Time flies when you’re having fun right? Well, it feels like time has gone into light speed. Didn’t we just have The Dark Brotherhood DLC release? We’re already starting to see what is in the next update, aka Update 11. If you don’t believe me that this update is going to be huge, keep reading and if you want to test out everything you’ve read here and more, well, get on the PTS and start checking it out.
If you want to check out everything that is changing or being added to the game read the official Natch Potes (err Patch Notes)
I haven’t had the opportunity to jump into the PTS as of yet but I’m hoping I can soon. I’ll also do another “live” article as well. Basically, I write the article and my impressions as I play the game, think of it as Twitch but for readers. I did this style of article when I dove into My First Murder.
Let me just list some of the things that are coming to the game and then try and discuss them;
- Two new Argonian Dungeons (Cradle of Shadows and Ruins of Mazatun).
- These new dungeons will dive deep into Argonian lore
- New helmet and shoulder set pieces
- Six new item sets
- Trials now offering Normal and Veteran modes
- Trials will scale to the level of Raid Leader
- Gear will now scale up to Champion Level 160
- DragonStar Arena also scales along with its loot as well
- Name Change Service
- Race and Appearance Change
- Extra appearance options available via crown store
- Cyrodiil Town Captures
- Champion Point Cap Increase (531)
- Racial Passive Adjustments
- Costume Dyes
That’s not all of the changes. There are more. I strongly suggest checking out the notes for all of them. These are just some of the major ones.
Those are some pretty amazing things coming in August eh? Well, there is one more major tidbit that I need to mention before we start discussing this plethora of content. More than three quarters of this update is FREE. The only content that is being pushed out is new dungeons and set items. By the Nine! This update is going to be epic.
Okay, let’s do a quick dive into it, as I mentioned earlier I haven’t had the time to test any of this myself so I can only say what I’ve seen not what I’ve experienced.
Two New Dungeons
There isn’t much I can say about these aside from what they showed on the ESO live stream last Friday. As with every ESO Dungeon, it’s a visual master piece. Their art team and world creator does such a great job in setting the scenes for the stories. One thing I did notice, when they went to the entrance of the dungeon the door was under the ground it felt like you were going to enter a temple. But once you zone in, you’re placed outside. There is no real hints that you were underground prior to walking through the door. Hopefully they’ll adjust that and make a small tunnel that you zone into and walk out into the incredibly illuminated landscape. This is strictly an aesthetic issue and doesn’t affect any of the game play, but I like it when things meld nicely.
Trials & Dragonstar
YAY!! They are relevant again. It’s always sad to have such great content become out geared and become nothing but a nostalgia zone. A prime example of this is (or was) Karazhan in World of Warcraft. By far one of the best raids in WoW and once players out leveled it, new players never did it and old players would farm it strictly for the mount. So glad to see that ZOS wants to keep all content relevant and fresh. Now that they offer a Normal and Veteran mode and they scale, it doesn’t matter if you’re new or have been playing since release. These zones that came out shortly after launch are actually useful and provide benefits to doing them at end game.
Cyrodiil Town Captures
YES! A thousand times yes. Between you and me, I was starting to get a bit burned out on Cyrodiil content. Luckily ESO is designed in such a way that when I jumped into the PvE side of the game I had a sense of awe. It’s been so long since I dove deep into PvE that everything felt new and exciting. With this new Cyrodiil Town Captures hopefully we’ll start seeing smaller scale battles around these towns.
From what I understand the way these new captures will work, you’ll need to secure 3 flags. One of which isn’t guarded, one that has only a few and one that is heavily guarded, similar to the Imperial City District flags. Once you’ve gained ownership it allows your alliance a new spawn point in Cyrodiil and offers players of your faction access to purchase purple quality gear for Alliance Points. Such a great addition to ESO, one that I commented about having a while back in my Open Letter on PvP.
As a side note, ZOS has confirmed they are working on battlegrounds but no information on those have been mentioned.
Name | Race | Appearance Change Service
Again, a fantastic feature. Players always want to update the way their character looks, and I’m not speaking just about RPers. All players like to update. When you play a game for a long time you become numb to the way your character visually looks and only notice gear changes. These types of features allows you to change the visual look so you don’t get numb. You can change your look as often as you like. Perhaps after a holiday dinner such as Thanksgiving, you give your character a few pounds. It’s added flair.
There are some restrictions in place, specifically to the Race and Appearance change options. If you purchase the race change option from what I understand you can also change your appearance as well if you choose to. However, the appearance change option does not allow you to change your race, so is there a cost difference? I don’t know but I’ll be checking that out as soon as I can get into the PTS.
Ever since they implemented the Dye system back in 1.3 (I think) people have been requesting the ability to dye their costumes. Well, now we can. There are two ways you can dye your costume. You can buy dye stamps from the crown store or you can dye them via the dye station. The dye stamps are basically pre-made dye colour schemes. The benefit to these dye stamps is they can utilize all dyes in the game with the exception of the rare dyes, so even if you haven’t unlocked the colours utilized within the stamp you can still use the stamp. It doesn’t unlock it for you, but it allows you that one time use, via the stamp. The other way to dye costumes is through the dye station. You dye the costume using all the dyes you’ve unlocked thus far. You do have to be an ESO Plus member to access the costume dyes via the dye station.
I’m so estatic to finally see ZOS implementing features to the ESO Plus members. So far we have the unlimited crafting bags and now the costume dye option. Adding value to the ESO plus membership is exceptionally hard to do and not make it fall into a “pay to win” system, but ZOS is doing a great job so far.
So, that’s just some of the stuff that’s coming in Update 11. Amazing right? What do you think? Are you excited for update 11? Isn’t it crazy that we’re getting all of this in a single update right after The Dark Brotherhood? Name one other company that is pushing out this high end content so frequently. I can’t!
Keep it up ZOS, you’re paving the way for what MMORPGs should be.
In my last column I discussed the new patch coming to The Elder Scrolls Online and I called it epic, despite not actually having played it. Sadly, I just never had the time to jump into the PTS and give it a shot. Well, today is the day. I am finally able to sit down and dive deep into the new changes and find out if it really is epic or if wisely chosen words make everything sounds grander than they truly are.
First things first, let’s discuss one of the hot button topics that Update 11 has, costume dyes. There are two ways to dye your costumes, via the Crown store or through the dye stations found throughout Tamriel. There is a caveat for this mechanic. If you wish to dye your costume via the dye stations you need to be an ESO Plus member. If you are not an ESO plus member in order to customize your costume you need purchase a dye stamp. These stamps are pre-set colours that will be applied to your outfit of choice. These stamps aren’t limited to dyes you’ve unlocked. If one of the pre-sets is a colour you have not unlocked you will still be able to use it. These stamps only work for one outfit at a time and cannot be removed and put on a new costume.
Looking at the Crown store, there are 18 different stamps to purchase, each having their own uniqueness and individuality to them. Some of which have colours I don’t have yet, and will end up purchasing when this update goes live. Sneezes-When-Sneaking is going to get a much needed colour update to his Wedding Suit, Shadow Jam.
The reason this is such a hot button topic is because of the “pay gate” to be able to fully customize your look. Personally, I don’t see this as an issue, ESO Plus membership was very lack luster up until they included Crafting bags, which in itself made me a subscriber. Now they have yet another unique feature that adds a lot of value for a lot of players. It in no way makes a player overpowered, provides an advantage to the overall gameplay or story arc. It is strictly cosmetic. Offering an option to become a subscriber whilst still having no limitations to gameplay for free players is a very hard line to balance on. And anytime a company places themselves in a situation where there are two sides that are direct opposites there is a no-win situation. No matter what ESO introduces to the ESO Plus membership there will be people upset on both sides of the line.
I think Zenimax is doing a fantastic job at balancing the line perfectly. There are far worse options they could make SWTOR where the membership is almost a requirement to enjoy the game. I could easily enjoy the game without the membership. The only reason I am a member is because I’m a hoarder and I keep everything. I have crafting materials for level 1 characters, an abundance of them too. If I only kept what I needed than I wouldn’t need the crafting bags. But for some reason, I can’t throw anything away.
Onto the Crown Store services Name/Race/Appearance change
In order to do any of the character changes you need to purchase a token via the Crown Store. To do this you need to be logged into the game. Once you’ve purchased the token you log out and activate the token using one of the new fancy buttons at the bottom of the character select screen.
I’d really like to see an option to access the Crown Store via the character selection screen. These services can only be used while at the character selection screen, logging into the game just to end up logging out seems like added steps that shouldn’t be there. But that’s a little thing to such a major update.
The Race change options allows you to change your race and appearance, while the appearance change only allows you to change your appearance. Being on the PTS the cost of the crowns are only 1 crown which isn’t the real cost value and only for testing. So, I don’t know if there is a cost difference between Race and Appearance change tokens. If there is, I hope it’s not much, if I only wanted to change my race I shouldn’t have to pay extra because it includes a feature I don’t want (appearance change).
When you activate the token you’re brought into the character creation screen and you can change all the options of that service.
Tied to this system is the option to purchase additional “looks” via the crown store. Open up your Crown store window and you’ll find a new section called “Style Parlor”. In this new tab you’ll see a plethora of exciting options ranging from adornments (beards, eye lashes even specific ones for the Beast races), Hair Styles, Markings and Personalities. Again being on the PTS I can’t tell you the true cost of them, but I don’t foresee them being overly priced because these types of items are ones they want to sell often and to do so they want to make sure they are priced so players can buy many of them.
This is my personal favourite addition to the game. When you zone into Cyrodiil and look at the map you’ll notice 3 new icons on the map. These are the new cities that can be controlled by any faction, Bruma, Vlastarus and Cropsford. These towns require you to capture three points within them, one that is unguarded, another with only a few guards and one that is heavily guarded. These new areas will bring new fights to Cyrodiil, as these cities can play a very important role for PvP as they act as resurrection points for those who’ve fallen in battle. Anything that Brian Wheeler can add to Cyrodill that promotes smaller scale combat alongside with the large battles that Cyrodiil is designed around is fantastic.
Racial abilities are something that I’ve discussed in the past, numerous times. I never felt that ESO’s racial passives were deciding factors when it came to building your character. This is something I praise ZOS for, the freedom to truly play a character the way you want without completely ruining your play experience. Yes, the bonuses gave a player a slight advantage in terms of health regen etc, but never enough that another player couldn’t overcome them. That said, I also commented that some racial abilities just didn’t seem right. Let’s take a look at the new ones and you tell me what you think of them.
Amphibious: Renamed to Resourceful. Removed the bonus to swimming (YAY, because swimming faster wasn’t never helpful). It now increases your Max Magicka by 1/2/3% and restores 4/8/12% of your Health/Stamina and Magicka anytime you drink a potion.
Quick Mend: Now increases your healing done and healing received.
Restoration Expertise: Renamed to Amphibian. Still increases Experience with Resto Staff, but now increases your Swim speed by 50%. (Really? Argh! That 50% swimming just doesn’t seem great, where does swimming matter? Maybe ZOS is planning a battleground that’ll have parts where you can swim, because right now, swimming in Cyrodiil is death by fish and swimming faster in a dungeon just means you’re waiting for your friends on the other side. Do RPers go out to ponds and lakes and do swim races? )
Light Armour Affinity: Renamed to Opportunist, Increases experience gain with Light armour and also increases your Alliance point gain. (YAY!!!, more AP, but does this mean we’re going to be seeing a lot more Breton Emperors?)
Ambidexterity: Renamed to Ashlander. Duel Wield experience increase, as well as lava damager decreased by 50%. (For those time you really, really, need to get across a lava pond)
Flame Talent: Renamed to Destructive Ancestry. Still increases Spell damage with fire, but now it also increases your Frost and Shock damage.
Destruction Talent: Renamed to Highborn. Still increases experience gains with Destruction staff but now also increases your overall experience gain.
Shield Affinity: Renamed to Diplomat. Still increases experience with One hand and Shield skill line, but now it also increases your gold gain.
Medium Armour Expertise: Renamed to Cutpurse. Still increases medium armour experience but now it also increases your Pickpocketing chances.
Robust Consitition: Renamed to Nimble and was reverted to the live servers, so nothings changed except the name.
Two Handed Weapon Expertise: Renamed to Reveler. Still increases Two handed weapon experience, it now also increases the duration on consumed drink. (Am I the only one who thinks it’s funny they made the Nord have longer Drink effects?)
Robust: Renamed to Stalwart. Still increases your Health recovery, just not by as much (6/13/20%) and your max stamina.
Heavy Armour Expertise: Renamed to Craftsman. Still increases Heavy Armour experience, but now also increases your inspiration gains. (Suits it’s name)
Robust: Renamed to Unflinching. Same as the Nord, decrease in health received but now increases your healing received.
Shield Affinity: Renamed to Wayfarer. Still increases your One handed and Shield experience but now it increases the duration of consumed food.
Archery Expertise: Renamed Acrobat. Still increases bow Experience, but now it reduces your fall damage by 10%
That’s it for the racial changes, what do you think? I will never understand the swimming speed increase or lava damage taken decrease passives, at least not right now. Until they release a boss fight where players have to swim through water or lava to a switch, lever or something.
That’s all I’ve been able to test as of yet. I don’t have many friends :’( that play on the PTS so trying to get into the group stuff is difficult, hopefully I can find some people to do it with. They look really fun.
A lot of people have been giving me a lot of flak because in my last column I called Updated 11 epic and huge. Many people disagree with me and say it’s not a very big update, there is no new zone, no new story, no new quests, thus making it a small update. To me, these people aren’t looking at the big picture. Yes, I will agree that this update isn’t giving us what we’ve seen in the past, such as the new zones etc. But it’s giving us so much more. This update has more game changing features, features that change the way we play the game. Not many updates change how we play, just where we play. When you introduce an update that makes us rethink our playstyles or gets us out of our typical gaming rotations, it’s a massive update. With One Tamriel coming in the fall this is probably just one of many updates that’ll introduce new game changing mechanics, and I hope after One Tamriel they continue with the updates like this. Keep it up ZOS, you’re doing fantastic work.