tamriel infinium

Tamriel Infinium is an Elder Scrolls Online column by Larry Everett. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Tamriel Infinium: The bizarre lore of the Hist in Elder Scrolls Online – and how it could matter in Mirkmire

Although our next Elder Scrolls Online venture into Black Marsh is still many months away, I thought I would take a moment to talk about the Argonians. But as intriguing as the Lusty Argonian Maid might be, I will save that discussion for another article and less kid-friendly website. (Side note: Wouldn’t it be hilarious if part of the Mirkmire DLC was finding out the origin of the Lusty Argonian Maid?)

What I would actually like to discuss today is the center of the Argonian religion and mythology: The Hist. It’s hard to tell sometimes if the Hist is an actual god-like presence or if it is mythology built up by the Argonians. Maybe it’s both. So if you’re ready for a drug-induced trip into the core of Argonian culture, keep reading. But if you’re not ready for what has to be the weirdest trip into Elder Scrolls lore, you might want to turn back now.

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Tamriel Infinium: All the lore you need to know for Elder Scrolls Online’s Wolfhunter DLC

Lycanthropy has been a part of the Elder Scrolls lore since Daggerfall, even if it did kind of skip Oblivion. Elder Scrolls Online introduces lycanthropy as its own skill line with both passive and active skills. It was this fun skill line that helped me want to jump back into the game a couple of years ago. It’s not the most useful skill tree in the game, and it certainly isn’t as good as Vampirism when it comes to PvP, but I found it to be a lot of fun and would recommend it to players looking to explore some of the lore and interesting mechanics of ESO.

In the next DLC for ESO, players take to opposite stance and actually hunt werewolves with the Order of the Silver Dawn. Although we don’t have many details about this next DLC, we know that one of the dungeons take place in the Order’s headquarters as its infested with werewolves, and the other takes place in Hircine’s Hunting Grounds.

This Friday at 6 p.m. EDT, Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan and Writer-Designer Tori Dougherty will give us a more in-depth look at these two dungeons, but before that, we should probably learn all we can about werewolves in ESO. That’s why I’ve broken down how to become a werewolf in ESO and where they come from according to the Elder Scrolls.

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Tamriel Infinium: Unpacking the Elder Scrolls Online presentation at E3

Elder Scrolls Online is obviously a huge draw for MMORPG players, but it’s far from an exciting title for the vast majority of gamers attending E3, so I was surprised to see Game Director Matt Firor on the stage at all during the Bethesda presentation. It’s not to say that ESO isn’t a great game; it’s just been around awhile, and the hypetrain is hardly running at full speed right now.

During his presentation, Firor mentioned a lot of things worth considering. He had a very short time to not only tell existing fans what was happening in the game this year, but he also had to remind people of how great ESO is right now. Of course, he was hoping to get new players interested in the game. He knew that ESO wasn’t always well-received, but he had to show how far the game has come. Here’s how he did it.

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E3 2018: Dissecting the Elder Scrolls VI teaser that broke the internet

Last night, Bethesda Director Todd Howard took the E3 stage and practically broke the internet. Of course, he talked about Fallout 76, which everyone expected. After all, Bethesda teased that days earlier, and if he didn’t give us more details, the internet would have rioted. However, the thing that really broke everyone — especially Reddit — only took 36 seconds. He announced what everyone wanted but no one expected: The Elder Scrolls VI.

It’s amazing how a small teaser will set people on fire. Massively OP’s chatroom lit up with speculation. Admittedly, it was mostly me and Bree going nuts over this particular game, but we were doing our best to try to determine where The Elder Scrolls VI would take place. All we had was a 36-second fly-by that featured a bunch of rocks, bigger rocks, and a little bit of grass. In other words, it told us practically nothing. But that didn’t stop me from attempting to pull apart each little detail — what was shown and what wasn’t.

Let’s break this down.

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Tamriel Infinium: Eight things you need to know before jumping into Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset

Monday, the Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset chapter went live for early access accounts. For the first time since 1994, players can visit the island of Summerset. And needless to say, 24 years makes quite a difference in the world of gaming. I’m not going to pretend that I ever played Arena, but think its safe to say that things look a lot different and the mechanics of the game have changed, too.

I don’t think that Summerset is as highly anticipated as Morrowind was, but that’s can be a positive for ZeniMax Online Studios because there is scrutiny when it comes to the lay of the land and the storyline. On the other hand, it means less hype for the expansion.

As an MMORPG enthusiast, I’m excited to see MMOs continuing to grow the way ESO has. And I know that you might not be as familiar with Summerset, so I would like to give you my list of what you should probably look out for when you jump into the next chapter.

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Tamriel Infinium: Deep-diving the mechanics of Elder Scrolls Online Summerset’s Psijic Order skill line

Many MMO gamers – including me – are a bit underwhelmed by the next chapter of the Elder Scrolls Online. Although Summerset is not a bad bit of content, I have concerns about the amount of content that is coming with this expansion compared to the last expansion, Morrowind. The island of Summerset is a nice size, probably bigger than Vvardenfell, but there seem to be fewer things to keep people interested for longer than maybe a couple of weeks.

That being said, what it does, it does very well.

I’ve already mentioned in a previous article how gorgeous the island is, especially the extra zone of Artaeum. I was blown away by that. But I didn’t go into depth about Psijic Order skill line. At the time I wrote that article, I really hadn’t had a chance to play around with it. But now I have, and although I can’t say that everything about that skill tree is perfect, there are more than a couple of skills that I will be considering for my live character when the expansion launches.

I’ve broken up the Psijic skill line into three categories: utilities, healing, and passives. Keep reading and I will break it down further. And I would like to caveat before I get into the details, that if I give specific numbers, that those might change before launch, and that my character was Champion Level 750 Sorcerer without any CP spent.

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Tamriel Infinium: First impressions of Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset (mostly without spoilers!)

Over the years, I suspect I’ve made it well known what I find most important in my Elder Scrolls Online gameplay. I enjoy the environments and the quest storylines. I play most of the game solo with very little interaction with any other players. It’s not that I don’t like other players; it’s just that when I started playing ESO, the main storylines in the game where not very group friendly, so that kind of gameplay is what I expected and enjoyed. Of course, that means my primary focus, when playing through the Summerset Chapter for ESO, was story and single-player gameplay.

There are many things added with Summerset that aren’t single-player focused, like the new Cloudrest trial and the Abyssal Geysers, but I’d hardly call myself an expert in those areas. But we solo players do have many things to look forward to in Summerset besides the story quests, like jewelry crafting, a new skill line, and daily login rewards.

For today, I would like to focus on the main reason I play ESO: the story. I’m not going to spoil any major plot points as I describe my playthrough, obviously, but I would like to make mention of key players and things to watch for as you play through the newest chapter.

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Tamriel Infinium: Understanding Elder Scrolls Online’s Mephala and speculating on Summerset

Let me teach you how to understand Mephala the Webspinner. Maybe that’s misleading; she’s a Deadric Prince, and who can really understand the motivations of a god, especially one as complicated as Mephala? That’s also what is really wonderful about the characters in Elder Scrolls Online: They never seem to be all good or all bad. There always appears to be some sort of nuance about them that requires explanation.

If you buy the physical Collector’s for Summerset, you will get a 12-inch statue of Mephala, which might be the first collector’s edition of ESO that I buy, and it’s because of that statue. During the introductory livestream for Summerset, Creative Director Rich Lambert simply said that “she plays a role” in the upcoming expansion but didn’t really go any further than that. But if she’s like any of the other featured Daedric Princes, she’s likely one of the formidable enemies – maybe the main enemy – for the chapter. But if the story falls in line with Mephala’s character up to this point, it’s likely that the story is more complicated than her being the villain for Summerset.

First, we should talk about Mephala’s history in the franchise, but then I have a fun theory that I’d like to share.

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Tamriel Infinium: Where did the Elder Scroll Online Summerset come from?

Even though I don’t believe that Summerset was the best choice for the next expansion for the Elder Scrolls Online, that doesn’t mean that the chapter is without merit. According to ZeniMax Online Creative Director Rich Lambert, Summerset will be bigger and have more to do than Morrowind. It’s hard to believe that the actual island is bigger, but I do believe that there is much more playable area on Summerset than on Vvardenfell because it doesn’t have a giant volcano sitting in the middle of it taking up a lot of room.

Because this island hasn’t been seen since Elder Scrolls: Arena, it’s hard to know what to expect from this land. We know that certain things exist, like the Crystal Tower and the home of the Psijic Order Artaeum, but we haven’t ever really seen some of these places in any games.

Because I’m a lore buff, I’d like to take a few moments to talk about the first settlers of the Summerset Isles, the Aldmer and their “purest” descendants, the Altmer. But really, I’m only going to be able to scratch the surface of this deep and isolated culture.

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online’s new outfit system is close to perfect

I can spend hours with an outfit designer in an MMORPG. When APB was a new thing, I literally spent whole game sessions in front of its customization terminals. And I am only slightly embarrassed at the hundreds of millions of credits that I’ve spent on Star Wars: The Old Republic cosmetic armor. I knew it was only a matter of time before Elder Scrolls Online created its version of an outfit designer to steal away my time and money.

When ESO introduced wardrobes and costumes years ago, I believed that we weren’t going to get anything more. However, Update 17 last week added a new layer of character customization. With the addition of the Outfit System, there isn’t really anything else players need to make their character look the way that they want.

ESO‘s designer takes elements from other outfit systems that work and create its own unique way of allowing players to piece together items. In fact, I would say that ESO‘s outfit design is close to perfect.

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Tamriel Infinium: Where will the next Elder Scrolls Online ‘chapter’ take place?

In case you missed it, a couple of weeks back there were a couple of spoilers datamined from the testing files that seem to point in one direction for the next chapter of Elder Scrolls Online. By chapter, of course, we mean the next Morrowind-tier expansion, not just the regular and ongoing DLC and updates. And let’s be honest, we have long suspected that we would eventually see the location mentioned in that article open up as an explorable; it was just as obvious as Morrowind itself. But it’s not the only possibility! There are other more interesting locations that could eventually be on the ZeniMax agenda, either this year or beyond.

As I speculate on the possibilities for the next chapters and what these locations have to offer, imagine what would be the most interesting story and offer the most potential for content. There is also the aspect of nostalgia and attachment to new players that have to be considered, too; after all, one of the reasons that the Morrowind chapter worked so well was because of its strong connection to Elder Scrolls III.

If we look at the map of ESO as it currently stands, thanks to the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages, we can see five major areas that have not been filled in yet. Those areas could probably be separated further, like the east and west banks of the Nibenay Bay. The Nibenay Basin and the Blackwood on the east side and Elsweyr on the west. But those are not the most likely areas to open up next. I’ve narrowed my picks down to three.

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Tamriel Infinium: Our 2017 report card for Elder Scrolls Online

All in all, 2017 has been a fabulous year for the Elder Scrolls Online, and although I have been light on talking about the game recently, I have jumped in regularly to explore Vvardenfell and Clockwork City. This year ESO saw its first expansion and dare I say its greatest addition to the game: Morrowind. But that shouldn’t diminish the other great stories in the Horns of the Reach and Clockwork City DLCs. Also, ESO introduced one of the best player housing systems I’ve ever seen with Homestead earlier this year. I really don’t know how ESO is going to top 2017.

Let’s pull apart the accomplishments of ESO this year into my standard for grading MMORPGs: The Bartle Taxonomy. MMORPGs are wonderful because of the breadth of different activities that players can participate in. They draw together many different kinds of players, and Bartle’s Taxonomy breaks these players into four different categories: Socializers, Achievers, Killers, and Explorers.

Most people will be a blend of two or more of these categories. I’m going to measure the merits of the game based each category individually using a scale you’ll often find in American schools: A, B, C, D, and F.

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Tamriel Infinium: First impressions of Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC

It’s hard to know where to start with these impressions because the upcoming DLC for Elder Scrolls Online is significantly more complex, more extensive, and more fun than I originally anticipated. Clockwork City has surprised me on multiple levels. Those who were fans of the Tribunal expansion for Elder Scrolls III will find nostalgia everywhere, and those who are new to this part of the lore will find a world that is similar yet very different from the rest of ESO.

Over the last couple of days, I have been spending my time on the public test server for Elder Scrolls Online where ZeniMax Online Studios has dropped its latest DLC: Clockwork City. This isn’t the first time we’ve been to the Clockwork City, but this DLC will be the first time that we are allowed to freely explore this creation of the god Sotha Sil.

There is no way that I am going to be able to sum up the hours of gameplay that Clockwork City has to offer in just a few hundred words, but let me hit on a few things that were the most important to me: aesthetics, storytelling, exploration, and gameplay.

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