July 2014

Traveling around the lovely landscape of Elder Scrolls Online, one is struck by the bewildering assortment of lootable sacks, barrels, crates, large crates, heavy sacks, sacks which are not so heavy but not that light either, wardrobes, nightstands, desks, bags, backpacks, more barrels and crates, samsonite carry-on luggage, smart designer handbags, and some more barrels just to even everything out somewhat.

You may think it would be prudent to ignore all of this and you would be wrong. very wrong indeed. More wrong than getting involved in a land war in the Middle East. For while the vast majority of lootable items are along the lines of onions and corn mash, every so often there is a flash of blue and you discover a copy of Orc Racial Library as I did yesterday which was a big boon to my blacksmithing and very excitable let me tell you.

It’s not a very big chore to open all of these containers. It’s even quite relaxing in a ‘mouse in a maze finding a piece of cheese to keep going and not go insane’ kind of way. The problem lies in what to do with all these food ingredients. Do you leave them to rot or do you loot them and eventually succumb to the awful travails of having to level provisioning?

It all started well and good – I had a few low level recipes that I had found in a train station wastepaper basket, and finding the ingredients was fairly easy. But now I’m in the position where I need to allocate valuable skill points into provisioning in order to progress any further. This has me in a quandary. With my bank space overflowing with Orc Eyes and rabbit nut-sacks, I’m unable to use all the higher level recipes that are cluttering up my inventory space. The food and drink that you make has some nice buffs, but you can purchase similar goods from most inns and have the added bonus of gazing with mottled drool at the local comely wench’s lovely heaving bosom into the bargain.

And skill points are valuable. Right now I have a skill point that I got for completing a quest which involved listening to some god-awful story narrated by a boring fruit-bat with no heaving bosom. There are a bunch of different uses I could put it to as well. There’s a juicy bow skill I can take, a very good block attack buff with my sword and shield, a much needed heavy armor buff, and a very cool blacksmithing skill that lets me research two traits at the same time. Or I can stick it in second level recipes and be able to cook a troll sandwich.

I’ve just realised that this is a fine example of a meaningful choice. And that’s one reason why I’m still playing this game.

Today was a big day for me in Elder Scrolls Online; I joined a guild and I ran my first dungeon, in that order. First the guild. It’s been a bit of a lonely experience so far in game, but up until now I had resisted the many abject expressions of sheer desperation in general chat advertising for people to join a guild. Mostly because they had the dreaded word ‘social’ in high proximity as some sort of badge of honor. Obviously nothing is more prone to sending me running for the hills. But today I saw a one-off advert in general chat for a rogue guild, promising nothing but tough love and possible in-house assassination. So I decided, what the heck – what’s the worse that can happen?

(Editor – A lot, and most of it bad, that’s what. But if you must persist with this I can see no other option but to tell you I told you so in the very near future.)

I got an invite and they were friendly without being fawning. The guild bank is jammed full of goodies, and there’s over 150 members spread over the three factions. Then I was wandering through one of the main towns when a quest caught my eye to run the first instance in the game, Spindleclutch. It’s for levels 12-15 and I was sitting at level 17 so I figured I’d be okay. I found the entrance where a few people were milling about. Someone invited me to a group and then I was in.

The group sucked, but, let me finish, they sucked in a nice way. They didn’t know what they were doing, and I sure as hell didn’t know what I was doing, and we died a lot, and we eventually called in some help from my guild, (not having a healer was somewhat of an oversight.) And then we made it through only dying a few more times and I got some sick loots and everyone was very happy and shook hands at the end promising to meet up next time we’re online.

Simply delightful. Too delightful, in fact. This is the point in the narrative where everything usually goes to shit. It didn’t though. What a marvelous MMO experience. It was like old times in Burning Crusade.

I capped it off with stumbling on a crafting station out in the wilderness that enables you to craft dungeon sets if you have the mats and knowledge. I had some of them so I crafted my very first blue set piece in ESO – a sword from the Night’s Silence set. All in all a very productive day in Elder Scrolls.