Last weekend in Australia, it was the Easter 4 day long weekend. There's two public holidays, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and traditionally if a public holiday falls on a weekend, the Monday becomes the day off. So I took advantage of this to unwind a little, and what better way to unwind than to play some games.
TESO, being the game of the moment, was what I chose, so I spent nearly all Friday*, Saturday, and Sunday arvo playing. I ended up taking most of Monday off, just vegging on the couch.
All up some fun was had, and I ended up getting my DK almost to 15.
There were a few things I decided to do.
- Run around the non-Glenumbra starting zones and get all the Soul Shards.
- Clear all the achievement caves/dungeons in Glenumbra.
- Explore all Glenumbra
- Get all the Glenumbra Soul Shards
- Do some leveling
Okay, so #5 was achieved, if somewhat slowly; as I said I hit Level 14 3/4.
#1 and #3 also fully achieved over the weekend. Getting all the soul shards was fairly easy. I like how the achievement gives clues as to where they are. However, I haven't yet got all the Glenumbra Shards.
I also didn't manage to clear out all the caves in Glenumbra, just got one left to do.
This brings me to some of the negative points of the Elder Scrolls Online. Some I've mentioned before.
Mismatched Quest Levels
I have been finding that some of the quest levels are simply incorrect. There's a few quests where the level indicates the starting level, 8 for instance and I can start doing that at 7 or even 6, but when I get to the final boss I get completely trounced. So I go off to level up and come back later at level 8.
Most I succeed at this point, okay, I don't mind that. But some I get trounced again. Hmmm. Level up another couple of levels. Still getting beaten. Come back even later. Same thing. What am I doing wrong?
That's kind of frustrating.
Bots In Dungeons
As I mentioned I spend some time doing the dungeons. But to clear the dungeon and get the achievement, you have to damage the boss. That can be kind of difficult when there are a dozen PCs (all named aedw or dsfsads) standing around the spawn point that kill that boss in less than a second after spawn.
There were a couple where it took 3 or 4 attempts before I was able to do enough damage to register for the achievement. I ended up guestimating the next spawn (fortunately not too long) and started swinging or firing before it appeared.
Gold Seller Spam
The chat channels, especially zone chat, are almost continually swamped with multi-line spam. The only option is to add them to the ignore list, but that only slows them a little. A few minutes later more spam bots are spamming.
Some players are complaining that they have reached their ignore limit, which is around 90 I believe, and are asking Zenimax to increase it.
*Friday Night Downtime
The other issue that is a bit(!) annoying is the decision by Zenimax to do two scheduled maintenance periods a week, the second one falling on 9:30pm, Friday night for four hours.
I understand the need to do maintenance, fix issues, and patch the game. But seriously, right in the middle of Australian/Oceanic primetime?
It's one thing to do on a weeknight, but a Friday night?
They did change this from Sunday afternoon because there were complaints, but it doesn't look like they really put much thought into the new time. Scheduled maintenance probably shouldn't be done on a weekend. It's why most maintenance times are scheduled for Tuesdays. Not-A-Weekend.
Note: Eve Online is also guilty of this. Their maintenance is every night, for an hour, around 9pm depending on daylight saving.
Actually, I'm not too worried about the bugs. There have been a few. Mostly not being able to enter a building or 'use' an object or NPC. They usually clear up, and in a couple of cases with quests, I just haven't got a particular quest item (there's no warning, it just doesn't work and I have to figure that out.)
Overall, I agree with other comments about this being a pretty clean launch. Sure, there are problems, but this is software, there's always going to be some bugs. But this has been one of the best launches I've seen.
There's no question that, so far, TESO is a successful game. There are a lot of people running around, lots of talk on chat (in between the spam) and the dungeons have lots of active and real players in them.
Of course this can change, and we haven't reached the end of the free month yet for most people, or the three month time when a lot of folks drop a game or just stop playing. We will have to wait and see what happens then.
The biggest challenge I think Zenimax faces now is to figure out how to clean up the bots and the spam without alienating their players. There was talk about limiting boss drops in dungeons using a timer to make it unprofitable for bots to farm boss loot, but this also punishes players who like farming.
And there have been some bannings of players who haven't actually done anything wrong. It's probably that frustrated players clicked on the wrong player name to report them and ended up getting them banned. It's also possible that some players have been deliberately reporting players who 'offended' them or are doing it to grief. Zenimax has to be very careful here, they don't want to drive players away.
So. This weekend is another public holiday weekend. ANZAC day, the Australia & New Zealand version of Veterans Day in the US is on the 25th of April. This kind of alignment doesn't happen too often, simply because Easter is based on a lunar calendar and changes date every year, but it's always worth taking advantage of when it happens (a lot of people are taking the three days off this week and getting 10 consecutive days off!)
I'll try and clean up a few more achievements, finishing off the following.
- All the Glenumbra Soul Shards.
- Get the last dungeon.
- Find all the Lore Books (hopefully there are clues for those too.)
- Finish all the remaining Glenumbra quests (if I can).
- Move into the next area.
I've only dabbled with crafting, mostly because I don't want to spend any valuable skill points, and bag space is premium. I've stopped collecting most provisioning mats. I really need to go to the bank and do a spring clean of my bags.
BTW, if you're playing TESO, give me a shout in the game. I'd be happy to hear from you.
Happy Gaming. Cheers.