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

    
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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.

TI-orsinium-breakdown-01

A short history lesson

Traditionally, Orsinium was a symbol of unity for the Orsimer (orcs). Throughout their history, they have been cast out of one place or another. This caused the Orsimer to be quite tribal, but in the First Era, Torug gro-Igron founded a gathering of huts that became a haven where Orsimer could live the way they wished. Eventually, word spread of Torug’s village, and more and more Orsimer traveled the Wrothgar mountains to find refuge in the city that would become Orsinium.

Unfortunately, the reputation of the Orsimer preceded them. The Bretons and other more “civilized” races in the area took issue with a large gathering of Orsimer within striking distance of their homes. Despite the Orsimer claiming that Orsinium was a peaceful place, the other races of Daggerfall laid siege to the city and eventually destroyed it in 1E 980.

For about 2,500 years, Orsinium lay in waste, a relic of a past era. Until Kurog gro-Orsinium’s desire to be a leader for his people lead him to rebuild the ancient city in an effort to unite the Orsimer clans. He even says in the Orsinium DLC trailer, “Whoever opposes the uniting of the Orc clans will feel my wrath.”

TI-orsinium-breakdown-02A single-player MMO

I had always questioned the merits of playing an MMO by yourself. By design, MMOs are multiplayer games. Even the simplest online game is usually multiplayer in some way or another. And I always found it weird that people would play a multiplayer game all by themselves, until I played the Elder Scrolls Online.

The little stories in the game could be played with a group, but they really seemed to be more fun to just do by myself. I would have fun discovering all the characters and some of the interconnections between characters that I feel I would not discover if I had been rushed through with a friend.

Orsinium caters to my particular playstyle.

It has an epic story about the proud Orc culture. ZeniMax says that it has over 20 hour of story content. That more than fits my rule of making sure there there is at least one hour of content per dollar that I spend on the game. It only takes one month of ESO Plus membership to get the DLC and that’s only $15. If there was nothing other than the story, it would be worth it, but there is a lot more.

Old Orsinium

I don’t want this to sound like an advertisement for the DLC pack, but I do want to list some of the major features that have caught my attention. For starters, the livestream last week gave us a taste of the public dungeons. I was surprised at how expansive they are, with Old Orsinium being the one I’m most looking forward to.

It should go without saying that Old Orsinium is set in the ruins of the original city founded by Torug. And for a game that mostly consists of shades of brown in its dungeons, Old Orsinium is more of the same with a bit more green and white, but the expanse of the dungeon and the surrounding lore more than make up for its drab interior.

Level-scaling in Orsinium means that as soon as the DLC pack comes out, you can play it no matter what level you are. I don’t do veteran ranks. I am not interested in playing through the other faction’s content on the same character that I just ran through the Daggerfall Covenant content. This means that I will never reach VR16, which is the content cap for Orsinium. But someone like me can still play the content as soon as it comes out because of level-scaling. Again, it’s like ZeniMax was actually listening to me.

TI-orsinium-breakdown-03

Maelstrom Arena

I might gush just a little bit about this, and I apologize. In the MMO world there is a certain type of player who loves the competition that MMOs bring but believes that most MMOs get it all wrong. These types of players, even though they love pitting themselves against other players, find the PvP metagame all wrong. Usually they will turn to group content, like raids, to get the thrill of winning. Some like the individual challenges, so they will turn to duels. But very few games track your wins and losses with duels. What is this player to do? The answer is Maelstrom Arena.

Maelstrom Arena is a gauntlet or crucible type of arena where challenge after challenge is thrown at you and your job is to survive. The Maelstrom Arena has a total of nine rounds, with four to six stages each round. Each round offers its own set of challenges and its own set of bosses.

According to the livestream last week, the normal mode of the Maelstrom Arena is intended to be practice for the veteran mode. For those interested in not only challenging themselves in a man-vs.-environment sort of way but also in a man-vs.-man kind of way, the Maelstrom Arena veteran mode offers leaderboards. I have complained about other games not understanding the “killer” player-type that Richard Bartle describes, but I believe that this arena gets it. And for all the things that ESO might have gotten wrong, this one thing stands out to me as a major thing that ESO got right.

Unfortunately, there are still some classes that outperform the Maelstrom, and in a class system as diverse as ESO, that’s to be expected for now. Hopefully, we’ll see some tweaks with that. But overall, I am a fan.

Of course, I just glossed over many of the new features for Orsinium. I didn’t even talk about the bear mounts, which are a personal favorite. What about you, though? Which features and additions coming with the Orsinium DLC are your favorites? Is this enough to make you want to try out the DLC? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Look for the Orsinium DLC to officially hit the PC and Mac servers on November 2nd, Xbox One Servers on November 17th, and PlayStation 4 servers on November 18th.

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.
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FeveredDreamer
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FeveredDreamer

I absolutely loved some things about ESO but the leveling system was always something I detested.  Returning to the game after it went to F2P I was getting into it again until the announcement of more VR levels.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice… something something I’m done.  Orsinium seems cool from everything I’ve heard but the grind in ESO seems downright unreasonable.

d0ub1ep1u5g00d
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d0ub1ep1u5g00d

Cambruin d0ub1ep1u5g00d Ok I agree I was disappointed also when I found out that each of the 3 factions quest areas are completely separated (until the lvl 50+ veteran levels when you get access to them) so there was only one zone to do quests in for each level range making questing very linear without any choices. And even though you have access to a large zone you still followed a set path across the map. 
But I still think you should stick with ESO it eventually grew on me and I play it all the time now. I made two characters of each faction to add variety to where I did quests.  I really like the large world that has reasons to explore every corner. The free form classes that let me create my own custom builds. The entertaining stories and quests. Its free to play so it wont cost anything to keep playing also.

Cambruin
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Cambruin

d0ub1ep1u5g00d Cambruin  I feel the quests are decent enough, I just do not like how I am not free to explore the world as I am in my current MMO. There’s no point in going to another zone on the map when there’s no quests to open up, no rep to advance, no deeds to complete, …

That’s what I like in my current MMO; I don’t feel like doing northern bree-land. I’ll go do barrow downs instead. I don’t feel like going to Evendim yet, I’ll hang around around Lonelands a bit longer. Oh wait, been here a few days already, I’ll just go to Tinnundir instead.
I have options here. I have ways to advance while at the same time breaking the routine, breaking my routine.
I like starting a char in Ered Luin, but I know it like the back of my hand, so I’ll start one in the Shire instead.

I like the graphics of ESO more than those of LotRO. I like ESOs voice-acting a lot more than the dreary Elf standard voices in LotRO, I like the crafting system very very much and I really appreciate the way dye colours are tied to specific achievements. But in the end, the freedom to go where I want when I want, the freedom to wear what I want on which char I want and the immersive and RP-enforced policy of my home server Laurelin outweigh the Obvious positives of ESO.

d0ub1ep1u5g00d
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d0ub1ep1u5g00d

Cambruin d0ub1ep1u5g00d Well are you enjoying doing the quests? The quests in ESO all have stories and voice acted characters that goes along with them. Sometimes the stories are entertaining and funny. And some of them are a continuing story.

Cambruin
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Cambruin

d0ub1ep1u5g00d Cambruin Thank you for the info. I guess this is not my cup of tea then.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Rohirrim Sure, but in WoW I got my VR1 gear from Karazhan to do the next VR2 dungeon. I didn’t have to run through quest lines in the other two factions with some nonsense ‘story’ reason for it, before doing those dungeons. And then when I made a second character in WoW, at least I had (still have) a different level path I could take up until I hit BC and then had to do the same Kara/whatever dungeon path.
So WoW still managed to give a better leveling path. ESO’s whole VR rank thing was just a stupid idea from the start.

d0ub1ep1u5g00d
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d0ub1ep1u5g00d

Cambruin the world will open up and you will get access to a larger zone. But the zone will be divided up into sections. Each section will have maybe 2-3 quests but usually each zone only has one quest that you do multiple steps to finish. Like for example there is a village on the map, when you approach the village youll get a quest to help them. So in a way the game stays linear because you need to gain levels before you can do the higher level sections on the map. This game does not have the wow type quest hubs where you collect 10 quests from one hub, run around and complete all 10 and then go turn them all in and head off to the next quest hub. There are some city spots where you can collect multiple quests but in general the quests are spread out all over the map one quest at a time.

Rohirrim
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Rohirrim

The word endgame alone is a stupid word that in my opinion is the problem of mmos..in eso the level cap is 50..you dont ger more levels but you gain ranks..imagine it as pve ranks instead of pvp ranks.
In GW2 also you gain more levels once you get to 80 and those levels are converted to points..so by that definition gw2 is an endless leveling game?
Vr is not a boring grind before you do the “endgame”…it is endgame, just not the top endgame.
For example in tbc wow you got to 70 but you couldnt just go to black temple..imagine in eso that vr1 dungeons are karazhan and vr14 dungeons are black temple…

d0ub1ep1u5g00d
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d0ub1ep1u5g00d

Rohirrim d0ub1ep1u5g00d Your idea of “endgame” is different from mine. I think of endgame as starting when your character is level capped and does not gain xp or more levels. This is why I do not view veteran levels as endgame since you still have to get 16 more levels before you can raid or do level cap content. 
To me veteran levels are nothing but a long boring path through recycled low level content to get to the actual endgame. Now if veteran levels were actually new zones to explore that I have never been to before, then I would consider doing them.

Cambruin
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Cambruin

I started this game a week ago, but up ’till now I don’t enjoy it very much. I have 2-3 quests at a time, usually only one. I’m being sent from A to B to C without the option to go straight to D. Is it this linaer all the way to lvl cap or will the world eventually open up to me?