the elder scrolls online

Official Site: The Elder Scrolls Online
Studio: ZeniMax Online Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Launch Date: April 4, 2014
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: Buy-to-play on PC as of March 17, 2015
Platform: PC, Mac; Xbox One and PS4 as of June 9, 2015

Global Chat: Getting a handle on Legends of Aria

One of the great benefits of reading the wealth of MMO blogs out there is that you can touch base on a huge variety of games that you might not have time to play. Haven’t gotten around to checking in with the indie sandbox Legends of Aria? The blogosphere has you covered!

While Superior Realities thinks that there’s a “skeleton of a good game” in Aria, he wasn’t won over by the closed beta: “After about thirty minutes of dealing with bugs, spectacularly tedious and old school gameplay, and generally terrible design, I decided life was too short.”

Inventory Full felt that the game had featureless maps but probably deserved a longer look, and Levelcapped said that Aria is “so damn close to being an Ultima Online sequel that it’s both wonderful and blasphemous at the same time.”

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The Elder Scrolls Online encourages players to visit Orsinium with its August event

It’s currently Midyear Mayhem in The Elder Scrolls Online, an event running until August 6th encouraging you to go hog wild on PvP. But perhaps even that isn’t enough to convince you to get into PvP combat. So maybe you’ll be more enticed to return to Orsinium with a special promotional event starting on August 2nd; you can pick up the base DLC for 750 Crowns (75% off!) and the collector’s edition for 2000 Crowns (60% off!), along with thematic housing items to boot.

But what if you already own it? Oh, there’s still an event running; through the duration of the Orsinium event you get double the items from harvesting nodes, double the chest rewards in the Maelstrom Arena, and double the rewards from daily quests in the area. So go ahead and double down on some Orc-related adventures while your rewards double up.

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Perfect Ten: The best expansions for specific MMOs

Looking over the past two decades or so, MMORPGs have grown by leaps and bounds with regular releases, events, and (of course) expansion packs. Hundreds of expansions have now flooded the scene, with some of the longest-running titles seeing upwards of two dozen or more.

That got me thinking: Which expansion was the best? Not overall, I mean, but the best for each game that it serviced? Every MMO player harbors strong feelings about which was the best expansion for the titles they enjoy, and I have read many articles in which expansions were ranked, reviewed, and debated.

For this week’s Perfect Ten, we’ll be trying to put a finger on the best expansion for 10 specific MMOs. I’ve taken the additional step of polling the Massively OP staff to give me input on MMOs that they have played extensively over the years. So what’s the best? Let’s find out!

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The Daily Grind: Rank the top three housing MMOs ever made

WildStar. RIFT. EverQuest II.

If I had to choose three MMORPGs that contained the best housing systems and then rank them, that list up there is probably the titles and order in which I would arrange it. All three of these games have hugely robust systems that offer a lot of flexibility and personal creativity. Of course, that list is heavily weighted toward my experience and personal observation in games, so I’m much less familiar with other touted housing systems found in, say, Star Wars Galaxies or Elder Scrolls Online.

For fun, come up with your own ranked top three and explain in the comments why you picked those titles and ordered them the way you did!

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Elder Scrolls Online brings back the ‘Midyear Mayhem’ PvP event next week

ZeniMax is gearing up for a big PvP showdown in The Elder Scrolls Online next week with what it’s dubbed the Midyear Mayhem PvP Event. As it was last year, the idea to push players into the ongoing Cyrodiil battlefield from July 26th to August 6th with the promise of extra experience and sweet, sweet loot.

“To ensure you’re able to take the field, we are opening up two additional 7-day CP Alliance War campaigns during the event, and have additional ones ready to go if needed,” says ZeniMax. Players who tackle all of the seven event achieves will be picking up a laurel wreath headpiece, and everyone will see special “boon boxes” dropped and stuffed full with siege items, housing items, motif pages, consumables, reagents, and even Akaviri-themed goodies. Plus, legendary-quality rings and necklaces are available for purchase by PvP players too.

Incentive enough for you to go out and smash other players in the capital? Or are you just waiting patiently for Wolfhunter?

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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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Elder Scrolls Online’s Wolfhunter boasts a hunting grounds dungeon that’s fantastically creepy

The Elder Scrolls Online is really upping its creepy factor in Wolfhunter, if its latest preview of Hircine’s Hunting Grounds is any indication. (Seriously, the new pics of the monstrously huge and ghostly Hircine are nightmarish. In a good way.) ZeniMax has deep-dived one of the DLC’s “dungeons,” March of Sacrifices, in a new dev blog today, and “dungeon” is in quotes specifically because this is no typical underground delve. Instead, March of Sacrifices is basically an overland realm dedicated to Hircine. Players will be competing with other teams in the zone to topple both the creatures there as well as each other to win the daedra’s favor and collect the requisite loot. Five bosses are also on the agenda for a takedown.

“As Hircine is the Daedric Prince of hunters and stalkers in the wild, the biggest element players will want to get used to in this dungeon is using stealth and taking on the role of a hunter,” ESO Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan explains. “Some fights will require the use of mechanics not necessarily seen before. In particular, Tarcyr is quite different than anything we have done, and I suspect it will challenge players quite a bit.”

Wolfhunter was announced at E3 back in June and entered playtesting a little over a week ago.

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Global Chat: Looking back at World of Warcraft’s Legion

Now that the next World of Warcraft expansion is almost upon us, it’s time to say farewell to Legion and all that that entails. MMO blog Leo’s Life took some time for a retrospective that examines the highs, lows, and patch rollout over the past two years.

“Aside from the penalties to alts, I think Legion delivered an amazing package,” he said. “The timing of content release was good, the content was relatively bug-free, the lore was solid, the flows inside each zone worked… it was all rather seamless.”

We’ve got plenty of additional MMO essays for you after the break, covering topics such as player housing, grouping, events, ageless MMO thrills, and more!

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Battle Bards Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music

It’s a catch-all, catch-up episode for the Battle Bards as they dig through new soundtrack releases from MMORPGs that they’ve covered in the past! You may be prepared for an eclectic and enjoyable mix of music — but there is no way that you can steel yourself for the raw and heartfelt confessions that take place on this show.

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:

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The Elder Scrolls Online introduces the driven huntress, Hanu

We only get a small peek at the character of Hanu, one of the major NPCs in the upcoming Wolfhunter DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online. But what we see is immediately the essence of a power move with a young woman who asks how to visit Hircine’s Hunting Grounds while remaining alive, rather than spending a live devoted to the deity and being sent there as an eternal reward.

Of course, her reasons are less a matter of “it seemed neat to see if I could do this” and more “I intend to rescue the soul of my dead father,” so there’s a good reason for why she wants to do something that by all rights ought to be impossible. But it remains a power move and should give you an idea of the sort of woman you’re dealing with. Not that she’s likely to survive the experience on her own, of course; slipping into the Hunting Grounds via the next Great Hunt is not precisely a safe plan.

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Perfect Ten: Best MMO debuts by year, 2007-2017

Continuing from my previous column, I’m going to be running through the second decade of graphical MMORPG launches and picking the best title to debut in any given year. From doing the first decade, I know that this thought exercise isn’t always fair; some years have several great contenders, while others see one mediocre one rise due to a lack of competition.

Still, it’s kind of fun to look back at MMO history and to see which game was really the best of that year. And if you ever felt sore that a particular title got overlooked, well, consider this a retroactive awards ceremony of some sort.

Let’s dive right in where we left off with 2007!

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Wolfhunter DLC enters player testing as the free-play event begins

We’re barreling down a pretty short road toward Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC. As announced just a month ago at E3, Wolfhunter is indeed a werewolf-themed pack that features two dungeons alongside the goodies of update 19, including a semi-symmetrical battleground map called Istirus Outpost, keep recall stones in alliance PvP, an improved respec system, and better werewolf skills.

As of this week, the Wolfhunter DLC and the concomitant update 19 have landed on the public test server, meaning you can get in there and check everything out. Worth noting is that the champion point cap is lifting, there are indeed some class tweaks as promised, and there are two new houses coming:

Hunter’s Glade: An underground entrance way leads through a portal to an expansive forested glade in Hircine’s Oblivion realm of The Hunting Grounds. Those “blessed” with lycanthropy can maintain werewolf form indefinitely in this otherworldly wilderness.

Grand Psijic Villa: When Artaeum was “removed” from Tamriel, a few neighboring isles went with it, including the site of the Grand Psijic Villa, a monumental estate with magnificent views of the south coast of the main island.

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The Elder Scrolls Online is planning a freeplay event next week plus free lockboxes for subbers

Do you want to play The Elder Scrolls Online for free this weekend? Too bad. You can’t. But you can play next week! Yes, ZeniMax has announced that it’s running one of its infamous ESO Plus Bonus Events starting on Tuesday, July 10, and running through the following Monday. Existing subbers, there’s something in it for you too: If you log in during the hoopla, you’ll pick up six free lockboxes.

“To take part in the ESO Plus Bonus Event, log into the game with an active paid ESO Plus membership (the free trial does not count, sorry) each day from July 10 until July 15. Note that in order to qualify, each unique login must occur within a 24-hour time period that starts at 10:00AM EDT and ends at 10:00AM EDT the next day. If you remain logged in over a two-day period, it will only count as a single entry. You must log completely out of the game and back in – only logging out to the character select screen will not work. The free Crown Crates will be delivered to your account by Friday, July 20. Check your Crown Crates menu!”

If you take advantage of the free-play period, know that you’ll be able to check out basically all of the DLC and Morrowind (but not Summerset). You’re getting all of the perks associated with subbing with the exception of the monthly stipend, so that means the experience bonus, costume dyeing, double bank, and so on.

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