Money in ESO

  04:28:00 pm, by Jeancey   , 418 words  
Viewed 14500 times since 04/08/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls

One of the greatest aspects of ESO in comparison to other MMOs, for me, is the economy. It reminds me of old school World of Warcraft, in that having and getting gold is a big deal. For the average player in ESO, getting a Motif book is important for two reasons: One, they are rare so crafters always are looking for more racial styles, and two, Motif books are selling for a large amount. The average price of a Motif book right now is around 1,000 gold, either in zone chat or in one of the several trading organizations that have sprung up (another genius development of the economy that I will expand on later).

Now, 1,000 gold may not seem like a lot to those familiar with other MMOs. In terms of World of Warcraft, for instance, 1,000 gold in ESO is the equivalent of 10 silver in WoW, which is practically nothing. However, in ESO, due to the scarcity of gold and lack of high selling items, 1,000 gold could be 10% of a player's total savings. 10% is a lot to add or subtract from ones stores. Beyond this, there are several things that cost a large amount of money, such as constant use of the wayshrines or buying a horse. In any case, I love the scarcity of currency in ESO.

Now more on the Trading Guilds. This is where the genius of ZeniMax becomes apparent. By not putting a global auction house into the game, and by allowing players to join multiple guilds, ZeniMax has put the power of the economy in various powerful Trading Guilds. These guilds allow anyone to join, and are there for the sole purpose to allow its members to buy and sell items in the guild store. This, in many ways, makes it a much more realistic microcosm of an economy, as you can only trade with a small number of players, but the economy overall stays stable, as players can join multiple trading guilds, and players can trade outside of those guilds as well, via zone chat.

In any case, I'll end with a suggestion on how to make money: Provisioning. Specifically, crafting food items. The materials themselves are everywhere and a stack of 100 sells for 400 gold, which is relatively easy if you pick up one or two of the Chef passives. In this way, you can get several thousand gold in a few days, which could be the difference between getting that last Motif, or having to continue crafting that awful Bosmer gear.

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A Wiki In The Age Of Reddit

  01:12:00 pm, by   , 568 words  
Viewed 3539 times since 04/08/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls, Misc, UESP

I originally penned this post back in September of 2013 and left it as a draft. It's interesting that I saw the same things then that Damon sees now. It makes me wish I had posted it back then rather than wait until now.

UESP is the best Wiki in the world when it comes to The Elder Scrolls games. How do I know this? When Dave (owner and founder of UESP) went to the Beer Garden festival and spoke to the creators of The Elder Scrolls Online, they told him they used UESP as a source. That’s right. When they couldn’t remember something, or needed information, one of the places they turned to was the UESP Wiki! Besides that being crazy cool, it is also telling of how well put together this Wiki is. Major props to everyone who has worked on the Wiki. Phenomenal work.

So where do we go from here? The world is changing, evolving, getting faster and more connected. Gone are the days when established sites were first to get the scoops, releasing them on a time table. Instead, rumors and news swirl around at a hundred miles an hour on sites like Reddit. Creators are actively engaging their supporters directly through Twitter. Projects that would never have seen the light of day are now getting fully funded through crowd-sourcing their capital at sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The world is getting smaller and more interactive at a blistering pace. Can a Wiki keep up? Is it still the best way to relay information to the masses demanding it? Are cold hard facts enough for a generation who has grown up questioning whether there is such a thing as truth? I don’t know.

When UESP started back in 1995 as The Unofficial Daggerfall FAQ, the web was just getting started. Sites were popping up left and right. They were written in HTML and maybe AJAX. They didn’t change very often, and most weren’t open to public commentary, let alone public editing. When the format of the UESP changed to a Wiki in 2005 (ten years later) it was a huge leap forward. It opened the floodgates for anyone with information to create, edit and improve the information held in the site. It has worked well thus far, and is still effective in being able to deliver its content to its audience, but what of the future?

We are two short years away from the twenty year anniversary of the UESP as a whole, and the ten year anniversary of it as a Wiki. As with anything, if a site stays unchanging it can easily become outdated and irrelevant to the world around it. Don’t get me wrong. I love the UESP and use it exclusively for my Elder Scrolls games information. My question to you, as a userbase, as co-creators of this site, is what should the UESP look like in the future? Is the Wiki format powerful enough and engaging enough for the generation that are just now getting online, or playing their first Elder Scrolls game? Will UESP change? Should it change? And if so, how? These are all questions that need to be asked, thought about, and answered. I want UESP to be around for my kids and grandkids to enjoy, and I want it to be a place that they would enjoy coming to.

The question remains, and needs to be answered.

ESO - Where do we go from here?

  09:48:00 pm, by Damon   , 711 words  
Viewed 5473 times since 04/04/14
Categories: UESP

This musing of me was brought about by an IRC discussion going on earlier this evening.

The Elder Scrolls Online has been up for playing for the last many days now, because of the early release, and UESP has seen very few new users in response to ESO so far. I remember the deluge that came with Skyrim like it was only a few days ago, and not two years ago. Traffic was crazy to the site, and there was furious editing from many new users and anonymous editors, but with ESO, it's very quiet still.

There are a handful of new users around, including some of our forum users who have popped over to do wiki work as well, but the edits to the site are fairly few from new users in general. We have a handful of editors who are working tirelessly to create pages, but with that much work being done, which used to be handled by bot, they simply can't focus on filling in articles themselves in addition to playing.

Part of the reason for the slower traffic from new users could simply be from the amount of websites that have sprung up in response to ESO. I can think of a half-dozen new sites off the top of my head that sprung up just in response to ESO, not to mention the Elder Scrolls Wikia on the Wikia network, which has always been serious competition against UESP, simply because of its connection to the wiki network. When Skyrim released, there were two big sites to focus on for adding information to. UESP and TESWikia. Now, that's simply no longer true, and that means that for UESP there are less users available to the user pool, as they are spread out thiner.

While I believe that UESP is the best source for all things related to The Elder Scrolls, the competition is stiff. For instance, several sites also have a beautiful interactive map that is simply and intuitive to use and navigate. It lacks some features, like the labelling of locations that we have, and I don't know how editable they are (frankly, I don't know how easy to edit user-editable map is either, having not used it), but the point is, features that we once prided ourselves as being the only ones to posses, are no longer truly uniquely ours, and a search for "ESO Online map" doesn't put us on the first page of Google. There's competition out there, and while UESP carries all of the big features and traits to some degree, to completely discount a competitor as being a true threat to UESP's ability to dominate the field when there are so many resources available would be a mistake.

On to new users, it's ignorant to assume that all people coming into ESO are Elder Scrolls fans to begin with, and are not just here because of the fact that ESO is an MMO would be ignorant. Word of mouth can work with the Elder Scrolls fans who are passionate about the series and have been around for years, because we've catered to those people, but ESO is new territory. MMO users are going to be looking for a place to dump information about ESO, and UESP isn't necessarily at the top of Google anymore when you search for ESO related things.

TESWiki, for instance, gets higher hits because it's part of the Wikia network, and the simple fact that all these people familiar with MMOs contribute to MMO wikis on Wikia (because Wikia has all the bigger MMO wikis). That means TESWiki immediately has an advantage over us, because of the ease of just jumping from one wiki to another on Wikia.

My question that all of this musing is leading up to is this: How does UESP need to change to make ourselves better than the competition in the MMO world?

This is new territory for all TES sites, so we're all on roughly equal footing with ESO in my opinion, and we need to be above the others, just like with all the other games in the series, which we've managed to dominate in terms of online coverage.

Change, whether major or subtle, needs to happen for UESP to remain a serious competitor in the world of MMOs.

ESO: The Good and the Bad

  12:36:00 am, by   , 1138 words  
Viewed 9084 times since 04/02/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls

Hey there! I'm Vely, new to the blog. First post here.

Anyway, the past number of posts have been rather negative, criticizing The Elder Scrolls as a whole and especially Elder Scrolls Online. While ESO certainly has its issues--bugs, perhaps, being some of the least among them--it's also an Elder Scrolls game and doubtless to have a number of memorable experiences in it.

When I played in beta, I kept going for the Ebonheart Pact. Morrowind, after all, has remained my favorite game in the series since I first picked it up in 2004. The first day, I was excited. Really excited. I was returning to Morrowind and even Skyrim, the same world with all new content. I was amazed. I wandered in wonder. I played all day and did whatever I could do. There were issues, like no loot and people everywhere, but that's beta, when everyone is at the same point as you.

Second day, the novelty sort of wore off. Twenty people in the same dungeon? It felt unrealistic, like everything I'd loved about the previous TES games wasn't there anymore. People populating the world was wonderful, but everyone doing the same, ever-so-important quests and dungeons at the same time felt broken. I didn't like it.

Next beta test, I picked EP again. I got to Morrowind and... well, all the quests were dull. I had to collect and retrieve things. Light fires. Kill x amount of beasts or NPCs. Act as messenger. The same monotonous activities one can find in any other MMO. Not to mention the Prophet's quests. Going through them once was enough. Twice? Without skipping his long rants? No thanks. I tried Aldmeri Dominion for a short while, but got bored after going to the beach to save crash survivors or something. It all felt repetitive.

Now, with early access, I've joined Aldmeri Dominion again. I skipped the tutorial--thank god for that option!--and moved onto the main quests. I skipped the two side quests--beach and temple--and followed Razum-dar to Mistral. Not before picking up a quest to innovatively save a plantation from a rat infestation via pitting thunderbugs against the rats, of course. Or following a spirit's instructions to gather and destroy evil tomes, a supposedly simple gather quest that was actually rather complex, also pulling in fun lore tidbits and a daedra prince at the same time.

And, of course, at Mistral, I ran into a nonviolent city quest. Very easy, but very interesting, as it really helped to explain what was going on with the area, and it was just as fun to play as it is to read an intriguing story. The following quest is a bit more generic, considering it's really just "move from point A to point B, and also kill/activate stuff", but it had its own story.

Quests in Ebonheart Pact were boring and repetitive. Quests in Aldmeri Dominion do things right: They give you a fun story, lovable characters, and a touch of humor to transform typical quests into something that feels new. That is an artist's touch. That is what makes a game shine.

Talking about the characters, the NPCs look awesome. Maybe not top graphics, but they're designed to be much more aesthetically pleasing than in previous games, and I am a fan. And, while so many of them just have simple one-liners, as is necessary for population in an MMO, they all have unque lines. Every single one of them. And if they don't? Excellent job of making that unnoticeable.

Their personalities, for those who speak more, are wonderful. The Silvenar and Harrani are kind, worried people, and I can't help but want to talk to them more. Razum-dar is intriguing and mysterious, also bringing a wonderful element of humor to the game from the very first conversation. Ealcil's a bit rude, per typical sorcerors, but he's also great to have around, with the lines he has. (Not to mention his face and voice actor. They really outdid themselves, making Altmer so attractive in this game!)

Even those whom I don't meet for more than a few minutes are awesome. Joining the Mages Guild, for example, led to a nice conversation with a cool guy. I haven't returned yet, but I just remember that I liked him. Since when was something so basic as joining a guild interesting?

Onto another topic: Crafting. It's fun. Simple, but fun. Unfortunately, there's a bit of a grind for everything except provisioning, but I really do like it. It's a fairly new way to craft objects in games, and the gathering nodes function the same as they have in previous games--don't need to fix it if it's not broken. Not that the grind is particularly bad, either, as I can still make items way past my current level.

Gear, on the other hand, is a bit less fun. I haven't found any out in the wild, except maybe a sword. Quests can take a while to complete, but I don't always want the item rewards. I can craft stuff, sure, but it's not very fun. However, with the diverse armors there are already, I expect I'll find something I really enjoy before long.

But for positive things, we need to mention those that are more obvious. The UI, which is smooth and, while slightly confusing, relatively comfortable. The scenery, which is downright gorgeous in areas and never ugly. The vast amount of space and content, too: Mistral feels huge and lively when I'm wandering about doing quests, and it's just a single town!

And those issues I had in beta earlier? With too many people in areas? Well, it still feels strange to not be the only one poking around in a tomb or doing something important, or to see an important enemy NPC die multiple times, but it happens way less often now. What really makes the MMO work is cities and wilderness, though. The cities are populated. I don't know who's an NPC and who's not, at a glance, and that's more than okay with me. In the wilderness, there's a few travelers, players and NPCs alike. Just enough to populate the area a little bit, but few enough to make it feel like you're truly going your own way and not just following the flow.

Overall, I am satisfied with ESO for the moment. It's fun, and I love the quests, characters, and areas. I'm not even a lore guy and I'm fascinated by all this lore I'm finding! I have high hopes for ESO right now, and I'm optimistic that it will remain entertaining. Whether it can last for long enough to keep me for another month, and whether all the content is as interesting and innovative as I'm finding it to be, remains to be seen.

I just hope it is.

Peter Hines on the ESO Subscription

  09:24:00 pm, by   , 260 words  
Viewed 3139 times since 04/01/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls, News

Bethesda's Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Peter Hines, made some comments earlier regarding Elder Scrolls Online, which, if you're looking to buy, will cost you roughly $55-$145 USD depending on where and what edition you purchase. See here.

I thought some comments related to the monthly $15 subscription fee required to keep playing the game after 30 days were remarkable. But I've done enough remarking lately. So I'll just leave it to Hines and let you fill in the gaps:

"If you don’t like the game, of course you’re not subscribing to it [...] You get the game, you get your first month ..."

"[If] for example, you love Skyrim, you played it for 125 hours, but after three or four weeks you were done, then you can do the exact same thing in Elder Scrolls Online."

"You can buy it, play the hell out of it for four weeks and go ‘Eh! I’m done. I did everything I wanted to do [...] now I’m out.’ Then you’re out."

"The initial purchase is exactly the same as any other PC game because you don’t have to pay for the subscription until your 30 days is up."

“If there are ten million subscribers after a month, then [I don't have to worry]. If I have just ten people playing the game, then that’s a different scenario and we’d have to do something [...] In between there are literally a billion different possibilities [...]"

"I don’t see us learning something that’s like ‘we never saw THAT coming!' We do so much testing. But I don’t know. I think it’s TBD.”