Progress Report: A Holiday Helping

Another week ended and another month through the year that leaves you wondering where the time goes. Back at work, well partially after the holiday but one day at work was enough to make the migraines and such get a lot worse so another couple days off and back to work again tomorrow. To be honest, while I thought all this time off would be great, being sick like that made me really have to take a lot of breaks in between gaming. I still got a lot done but not as much as I thought would happen. All the other plans didn’t happen wither which was a shame but, I guess there’s always next time.

I definitely did a lot of T.V watching and caught up on most of my usual shows and so many awesome shows have started again.

Hannibal still creeps me the hell out but there is something irresistible to the stories being told, the mild who-dun-it atmosphere and the relationship between the main cast. It’s getting to a really interesting part of the series where you are not quite sure whether Hannibal’s identity is becoming completely clear. Yeh, a lot have doubts and have for a while but it’s at a particular tense moment.

Warehouse 13 has begun again and, it seems just as good as the others. It has entered the realm of the unbelievable a a bit too much. It seems the show constantly wants to beat the previous series in the unbelievable and extreme and it’s going that way already with a new massive threat. I hope it doesn’t lose its way to much as I always more enjoyed the collection and capturing of artefacts while witnessing their weird effects rather than stopping some ultimate threat.

Californication is back with the same adult orientated car crash type television it does best. The characters it has are just so perverse and irritating, creating the worst imaginable situations they possible could and watching the consequences of these actions is amazing. You love and hate them all equally at the same time as the are personal but keep fucking things up.

Community has been fun again for those moments in between. It seems to be trying a lot more than it used to be but still very enjoyable.

I also finally finished finished watching Sunday without god and.. the entire series is extremely weird but I wasn’t really expecting to end in just the way it did. It delved more into the apocalypse that began the troubles of the world and attempting to rectify that. To bring order and death back to the world, can’t say I enjoyed it that much though. It was a very unsatisfying ending in a way as I just wanted something more fantastic than that. The Rest of the series is a look at the human condition and the ending was more just childishness.


The Havoc in Hearthstone has finished up and while Izlain had a flawless run to the top he just couldn’t defeat the ERI boss at the end RAWWWR. He still pulled up the top prize and ended up getting himself Civ 5. HAVE FUN! The Indie Game Gala has begun with the First game being the addictive Pixel Purge, a shooter title that gets extremely chaotic very quickly. Tweet your High scores to Me or Doone to earn that awesome EXP and go in the draw for more prizes.

I kept playing Hearthstone over the week and am back up to Rank 11. Sometimes the game frustrates me immensely. The rush decks I can deal with losing to. They’ve built a good deck and understand how to use it in order to win. The Hunters have patience and Warlocks have that unrequited lust for damage. The Decks I absolutely hate though are those ones completely stacked with legendaries. Being a shaman player I’m typically a late game deck. Slow build up until you have control of the board completely and these, to me are nearly an unavoidable loss. With all these legendaries it’s almost impossible to get the upper hand, you only have so many removal cards before you get overwhelmed. It’s an insanely cheap tactic to use that really doesn’t require thought or strategy. It’s usually the warrior decks with a lot of extra card drawing. There needs to be a cap there somewhere.


where’s my *sigh* emote

More Prison Architect to get my building action on. I’ve really taken to the game to get my strategy gaming on as it has many different elements to get right while your building. I ended up selling my previous Prison and taking the funds on to create my next one which I’m hoping is going to be huge. Before the sale..

prison architect

It’s funny to say but I really enjoy being the architect within the game. I’m not trying to only create some optimal balance but more creating a well designed prison, one that looks nice and functional. Looking around it’s interesting to see how people go about creating their own. Everyone has a style of planning involved with where buildings go, the level of convenience given and the build of the cell blocks.

The only thing is I don’t know how much of a game there is here, once you get a certain pattern going there really isn’t much to interrupt that. There are no events that could shake up the prisons running and the prisoners themselves really don’t put up much of a challenge once you have the routine right. Once all their needs are provided for there is nothing left but continuing to grow the prison. Even the maximum security prisoners don’t make much of a fuss, I originally made a completely separate space but all that’s needed are semi regular checks of their cells.

Lastly there is Elder Scrolls Online. Coldharbour is a really depressing place and I’m not sure if I like the aesthetic; it’s dark, dank and bluish tint annoys me after a while. I like the bright open planes more than that, greenery or even just a nice rocky desert space and these craggy apocalyptic wastelands aren’t my style. It is a space that has some amazing set pieces though; large, open and brilliantly detailed and it’s interesting how they’ve incorporated the different racial designs into the environment.

eso coldharbour

I’ve finally made it to 50 now. Had that ding this morning and finished up the rest of Coldharbour. The design of those end areas and instances is beautiful. Huge set-pieces that really present the theme of a daedric princes stronghold well. That end scenario is amazing too wherein your given an insane amount of power and then get to annihilate hordes of enemies, one after the other that are usually quite tough to beat. After fighting the same sort of things being able to knock them aside so easily is a huge power trip.

The fight against Molag Bal was a great one as well. It has a few mechanics to be aware of but as the fight goes on, and his health gets lower they start happening in increasing intervals until your constantly moving and dodging while whittling down his health. It was a rather easy fight, but enjoyable. Being a tanky character he didn’t have much of a chance to kill me but it took a while to finish. That final moment did feel good… that’s how you create an awesome end scene

eso Molag bal

But, I really don’t know how to feel about it. It’s barely even scratching the levelling grind, only a small part of it in fact. There is so much after this now in order to get the better gear and weapons and even using the better food and potions that it’s a little overwhelming. In a way for the PvP there is a rather decent gap in power there between the low and high Veteran players, enough to make me feel forced enough to  put up with it but not very happy at the same time.

The ride there was interesting enough, the stories engaging and the pacing reasonable and then all the little aspects that keep you exploring and engaged but do I really want to do that another two times, for this character alone. I was also thinking about levelling an alt up as well to try a different side of the content but if I’m being forced to complete it with one already do I really want to do it again. I am pleased that the created a way for the people with one character and who like focusing on a main a way to see the other content but then when it’s like this it reduces the replayability of the content when trying alts. Not only that but do I really want to be bothered doing this all again with another character. To complete 3 whole faction areas over again.

To me this seems more like a lazy way of extending the content, to keep people on the treadmill longer than needed but it’s enough that I actually think this could be an extreme turn off to people. Levelling to 50 once is a lot of time, reasonable in a way and enjoyable but expecting it again and again is just silly. On top of that the content keeps scaling up in regards to the difficulty, people are having trouble as it is with some of it and this is a whole level beyond that. I honestly don’t want to and while it will probably happen incidentally I can’t see myself focusing on it.

The bad part of that is that it also seems like a high Veteran Rank is going to be required in order to complete the new content. Craglorn is recommended for VR 10 players and I’m guessing the damage needed and against the players will be scaled for this. Going by their last comments the majority of the players are around lvl 30.. a month in. So by 4 months they might actually be able to see the new content… that’s ridiculous and seems like a good way to lose the casual playerbase. Not even the casual playerbase if you think about it, It’s something that focuses only on the absolute most hardcore players that have either put in insane amounts of time already or exploited certain loopholes to get there quickly. Veteran Rank 10 players are the exception here and building your game around them, for a themepark like this seems like poor design and planning. The content to extend play for the hardcore is the AvA, here they get to show off there power while also extending character development. They didn’t need to do this as well.

hmm.. I’m used to having a grind in some ways with these mmo’s, to spend time doing things in order to gain something I want or need but to just grind for what seems no reason.. hmm.

#ESO #Hearthstone #RoundUp


11 thoughts on “Progress Report: A Holiday Helping

  1. I do enjoy reading about TESO. looking forward to reading about WildStar, too. The design decisions going on here are really fascinating. Both sets of designers seem to have decided that appealing to a real Hardcore audience is key for a subscription game, with this ultra-grindy Veteran approach and WS’s focus on a ten-year old raid model.

    I wonder how much the relative success of FFXIV:ARR plays into this? It’s the only subscription MMORPG of the last few years that has prospered under that payment model and it requires a big time commitment and a fairly hardcore attitude from its players. I strongly suspect the success there has more to do with the IP, which is steeped in that kind of behavior, however. ESO games, from what I understand, have a quite different history so I would be surprised if the same would apply, while Blizzard have spent a decade moving WoW away from the approach Carbine are taking.

    Of the two approaches, TESO seems the stranger. There could well still be a demographic out there that wants a vanilla-WoW style raiding end-game but where’s the evidence for any demand in the West for the kind of grind-gated content you describe?

    • I don’t know.. FF never appeared that grindy to me and compared to ESO a lot less. In the open beta weekend I made it quite far and whie there was a bit of dungeon running at the end it never seemed excessive. This is well beyond that and while I think extending time is an important factor in maintaining subscriptions there is a point where it would actively harm that.
      I think ESO does as you look at what’s to come and really get turned off doing it. If craglorn was for any VR, and new dungeons as well then there would be alternative ways of levelling at that stage which would be good but it seems like they are just goignt o keep adding stuff on top.

      It is a very weird design, appealing to the hardcore in this way as I think it’s misguided. Hardcore players don’t really want to level. The aim to get through that as fast as possible.

      It will be interesting to see how it develops over time and what happens when the general playerbase reaches VR

  2. “Coldharbour is a really depressing place and I’m not sure if I like the aesthetic; it’s dark, dank and bluish tint annoys me after a while”

    I’m exactly the opposite. I *love* the Coldharbour aesthetics and color palette. I think I take more screenshots in Coldharbour alone than in all the other zones combined. This isn’t to say I’d want to go there IRL, but in a game, its very alien-ness is why I like it, I think. The other areas either could be on Earth somewhere or are simply a fantastical Earth. Coldharbour though…. completely different, and thus it trips my trigger.

    Gratz on 50/VR1! I made it there on my DK last week and … I’m with you on not really caring about the VR levels. From what I’ve seen the gear improves in the same linear fashion as before, so VR10 really is “only” as powerful as level 59 would be. I’ve upgraded myself into VR1 gear, and don’t plan to upgrade again until the next gear tier of VR4, then VR7, etc.

    FWIW, the devs have said you can go into Craglorn at an VR level, it will just be “harder” if you’re below VR10. That said, I’ve seen players that like to always play with mobs 5-9 levels above themselves, and I’ve found myself that I can take on mobs 5+ levels above me without too much trouble in the regular game. VR does seem a little different in the little I’ve played there on the DK, but not so much that I don’t think I couldn’t handle more if I needed to.

    As it is, I’ve got my melee sorcerer up to almost level 28 now. His build’s not quite there yet, but getting close. As it is, it’s close enough that I’m really liking how he plays now, and once I get my morph to Critical Surge, I think he’ll be an absolute beast! So yeah, I’ve still got plenty of fun times ahead without worrying about the VR grind.

    • that sort of blue.. I don’t know what it is I just don’t like it. The design of it all is briliant, its a space that is really quite magical and unearthly and counters the usual aesthetic well but, it’s not me.

  3. It does seem to be like WoW putting a new heroic raid tier 1 month after launch, and that requires an ilevel to boot.

    There’s lots of ESO to love but dang if they don’t have some decisions that are hard to understand. Dunno, maybe to combat the Wildstar effect? Mind you at this point I don’t see how to stop that as few people will be able to access ESO craglorn befoe the fall.

    • i don’t understand these decisions either.I believe most people merely level to get to the end game.. and when the end game is more levelling, its just weird. There is also only so much levelling you can do before you burn out. Craglorn should just be for any VR, another way to level up and then create higher spaces later on when the general population has levelled up.

  4. Am I the only person to whom the idea of not being able to see the new content for a few months because I’ll still be happily chewing through the original content as a Good Thing?

    I’m happily switching back and forth between two mains (L27 Daggerfall Orsimer & L17 Ebonheart Bosmer) with distinctly different playstyles and characters and look forward to visiting each other’s area’s with them and view those through a different perspective. I wasn’t too sure about the Aldmeri Dominion to roll an alt there to be honest, but sure that’ll be enjoyable as well. I really don’t expect to be anywhere near VR10 for months and that thought fills me with joy because that means the Devs have plenty of time to add additional stuff as they intend to do.

    • I do enjoy seeing the new shiny stuff and was wondering here why we can’t do both. It’s nice to have all that content but there is only so much levelling I can do before getting bored. I like having options in my play.

      The other updates and guilds sound good too but I’m guessing they’re expected updated for this year

  5. Remember that the additional Thieves Guild & Brotherhood questlines are likely to be played on your other-faction playthroughs unless you roll a new alt for them.

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