Expansions Are Like Tree Leaves

…always dropping in the Fall.

Except over where I’m at, over in Elder Scrolls Online. We don’t get expansions, but that’s by virtue of the fact that ESO has managed to hold onto its subscription model in general and onto my subscription in specific.

And I have to say, after years of juggling how much I was going to spend on which game and having to plot and plan around sales and in game events, its nice just to have a flat fee going out and to know that I’m getting all the things. But then, I also have the cash flow to do that, and that is something that was not true when the MMO field began the switch over to a majority F2P model.

In any case, ESO continues to be a great home. I get in about twice a week for some team play with my brother, and the solo storyline quests occupy me on the nights we can’t get together and I need a break from flying and tanking.

I think I can attribute my contentedness to two things.

The first is that ESO delivers excellent content, especially in dialogue and storyline choices. Last night I was asked to determine the fate of a man. The captain of the guard who had murdered the Duke’s wife and nearly started a war with a neighboring noble (the wife was the other noble’s daughter). But who had done this thing under the terrible influence of the Daedra (think demonic demi-god) of Madness and Dreams. Let him live, and the crime, in a sense, goes unpunished. Kill him, and condemn what amounds to an innocent man to die. His friend on the guard is begging for mercy, but he is absolving you of guilt and telling you he needs to die!

And ESO has a wonderful way of giving you what you wished for. Feeling cruel and want him to die? The King agrees, and turns around and orders the friend on the guard to be the executioner. Ouch. Feeling noble and let him live? Fine, but he curses your name for hanging his shame around his neck and is banished, while leaving a warning that he hopes that this decision “will not come back to haunt us all.”

And then, sometimes the dialogue and the characters are just memorable and hilarious. So much so that the overwhelming majority of my screenshots are of moments like this:

That guy, by the way, will also hit on you if you are playing a female character. So, yeah I got experience the creepiness of it all in a small, small way. But then there is this girl, married to a traveling artist and…uh…smothering him. Being the heroic knight she is and all that…

That’s the first reason. The second reason, beyond the engaging dialogue and quests (oh, and the very advanced instancing helps this by the way – we’re all standing in the castle, but whether its burned or not and what dialogues you get are based entirely on where you are in the story – and its virtually seamless), has to be the incredible flexibility in the character progression.

Basically its like Rift and TSW had a secret love baby and nobody told the MMO world about it. Because I have to think more people would be tripping over themselves to get into the game if they knew that.

I started as a dual wielding witch (dagger’s and DoT’s baby), moved to a amazonian princess (bow’s and buffs baby), and now I’m a full on zweihanding paladin (I got nothin’ for this one, sorry).

Yes, yes, I know, belly showing and all that jazz. If it makes you feel any better, even the game wasn’t pleased with my wardrobe selection.

Now that I’ve unlocked weapon hot swapping, I jump back and forth between my two handed paladin build and a ranged dps/healer build using a destruction staff.

I guess I could do more (I have 20 unused skill points at the moment, and I’m only at level 21), but right now I’m content to save them for whatever my next whim might be.

Oh, and one last thing that gets me going. Treasure maps. Get a map as a random drop, it has an image of a location somewhere in the zone (an artists impression really, very pretty), and you have to run around matching the ink drawing to a vista, which will give you the location of the goods…

So, I don’t have the joy of a new expansion (in the fantasy world at least) this Fall as the leaves drop, but I found an evergreen that is still smelling lovely after six months. In the MMO world, that’s a rare treat.


5 thoughts on “Expansions Are Like Tree Leaves

  1. pkudude99

    I’m pretty burned out on MMO’s right now, so I’m thinking I’ll be getting my Civ: Beyond Earth on from tonight for a while, but when I jump back in, I’m thinking it’s going to be ESO. I’ve got several characters up into the VR levels now (though none capped) but then had to work and miss a week of play and just got out of the habit of playing, really. Tried FFXIV in the meantime, but it doesn’t grab me, so…… out of the MMO business for a while, but looking forward to the Champion system changes. I’ll be back in a bit, I’m sure.

    1. Its good to take breaks. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. The difficult part for me is ramping back up after the break. The easier the in game activities are to get into the quicker I am back on track. That’s probably the reason why I’ve returned to STO so many times. And I think ESO has some of that too, with the crafting and exploration.

  2. That’s why I keep going back to EQ2 and WoW, I think. EQ2 rewards you for logging in rather than punishing you for being away (like keeping your auction house gains safe for you for 4 years and not asploding your houses/guild halls while you’re away), and WoW is just so simple to pick back up for someone like me who has alts and doesn’t dungeon.

    1. The sub is still the barrier for me in WoW. I didn’t leave the game happy, and while I like much of what they’ve done since I left, I’m content to dink around with the free “under 20” version rather than resubbing.

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