Last night I managed to wrap up Greenshade and move on to the next zone Malabal Tor. The funny thing about “leveling” through content in the post 50 game is that you lose all focus of how far you have actually come. When I started playing again recently I was sitting about Champion rank 115, but at this very moment after doing the introductory quest line in Malabal Tor I am sitting at 141. Both numbers seem like utter nonsense in the grand scheme of things, other than the fact that I am constantly getting incrementally more useful. That said the mobs around me are getting incrementally more crafty at all times as well, but I am uncertain where the theoretical “max level” at least for gear advancement sits. As of right now the highest level thing I have seen on any of the guild vendors is 160, which doesn’t really tell me if that is the actual max, or just the maximum that is reasonable to craft. I have done a shockingly minimal amount of research so far during this return to Elder Scrolls Online, because in truth… I had a path laid out before me already and that is to simply keep questing. It might be madness but I really would like to finish up Aldmeri Dominion and then quest my way through all of Ebonheart before starting any of the DLC content. Considering that the DLC lets you start it at literally any moment… I am guessing this is pure madness and not something most players do.
Back to the whole having no basis on how far I have actually come in progress… I was absolutely thinking that Malabal Tor was going to be the last zone in the AD content, and apparently I was completely wrong. After this zone I still have Reaper’s March which is fine by me because I am actually enjoying myself in this content way more than I ever thought I would. It is not exactly a surprise to anyone who has read my blog for very long… but I am not a huge fan of elves. My friend Tam has this theory that every player is inherently either a Dwarf of an Elf and the two paths rarely cross. I am absolutely a Dwarf and I tend to love all of the normal aesthetically wonderful things about Dwarfdom. That said the Elder Scrolls setting as a whole does some weird things with what is and is not an Elf… since technically both Dwarves and Orcs are elves in this setting. Essentially in Elder Scrolls you have the races of “men”, the races of the “mer”, and then the beastmen which probably have a similar name or at least should. Now in Skyrim… I go out of my way to kill Thalmor on sight… even if it is ultimately going to cause me issues. In The Elder Scrolls Online I find out that the Thalmor are largely a militant group of “Elven Supremacists” that most people don’t like… and often times actively hate. This subtle difference makes it significantly easier for me to actually like the elves while playing through the elf dominated content.
That said… I have also found a certain Kinship with the Khajiit… which was to be expected, but also the Bosmer which I was not entirely prepared for. I mean I have always liked the concept of the Green Pact and the existence of cannibal elves. However while actually questing through the Bosmer centric story content, it has been interesting to struggle with the same weird thin line that they do… of choosing what is common sense and what is honoring “The Green”. It is a testament to just how damned good the storytelling is in this game to get a notorious elf killer like myself… to convert to if not love… but at least a begrudging respect for the folks that don’t belong to the Thalmor. Of note… if given the chance I would still absolutely run around cheerfully slaughtering Thalmor. I am extremely happy though that the game has given me ample opportunity to at least embarrass a few of them for showing them to be the unsteady zealots that they really are. The only thing that I would have liked to have seen the game do… is throw in additional options for acknowledging the fact that you are an outlander while questing through the other two factions content. The highlight of yesterday however was dealing with Hermaeus Mora, one of my favorite of the Daedra… but also one of the more deadly. He presented me with a deal that I could not refuse… that I really wanted to refuse but felt the ramification of not taking it would be far worse. While at some point I know turtle mode will finish… I have a feeling that I will still remain engaged to the storytelling of this game for the near future and this is about to be my “off night” game of choice.