Blaugust challenge

Belghast has come up with a summer challenge to blog every day during August.  I’m intending to do this – I think the heat may have got to me as August is possibly my busiest time of the year…

However I do need to get my blogging mojo back, I’m not sure what has happened this year but my post count is appalling.  So hopefully this challenge will be helpful.  There is a side challenge of being more personal, I may give that a whirl too.

There is further info on Belghast’s blog but the community and main info centre  is going to be over at Anook (a fab social gaming site) so everyone is encouraged to go and join there to make life easier for Belghast :)

anyone with me? :P


a soloing life for me?


So my MMO plans are currently up in the air.  Sort of.  We’ve been doing ESO group dungeons with our RL friends and have been levelling up rather slowly due to Dimzad’s work commitments.  Given that a lot of the systems are still yet to be introduced (c’mon thieves guild!) and others are still being appraised and revamped (VR levels, provisioning) it’s also quite handy.  However, our friends have decided to unsub from ESO and I think are returning to Lotro.  On top of that, I’m not sure if Dimzad is going to return.  He may, it is partly work and partly he’s wondering if he’s outgrown MMOs.

I still really like the game and want to play though.  So I will… I’ve found a new nice guild although they seem to be mainly Ebonheart Pact faction based which means a main char switch for me plus the possible nightmare of having 2 mains (VR content twice??).  Who do I do my achievements on?   I can’t let go that easily of my Bosmer nightblade! Or I could accept the fact that I’m not going to be grouping with my boyfriend / friends and just treat it as a solo MMO.


I suppose there is the possibility of returning to Lotro.  I do intend to solo through the U14 content.  However, it is literally just the IP pulling me back.  Lotro will not return to being my main MMO for two reasons:  firstly, they are not developing any new group or raid content.  Which completely takes away any point in investing in my character – she has nothing to strive for.   Secondly, Dimzad will not play the new style Runekeeper - it doesn’t in any way resemble the class he used to play.

Well it is nearly the 6 weeks school holidays as well, so as playtime will be drastically reduced, I think I’ll just carry on as I am (noodling with alts, maybe some pvp with my sorc) and see where we are when the days are shorter and cooler :)


Landmark: evolving builds

I’m not really much of a planner when it comes to building, I like things to evolve naturally.  I would probably be a far better builder if I did at least sketch out an idea first.   I thought though, it would be interesting to see the evolution of my building so far…  I ought to point out that I am just a run of the mill builder, no voxelmancy here I’m afraid ;)

very first attempt – got nowhere near finishing.


my second proper attempt with a rubbish but functional roof.  To start getting to grips with Landmark, I decided that I had to learn to walk before I could run and so I made a very sweet and square beachside house, complete with workshop and bbq area.


my third attempt – loved it, especially the garden, but from the side it sort of looked like a ferry… and I couldn’t take it seriously after that.  Here I started using some actual techniques (mainly curves for the rooves and windows)

img_20140523-22-21-21 img_20140523-22-20-38

Finally, my current build which has used elements from the previous build and includes some furniture using the micro voxel technique.  I still have absolutely no idea which style this belongs to – probably none…  However, it did start to remind me of the gorgeous architecture of Santorini so I added the octagonal domed folly to the top, some more aquamarine trim and some er floaty balls.  I love the colours of this though – cool white and aquamarine on the outside, warm yellow lighting and warm wood floors with white and aqua highlights on the inside.  It is still quite square though.


What’s next?  Well I shall probably keep tweaking this build (I have an icy basement which looks straight out to sea to work on) but as it is only 1 claim, I think I might put down a 2nd claim, choose a forested area and work on something maybe a little more elvish inspired.  (if you don’t see a post you’ll know it ended up like my ‘elvish designs’ in Minecraft – more gulag than rivendell :P )

If anyone would like to visit, search Eldae (the full title is Eldae’s Icy Retreat) on the showcase and port straight there.  It’s located on the North Coast, Timber, Understanding (EU).




Eydis the Wanderer

thoughts about age and quests

this is a bit of ramble I’m afraid ;)

I was questing away on my nord sorceror last night and I came across a quest that really made me think,  I was in kind of a reflective mood anyway. Anyway, I’ve been playing Eydis (my sorc) as Dimzad has been away and I don’t want my main (nightblade) to get out of sync with him.  While creating her, I decided to change it up and make her old.  I had a sudden realisation that on paper I am all for insisting upon options and fair representation, railing about the age disparities found in our media and the like, yet I continually create young female characters.  Fair enough, some games don’t give you that option but here I was faced with a character creator which gave me a multitude of options and what was I about to do?  create a young and attractive character yet again.  So on an impulse, I gave my Nord grey hair and pushed the age slider about 3/4 to the right.  I think she’s ended up being around the late 50s, though it is hard to gauge given the faux medieval setting.

Eydis the Wanderer
Eydis the Wanderer

It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I absolutely love her.  Although I don’t ever properly RP my characters, I do imbue them with likes and dislikes, imagine their motivations and where they fall in the D&D moral alignment grid (my personal default is chaotic good leaning towards chaotic neutral - this classification of morality has stuck with me for a long time now, I’m not sure where I first came across it- it was a single player pc RPG I think).

So I’d been imagining Eydis as an experienced and learned sorceror who has seen her fair share of battles and skirmishes.  As she was older and has presumably seen much needless death, I imagined that she would seek a peaceful resolution where she could but wouldn’t shy from doing what she needed to do.  So… I was kinda mulling this over while I was out questing and I was running through a save the village from a baddy type scenario.  It turned out that the leader of the baddies had been driven mad from grief over the loss of her two sons in war and was turning villagers into daedric slave things.  She was a priestess of Kyne, and from what I can gather Kyne is all about death and glory in battle.  So I felt rather sympathetic towards this woman and I imagined Eydis would too.  As it turned out, one of her sons had actually survived and I was given the option of either going straight to kill her or to go and talk to her son.  I chose to talk to her son.


After telling me what a failure he was and how much he hated being in the army, he then said the above….  Seriously?  I was absolutely going off on one in my head  and I figured Eydis would have had a lot to say to that too.  So I went back to stop her and sighed when I realised the only option I had was to fight and kill her.  However, he turned up towards the end of the fight, prayed to Kyne and promised to return to the war in exchange for Kyne restoring his mother.  So a happy ending after all.


well… not really if you think about it.  I’ve ended up sending a guy back to a war he’d really rather not be in and his mum will be back preaching the glory of war and sending more off to the war effort all the while worrying about her son.  I guess at least this way, they have a chance of surviving and finding peace at some point.

Obviously they are just npcs and so I’m not losing any sleep over it ;) but I do like the fact that whilst playing ESO I can mull over complicated ethical situations and unforeseen consequences :)


the sea is just beyond beautiful

Landmark: a basic build

I am very much distracted by Elder Scrolls Online right now, however I have been dipping into Landmark when I’m in the mood.  I’m quite pleased with my latest build, basic as it is.  I have had a few different claims which didn’t go so well, I think I just started too big and should have watched some of the many amazing tutorials out there.  So I restricted myself to 1 claim, basic materials (stone, wood, dirt, iron, plants mostly) and erm square-ish building :D

I really like it and I like that you can build something like this with very little talent (that’s me), time and materials.  The props (furniture items) are amazing though (as you would expect from the EQ team).

Next step is watching the previously mentioned tutorials (especially ones on rooves… and round things…)

I’m not sure what I’m going to make of the game once you have to go caving and digging for ore and the combat system is brought in.  The harvesting takes a fair amount of time as it is and the tool/station upgrades seem endless – that feeling will certainly be exacerbated.  It will be interesting to see how the game develops.

ESO statues

ESO: the beginnings

As the lack of posts may suggest I have been otherwise distracted ;) I found the launch (and early access) very smooth, I’ve only encountered a few bugged quests which just needed a relog.  It’s also making a nice change to play a MMO which runs very smoothly, although unsurprisingly it does get stuttery in high traffic areas.

nice to see so many of us made it out of coldharbour alive ;)
nice to see so many of us made it out of coldharbour alive ;)

I rolled a Bosmer Nightblade as my main and am absolutely loving it so far.  My preferred weapon is the bow (shocker I know!) and I’m splitting skills between the stamina-using bow skills (poison arrow with interrupt morph, scatter shot and arrow spray will morph to root) and magicka-using class skills (teleport strike and strife morphed to heal myself and others).    Ultimate is Soul Tether (aoe stun and single target dot).  I’m finding this OK as a good general setup, while I am trying out different skills and levelling up the various lines.  I’m using the restoration staff as a 2nd weapon at the moment – I’m not sure where I want to go with this, whether a support 2nd line or a secondary dps line – maybe both…

I am finding this a lot of fun.  It is very much like the single player games combat and for me, that is a very good thing.  I like being active, I like watching the fight instead of the UI and I like that we have a pool of skills to choose from so you can tailor and change your skill setup as needed.  (Skills can be swapped outside of combat only)

ESO quest text

I love the quests.  I love that your actions make an actual difference to the world (although see phasing section below) and that your choices make a difference (e.g. an npc may or may not be around for future questlines).  They are also a lot of fun and in some cases funny.  The quests revolve around stories that matter – i.e.  rescuing someone who has turned himself into a goblin and is about to get married to the chief goblin,  rescuing soldiers and using ayleid artefacts to burn an enemy forces’ ships, finding and using ayleid artefacts to make an Orrery work again…

Currently, this is a double-edged sword.  It is fantastic to see that your actions have made an actual difference to the world (e.g. ghosts which were aggro become passive once you have stopped whatever it was making them cross, or once you’ve stopped a town from being invaded the enemy soldiers disappear and are replaced with friendly forces).  However, it can make grouping difficult – if one group member completes an objective before you, they will be automatically moved to a different phase and if they have already completed that stage / quest, they cannot enter your phase to help.  I think they will need to work out a solution to this as well as fix the slight bugginess with groups and phasing in general.  Personally I’ve not had issues but friends have reported suddenly dropping into different phases whilst running along a road (for e.g.)

ESO statues
a ghost mage helps me with this quest

the crafting is pretty cool.  You can either dip into it and make some stuff in any or all crafts to keep you going as you level up or you can submerge yourself in it, research traits (which can take weeks) and craft yourself some of the best gear available…  It’s a very deep system.  This is a good overall guide.

inventory / bank
this is driving me nuts…  there is just not enough space if you’re crafting or ok… a hoarder….  I’ve just increased the bank vault space again and it’s feeling better so I’m hanging on until I have bank/bag space maxed and will see how I’m doing then.  I guess I haven’t been new in an MMO for a while :)

guild stores
you really need to be in a trading guild of 300+ members to see any benefit.  I wasn’t a fan of this idea if I’m honest although I am getting used to it.  While I agree that having an auction house across the whole mega-server may not be the best idea for the economy, I do wonder if being in up to 5 guilds with up to 500 people in each is the best solution.

ESO spirits
turned into a spirit thing to sneak past the ghosts

UI and add-ons
I’ve found the UI with no addons, perfectly workable and gloriously unobtrusive.  However, given the huge addon community associated with the Elder Scrolls series and the necessary limitations on modding with an MMO, I’m glad that the minimalist UI allows the modders to have fun.  The three main sites are Nexus, ESO UI and Curse.  The mods I’m using deserve a whole post, so I will write that shortly (I’m still finding mods I didn’t realise I couldn’t live without ;))

I’m a bit surprised by the hate and negativity coming from certain sections, I probably shouldn’t be I suppose.  It’s fun, it feels like the Elder Scrolls mashed with an MMO, it is different (as in the elements taken from both) and takes a little getting used to but I love the end result.  The graphics are gorgeous, the game runs well, the group/raid end-game zone they are adding (Craglorn) looks like it should be a lot of fun.  There are a few bugs and problems but it’s a new MMO and most of my kin has found it generally smooth.  They have fixed a lot of the biggest problems and they currently seem to be on top of the bot plague.   So yeah, just going to play and have fun :)


Lotro: New Chance Thomas song

A couple of weeks ago Syl tweeted a link to the new Lord of the Rings inspired song by Chance Thomas.  It’s a beautiful piece and the video shows screenshots from Lotro and Lothlórien inspired artwork.  I was absolutely stunned (happily so) to find out they’d included one of my screenshots of my hunter Eldaeriel.  Enjoy :)

(Eldaeriel appears around 1 min 32 sec)

eso prov

ESO Provisioner Excel Sheet

So I’ve started recording provisioner information on an Excel sheet as the sheer number of recipes and ingredients is driving me crazy…  It’s a work in progress as my main character is currently level 20.  If I know the recipe, I’ve added in the level and I’ve also added the improved / enriched recipes that I know.  I used the information found here as a starting point.

ESO provisioner (click to download Excel 2010 file)

eso provisioner
Screenshot of first 3 tiers of excel file, may be useful if printed.

I will update this at some point in the future.  Hope it’s useful :)

Stros M'Kai, Daggerfall faction starter area

[ESO] A skein of screenshots

For some unknown reason I was wondering what the collective noun of screenshots would be (if it existed)  I ended up stealing the collective noun for ducks (in flight) for semi-alliterative purposes.

a gaming diary


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