Sepultura’s Screen-Shots: Morrowind!

This week is one of the few dedicated to gaming and live-streaming the action on my Twitch channel. Why, you might be asking yourselves? Well, the online game which I play is launching the newest chapter on 6 June, but those of us who pre-ordered the expansion were allowed early access on Monday of this week – so, I’ve been shamelessly gaming in between eating, working out, and sleeping. I know, I know; sleep is for the weak according to the hardcore die-hards out there, but I believe in taking care of myself even when indulging in my guilty pleasures!

Anyway, the newest chapter is actually a return to an ancient land which was introduced to fans of the Elder Scrolls multiverse in the Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. TESO did a fantastic job in rendering the ancestral island of the Dark Elves and breathing new life into a classic, well-loved game. I selected a few of the screen-shots that I’ve taken so far this week; more will be published later on. As always, feel free to bookmark my Twitch channel and check out the show! Broadcasting is most likely to occur between 1300 – 1900 PDT on weekdays and pretty much anytime on weekends, LOL

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A mysterious stranger hands you a note…

…leading you on a journey to a distant land.

You meet, and help, fellow travelers…

…and come face-to-face with a god.

Many queue up to request blessings from the “Warrior-Poet.”

There is even a house of ill-repute, for those who like the seedy side!

Fungi of all sizes grow everywhere…

…including the backs of local fauna.

Here’s another cute critter, native and unique to this island.

There are many new, and beautiful, sights to see…

…there is even construction of a new city in progress!

Excerpt: A Good Deed – Conclusion

*** Author’s Note: This excerpt wraps up the ‘Good Deed’ portion of my little tale. The next trio will be posted soon, beginning this coming Sunday. I hope that you’re enjoying these little bits of my creative output!

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A small, tidy courtyard of neatly-laid cobblestones and flagstones can be seen from her vantage-point. The path angles sharply from where the gate-door is located, stopping at the wooden steps of a wide porch. Gently curving stones lead to a flat, bare area which invites crafting or training décor. Lush, local foliage of multiple types and species grow here and there along the wall: ferns, deciduous trees, and even an exotic plant with dark leaves glowing with a soft purplish light. The porch is roomy and sturdy, offering space for crates, barrels, and other storage items. The door of the house is sheltered by a high, peaked roof, and the structure looks as if it was carved out of the stone and boulders surrounding it. The thick roots of a tall tree add to the wild, rustic appearance. Thunder peals in the distance, announcing an approaching storm.

Sepultur’a bows her head in gratitude, leaning her forehead against the lattice-work and closing her eyes which are stinging with sudden, unexpected tears of joy. A place of her own, at last. A home to rest and recuperate in while reclaiming her good name and establishing herself in the world. Fumbling through her cloak for the key which surely opens the door, she moves back to it and inserts the key in the door’s keyhole. It fits snugly; when she turns it, she hears the tumblers disengage with a solid thunk. She pushes the door open and steps through, stopping only to close and lock the door behind her. She wants no interruptions or distractions as she takes in the magnitude of the gift.

The courtyard is more spacious than it had appeared from the outside, and she is overjoyed to see the covered structure of a well nestled next to the house. She goes to it and draws up a bucketful of cold, fresh water from the underground aquifer which feeds the outpost. The water smells pure and clean, and she takes out her hip-flask and fills it, drinks deeply and refills it again, then caps it and stows it away for the errands she will have to run later on. Her panther prowls about, sniffing here and there as he examines the corners, nooks and crannies of the courtyard before stretching out on the cobblestones and relaxing.

Sepultur’a mounts the steps and opens the door of the house. The interior is quite uniform on the inside, with a bit more room than the outside suggested. A nicely-sized hearth is centered on the left-side wall of the sole room, . Two cunningly-styled windows provide a bit of natural light during the day. She looks around the cozy quarters, beaming happily. It may not be the luxurious manor in which she grew up, but it is perfect. She walks around, taking notes in her journal, making of list of basic home items that she will need immediately. Other furnishings can be acquired later on. Privacy and security at last! She can rest easy for a good amount of time, now. She has a fair amount of letters home to catch up on…

Monday Montage: Sepultura’s Screen-Shots!

I was putting the finishing touches on my next few excerpts, and that involves a bit of sorting through the many screen-shots I take during my gaming sessions. These help me keep the details of my tale fresh!

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Introduction to one of the many dungeons one can explore…

Spiders and a snake – my special little friends!

A mystic ritual…

…riddles in the dark.

A new trophy…

…emergence of a goddess!

The heat of battle

Grabbing a quick nap

A crowded bank – tending to business

Time to sort some parchments!

Excerpt: A Good Deed (Pt. III)

*** Author’s Note: Part I of this excerpt can be found here; Part II can be found here.

Sepultur’a stands in the darkness, letting her eyes adjust to the dimly-lit tomb. She had made it to the ziggurat as the sun was setting and had to fight her way through a small patrol of lamia. The snake-women were thick in this little-traveled area of the lizard-folk swamps, as were all other forms of reptile and amphibian life. From tiny, brilliantly-hued and highly-toxic frogs, to the massive lightning-spewers, to the snakes of all sizes resting in trees or slithering through the muck.

Water trickles down the walls as she descends the mossy stone steps. Vines hang from the ceiling and trail along the walls, and luminescent fungi glow softly in the darkest corners of the tunnel. She sniffs the air with her highly sensitive nose. The dank, damp air is slightly musty, but there is enough of a draw of air from some unseen, long-unused ventilation system to keep it from being completely toxic. Down below, a flickering light indicates a fire of some sort. The scent of smoke is strong, but not chokingly so. Sepultur’a descends the steps and follows the tunnel until she comes to a bend. Using her sword would be difficult in these close quarters and drawing it would cause unnecessary noise, so she readies her staff before peeking around the bend.

The tunnel appears to widen about twenty feet ahead. Off to the right side of this area a small fire is burning in a sloppily-made pit, and a lone form is sprawled on a pile of furs and straw nearby. Sepultur’a crouches low and moves forward slowly, eyes on the still form. She sees that it is an Orc female: most likely Baghzragh, the one who had stolen from Canthiorn and betrayed Grushtakh. As she gets closer to the area, she hears a soft murmur of voices coming from the left and she stops to listen. Her hearing is now as keen as her nose and she gleans an important, and unexpected, bit of information. A smile crosses her lips and she stands, glad to have worn the subtle badge which fastens her cloak. She has taken to following her instincts more than she used to, after her experience with the Withered Hand and her subsequent rescue and healing. She had put the badge on after leaving Grushtakh and felt far enough away from the city to bear the particular mark safely; wearing it, now, she knew there would be no need for subterfuge or bloodshed.

“Yuh t’ink the wench’ll wake soon? If she be wantin’ more o’ the sweet, she’ll be havin’ to pay up, first!” Coarse, loud laughter follows this statement. The speaker, a tall man with a scarred face and bald head who currently goes by the name of Rokkagan, stands from where he and two others have been drinking and playing cards. He walks over to the unconscious figure on the fur-and-straw bedding, nudging her with the toe of his boot, then folds his arms and shakes his head in mock disappointment. “She’s a mite surly, but sure knows how to cut loose and have a bit o’ fun when…persuaded!” He laughs again, turning back to his mates, and stops short when he sees an unknown figure standing in the entryway to the space. His drinking-companions, a lizard-man named Gore-Scales and a Breton named William Sterone, are kneeling in submission with the fists of their right hands firmly pressed on their chests in a salute, while their left hands are raised with palms out. Their heads are bowed as low as possible in deference to the one who outranks them all; her silent appearance, combined with the badge and sign she flashed at them, had kept them from warning their erstwhile employer.

“Well, well, well…fancy meeting you here,” the unknown person says in a sultry and undeniably feminine voice. She walks over to where Gore-Scales and William still kneel, lightly touching the fingertips on their raised hands with hers and bidding them to their feet. They both stand and then flank her, facing their Rokkagan with crossed arms. He stands stock-still, frozen with an apprehension that he hasn’t felt since leaving his burning home in the dead of night many moons ago. The woman walks towards him, then past him, kneeling near Baghzragh’s lightly snoring form. “I have no dealings with you at the moment, Rokkagan,” the woman says as she rummages through a backpack that has been tossed into the corner and forgotten about by the spelunkers during their drug-fueled debauchery. “This one has some items which don’t belong to her, and I’m returning those items to their proper owners.” She locates a secreted sheaf of papers in a cleverly-sewn pocket of the backpack, skims them quickly and then tucks them into a secure pouch in the folds of her cloak. Standing, she turns to face Rokkagan. Gore-Scale and William are right behind him, waiting for any type of signal from her. “You have nothing to fear from me, unless you don’t pay these fine folk their due,” she continues, staring intently into Rokkagan’s eyes. “Times are hard, indeed, if my good acquaintances need to sell their talents to the likes of you!” she exclaims, looking him up and down, disgust evident in her voice. Rokkagan merely nods stupidly, not daring to say or do anything that might provoke the woman.

She steps closer, hands laced casually behind her back, raising her still-concealed face to his. Her voice drops to a near-whisper. “If I hear that you have shortened them even one penny of coin, I will hunt you down and take the remainder out on your worthless hide.” She smirks with satisfaction at the acrid smell of his bladder letting go. Stepping back, she signals to Gore-Scale and William that they can stand at ease. She shoulders past Rokkagan, exiting with a parting shot: “Oh…you might want to change your breeches before re-entering civilized society. Even the worst ogre-dens I’ve had to crawl through smelled better than your arse does now!” Her derisive laughter echoes down the tunnel. Rokkagan squeezes his eyes shut, trying not to let the humiliation of soiling himself overcome him. William goes to tend the fire while Gore-Scale eyes Rokkagan, appraising him anew. He thinks that a re-negotiation of their contract might be in order, and a small memory-gem secreted on one of his horn-rings would assist with that.

Grushtakh is being violently shaken awake from a sound sleep. “Hey…hey, wake up! Damn your drunken hide…wake up, I say!” Canthiorn’s beaming face comes into view as Grushtak’s vision clears. “Uh…wha’?” he grunts, his head swimming as he tries to sit up, weaving slightly as he props himself up on one elbow. “Wash goin’ on?” he mumbles, wiping bleary eyes and smacking his lips. His mouth tastes as if he’d fallen asleep with it open behind a mammoth with a serious bowel problem. What the hell sort of drink had that Wood-elf conned him into swallowing? Canthiorn shoves some papers in Grushtakh’s face, cackling gleefully. “We’re in business! Gods and goddesses above and below, she did it…we’re in business!” he exclaims, doing the stomp-and-clap dance steps native to his people, waving the papers about. Grushtakh rubs his head and blinks stupidly. “Huh?” he asks again, sitting up in the bed a bit more. The last thing he remembers involved a drinking game between himself, Canthiorn, and a cat-man with pale, striped fur. He grunts softly as his head throbs. “Talk slower…what’re you going on about?” Canthiorn capers around the room, still waving the papers. “Your friend, you thick fool! The one you told me about, remember?” Canthiorn rolls his eyes. “Never mind that, for now…all I can say is, things are turning around for the better – we’re back in business!”

A week later, late in the afternoon, a falcon drops out of the sky over Sepultur’a as she stands on the upper balcony of a lone tavern on the edge of the battle-torn central province. It lands on a rail and settles itself with a fluffing of feathers, panting with exertion. It has flown fast and far with its precious cargo. She feeds it some meat that she had been snacking on and carefully removes the tubular parchment-case from its back. Opening it, she finds a rolled piece of paper and a large key. She unrolls the parchment and reads:

Greetings – I hope this note finds you well and in good health. I don’t know if there is any way to fully and adequately compensate you for the work that you did. You gave me back my livelihood and my reputation, and that is no small feat. Please accept this as a token of my thanks, and know that if there is ever any service that I can provide, you have only to name it. Enclosed are a map and a key. The key will unlock the treasure which this map leads to. It is the least that I can do for your kind gesture. May the gods and goddesses ever watch over your steps, milady.

Cordially and Respectfully,
Canthiorn

Sepultur’a looks at the map on the reverse side of the letter. She is somewhat familiar with the area indicated on it, and sees that the ‘X’ marking the spot isn’t far from a trading outpost deep in the territory of the cat-folk. She notes that one of the crudely-sketched landmarks on the map, as she peers a bit closer with the help of a magnifying crystal, indicates a shrine of transit. Very convenient! She tucks the key and the letter / map in the folds of her cloak to keep them safe for this quick jaunt.

The falcon looks at her expectantly, letting out a high-pitched scree. She chuckles and tosses it the last scrap of meat, re-attaches the scroll-case, then stretches and jumps lightly down from the balcony. The bird takes to the air and settles in a tall tree near the outpost’s main gate. She puts her fingers in her mouth and whistles sharply. Her newest mount, a sleek black panther, stretches languorously from his nap in the shade of the stilted building and pads over to his mistress, emitting a purring, grumbling growl. “I know, pet, I know…I promised that you would get a good, long rest, but we need to head out one more time.” She scratches him lightly under his chin, adjusts the riding-straps and thin, flexible saddle and then climbs on his back. He launches into a loping run with Sepultur’a guiding him with even more subtle body movements than needed on a horse. Within an hour they have reached an out-of-the-way transit shrine and use it to travel to the one she is certain is marked on the map.

She looks around as her vision clears from the magically-assisted teleportation. She only uses these “way-shrines” when time is of the essence, but doesn’t feel the disorienting effects as strongly as she used to. The shrine is right in the center of the trading outpost, circled by the merchant-wagons and stalls. A tavern and inn are located in one building while the guild-hall of mages shares space with the guild-hall of warriors. It has been just over a year since she had last travelled through this area; she had been with the caravan of entertainers and traders, then.

Dismounting, she leads the panther past some of the stalls, exchanging greetings, hugs, and mild pleasantries with some of the merchants whom she recognizes. As she wanders about, she notices a neatly-paved side-road which seems to have been freshly laid. She pulls out the letter and skims the map again, noting that this side-road appears to lead directly to the ‘X’ marking the mysterious treasure. Odd to bury a treasure at the end of a road, she thinks, but shrugs and follows it. She is formidable enough on her own; her mount ensures that only the incredibly foolish would dare to attack.

The road winds gently upward through some trees and ends at a locked door which is set into a stout, stone wall. The wall has an open space guarded with sturdy metal lattice-work, so Sepultur’a moves to this space and peers through, gasping softly at the sight on the other side…

Scenic Sunday Screen-Shots…

I’m having a nice, relaxing weekend and decided to post some recent screen-shots taken in-game. My next excerpt has to be broken up into two parts, and the screen-shots help illustrate the “lay of the land,” so to speak – so, I was sorting through a batch and decided to post them.

The screen-shots are the way that I keep the locations fresh in my mind as my characters travel about during their adventures. It’s not a cardboard cut-out or other tangible, physical rendition of a locale as other authors create, but it works for me!

I think that I’ll do a bit of live-broadcasting today, as well – most likely after noon PDT. It’s been a while, and I need to do a bit of ye olde AvA now that the campaigns have restarted. Gotta stay sharp against the no-sleeping, diaper-wearing, basement-dwelling “no-lifers!” Other genuine gamers know what I’m talking about, ROFLMAO!

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Gifts from the Speaker after a dark assignment

Who’s this bloke, then?

Hmmm…an interesting bit of information!

Standing at a transitus shrine

Relaxing in the courtyard

A bit of primping and preening

Should I wear this? It looks nice…

…the robe is more appropriate, though – it might rain!

A tender moment…

…followed by a soft serenade.

A toast by the well – cheers!

Celebratory Screen-Shots: TESO Anniversary Event!

In light of the special events taking place during the three-year anniversary of the launching of The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO), I figured that I’d share a few screen-shots of the fun and festivities! If this doesn’t entice at least ONE of my readers to join in, then nothing will…but, that won’t stop me from enjoying this multi-layered, engaging, hellaciously fun game. With the upcoming addition of the Morrowind expansion, I expect to be playing for the next five years, at least!

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Anniversary voucher

Hmmm…a special cake?

The well-renowned chef

Better-looking than Gordon Ramsay…

…far easier to speak with…

…and much easier to please!

Giving the required ingredients

Waiting patiently with the crowd

Yes – it’s done!

Freshly-baked goods…

…let us eat cake!

Anniversary gift box after completing a daily quest – there are many!

Relaxing at a keep after battle

Excerpt: Festivities

*** Author’s Note: Just a small reminder that my excerpts are not in chronological order. Some chapters are taking longer to revise and edit than others! ***

Dusk. The party is in full swing; family and close friends are attending the small, lavish gathering and the celebrants are all in high spirits. Lord Yazim, her father, had given a brief speech, and her mother, Lady Zaiher, had presented Sepultur’a with a gift: a leather-bound journal to record the events of her journey.

Sepultur’a’s glum mood of earlier has lifted completely, as she is engrossed in conversation with her brother Ad-hir’s mysterious, last-minute guest – he brought a woman along! He introduced her as Sonja, stating only that he met her in some remote area of a battlefield and had recently asked for her hand in marriage. The family is a bit surprised, as they had all thought that the only son of the family would spend a number of years sowing some wild oats before settling down. Ad-hir is engaged in quiet conversation with Yazim, while Ildris and Zaiher sit close with her and Sonja, laughing and chatting. The table is laden with fare both local and exotic; there are familiar dishes which are favourites of the family, and unfamiliar ones which seem to appeal to Sonja’s palate. Sonja has a hearty appetite and seems to eat a bit of everything. Sepultur’a is in awe of her new sister-to-be and hangs on her every word. The woman’s hair is an interesting shade of deep auburn, braided into long rows which hang down the center of her back. Her head is shaved on the sides in a fashion that Sepultur’a has only seen in books. Her skin is dark, like Sepultur’a and Ildris, but her eyes are a pale blue that is unusual to their people. Her face bears patterned scars, but the scars seem to accentuate her beauty, not detract from it. She is also very tall, and more muscular than the other women in the room – but her figure is noticeably feminine. She wears a form-fitting, stitched top and breeches with an attached “tail” – a skirt that is slit up the front to allow a lady to ride comfortably and modestly.

Sepultur’a excuses herself from the table and moves around the room, chatting with the other guests. She is radiantly beautiful in the dress she wears: red, silken material is gathered at the bodice; clever slits in the fabric reveal white gleaming velvet insets. A black leather corset accentuates her slender figure, and the full skirt flares out and down, just brushing the floors with an elegant ruffle. Her shoulders are bare, but short, puffed sleeves cover her upper arms. She will hate to leave the dress behind, but it won’t be practical on a long trip. It will be a while before she has the time or inclination to wear such finery again, after this day. Tomorrow she will be garbed in her own set of armor and choose two weapons to take with her. She will start out with virtually nothing; just what will fit into the saddle-bags.

She gets her glass of wine refilled, then wanders out onto the veranda. The two moons hang high in the sky, one smaller than the other. She stands there, looking up at them, thinking. Sipping her wine, she walks down a small flight of stairs and follows the narrow path down towards the beach. The harbor is quiet and serene, and she removes her slippers to walk barefoot in the sand. Water laps softly at the docks; she wanders to the end of one of the boat-slips and stands quietly, enjoying a bit of solitude. After a moment, she turns and leaves the harbor, heading back towards the manse. Her footsteps take her past the garden-maze; she pauses for a moment, then enters.

The soft light of lanterns guides her along, although she is so familiar with this route that she could navigate it blindfolded. She soon stands at the fountain with the magnificent statue, and stares at it longingly. “Oh, Mother,” she whispers softly. “I hope that I find a great love the way that you and Father have. To have a man look at me with such devotion…I cannot imagine.” She sits on the edge of the fountain and places her slippers on the stone bench where she and Ildris had sat earlier. Her fingers trace patterns on the surface of the water as she finishes her wine. Setting the empty glass near her slippers, she draws her legs up, carefully tucking the long skirt up so that it doesn’t get wet, then resumes trailing her fingers in the water of the fountain. She gets lost in deep thought and doesn’t hear quiet footsteps approaching.

Endymion, the smith’s apprentice, enters the fountain area. He doesn’t see Sepultur’a sitting in the dark shadow thrown by the fountain. He isn’t forbidden from this area; all who work at the manse are allowed access to most of the grounds, but if the family is present, the help gives them leeway. He is certain that he is alone, as he knows that the family is celebrating the youngest daughter’s birthday. He likes sitting here some evenings, especially when the moons are full, but those times are rare due to his work schedule.

Endymion stands for a moment, limned in the moonlight, looking appreciatively at the statue. The merchant-master, powerfully depicted in this carving, spared no expense in this declaration of love for his wife, the mother of his daughters. Endymion can fully understand why this particular pose was chosen, and why it is displayed where it is. To see this sculpture in full daylight, where many could see it, would be scandalous and create undue envy amongst the townspeople.

He stretches out on one of the benches and clasps his hands behind his head, looking up at the moons and appreciating how their light plays over the statue. His eyes close as he relaxes, letting the stress of the day’s work ebb from his body. The forge-master had been stern with him after he’d muffed the repair of a sword, and he despaired of mastering working with metal. His uncle had been certain that the family talent of blacksmithing would run in his veins, but after a year of apprenticeship, he could barely craft a decent dagger. He isn’t sure how he can tell his uncle that working a forge isn’t his natural talent. A soft gasp interrupts his train of thought and his eyes open, startled out of his reverie.

The youngest daughter is standing there, staring at him, eyes wide in the darkness. He tries to think of her name as he sits up, resting his arms on his knees as he regards her. She looks beautiful under the moonlight, he thinks, eyeing her bare shoulders and trim form.

She, in turn, is captivated by his stature now that she sees him up close. She has seen him from a distance in the marketplace, or when she has accompanied Yazim or Ad-hir to the forge to get fitted for her own pieces or armor, but seeing him up close has her seeing him as if for the first time. His face is intriguing: intense blue eyes, a sensuous mouth, a fine, straight nose, and strong chin. His head is shaved on the sides; the remaining hair is neatly combed and pulled back in a tight queue. He rises from his supine position, stands, and moves towards her. It takes her a moment to realize that he is speaking to her, and shakes her head to clear it and focus on his words.

“I’m sorry,” he is saying, “I didn’t think that anyone would be here. I can leave if you wish to be alone; I don’t want to intrude.” He bows respectfully, and moves as if to leave, but she shakes her head. “No, please…don’t go,” she says softly. “You may stay. I didn’t know that anyone was here. It was crowded inside, and I just wanted to come out, look at the moons, and catch a breath of air.” She looks up at them, a soft smile curving her lips. “They are full and bright tonight, aren’t they?” He looks up as well, nodding in agreement. “Indeed,” he replies, looking back at her. “I’m not the best with names,” he continues, feeling a bit bold. “If you please, I had a question. What is your name? I don’t know that I could pronounce it.” She laughs lightly “Sepultur’a,” she says, sounding it out slowly and carefully. “…and, you are Endymion, the apprentice to the smith,” she finishes, smiling at his surprise. “You know my name and who I am?” he asks, somewhat flattered. “Why, of course,” she says. “You are hard to miss,” she says, then stops before she says too much. She lowers her gaze, turning to face the fountain again. He cocks an eyebrow at her words. “Hard to miss? How do you mean?” he asks. She turns to face him. “Well, I just meant that…you aren’t from these lands, originally, so you do stand out from the crowds. Not in a bad way, of course…I just happen to notice you when you’re at the forge, when I’m at the market running errands.” Her voice drops to a near-whisper. “I…like watching you work,” she finishes, nervously playing with her hair.

He is silent with surprise. “Oh, I’ve offended you now, I just know it!” she bursts out. “I always talk too much and say the wrong thing at the wrong time…” she trails off, sounding near tears. “Wait – what? No, no, no…no offense taken at all,” he says, standing and stepping closer to her. “I didn’t think that either of the daughters of the wealthiest man in town would take notice of a lowly blacksmith’s apprentice,” he says. “I always figured that you and your sister had been betrothed to some merchant’s son from birth, or something…” he stops speaking, unsure of what to say next. She looks up at him. He is tall and broad-shouldered, with well-muscled arms and large, strong hands from daily work at the forge. He wears a simple, rough tunic and breeches that smell of smoke. He is standing so close…her mind whirls. Perhaps it is the full moons, or the scent of the flowers in the garden that cause her to act so boldly. She reaches out impulsively and touches his face, caressing his cheek for a moment. She starts to pull her hand away, but he reaches up and presses his hand over hers, closing his eyes and savoring her touch…

The Elder Scrolls Online: 3 Years!

I can hardly believe that it has now been three years since I began playing the MMO known as The Elder Scrolls Online. It officially launched on 4 April 2014, and has evolved and changed exponentially from that date! Some of we obsessive…uh, DEDICATED! Yeah, that’s it, dedicated gamers – we did something called “pre-ordering” which allowed for an extra week of play before the unwashed masses hurled themselves into the world of Tamriel. Pre-ordering gave exclusive collector’s items (in-game and out), special pets, and a unique mount as a reward at the end of the first year. Of course, extra gaming time was had by those of us who applied for the chance to do some “beta-testing” – that’s where you play the game on a special test server and report any bugs, as the game developers are using that to work out major issues before the game is launched. I was involved in two beta tests; one in January of 2014, and one at the end of February of the same year.

When TESO was first launched, it was free-to-play (F2P)…well, the game cost money, obviously, but no subscription was required initially. That hasn’t changed much, in that one can still buy and play it. “Subbing” to the game, though, offers extra bonuses and benefits so I don’t mind paying a bit for those benefits. The subscription option started after the first year, and a “crown store” was also added. This “store” is basically a way to purchase in-game things with RL money, and of course, the “crowns” also cost RL money. So yes, the game is a business and they are always looking for ways to maintain a healthy subscriber base, while keeping the interest of the casual gamers who don’t want to subscribe for any given reason. I understand the pros and cons of “subbing” vs. “F2P,” and prefer to pay – it’s nice to have the choice, at least, and subbing gets you extra crowns every month. Save them up for those limited-time offers from the crown store, and buy extra when the crown packs go on sale if you want to splurge on something silly. Options are always good, in my not-so-humble opinion!

There has been so much added in the past three years that I’ll just focus on the three additions that I enjoy the most. This post will be long enough without trying to talk about every single thing! There have been so many changes already, and many more are on the way over the next few months. There is a lot to look forward to, even though I haven’t come close to completing a lot of the quests that are available. It just means that I will be entertained by this game for many years to come!

First off, the addition of “personalities” has been hilarious, and makes for a lot of fun during guild events or role-play. One can equip a personality which enables you to reel and stumble about like a drunken slob, stand with arrogant military demeanor, strut about cheerfully, or stand with shoulders slumped in melancholy – and those are just a few of the many that have been offered! The newest one, coming out tomorrow, allows one to don the thoughtful personality of a scholar. Can’t wait to see how that one turns out! I pretty much like the crown store in general, and it definitely forces me to hang on to my crowns and only spend them on something that really appeals to me. I never go overboard with shopping IRL anyway, so I’m thrifty and selective in-game as well!

Secondly, the addition of “crafting bags” have been a blessing for those of us who like to make our own armour and weapons. There was never enough bag space or bank space for holding all of the materials necessary to craft any given item – so, those of us who subscribe get the benefit of the crafting bag. It is, essentially, an extra storage spot which holds nothing but crafting materials; any materials collected are automatically stored in the crafting bag, which is shared with all of the characters you have on your account. No need to switch things in and out of banks anymore, and no need to be selective in which materials you pick up. Of course, this now means that you have to race other people to mine a node of ore, hack at a hunk of wood, or scoop up some water from a stream for your alchemical needs!

Last, but not least, the player housing. I’m really happy that it was finally added! Even though you can’t use your house as an extra storage area the way that you could in Ultima Online, it still offers a nice, private place for guild events or more “adult” role-playing. They are quite expensive, so it makes being in a good trading guild a must! At least owning every single house offered isn’t necessary for titles or achievements, and only three appeal to me, so I have plenty of time to save up the gold or crowns needed for the ones that I want. I have one already; only two more to go!

Well, I’ll just close this off with some “Then & Now” screen-shots which show some of the changes, amusing bugs, troublesome bots, and characters with hilarious avatars or memorable names – and, of course, the original trailers for the game. I will be broadcasting some game-play later on as well, so bookmark the link and tune in for the fun!

Close-up of a “bot-train”

Bots stacking up

So many lizards!

Run away, silly bot!

Um – a healing…what?

I found Smaug! He’s smaller than I thought he’d be…

OMG – it’s Manbearpig!

Sagittarius the Archer

That’s one big baby!

Rude goings-on in the bank

Before armour-dyeing capabilities…

…and after. Armour dyeing began in August of 2014.

Hmmm…something’s missing, here!

Sunday Screen-Shots: 2 April 2017

I just wanted to share a few more silly screen-shots during the last few days of the Jester’s Festival! With the double XP bonus being offered, I’ve been grinding some lowbies to veteran / champion level, and getting titles for toons that have been “moth-balled” and are glorified mules at the momet. The repetition is quite boring, I have to admit – but, it must be done! Only other, REAL gamers will understand that semi-obsessive need for titles and achievement points, LOL

I figured that I’d post my NaNoWriMo excerpt tomorrow, as well as do a special sports edition – so, enjoy the scenery and a bit of music!

😎

All Fool’s Day 2017: Jester’s Festival Mischief & Merriment!

It’s April Fool’s Day / All Fools’ Day! What better way to celebrate it than with some silly screen-shots from my online game? The merry-making of the Jester’s Festival is in full swing, counting down to the 3rd anniversary of the introduction of The Elder Scrolls Online. I will be broadcasting some of the Festival pranks in an hour or so – I hope that you tune in for the fun, and enjoy the show!

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