still messing about with panoramas
Nirn has two moons which dominate the sky. The larger red moon is known as Masser and the smaller silver moon is known as Secunda. The moons are not celestial bodies as we would understand them, but rather they are the remains of Lorkhan and we perceive the results of his death. (I think I have that straight…)
any excuse for night sky screenshots:
I’ve been messing around with Hugin and trying to create some panoramic screenshots. I think I still need to finetune the process but it’s fun. As ever, click for full size images
As far as I can tell, Nirnroots only appeared in Oblivion and Skyrim (and will be present in The Elder Scrolls Online too). In both games the amount you collect is tracked under the achievements page, there are quests associated with them and they can be used for alchemy too. The Elder Scrolls is set on the planet of Nirn, and so this plant was named after the planet.
They are generally found near water and emit a chiming noise, they can also be found in npc houses as potted plants. The chiming sound is sort of nice but it does produce a strong Pavlovian response to immediately pick it that I haven’t managed to shake yet… So in that sense it is highly irritating I am not alone…
I think my obsession with collecting Nirnroots came from the Oblivion quest, where you had to collect 100 of them. It was a quest that I remember being really hard as they seemed to be so rare. I still grin when I find one as it feels like an achievement, though I guess it’s not as I’ve since found out that there are 306 in game, (so I’m not sure why I remember this being so rare in Oblivion) and they are plentiful (and regrow) in Skyrim.
Simply put they are ‘Tamriel’s mystical tomes of knowledge that told of its past, present, and future’. For a full definition, I’m just going to quote from the UESP :
[they] are scrolls of unknown origin and number which simultaneously archive both past and future events. The number of the Scrolls is unknown not because of their immense quantity, but because the number itself is unknowable, as the Scrolls “do not exist in countable form”. They are fragments of creation from outside time itself, and their use in divining prophecies is but a small part of their power. They simultaneously do not exist, yet always have existed.
In the series up until Morrowind, they were mainly used as a plot device (a source of prophecies) and did not physically appear in the games until Oblivion. In Oblivion the Elder Scrolls were stored in a chamber in the White Gold Tower (in Cyrodiil). The final quest of the Thieves Guild sends you to steal one of the Scrolls. After the heist, they attempt to do a stocktake, however the number and placement of the Elder Scrolls seems to fluctuate, which makes the task impossible. Finally in 175 (fourth era), the Elder Scrolls are scattered across Tamriel, it is not known how this occurred.
In Skyrim, three Elder Scrolls were discovered. The first Elder Scroll is found during the main questline (quest: Elder Knowledge). This scroll allows you to learn a new dragonshout which is needed to defeat Alduin. The other two Elder Scrolls were added for the Dawnguard DLC, the first is carried by a Vampire named Serana (met during the quest Awakening) and the second obtained from the Soul Cairn during the quest Beyond Death. Reading the scrolls points to the location of Auriel’s Bow, which is needed to defeat Lord Harkon (at the conclusion of Dawnguard’s main questline).
In the Elder Scrolls Online, they are housed in secure temples in Cyrodiil (PVP) and they give a bonus to the controlling faction. If one faction controls all Elder Scrolls, they can then be moved to any keep controlled by that faction. TESO has not yet been released, so the details of this may change.
(I nearly wished I hadn’t asked this question :P)
I’ve decided to start writing some short posts about the lore of the Elder Scrolls (with links for further information) as I’ve realised that in all this time, a lot of the lore hasn’t actually sunk in Seriously, I’ve been playing a Bosmer (wood elf) since 1996 and I only found out a few weeks ago they are carnivorous and cannibals… So I’ll be attempting to answer such questions as: What exactly is an Elder Scroll? Why does M’aiq the Liar keep popping up? Why did I grin when I found a Nirnroot in ESO? I’m keeping the entries short as there is already a wealth of information out there (particularly the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages), so hopefully these short introductory bites of lore will be interesting reading and helpful to you as well
(see also ESO: Lore Tidbits for New Players by Gaming Couples)
Why do I start as a prisoner?
Well the Elder Scrolls series is all about freedom, so it is a simple way of allowing you to choose who you are and what capabilities you possess (along with low skills and no money or gear). It also allows you to develop your own back story and your own rationale as to why your character has ended up in prison. (click for full screen and captions) See also comments below by Rakuno regarding Arena and tradition.
*in that shot in Daggerfall, I was shortly after killed by a bat (I don’t remember the controls being that bad!) and in Morrowind I had a close escape from some slaughterfish and a mudcrab :P
When I had initially heard that there was going to be an Elder Scrolls MMO, my initial reaction was ugh no! I always play a sneaky thief type and I love being on my own in these games, to the extent that I never used the companion in Skyrim and didn’t even want a co-op version to play with Dimzad (I would say ‘sorry Dimzad’ but he doesn’t read this anyway :P) I’ve always found the games very immersive so the thought of other people sharing my experience was absolutely terrible. However, the slow drip drip of information and the screenshots started to get me thinking about whether it would be fun to play with my friends and whether I could get over my reluctance to share the game world with others. I decided that I should at least give it a go and was lucky enough to get invited to the latest stress test. The highest level I managed was 8, and I’ve heard that the game opens up considerably once past level 15.
I highly recommend reading Isarii’s Comprehensive Review (Tamriel Foundry). It is a very thorough review and well worth reading, especially if you haven’t had a chance to get into beta OR haven’t got past the initial chain of starting areas (like me). Honestly, after reading that review I’m not sure what I can add… so I’ve just added some brief points about various aspects which really caught my attention.
I had a good first impression as I liked the character creation, I was very pleased to find out I was a prisoner and if you let yourself get caught up in the momentum of the escape story, the starting area is quite fun.
Generally I’ve liked the npc scripts and voiceovers, the quests feel organic and feel as though they have a proper purpose. My favourite quest has been one where instead of killing rats you use a magic wand to turn skeevers (rats basically) back into people. One of the quests involves you making a choice of which area to defend, the area I didn’t defend had heavy casualties, so my choice felt as though it had ‘real’ consequences.
I like the crafting system and that you can skill up all crafts on one character if you wish. It will probably best be split over 2 or 3 characters though as firstly in those early levels you will likely want to spend your skill points on combat skills on your ‘main’ rather than splurge them on crafting, secondly storage is going to be a real issue if you try to max *all* crafts at once (at least during the early levels). I like that you can craft with materials straight from your bank storage. The items you produce are useful – armour and weapons can be improved, enchanted, research bonuses added. I love the look of the female armour models, although please note, the below is a mish mash of low level armour.
It is absolutely gorgeous, with a great attention to detail. although the questlines are semi-linear, you can just go and off and explore (and like Skyrim, find places which are too dangerous at your current level). As you explore you will find other quests, there are chests to pick, crafting mats dotting the landscape, skyshards and points of interest to find.
I love that when players are reading books or looking at their maps, their character mirrors their activity (it was great seeing other players standing around rooting through their bags, holding a map etc). There are books to find which grant a skillup. I was very pleased to find my first Nirnroot too
I found using the keyboard for both movement and for firing off your skills very awkward at first (and am not yet proficient with it). However, I now have a gaming keypad (in time for the last stress test) and this has made things much easier. I have also found the lack of feedback in combat (no floaty numbers, no stream of combat text in window) both very immersive and at the same not very informative. I have heard that the community will be able to mod the UI and I believe this will include combat feedback. The skill system is pretty complicated, it can be reset (for a cost) if you want to change your setup later. There seems to be a lot of customisation both with skills and weapon/armour choice, I expect this will degenerate into ‘must-have’ optimal builds but hopefully the encounters won’t be designed for such and you will be able to maintain some individuality.
bah to not launching with housing. Did they not see the insane amount of housing mods for Skyrim?
I’m happy about this to be honest. It is going to be refreshing to pay monthly and then just be able to enjoy the full content of the game (ok well, barring the imperial race if you didn’t pre-order the collector’s edition). I know they are going to have a cash shop – I thought initially for services only (e.g. name change) but I think they may have expanded on that to fluff items. If it remains purely fluff, I would be sort of OK with that.
So after my time in beta, I ended up really enjoying it and have pre-ordered. It was initially quite strange seeing other players around but if you’re going to play the MMO version it’s just something you’ll have to get used to. The game also has an open tapping system which is great for helping out on the fly (and avoiding having to wait for repops :P). Although the game does not bring anything particularly revolutionary to the MMO genre, it does feel fresh and different to me, although I do tend to play the ‘older’ MMOs so that may be why. I’m not sure as yet how long it will hold my interest as that will strongly depend on the group pve content. As I don’t PVP, I’m glad that the pvp content is optional, although I have to say it does look interesting. However, I hope they bring a marketing push for the PVE endgame as if this game becomes PVP-centric (something I have never associated the Elder Scrolls franchise with), I won’t be playing long-term.
So in summary, it looks as if in the short term it’s going to be a fun MMO and naturally, as it’s new, I have some concerns over long term playability.
Whitefawn Retreat was the first place I saw in Vanguard, and I felt at home immediately. I loved the architecture, which grew more intricate as you travelled from Whitefawn Retreat, through to Shimmerlake Garrison and finally to Ca’ial Breal. Ca’ial Breal always reminded me of a rustic Lothlórien, multi-levelled with flets and the architecture blending seamlessly with forest outside. I still get lost there though. I got a further surprise when I continued through the crafting questline and found Tawar Galan, as it is the most beautiful wood-elf town by the sea. The elven areas look especially beautiful at night as their light sources glow softly and magically.
Zam Vanguard wiki has this to say about Ca’ial Breal
Deep in the forest surrounded on all sides by mountains live the elves of Kojan. Their city is built by magically altering the growth pattern of trees, and over the course of several decades, they have shaped them into living domiciles. Rivers meander through the base of the city providing a peaceful and serene surrounding that is sure to put the most troubled adventurer at ease. Giant stained glass windows are set into the larger guild halls in the centre of the city. Just up the road at Whitefawn Retreat is where players begin their adventure as a wood elf.
The screenshots below show details of the wood-elf design and a few wider shots.