online game has value, they have to deal with taxation on your ingame purchases and trades. Not to mention the whole gambling issue.

CTaylorBioSci01
Guest
CTaylorBioSci01

DPandaren Hurbster I have learned not to put much stock into their vague “later date” promises. It’s been almost a year on one simple one, but all they’ve done is crate “modesty armor” for some female characters, not the changes we have asked for and been promised.

CTaylorBioSci01
Guest
CTaylorBioSci01

NobleNerd Loyheta I just hope that woman with the clip board in the Davon’s Watch thieve’s den turns into what she looks like at some point–the lady you go to for an “appearance adjustment”. We’ve been waiting almost a year now for character creation to be on the same engine as the game. And some decent new hair/makeup choices (yes, even if we have to pay real money) would be nice too. It is certainly lore friendly, given it was done in the most recent game prior to this one. Plus they’ve been hinting that it’s coming…almost since day one.

CTaylorBioSci01
Guest
CTaylorBioSci01

Shadanwolf CTaylorBioSci01 You haven’t seen my profile. Silly you! It’s okay. If you wish to knee jerk or troll, you go on ahead if it makes you feel better. Far be it from me to spoil your fun. You have an absolutely lovely day, okay?

CTaylorBioSci01
Guest
CTaylorBioSci01

mysecretid I really like that idea. I too am somewhat disheartened by the slaughter of innocents. There are so many [expletive deleted] NPCs to kill, but those you cannot kill…  sigh. And I can never find that jerk that says “You don’t look so special to me.” 

That said, I’ve created a Bosmer NB, something I’d have never done otherwise, but between the fun armor mix options available and my love of the Bosmer race (I am a “bad” Bosmer though–I don’t eat much meat and love fruits and veggies and I’m an alchemist–also fun from an RP standpoint) and love stealing and picking pockets then scurrying to sell whatever I get before I get caught. Then when empty handed I let a guard kill me and my reputation is golden again. ^^ Have you considered that option. Just a quick death?

Shadanwolf
Guest
Shadanwolf

CTaylorBioSci01 
The answer…JUST WALK AWAY FROM THIS GAME
Find another…..or perhaps better yet…….. actually accomplish something in the real world.

CTaylorBioSci01
Guest
CTaylorBioSci01

I was/am one of those paying beta-testers, WAS a beta tester, and my thanks is….NONEXISTENT. 

Zenimax is SO busy trying to sell boxes, they have completely left the most loyal players out in the cold, and because they know we ARE loyal they are perfectly content to let us stay there. They know we will keep playing, so we have no recourse. 

Another thing. I have NEVER read Terms of Service that give a corporation such BROAD rights and leave you, the player/consumer with absolutely NO rights at all…unless you opt out of arbitration. Whatever you decide to do, I STRONGLY suggest anyone who returns to the game read the TOS in its (I believe intentionally lengthy, confusing and did I mention lengthy and confusing to lay eyes?) entirety. 

They can basically take your money and then if they decide they want to give you NOTHING for it they can. You, by clicking “I agree” are saying that’s just fine. You are also saying your character and items are not yours and have no cash value, even the CASH items and that ZeniMax has no obligation to explain why they boot you from the game if they do, or to actually give you the items you pay for, and they can delete your account without warning or notice.

Things can go missing from your inventory and they do not need to replace it (beats paying customer service staff or recalling all those they laid off along with all those developers) …and it goes on and on and on. 

Once bitten, twice cautious. I’m doing what I can to protect myself from their “no legal recourse” policies. I would suggest others do the same, whatever you feel that to be. I’m also being a LOT more careful in zone chat and on the forums, which is a pain, given some of what IS allowed, but their policing of that is ENTIRELY subjective, as is their forum moderation. I have already been booted from the game for spamming when I wasn’t even using zone chat. I was in “say” mode, playing solo, out in the middle of nowhere. 

They have access to all your pc information (in my case) and server information, so if you have more than one account in your household, if they delete your account, anyone with an at your address is toast as well. 
So…

Best of luck, fellow travelers.

Shadanwolf
Guest
Shadanwolf

Yes,I too carry the anger and bitterness. I bought the game because it was presented as a combination of an Elder Scrolls world( I love SKYRIM) with DAOC AVA.  ( Heck they hired Matt Firror to make that part of the game DAOC 2 like)
The “true’  believers(like me)  held kept handing over the $15/month  enduring unending gold spam…..exploits, cheats,countless bugs,lack of game stability,abysmal customer service etc etc. AvA had all of the above and  simply awful game stability(disconnects  were rampant) , terrible lag,and action/twitch combat (animation cancelling is now a standard game practice). Improvements/new Ava features ? NONE. Promises of new AvA features….countless.

That is why I’m not returning. Half the game is almost in the state it was at launch.