Coming back to The Elder Scrolls Online has been this strange homecoming for me, in part because this is one of those games that I was part of something bigger than myself. Everyone has that one world that they would love to see done up as an MMO. It might be something from fiction like the setting of the Dune series, or something from a movie like Stargate…. but everyone I have ever known seems to have that one world that they would love to play in. For me that world was Tamriel, because since Daggerfall I have been a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls series of games. Granted I don’t date back nearly as far as some folks, but it is safe to say that I have spent multiple thousands of hours roaming aimlessly in the various Bethesda games. On February 26th of 2013 I got the email that I had been longing to see since I first began trying to imagine other worlds to make these sort of games from. I am not sure if I was in the literal first wave of invites, but I was there pretty early and that first four hour testing session went by so insanely fast. I was completely hooked, and bursting with so much to talk about…. knowing that I would have to swallow it down because I wanted to do my best to honor not only the NDA but also the testing process. This time I had one of my best friends reputation riding on the line, because not only did he get me in the testing process… but he was also responsible for building a lot of the quests I was experiencing.
During the early days they fired up beta testing servers, and assigned different people to different teams based on specific traits about them. I still for the life of me have no clue what Team Akatosh was, or what demographic we happened to represent. It was pretty early discovered that the Mara team were made up of largely female gamers, and then there was I believe Stendarr that was largely made up of ESO purists. Collectively we became known as the Psijic Order once the tests opened up further and started letting in new people. We were essentially the “first wave” or as some have referred to it the “The 0.016% ” but I don’t even have a clue if that figure is correct or where it even came from. I ground the hell out of this game, and never missed a single test that I can recall… and in every single case until the very end of the testing process… the tests were specific times. I gleefully bug noted every single thing that I saw, and at one point it got back to me that Ashgar and myself were apparently in the top 1% of bug reporters…. something I am admittedly a little proud of. The problem being that I got into testing in February of 2013… and the game launched in April of 2014… which means I feverishly played it as a second job looking for flaws to report for roughly a year before the game actually launched. When it launched… based on the videos on my YouTube channel I streamed at least 45 hours of it. I had simply burnt myself out on the game because I focused on it so seriously.
The awesome thing about coming back is that I am remembering the way I loved the game roughly three years ago when I first got that beta invite. Things feel fresh and new, and the pace is perfect for me. I can meander around aimlessly but still feel like I accomplished something at the end of the night. What is cool is the fact that the Psijic Order still apparently exists, in both the private area on the official forums, and the guild that we formed on launch. Over the last few days I have caught up with a few of these folks and it has been pretty cool knowing that someone stayed. While at launch we had around 150 people… until the other day there were only one or two of those that still poked their head in every now and then. Since then I have gotten Ammo and Solaria into the game, and they seem to be enjoying it. I have another friend that says he purchased it, since apparently you can now find it for around $20 and I will be meeting up with him to get a guild invite as well. Last night I did a significant amount of house cleaning, namely that I demoted everyone to recruit and removed bank access, largely just as a safety precaution since 90% of the folks are not active. The idea is as folks show up again, I will fix their permissions, but that allows those of us who are there to feel more safe sharing items in the guild bank.
I realize the Aldmeri Dominion quests were the last to go into the game… and that when they were created it was a bit of an all hands on deck crunch time. That said they are some really amazing quests. There is a quest sequence that deals with Brackenleaf a giant living tree…. that looks suspiciously like the Great Deku Tree from Ocarina of Time. The quest sequence involves protecting the tree from an enemy known as “The Outsider” and has some interesting plot points. I have to say…. I have always loved the Bosmer and if I was going to be an elf I think that is absolutely who I would be. I could absolutely live by the Green Pact, and eat nothing by tasty tasty animals. Also really enjoying the interaction with the Bosmer leader of Elder Root and the haughty Altmer that he is forced to deal with. I think the overall quest arc of Grahtwood is going to be pretty great to experience, so looking forward to pushing that forward a bit more. As of last night I dinged Veteran Rank 3, and I have an unknown number of champion points. I decided to go ahead and subscribe, and with that came a 10% experience boost… that was honestly immediately noticeable. Namely it was noticeable on the Veteran Rank progression, and I doubt I would have hit Rank 3 last night were it not for the boost. Essentially I mulled over the whole sub thing for a bit… and decided that the same amount of money could either go to outright buying some expansions… or go to three months of subscription and at the same time give me 4500 in currency to spend elsewhere. For the time being I went with the sub option because it just made more sense.