Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Friday, February 14, 2014

I stereotype -- it's faster

Gonna give all of you a chance to go ahead and yell at me now, so here's the tl;dr: I have ordered the physical Collector's Edition of Elder Scrolls Online. I will be playing ESO, I will be writing about ESO on this blog, and chances are damn good that I'm going to supplement my EVE player guides with ESO player guides.

Does that mean I'm going to stop playing EVE Online or stop writing about EVE? Absolutely not!

As a matter of fact, once I'm off the CSM in May, I plan in particular to get busy writing my long-promised definitive guides to small-/medium-gang PvP that I promised last year. I'd have been working on them more this past year but when I wrote that post, I completely underestimated the amount of my time CSM duties would take. So if anything, the number of EVE Online posts around here are only gonna increase.

But they're gonna be sitting side-by-side with ESO posts, some KSP posts, probably some World of Warships posts, and almost certainly not a few EVE Valkyrie posts (when the latter two games are released). And my personality isn't changing: I'll definitely be playing all these games with my normal take-no-prisoners, aggressive EVE player style. So have no fear on that score.

And who knows, if things go badly, Garth might weigh in on these other games as well.

In the meantime, I have to admit that I've been enjoying watching the sea change with regard to ESO. People who initially blasted ESO or teased me about being naive for buying into Bethesda's marketing are changing their positions. ESO is not the devil and I've been enjoying my time with the beta quite a bit. Perhaps this is my naivete with the rest of the MMO scene but I don't think so. ESO has a different feel to it than Rift or Guild Wars 2 had, for instance. It's a lot less passive and a fair bit harder, for one thing. ;-)

I even disagree with the accusations that the initial zones are linear. Sure they're linear... if you devote yourself to the main story path. That's been the case with every Elder Scrolls game back to Daggerfall. In ES games, you can follow the bread-crumbs of the main quest if you want and ignore what's going on in your peripheral vision. But you've always been able to have "vegetarian Thanksgiving" with ES games. You can skip the main course and gorge yourself on the side dishes and I'm happy to report I'm finding this is true for ESO as well. The game definitely rewards exploration and getting off the bread-crumb trail.

An example will suffice. Entering the first area, you're immediately surrounded by a flood of other players and thanks to the rewards given on the main quest line, pretty soon 95% of these players are all dressed in the same stuff. I immediately started looking in the direction the main quest wasn't. Before long, I was in completely deserted areas... but yet there were quest flags, things to explore, things to find, things to do. In about two hours, I was still in the level 1-5 area... but I was suited up in a full set of heavy armor unavailable on the main quest line, looking completely different from everyone else. And I'd mastered the game's lock-picking mechanic, which you aren't even introduced to on the main quest line. The chat channel started lighting up: "How did you do that?! How did you do that?!" Answer? I got off the freakin' road. ;-) And this choice in the early game made the later game easier and more fun, the same way it works in stand-alone ES games.

A lot of my questions about the game remain unanswered: how will the game play scale up, particularly in groups? Is the game going to use the same ol' same ol' "threat" mechanic? What is the PvP going to be like? How will PvP and PvE be integrated, if at all? How will control structures within the three alliances be set up? What is the social scene in the game going to be like? What will the community's vibe be? How will the player market work? How and where will micro-transactions be a factor? But there's lots of time to answer these questions. And in learning the answers, I might encounter things I don't like.

But those things -- and things I find I like -- will be worth writing about. Stay tuned!

21 comments:

  1. That actually sounds like fun and I'm looking forward to seeing your commentary on it. I might be tempted to give it a go. Meaningful explorarion, you say? That's what I signed up to EVE for a month after Apocrypha was released almost 5 years ago. It feels like I've been looking for it ever since.

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  2. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on ESO. I've long been a fan of the ES games, but I haven't been sure how I feel about trying to do that style as an MMO. One of my chief concerns has always been the excessive amount of modding that has been necessary to bring out the best these games have to offer (I cut my modding teeth on Daggerfall). As an MMO, modding won't be an option, so whatever game Bethesda comes up with, thats what you play; no custom adjustments, fixes, or tweaks. With the single player ES games, the community could take up the slack and polish things up a bit, but ESO won't have that luxury. Here's hoping the game can stand on its own, without the fan support their previous offerings have come to rely on!

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  3. Without breaking the NDA I can't say much but at the very least the interface will be moddable even if the gameplay isn't. I think Zenimax have made no secret of that part.

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  4. I played the ESO beta for 3 days and really enjoyed it, ending up with me purchasing the e-version of the limited edition copy. I am now reorganizing my manufacturing jobs to allow additional time to play ESO while keeping a toe in Eve.

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  5. can you make a second blog forthat "other stuff no one wants to read about" ?

    for example i realy like all the bot and rmt posts on the nosy gamer blog. i like those few posts even more then your blog, but i hate it if i have to check all his boring carebear activity posts to make sure i dont miss one of the good posts about bots and rmt.
    i mean no one wants to know how many lp he made with sisters of eve and that crap, people read his blog because of his analyses.

    and people read your blog because of your well written and thought eve related posts.

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    1. For the clueless, you'll notice that Ripard tags his posts. You'll be able to skip over the "other stuff no one wants to read about" by not reading it.

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    2. Yep. If you're completely uninterested in anything I have to say that is not EVE Online-related, the link you want is:

      http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/search/label/EVE%20Online

      That said, when I was playing Perpetuum Online or Global Agenda or Black Prophecy, I came at those games from an EVE player's perspective and often made comparisons back to EVE (though I usually tried to tag those posts EVE Online if so).

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  6. Look forward to your first Cyrodiil experience. There's something seriously badass about being chained up on to enemy keep walls ... or kicking a mage off of one :)

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  7. Well then I'll be reading your thoughts about another game I'm not playing...which is fine, I look forward to your exploration of the game. I tried a couple of the beta weekends, and it's not grabbing me. I don't think it's a bad game, and they've done a good job with the polish on it, however not all games are going to appeal to all players.

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  8. I enjoyed Skyrim. I started it a couple of times, my previous knowledge helping speed up retuning back to the same general point in the narrative. then I spoiled it for myself by searching online and learning how to earn massive gold by gaming the alchemy system with external knowledge of online ingredient databases. then I really spoiled it by combining alchemy and enchanting exploits to craft godly equipment (10000+ to every skill)

    so I was interested in TESO. a week or so ago they did a stress test (I guess) and I got a beta key, downloaded the 26GB client, and played through what I can only assume is the tutorial. I then logged out for the night and didn't rush back. I'll probably have a look again after its out of beta but for now I've returned to play the game that got me into online gaming 23 years ago. a MUD. www.shattered.org is still up and running and though not completely a ghost town there is only a couple of active coders. perhaps i'll start coding there instead of playing.

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  9. Not only have I not changed my stance on TESO, what I've seen recently actually actively disinterests me more. I guess someone that has never played a themepark MMO or was a fan of the Elder Scrolls might enjoy TESO. Once you realize how hollow the experience is I guess you'll understand

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    1. v0v It's certainly possible, and if it goes down that way, I'll say so.

      In the meantime, I'm really hungering for a game where I can get into a fight smaller than 200v200. EVE is no longer it.

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    2. The irony is that pvp has some unfortunate similarities with large Eve fleet fights.

      A large blob of people rally toward one of the limited available targets, at the urging of someone, and it then runs to the objective for 5 minutes as a huge pack, or a spread out convoy/river of 20 - 100 people. When you arrive at the objective, it's mostly a matter of not dying to large, AoE damage, and not getting too close. The overall outcome is about whomever reaches a comparative advantage on warm bodies, avoids running into massed AoE's, and out-resurrects their opponent. When an enemy comes into range, they get dogpiled and die within 3 seconds; no tactical combat is involved, just mash onto something that will apply damage quickly.

      Spending over a full day on Cyrodiil(despite *technical issues*) at lvl 16-18, I don't feel it comes off as particularly tactical, nor very strategic. At least, not within the Cyrodiil context.

      Small, even fights I'm sure are quite interesting, but the system doesn't reward that, so good luck getting it. Sound familiar?

      As for the game's linearity, your starry-eyed view about exploration and options is... just not what I see.

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    3. Again, it's absolutely possible that you're correct.

      But I wouldn't have judged EVE Online based on The Second Genesis.

      I think there's enough promise here that Bethesda/Zenimax will have something to build from and improve.

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  10. In got the skyrim collector's edition. It came with andragon, how could I say no?

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  11. I could only get the digital collector's edition. The physical boxes had sold out by the time I got interested in the game.

    I am very much looking forward to playing ESO, even if it only lasts six months before selling its soul and going F2P.

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  12. I can only hope that in the near future we have an example of a past CSM member , who is also a prolific blogger, who is more interested in other games more than Eve.

    Perhaps someone at CCP could learn from this situation, if it occurs.

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  13. I can't but help feel our host has seen the future and doesn't exactly feel it is that compelling.

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  14. Perhaps I'm not remembering something, but as I recall I told you GW2 was going to be a short and forgettable experience for you (+1 for those keeping score at home). I don't remember saying things that here about ESO. Do you have a link?

    Or are you referencing the post where I said you being interested in ESO due to that RvR video was odd given your EVE background? Still stand by that, as I don't think ESO PvP will be significantly different from GW2 WvW or WAR's end-game. Hopefully better-enough to be something fun to do between PvE, but it won't be DAoC RvR in terms of interest, depth, and game focus.

    We agree on the PvE, I think it's closer to that Elder Scrolls feel than people initially thought, especially those who never made it out of Cold Harbor (yes, media types will do a 'review' based on less than 30 minutes of gameplay).

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    1. I'll have to go back and look. It very well might have been TAGN that teased me about my naivete. If that's the case, I'll issue a correction both here and in my junk drawer post.

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  15. Jester, don't you want to try Dark Souls?:) It is as cold and harsh as EVE is!:)

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