By far, the Elder Scrolls Online launch was one of the smoothest game launch experiences I’ve ever been involved with, with very little downtime for the bulk of players joining us on 4/4. There was an unplanned, long maintenance that affected some of us early access folks, but it wasn’t too bad and it now runs very smoothly! One tip I’ll give a new player though: choose names early if you want them as a one-named character, but if not a second name will distinctify it from the one that is taken. At launch I created 3 characters in different alliances, for different intended playstyles and to secure certain names. I did learn a few things during Beta, but wanted to apply them a bit differently…
Back from my (soulless!) island vacation!
Once done with the initial starting quests and escaping to Tamriel, all sorts of quests began to open up. I have mostly ignored most quests except some of the main quest and starting w/Mages Guild & the Undaunted, because I’ve done them up to level 6-10 2-3x in this starting area. However, I didn’t prioritize creating different characters just because I wanted to try out different class, race & playstyle combinations. My characters all do something differently, and put their points into different skills accordingly; they also can support one another, and the Bank lets you store items for them in a common pool (NOT tied to each character). I decided my first character is going to master Alchemy and Enchanting, and the second is going to put all points towards skills that will make me more helpful in PvE and PvP groups. Now I have a character that can send all of my other characters healing and other potions good for the first fifteen levels or so, and am making some gold!
I love the graphics, and cities like Ebonheart have great lighting and attention to detail. Did I see just one instance of something like near-naked avatar alternately lying on the ground and then offering to fist fight? Yes I did! Anything worth putting in a Report through ESO? Not really, although I turned off zone chat for about 10 hours of play because of gold-sellers constantly posting in caps and bumping posts. That issue looks to have been eliminated. One thing I like about being guildless and solo in a new MMO: Everything I build, I own, and the game does not make it that easy for you to make gold on your own. I’m not selling any potions to players, although I will be soon. I like it tough like that!
Slow Leveling, Gathering, Crafting & Exploring
Instead of rushing through character development as I did in the Beta, I wanted to truly enjoy and optimize the ability systems put in place. These are tips to make a player more efficient at certain things; if you need lots of endgame, dungeon or PvP info I’m not there yet! I decided that I’m going to master Alchemy and Enchanting, and realized like many pretty early on that while a dealer of a craft will sell some finished product, they won’t sell you crafting materials—which you’ll need to level your crafting skills. One great thing about focusing on crafting is that you wind up with a lot of exploration experience, and that plus the occasional fight you can’t avoid all help to level you at a decent rate anyhow. A few tips on faster leveling, gathering and exploring.
For Alchemy, some key things to remember are: certain areas, just like in real life, are better for growing things. Some areas have different Waters you can gather, but I make sure to open a lot of barrels and baskets anyhow! I tend to run through long areas of the map, so that if I loop back things have already started to respawn in some areas. If something spawned in an area, it’ll tend to respawn right around there as well. I gathered so many herbs though, my first biggest problem was Water. That’s when I took my 2nd character through the initial starter quests, because you get about 40+ of them if you’re a good gatherer 🙂 After banking those waters for my main I logged onto him and crafted a bunch; in a couple of days playtime I’m at almost 20 Alchemy and have a focused spread of points in some of the perks for it.
Whatever craft(s) you may decide to focus on, remember that the Keen Eye perk is great—especially if you have good Stamina regen—because if you can run around really fast, and spot your crafting material nodes when they pop/sprout/spawn you’ll get the materials to level that craft fast! In the case of Enchanting, the materials are still a bit scarce but not as much as in the beta; I have a point put into Keen Eye and will buy another soon. Also, it appeared that while a spot might be generally consistent for a spawn, the type of glyph it spawned was not…and that was a good thing. Diversity of combinations means that learning Enchanting faster! Two of the biggest things I can point out to a player that likes to craft and explore for a bit before grouping, sieges and the like are: find an area that you can roam and survive in, while gathering the materials you need. If you are working on two crafts you’ll find more applicable materials, but don’t overlook gathering everything that’s easy for you to do so as it is all worth some money. I found that the NPC dealers have good products, but expensive; in addition, I got some drops from monsters or chests. I soon got my skills with cloth and wood up a little but, crafted with some of these other materials, and had a full armor set…that I then <bam> fully enchanted! Pretty expensive if I had quested a lot and took the gold rewards and stuff to buy it all…These things made me a lot more survivable in the field, but I still won’t take on more than one opponent more than 5 levels above me (not too shabby for a Level 6 with 4-5 points in my crafting skill lines!).
Some pearls for Man and Mer
Don’t stand in stupid, or fire. Double-tap to roll away from special effects in combat that light up the ground, or use the block buttons on the mouse when the game U.I. mentions that you can do that, you know. Some effects have to have LOS, or Line of Sight to hit you and some go around corners like Scamp fireballs for instance. Use the environment for a respite, but don’t be afraid to run. Not ONE single enemy has followed me into swimming-depth water; you’ll be waiting a while if you have a familiar out though and don’t cancel it before you hit the waves. Join all guilds. Try out different weapons, even to just know what the special abilities are. Try to guess your own playstyle, even though this will change over time. It helps if you’ve played the other games in the series but if not no bother. Rather, think of it as an open world with many, many questing areas and ways of adventuring or improving your character. Plan for your overall playstyle from the beginning; ask yourself how YOU’D spend time in a fantasy realm…because if you’re reading this, you are!