Issue time03:50:00 pm, by AKB   30325 views
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, UESP, Analysis

That's Three for Three

As I wait to be embarrassed by my previous prediction that the next Elder Scrolls game will be revealed on a very specific date, I'm going to raise the stakes on my previous guess by claiming I have successfully guessed what the three most recent Elder Scrolls games would be. How so? Through sheer good luck. About a year ago, I wrote a blog post talking about the troubled status of the spin off games of the series, how they could be lost to time if something wasn't done to preserve them. And as a final comment, I said that if the games had to be sold, sell them through GOG. And almost a year to the day, here is Battlespire and Redguard on GOG. Also Morrowind, but that has never stopped being available. So I successfully requested Battlespire and Redguard at such a time that I can slyly smirk and try to take credit for them coming back out, while they were certainly already working on re-releasing them.

But I'm going to take this one step further, and say that I also guessed that the next game would be Elder Scrolls: Legends. With our April Fools joke. You may notice that I state that this game would be available on iOS, and sure enough, Legends is set to be available on the iPad. The rest of the details remain hazy, and not much else has been said since the reveal, but I am going to say that the game will heavily feature the finer details of mudcrab reproduction at the very least. That could also mean that the April Fools jokes we release are being used by Bethesda for ideas, and that idea is simply terrifying.

So those aren't exactly the strongest justifications for claiming credit for predicting the next games, I know. But I am going to say that is odd enough to allow me to take some credit here. In fact, all of the credit. Good job, me.

Issue time04:32:00 am, by AKB   14278 views
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, UESP, Analysis

The Scrolls Reveal To Us The Date Still Unknown...

I feel like Bethesda has personally challenged us. Dave Humphrey, our owner, founder, and all around cool guy, mentioned that some developers at Zenimax jokingly said to him that they were worried we might be able to announce the game ahead of them, and what the game would be about. All we'd have to do is check to see what pages they visit on our site, and we'd be able to make a very educated guess. As it turns out, we just didn't think of trying to do that, although we definitely should set up a system for this, now that it's been pointed out to us by the developers that we should be able to do this. We'll see about getting a system that allows us to tell what the developers are looking up in advance, for the benefit of everyone.

I don't want access to this information so we can spoil the announcement, mind you. I want this information for the developer's sake. If we see that they're studiously looking up, say, information about relations between the Bosmer and Khajiit, then we can quietly make updating information relating to those topics a priority. It'd be a silent and sneaky way to help the dev team out. We'd also benefit of course, beyond the simple joy of being able to call it well in advance. We'd be able to improve areas of the site that will get more traffic, well in advance to the need. So the developers get better information, the players get a more complete resource on launch day, and we'd be rushing less during an announcement. Everyone's a winner!

So when is the next game coming out, then? To answer that, it's November 9th, 2017. My reasoning for that, after the break.

Full story »

Issue time11:37:00 pm, by minor edits   20737 views
Categories: Elder Scrolls, UESP

So, Jeancey tossed me the reins of the XB1 NA branch of the United Explorers of Scholarly Pursuits just before we got access to a Guild Bank. It took a while to unlock the bank because we're not actively recruiting; the only people who join are those who seek us out. Also, because we're spread out across the factions, members don't seem to interact much. So the primary motive to join has been to come see how good we look.

Until now. With the Guild Bank, we now have the ability to help each other out in a more fundamental way: resource sharing. This should be very helpful for crafters, grinders, leveling alts, etc. I'm going to be watching the transaction history like a hawk to make sure people keep their withdrawals reasonable. Since Officers (Savants and up) will have virtually all permissions to take actions as needed, I hope they will also help keep an eye on things occasionally.

Think of the Guild Bank as a resource above all, not an obligation to donate. But if you find yourself with an excessive amount of what-have-you, think of a small donation as an investment. Hopefully, in the future, the Guild Bank will be there to help you out when you need something.

I've eliminated the vacant Guild Merchant position; we now have Novice, Scholar, Professor, Savant, and Doyen. A "Professor", fundamentally, is a person who spreads knowledge, and spreading knowledge is what the UESP is all about. Anyway, I think it sounds cool, once you strip away all the real-world connotations. A "Doyen" sounds to me like some sort of medieval court jester, but I guess I'll keep it.

Everyone currently in the Guild is now a Scholar or higher. Scholars have broad privileges, including the ability to change the Message of the Day, in case they have something to shout out to guild members. They can also invite new members as they see fit.

For the time being, Novices will not be able to withdraw from the Guild Bank, but this is really just so someone has a chance to touch base and tell them the Golden Rule of the Guild Bank: take what you need, but need what you take. Promotion to Scholar will be pretty much standard. We'll see how this works out, and the approach might be revised later as needed.

Many thanks to Savant SCarverOrne for stocking up the Guild Bank with loads of ingredients and other things. I've been doing the same with food and drink. It's mostly (but not entirely) low-level stuff, to help any low-level characters get on their feet.

Finally, although is doesn't matter at the moment, I've changed up the guild's heraldry to make it similar to the PC EU heraldry, as I think it's more appropriate for a variety of reasons. But I may still tweak the color pattern, at least, to be more aesthetically pleasing. We'll see. And we'll also see whether we can get a half-way decent guild photo uploaded at some point...

Oh, yeah, VR 16 is confirmed to be added with Update 7, Rich Lambert is the new Creative Director, ES Legends sounds cool, the wiki continues to be developed by leaps and bounds, blah blah blah. ESO is sucking up almost all my spare time; there's no opportunity for me to sit down and analyze this stuff appropriately. I see that Faunter did more for the wiki in a day than I have in the last month, Contraptions has also been doing some great work recently. I hope I get some time to fill in a few more blanks on the wiki myself, but for now, I'll be trying to help out other players from within the game.

Issue time03:20:00 am, by Alarra   13622 views
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, Rants

The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a mobile strategy card game, was announced at E3 this year.  If you haven't seen the trailer yet, here you go.

 



As I said in my E3 post, I'm cautiously optimistic about it.  I'm open to the idea of an ES card game, though I know that there's a lot that they could do wrong with it, but since we haven't seen anything else about it yet, it's too early to judge.  Our page for it on the wiki is literally two sentences long because of the lack of information about it so far. 
And yet, most of the reactions I've seen online have been negative.  That trailer above has nearly 75% dislikes - all because of a barely minute-and-a-half long announcement clip that didn't reveal anything about the game itself.  

Here's some common complaints I've been hearing about it:

I was expecting an ES6 announcement!  This is lame!
It's a bit early to be expecting news of ES6, especially since they just revealed Fallout 4.  It'll be a year or two, possibly more, until we hear anything; there was a five-year gap between Oblivion and Skyrim, and a seven-year gap between Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 (New Vegas was developed by a different company).  Don't hate the game just because it's not what you expected.

They should be working on ES6 instead of this side game!
This game is being developed by a separate company, Dire Wolf Digital, not Bethesda - just like Dishonored or ESO, and it's apparently been in production for a couple years already, judging by a comment I saw from one of the artists who was involved.  Its production will not slow down ES6.

The art doesn't look like Elder Scrolls, just generic fantasy!
Now, disliking the art is definitely a valid viewpoint - but just remember that we've only seen about six pictures that may or may not be in the game, and that the gameplay might be fun even if the art isn't what you like. 

I don't mind it, myself; it reminds me of some of the concept art that we've already seen in other ES games, albeit more cartoony:

    


And remember, the art in each game and book changes to suit the atmosphere of the game.  Some have more of a cartoon style, some are more realistic.  Just because the art is different, doesn't make it bad!  ;)

 

Case in point.


Side games ruin the series!
I was surprised to realize recently, when counting all the side games, that there have actually been more side games than main-series games so far: Battlespire, Redguard, the three mobile games Stormhold, Dawnstar,  and Shadowkey, and ESO.  So far, the series has not been ruined - even when lore was drastically changed (for example, Khajiit were originally humans that legends said were descended from cats; Redguard turned them into literal cat people... although the main series has had its moments of retconning too - the Warp in the West, for instance).  All in all, the side games, so far, have merely provided extra lore and given us something extra and fun between main games.
Perhaps a more recent example to demonstrate this game's potential is not in Elder Scrolls, but in Fallout: the new mobile game Fallout Shelter so far has proved to be popular as a side game to the Fallout series, despite being an entirely different genre from the main series.  Elder Scrolls: Legends may be the same: a fun little side diversion.

In summary:
It's too early thus far to make any judgements about this game, especially negative ones, since we don't know anything about it.  So far, all that is certain besides the fact that it's a card game is that it's a bonus game that we weren't expecting, that it's not slowing down development of ES6, and that it's free to play - and none of these are reasons to hate it. 

I'm sure that opinions will change as we learn more, but until then, I think it's best to view it with neutral or even hopeful eyes until we truly know what the game is like.

Issue time03:40:00 am, by Alarra   16824 views
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, News, Fallout, Analysis

Like Damon, I spent the evening watching the Bethesda E3 Showcase and taking notes.  So here's a rundown of what they went through, and my impressions of them.  I haven't played anything but Elder Scrolls yet of all they revealed tonight (I plan to someday... too much ES to get through first!), so my heaviest focus will be on the ES part of it.  Damon gave some good summaries of the others, so I'll skim over more of those.

6:45 Pre-show: Discussing the screen that they're using for the presentation, talking to some fans waiting in line outside, speculating about Fallout 4.  While this was somewhat interesting, it did kind of drag on, and ended up running a few minutes late.

The first thing they showed in the actual presentation was a video montage of Bethesda's employees talking about what they try to do there, and clips of their various games.  Pete Hines walked on stage and welcomed everyone.

 

Doom

The first game they went over was Doom.  They showed about 10 minutes of gameplay, which went through increasingly big guns, explosions, and gore, culminating in the player character getting jumped and beaten to death with his own arm.   I never played the first one, and shooters aren't much my thing, so this one doesn't appeal as much to me.  I do like the idea of Snapmap though, which, as Damon said, is a tool to create your own multiplayer games, from the maps to the items to the rules.   After they introduced Snapmap, they showed some more gameplay, taking place in hell.  They gave a Spring 2016 release date for this; it will be available on XBox One, PS4, and PC.

 

Bethesda.net

Pete Hines talked about now Doom's Snapmap is an example of how Bethesda supports mods and is "pushing the boundaries of what is possible in games." Bethesda.net (prounounced by him as "BethesdaNet", without the dot) is a "new digital platform" supposed to "expand how users create and share that content" and be a "home for all things Bethesda".  He went on: "It will be used to power features like the Doom Snapmap you just saw, and it is already being used to support The Elder Scrolls Online across every platform for millions of players.  It will be at the heart of all of our games moving forward, and will also integrate our websites into one seamless experience."  He said that on Bethesda.net you will find forums, videos and articles, and access to new games and features.   As of my writing this, Bethesda.net does not appear to be an active site yet; going to it gives only a black page with the square Bethesda logo.

 

BattleCry

BattleCry is a new game developed by BattleCry Studios, a studio founded by Bethesda.  It is described as an "online action game with team-based combat"; they showed some clips while discussing it.   They announced that global beta signups are available at Battlecrythegame.com (you can also find more info about it in general there), and that if you sign up before June 18 you will receive priority beta access, as well as an in-game reward.  I like the classes for this one; it looks fun.  I've already signed up for the beta.

 

Dishonored 2

They played the trailer of Dishonored 2, which revealed a new protagonist, Emily.  This game will be for PC, Xbox One, and PS4; no other info on its release is available yet.  And as Damon mentioned, Dishonored: Definitive Edition will be released this fall.   I haven't played the original Dishonored, but I intend to at some point.  The trailer for the second game made me a lot more intrigued by it;  it can be seen here.

 

Elder Scrolls Online

They showed a video of what we can expect from ESO this year.   These include some of the DLC they've told us about and that we've been expecting for a while:

  • Imperial City:  We've got footage of Daedra patrolling wals, ruined buildings in one of the city's districts, firepot trebuchets being used, and cultists throwing books into a fire.   We see inside a building - the temple, I think - and see someone being tortured.  Lots of scenes of players fighting Daedra.    If you're interested in what's coming in the Imperial City, our own Enodoc made a post on the official ESO forums about what is known so far.
  • Orsinium: Lots of dramatic mountainous scenery and a large fort/city.  Looks like we'll see horkers, and there was a creature in the background that looked like a moose.  Caves with spiders and glowing mushrooms, and a fort with fireballs being thrown at it.  Large black birds swooping down and carrying people off.   And bear mounts!
  • The Dark Brotherhood "We Know" hand appeared at the end of the trailer, hinting that that's also forthcoming.

The full trailer can be seen here.  I'm looking forward to finally seeing this stuff make it into the game (and excited about the bear mounts).

 

The Elder Scrolls: Legends

This is a new digital strategy card game.  They didn't reveal too much about it, just showed a trailer that had art and a voiceover, mainly.  It will be free-to-play, and it will be for the PC and iPad, and it will arrive sometime in 2015.

This is one that I'm cautiously hopeful about.  A lot of people wonder whether it will be similar to Hearthstone.  I haven't played that myself.   The mobile card games I've played are Marvel: War of Heroes (found it difficult to get into) and Rage of Bahamut, which I've played quite a bit.  RoB at least makes it easy for new players to get into the game and gives good rewards in events, although it definitely has its downsides too.   I'm very curious as to what the format of ES: Legends will be.  We'll have to just wait and see; it's hard to judge it one way or another this early on.  Mainly I'm just eager to see the art on the cards - I like what I see in this video - and interested to see if we're introduced to any new lore.  

The trailer can be seen here.

 

 Fallout 4

I think Damon gave a better summary of this than I could, so I'll leave most of the descriptions to him.   I haven't played any Fallout (aside from an hour or so of Fallout 3 at a friend's once, but that really doesn't count), so when I was watching this, I thought of it in terms of  "have I seen anything like this" and "I wonder if ES6 could have anything like this". 

One of the things that stood out to me was the character creation (no sliders, just click on the face and sculpt), including the fact that they recorded around 200 common names (I once suggested something similar on the TES VI Wishlist Thread on our forum).  The mechanics of stripping down materials from different items and being able to build stuff with it is really cool.  I also liked the Pip Boy collector's edition item and app tie-in; and while yes, it is gimmicky, I find gimmicks like that pretty neat (they've got a minigame for Watch Dogs where an iPhone player can challenge a PC/console player to a minigame, and that was fun to play for a bit.  That's what this announcement reminded me a bit of.  There's so much potential for something like that.)

 

All in all, this presentation had a lot of good information, and some interesting surprises as well.  It looks like they've got a strong lineup for the next year.   I think this was a pretty successful E3 for Bethesda, and look forward to ones in future years (maybe with ES6!)