PC Gaming

Finally, Something Nice to Say About Elder Scrolls Online

I have been mean to The Elder Scrolls Online, I have tried my best to not directly attack it, and now I am finally going to show it some love.  A gentle, reserved kind of love, of course.  The kind you might show a friend who you haven’t talked to for a while now because they betrayed you in a not altogether insignificant way.  After all, I had something going with the Elder Scrolls series, and now what could be the penultimate title, at least as far as world exploration goes, wants to dress like World of Warcraft and eat at the rich kid table?

That’s messed up, but I digress.

Today, I read on PC Gamer some more information about an artifact from the ancient world of great MMOs that I thought was lost forever, but is instead coming back through ESO: public dungeons.  Though there are some potential miscues (I think) on how they intend to handle it, I think Bethesda’s MMO team is still doing us all a favor by bringing them back to modern gaming.

Let me explain why public dungeons are awesome:

Imagine yourself, for a moment, knee deep in orc corpses, but half-dead and battle-fatigued.  You have carved (literally, you are great with a sword and those orc corpses reflect it) out your own little corner of the Orcish Hell you decided to adventure through.  Your legs ache in gratitude as you finally sit down. You think you have a moment to rest.  Your breathing calms.  

Slower…  Slower still…

Your breathing becomes rhythmic, your health bar begins to refill: though not as fast as you had hoped.  It all takes on a certain music … a rhythmic drum beat teetering between worry and calm.

And then the sound stops.  The world stops.  Everything stops, except for one motion: the marching of an orcish scout party.

And it is too late.  And your health hasn’t fully returned.  Your greatest skills are on cooldown still.  This realization hits you hard in the gut as the first scout spots you still sitting in the corner.

You can’t silence him.  His party rushes you, while he himself, that ugly bastard of an orc, sends out the call.  You are surrounded, deep in enemy territory.  Hours spent getting this far, ready to go down in flame because you weren’t good enough to not take so much damage in the first place or not quick enough to get rested before being spotted.  The rotten breathe of the orcs descends upon you as the dice begin rolling and your fate is left up to chance …

But suddenly, a sword flashes behind the furthest orc.  You can just make him out.  A stranger.  You recognize him, kind of … sort of … He may have been someone you sold something to. He might have pugged with you once.  Or perhaps he was just some bloke AFKing outside the bank.  Either way, he is here and he is saving you.

The fight rages until it doesn’t.  The swords swing until they don’t.  You live until its over and hold on somehow.  Your delving of the dungeon continues, but as you descend deeper and deeper still, you do it with someone else.  Someone you met either by random or by fate.

You are thankful all the same to this stranger.  And after the adventure ends, the dungeon has been plundered and its horrors endured, you add someone else to your Friend’s List.

If you would like to know more about the specifics of ESO’s dungeons, please read the article on PC Gamer. Oh and if you do have some interesting experiences with non-instanced dungeons, feel free to sound off.  They really are a great source of emergent gameplay, and, at least for me, functioned quite often as sources for fun stories to tell and to meet new and interesting adventurers.

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3 thoughts on “Finally, Something Nice to Say About Elder Scrolls Online

  1. Allow me to present a slightly different scenario:

    You’ve spent the last 20 minutes fighting you way through hordes of unsavory beasts. The going is tough but you are equal to the challenge. Up ahead you spy the boss. The final challenge awaits after you make one last pull. The well-earned reward will soon be yours!

    As you begin the final trash pull you notice a glint of steel out of the corner of your eye. What’s this? Another hero to assist you and share in the glory and riches? A potential friend to be made?

    The other adventurer stops briefly and seems to asses the situation. You are struggling and will welcome the help.

    He moves. You smile as he runs up to you, but that smile turns into a frown as he runs past you and engages the boss. “No!” you scream as he tags the boss. “All of my hard work for naught!”

    The dust settles as you both finish your battles at the same time. You have earned the glory but lost out on the riches, the very reward you worked so hard for. The other character /laughs at you as he runs past on his way out. “Thanks for the loot!” flashes in your chat log.

    We don’t know the details of these public dungeons so there very well might be systems in place to prevent this. Hopefully so, because this (or something like it) has happened to me in nearly every MMO I’ve played in public areas. The sole exception that springs to mind is GW2.

    I hope your scenario is more right than mine.

    • That is definitely a classic scenario. I would assume bosses become Public Events, or, they become a style of quest that you automatically receive upon being near them (and the reward comes through the quest and the credit is shareable).

      Though, I pose this mechanic to you: the Evolving Pinata. Imagine if the bosses become harder and their loot becomes better based on the amount of people beating on them. That way, you don’t lose difficulty without also losing soloability, the rewards have some level of scaling, and everyone ganging up on a boss at the same time is promoted.

  2. Pingback: Things I Missed Yesterday: The Elder Scrolls Online and Grand Theft Auto V | Game Delver

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