Tag Archives: elder scrolls online

Elder Scrolls Online: Nameplates Coming

skyrim mod

While playing Skyrim, I miss my ESO (Elder Scrolls Online) high elf Templar.

We’re approaching the two-year anniversary of ESO. Most reasons I left the game I know are still in place: no real Auction House, only four classes with a very limited skill bar, and a super-obtuse UI that’s difficult to navigate.

I’d almost forgotten about the missing nameplates.

I remember when the ESO devs were showing off their game pre-launch, practically thumping their chests proudly at their amazing non-existent interface. Apparently they hadn’t noticed how much players don’t like their interface.

SkyUI – the super-popular interface-fixer mod for Skyrim, has over eleven million downloads. That’s a shocking number, apparently about one download for every two copies of Skyrim sold on all platforms (22 million) worldwide.

Last month the ESO devs actually announced they are planning to make the ESO interface a little less painfully opaque. They are planning to put back nameplates, which have been gone since beta. (I saw them – they weren’t glorious, but they worked.)

Apparently it only took two years of begging from players (I was one of them early on) and even a Change.Org petition!

I’ll probably give ESO another try in subscription mode as soon as I finish Skyrim.  I miss my elf, and I miss open world cooperation.  ESO has a strong focus on open world coop, i.e. Delves.

In the Orsinium preview last fall, the Creative Lead said public dungeons are a place they want to get more characters to, so they increased the experience rewards.  I love public dungeons.

Rift also has excellent grouping, public and otherwise, but I’m not ready to return yet.  Archonix put out a producer’s letter this week.

Rift has introduced login rewards, and intends to roll out multi-core and 64 bit client support this year, along with new souls, and new Carnival content.


In other news, Blizzard announced a major change to Hearthstone – new ways to play. Casual and ranked play will be broken into an official tournament division using only the most recently released decks of cards, while a “wild mode” will allow all cards from all sets.

I think it’s a great and needed change for various reasons. The players get a lot more new cards. The devs are less constrained, so they can do more creative things.

The game is free, so the amount of money that players spent on the retired cards (Naxx and GvG initially) in “standard” mode is not that much money over a two-year time period, unless they spent far too much in the first place. The real catch is the amount of money needed in the future to keep up with the pace.

Gaming Stocks

Stocks today (Friday) are giving up on their attempt to rally from Bear mode, and are dying in a fire. Even companies announcing great results this quarter (Google, Facebook), are being pummeled (down 4% and 6%).

That’s not wild mode – that’s crazy mode. Blizzard’s stock is continuing to get killed, and I’m now back to break-even.

I sold my Electronic Arts last week at break-even after they reported lackluster results, and the stock dropped 8% in one day. So I’m happy enough to see it drop another 10% this week.

I also sold Alibaba last week because I realized it’s a liquid trading proxy for China, and it no longer trades on its own merit. So that means I have to play that game, so I’m looking for the chart of the China ETF (i.e. FXI), to break out of the downsloping pattern before buying back into Alibaba as a proxy for China.

I’m just holding Activision-Blizzard and Microsoft until hell freezes over. Blizzard debt is even more of a potential albatross with the rising interest rates (I think?) but clearly no one else understands characters and can create new IPs and cross-marketing like they can.

The Electronic Arts CEO was going on (in their conference call) about Star Wars Battlefront’s great visuals, and how they are trending for a younger demographic. Apparently their new direction isn’t working well for them, since they drastically missed their revenue estimates, which actually fell from last year according to Zack’s.

So happy Friday! This went longer than expected, so next time I’ll try for an update on my game project. I’m programming this weekend. Last weekend was art.

I’m puzzled a little trying to make elves look like elves, and not like humans with pointy ears. If anyone has a genius observation, I’d love to hear it! The below portraits need a few touches still.

Professor Aspen is supposed to be an homage to Professor Snape (Alan Rickman, who passed on last month), but the semblance isn’t exactly brilliant.  The elf naming needs research and decisions.

elf ports

Elf In Real Life: Love And Cancer

elvish love ringTonight I was working on the cover art for my third novel. I needed elvish script. I found a translator at jenshansen.com.

I also found rings, so a screened one. This is the beautiful ring I’d want for my Arwen, if I lived in some alternate reality where I’d spend $1100 on an elf ring instead of chocolate and video games.

My priorities in life are pathetic.

Jens Hansen and studio created the rings for the Peter Jackson movie in 1999. He died of cancer later in 1999, reminding us that man is mortal.

Companies like Juno Therapeutics and Kite Pharma are currently hard at work developing cures for many different types of cancer using Car-T technology.

Today I practically won the lottery by holding stock of Biogen Idec, which announced shockingly promising results for a new drug that fights Alzheimer’s disease.

So I’m halfway up to an elf ring, but I’ll probably save the money and spend it instead on one week’s worth of Alzheimer’s medication, unless I forget what I was saving it for.


This week I’m still playing Hearthstone in my spare time, enjoying being alive. Apparently ‘cancer’ is a cool word to use among the youth of America right now, based on how often it’s dropped as a metaphor when complaining about Hearthstone in the forums.

There are drugs to fight game forum toxicity, but they are currently under-prescribed or illegal in most states.

This week I pre-ordered the Blackrock Mountain adventure pack for Hearthstone. I also watched some twitch streams of Final Fantasy ARR and Elder Scrolls Online, snooping to see if I wanted to go back to either.

Elder Scrolls Online

I was very dis-heartened to see the landscape of no nameplates in Elder Scrolls. This still isn’t working for me, and it’s lunacy to still not have this as an option. I googled Elder Scrolls nameplates just now, and I got crickets. My rant post here a year ago is on the first page of results.

“Nameplates in an MMO are cancer.” – Paul Sage

Ok, he didn’t really say that. I just thought I’d try the cancer metaphor thing, and even for a good cause it’s still lame.

So I could go back to Guild Wars 2 for the druid, as I mentioned last week, but I’m 200% disengaged from the GW2 story and gameworld, and I can’t imagine how going back can solve that. Somehow MMOs and my brain are just living on different pages. Elder Scrolls holds a significant edge because it’s the only MMO still on my hard drive aside from Rift.

Happy gaming, whatever you’re playing this weekend. Don’t forget to hug your loved ones.

Elf In Real Life: What Do Elves Do

elf listElder Scrolls Online released their launch trailer, and it’s about full-on war, featuring an elf-maid chained up and electrocuted.

Why would I want to live in this world? I noted the Warlords of Draenor preview material has the same look and feel. War engines. World-ending monster mashes.

I’m tired and literally sick of the violence, as well as the game monetization, ridiculous pre-order bonuses, and general game industry evil.

So I’m driven to psychosis.

Elf In Real Life: Day One

You can see my to-do list for today. This morning I worked on art, wandered the forest, and went to the lake.

I wandered on my bicycle and metaphorically, since I live in a concrete urban jungle.

At first, I was seeing real estate and business signs as if they were pretty flowers, and then a black bird came and flew directly over my head for several metres before stopping on a fence and looking at me. Maybe it’s one of the hungry birds I fed chips to last week.

Approaching the lake, my mind melded with the plants and birds, and I realized the entire living world as the work of a goddess. I felt my stress melt away into a sense of connectedness.

I saw two black boys with their pants hanging low off their asses, which is rare in this area. Maybe there was a gay convention somewhere. The lake front was all blocked off for a triathlon, which I considered symbolic.

The humans had taken over with their ego, their muscled bodies, and their urge for winning and victory. The air was thick with the odor of dead fish. Maybe the birds were hungry because so many fish were dead. The ducks were flocking to the humans to get fed.

This afternoon, I working more on my new piece of art, The Cross-Cultural College Of Biomechanical Life. I was reading a book called Shadows of the Sacred by Frances Vaughan. So far, it’s very good.

I’m a little behind schedule this evening. I missed the sunset, but a lot of the remaining elf list items can be done simultaneously. I feel more peaceful just thinking about it, really.

There are two things on the list that are making me pensive. The first is food. What do elves eat? I also realized after I made the list that I’d already failed at being a vegetarian. There were eggs in my banana nut bread for breakfast.

The second thing is meditation. Ideally, every act should be a meditation, but I’m far away from that. So that’s what the kitty is doing instead of playing video games. Nothing to see here. As an elf, I shouldn’t be here publishing my diary for attention. By writing this post in the first place, maybe I’ve failed.

I say “maybe” because certainty is certainly a human failure.

Tumblr Gaming Blog Of The Week

I Blame The Dice. Chances are you’ll like it.

Weekly Wyrm ~ April 1, 2014

This week I played WoW and Hearthstone. No big surprise. Hearthstone’s popcorn play of daily quests works for me. After several months of this, I might have some playable pro-level cards if I’m lucky.

So. We’ll see if that happens.

Elder Scrolls Online

The ESO headstart was a complete disaster as many predicted. The servers were down most of today, and many players complained about a certain gender-swapping frog in Morrowind whose curse became permanent.

In response to angry tickets, the game-masters were quoted as saying “screenshots or it didn’t happen.”

Ok, that was my lame April fool’s joke, but this crazy idea is the sort of immersion that fantasy RPGs need instead of logging in and paying cash for special account services.

I preach immersion, but no one ever listens to me. Frog. Curse. Kiss. Win.

In truth, by most accounts the ESO launch so far is near-flawless. The Storm King (from LotRO) even made his first infamous “I hate this game” post.

I watched some Twitch TV of ESO power-levelers and wondered what possesses these guys to play that way, speed-clicking through everything. I suppose it’s their self-appointed duty and goal in life. I have no idea.

The Tumblr Game Blog Of The Week

I abuse Tumblr every day, but I haven’t seen many game blogs lately.

Build A Dungeon From Me is a young blog with some nice fantasy art, including the revamped cover of Naked Doom as shown below. Naked Doom has a lot in common with Elder Scrolls–you start off as a prisoner, with rags for clothing and no weapon.

Tunnels And Trolls (pen and paper) was the first RPG I ever played. I preferred T&T over Dungeons And Dragons due to its choose-your-own-adventure style solo modules. The AD&D rulebooks did have a random dungeon generator to play with.

Naked Doom (the original cover) was one of my favorite modules due to the beautiful artwork by Rob Carver, later eclipsed by the spectacular art in City of Terrors.

Other posts at Build A Dungeon From Me include old art covers for Talisman, AD&D, White Dwarf magazine, and Steve Jackson’s Sorcery, another game I explored a bit, although by that point I was playing Ad&D with friends.

Naked Doom Tunnels And Trolls Cover Art

Where Are The Vampire Video Games?

bela lugosiLast week TAGN reported that CCP revealed financials involving an unspecified loss of 21 million in game code assets last year.

This week CCP is pushing the hype for Eve Valkyrie featuring Sony’s VR (virtual reality) headset. CCP just fired a bunch of World of Darkness staff, but they clearly have money to invest. They are putting it elsewhere.

Blizzard kicked World of Darkness in its pointy whities by grabbing its acronym for Warlords of Draenor. Bullyzzard also announced pre-orders for Draenor several months in advance of its launch, conveniently right before Elder Scrolls takes the stage.

Bullyzzard also threw Hearthstone and their Diablo III expansion onto the short bus of corporate blood and diversionary hurt. Vampires love blood and hurt, just like most Americans. So where are the vampire games?

According to a report I found online, Hollywood earned $7 billion on vampire-related entertainment in just two years between 2008 to 2010. That was mostly Twilight and True Blood.

Meanwhile, the list of vampire video games on Wikipedia is a forlorn tomb of outdated no-names and barely profitable games. Are game developers afraid of this difficult history, even after Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries? Are the fan bases for vampires and video games that divergent?

I don’t get it. This unhappy vampire fan is seeing CCP pouring money into VR shortly after slashing and burning the World of Darkness staff. So to be continued, I suppose, when CCP gets around to giving real news to passionate fans who have been waiting nigh an eternity for this bloody game.

The Challenge 15 Picks Up Steam

In other news, it was so nice to see TAGN pick up the 15 theme from my last post. Some other intrepid bloggers have jumped on the challenge, including Isey at I Has PC today. Thanks again to lvlinglife for getting it the idea going. I’ve really enjoyed reading peoples’ lists.

Blizzard Bully Tactics Whiplash

My Druid has reached L85. She is now grounded in Pandaria.

At first I felt forced to buy the Draenor pre-order for the L90 boost, but then I realized I already paid $42 for three months to level my characters the old-fashioned way. Also, why wouldn’t I spend $50 on ESO or Wildstar instead?

Decision made: no pre-order until after the competition weighs in. ESO supposedly has a vampire skill tree if desperation for blood afflicts me.

Elder Scrolls Online: Launch Looms

ESO head start is coming this Sunday. I was reading the MMORPG forums last night, and someone linked an epic post by a blogger and longtime beta tester who has now bailed on the game.

The cited reasons are the whole shebang of my objections and concerns as well, in well-documented detail–all the reversals/lies, the UI failures, the crushing of the hopes of the modders by gutting the API, etc. It’s all there, and it’s decent reading if you are interested.

The best forums rebuttals to Isarii’s criticism, in my opinion, are the ones accusing burnout after months of beta testing. I can refute that by saying I only played three betas for a handful of hours each, and I agree with most of the points.

Note the mention of bugs as well. ESO announced today that they squashed three progress-blocking bugs at the last minute. Wonderful. Good luck with the launch, which is guaranteed to be polished and lag-free.

All of that said, I hope the launch goes wonderfully for them, and I hope ESO is a success. I will certainly be joining sooner or later at the right time and price point.

Ok, time to play Hearthstone dailes. If you made it this far, happy gaming.