Monday, April 21, 2014

Mounts in Elder Scrolls

I'm a pet/mount aficionado in any game I play, so knew that ESO would likely be no different.  I purchased the Imperial Edition to get the free (technically 1 gold) mount at launch as I assumed I'd want/need to be mounted out the gate, like other MMOs.

Playing so far (level 27 is the highest), as I'm a gatherer, I spend less time on my mount than not, but I do like the extra bag slots I've gained with the Draft build of the Imperial horse. 

 The extra storage (I'm up to 110 with bag upgrades too), makes life much easier for longer questing/gathering sessions as I have an abundance of crafting toons and I don't pass up a crate/bag or crafting node!

At launch when I found out about the feeding element, I wasn't sure which way to go, speed, stamina or more storage, so finally settled on buying two mounts to start for the four class characters I'll be leveling. A speed (light) and a carrying (draft) horse.  The intent is the speed horse will be used in PvP or opening a map traveling when I know I'm not gathering/questing out in the world and the draft horse is the regular mount for the extra storage. 

With the Imperial mount, the cost was 1g for each mount, plus 10g for the extra stable slot.  Feeding is on a 20 hour timer, and costs 250g for either apples (speed), hay (stamina), oats (carrying capacity).  So, I'm paying 2000g a day to (250x2x4) to keep the horses fed for the four main characters I'm planning to level.  It takes 41 days (every 20 hours if you don't miss a day), to max out your horse skill points.

You can also rename your mount, although I don't think you ever see the name except when you visit the stable to feed them.  I used one name for all the speed horses (Dash) and one for all the carrying (Ringo), two of my real life horses, just to keep track of which is getting fed what.

There is a 'normal' mount that can be purchased for 17,200g while the other mounts in the game cost 42,700 gold and start with better base stats, so will have a slight edge IF you feed them up.  The extra run speed on the Light Horse will be handy in PvP, and I'll likely buy one closer to max level for that purpose. But I couldn't see being mount-less during the leveling time.  So the set up I have works fine for me, even if it may short me a tad later on.

Here are some pics of the changes at level 20 compared to the base horse.

Level 1 Imperial Horse

Level 20 Imperial Horse (Light/speed) 36% run speed

Level 20 Imperial Horse (Draft/carrying capacity) 20 extra bag slots

This does confuse me, as I'm not sure if my horses are getting bigger or they have their size adjusted to the different races.  The High Elf I'm playing in these pics is on the smallest setting, and the Wood Elf next to me, well his mount is substantially shorter and smaller!

Tamriel Journal has a wonderful overview of the mount system in ESO that goes into great detail how the mounts work and the variety of the ones available ingame.

The only two things I do have issue with in ESO, as a real life horse owner, one if I had a horse with back legs like that, it would likely be unable to walk let alone run from being crippled. Two, whichever researcher worked on this, 99.9% of the time you mount a horse from the left side, not the right!  Small detail!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Elder Scrolls Online - ESO

ESO (Elder Scrolls Online) has been live a little over two weeks.  Yes it has some bugs, lag and unexpected server downtime, but overall, it's been a fairly good launch.  The Imperial (Digital Imperial Edition) gave five days headstart, which was still busy, but worthwhile to save names, characters set up, etc., but not necessarily a gamebreak either.

ESO has been a game that has grown on me over the past six months as the first beta I was in, I thought it was horrible and uninstalled it the first day.  I had it firmly crossed off my play list until a friend talked me into trying it back in early March.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't still 'horrible', so really kicked the tires by trying all the start zones, class/race combos, etc.  After that I decided to go ahead and buy the Imperial Edition, but still was at the, 'I'll play it for 30 days, but it's not worth a sub' thought.  Right now, I think I'll likely sub, but it's going to be month to month for now.  I'm not sure how much of a die-off we'll see once that first 30 days of free time is over, but as with most MMO's it's pretty repetative as you level, fun but not OMG this is innovative and oh so different.

Personally, I find it entertaining, not the best game ever, but definitely holding my interest and it's different enough from my main games (WoW, The Secret World and Planetside 2), to have a slot in the gaming lineup for awhile at least!

I will say, going into ESO, I had little to know information regarding the game mechanics, style of play, etc.,  as I was sure I wasn't going to play until less than a month ago.  Much of the lore I'm somewhat familiar with from their other titles (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim), but the combat, all the hidden caves, public dungeons, chests has been rather novel for an MMO.  I have since did more 'research', but have avoided as many spoilers as possible (other than skyshards, once I'm ready to leave a zone, well I want my skill points!), and have been happily leveling and likely distributing my points incorrectly to a min/max type, but I'm having fun!

While researching/absorbing info on ESO, there is a myriad of opinions from reviewers; some I do agree with and others totally disagreed. 

I've a mixed view on that.  I do like it, and the choices you have to make on which abilities to invest points in and which make it to our action bar, but I'd like to be able to store builds, (like The Secret World has) without using an addon. So if I want to switch from a bow/2hander to a dual wield/resto staff I can without, stopping on the side of the road and changing every ability/weapon.  The actual combat, I think is fine, but then again combat mechanics, animations don't bother me alot in games anyway.  I've mostly tried bow, staves, two-hander and dual wield. The sword and board toon is the last to get leveled.

I do like that there isn't an over-abundance of spell effects, some games you can't see what you're hitting because of them.  Keeping your reticule on target while fighting does take some getting use to for those use to tab target fighting, but I find it much easier in some ways switching targets for multiple mobs.

Trade and no AH
Many people complain about the lack of global auction house (AH).  I don't see that as a downside to the game.  You can be in up to five guilds (trading associations), and if you choose large active ones, listed goods sell within 24-48 hours.  Is that the same as having unlimited potential clients no, and as the game a matures I'm sure some of the Trade Guilds will be better known for their higher end goods.  There is also the more interaction in chat with people hawking their wares (would love a separate trade channel for that at times!)
What I do love is the listings last 30 days! No more babysitting the AH (insert happy dance) every 24-48 hours.  The downside, you can only have 30 listings per trade guild.