Elder Scrolls Online – Pillage, then Burn!

It’s Patch Day for Elder Scrolls online! The new DLC, Dark Brotherhood, will be available… well, it will be available when it’s available. You know how Patch Day goes. There was a patch, then an emergency patch to patch the patch and…

Suffice to say, I’m writing this article instead of playing in the new Dark Brotherhood content. (Which will feature, among other things: Assassination bounties, poison-making, and CRAFTING BAGS!)

Crafting Bags… mmmm….

Where was I? Oh yes. This article, while not necessarily thoroughly planned out as such, is going to be chock-full of interesting and fun tidbits, as well as a bit of fan-girling.

One of the things I love about this game is, you can take or steal just about anything. (SO MUCH LOOT!) Of course, there are consequences to stealing. If someone sees you, you get a bounty put on your head. Too high of a bounty, and the guards will kill you on sight and take your ill-gotten gains.

It is with this in mind that I remind you all: Pillage and plunder first, THEN burn.

Pillage
Pillage

Pillage first…
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THEN burn!

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And unlike “other games,” the destruction you wrought doesn’t simply fade away, leaving you wondering just wtf was the point. This is another stable I returned to about 10 minutes later. The fire has caught nicely.

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Barrels, sacks, and crates aren’t the only things you can loot. We’ve also got little troves of treasure, just waiting to be plundered. This is what a “Thieves Trove” looks like in the world.

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You are warned that it is theft, with red lettering instead of white.

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Of course we stole it! The booty:

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When harvesting nodes in the wild, you can leave the “Role Play” aspect in tact, and just hunt for things to harvest. Here is a shot of what some of the harvestables look like if you stumble across them:

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They’re quite easy to miss (except the blue ones), so if you have no patience for the hunting-gathering and just want your shiny lights to show you where in Sam-Hill your gatherables are, fear not! There’s a skill point for that.

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Ahh, that’s better. It also makes night-gathering a breeze.

If you’re REALLY lazy, there are in-game NPCs to gather for you, once or twice a day. They don’t bring in much, but sometimes they send the rare items. You don’t actually see them in game, but their presence is made known through their letters, which are often tiny little story-arcs all on their own. My enchanter employee has had a bit of a rough time of it at the local tavern, as you can see:

cropped memo

There are all kinds of things in the world of Tamriel to discover and explore.

Come join us!

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Polrena Reviews… Elder Scrolls Online!

Summary:

Graphics/Sound: 4/5

PVE: 4/5

PVP: 4/5

End Game: 4/5

Community: 4/5

Elder Scrolls Online: From the Wikipedia: “The Elder Scrolls Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing video game developed by ZeniMax Online Studios. It was originally released on April 4, 2014 for Microsoft Windows and OS X. It is a part of The Elder Scrolls action fantasy video game franchise, of which it is the first open-ended multiplayer installment.”

Elder Scrolls Online is an online, multiplayer version of the Tamriel world, the same world found in the beloved games Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. I’m delighted to say the current version of the game has captured much of what made Skyrim so playable.

Gold: the standard, in-game monetary unit.
Crowns: Purchase with Real Money at the marketplace. Can be used to purchase vanity items, Downloadable content expansions, and trifles.
Alliance Points: Currently gained from PVP experience, used to purchase PVP potions, PVP things, siege items, and more.
Tel Var Stones: Honestly, I have no idea. I must not have gotten that far yet.

Elder Scrolls Online (Hereinafter referred to as “ESO”), is a “Buy to play” game, with optional subscription and expansion choices. You must purchase the game, either online through the website or through associates such as STEAM, or a hard copy version from your favorite gaming retailer. It runs about 60 US dollars for the basic game. After that, your online experience can be completely free: no monthly subscription needed, and many players choose this. There is PLENTY of content without the additional expansions, especially in the first few months of playing. There are, however, additional purchasing options. You may purchase Crowns with real money, allowing you to purchase downloadable content (“DLC”), otherwise known to most gamers as expansions. These expansions —err, DLC— are forever accessible if purchased via Crowns. The other way you can go is to purchase a monthly subscription – which I have – which grants access to every DLC, for as long as I have my “ESO Plus Membership” subscription. When the subscription ends, so does the access to the DLC. The neat part of this is, your monthly subscription gives you 1500 Crowns! You can save up your crowns and purchase the content if you want to end your sub, but keep the expansion content. There are currently three expansion/DLCs available: The Imperial City, Orsinium, and Thieves Guilds, with a fourth, The Dark Brotherhood, planned for late May.

Graphics/Sound:

Elder Scroll Online’s graphics are breathtaking. I expected a shoddier, rougher look than Skyrim, and was pleasantly surprised with the feel and detail of Tamriel. I don’t have a high-end computer, but I can run high graphics without Lag, which impressed me even more. No sacrificing graphic quality for performance! The movement impressed me, as well. The grass moves like grass. NPCs move around like people and have conversations with each other that don’t inlcude you. Butterflies and frogs and fireflies zip around (which you can catch!) adding to sense of a living, breathing world. The zones are intelligent, so you aren’t stepping from desert to arctic wasteland to jungle inside 5 feet. It’s probably the most beautiful game I’ve played.

Sounds and music are above average, with a minimum amount of sound options available. The music background music is neither irritating nor exactly inspiring, but the changes do let you know whether you’re in combat or out, in a town area, or near goodies like thieves troves, so the musical cues do their job well. As near as I can tell, the bards only know two songs, which I call “Red Diamonds” and “Sway as We Kiss.” The game tries to fool you by sometimes playing the songs without lyrics, but those minstrels don’t fool me one bit. I’ve spent enough time in the taverns to know “Red Diamonds” when I hear it! If I had one complaint about the game, the bards’ limited repertoire would be it.

Pros: Pretty!

Cons: Red Diamonds!

Random flavor skeleton in a corner
He must have played “Red Diamonds” once too many times

PVE:

Currently, the leveling system is: 1-50 regular levels, then 1-16 “veteran” levels, with a “Champion” point system at the vet level. However, vet levels will soon be going the way of the dodo, leaving us with levels 1-50 plus champion points.

During your leveling from 1-50, you earn two sets of points: attributes and skills.

Attributes are health, magicka, and stamina. Like every MMO ever, your health affects how much damage you take before you die. Magicka is both how many spells you can cast, and how effective they are. Stamina is the non-caster version of stamina, for the sword and bow types. You can pick where to put your attributes, which makes for some interesting build choices. Want a stamina sorcerer? Sure, why not. A magicka tank? Anything you want, buddy. You aren’t even limited to what kind of armor you can wear. Put that healer in heavy armor, if you feel like it!

Skill points are something else entirely, and you put them where ever you want to. You can put them into spells, crafts, armor, passive skills, whatever the blast you feel like putting them into. (Pro-tip though, you’re going to want a bunch in your class abilities. You could probably get away with your basic attack, but I don’t recommend it.) While you only get 1 skill per level, you also get skill points for completing certain quests, killing some boss mobs, or you get 1 skill point for every 3 “Skyshards” you find in the world… and there are a LOT of them out there.

Champion points, which you start earning at 50, are extra little perks such as extra resists, faster regeneration of magicka, health or stamina, extra critical power, and the like.

Questing: Yes, please! None of that annoying “Go here, kill X mobs, rinse repeat” from ESO! Like Skyrim, you have objectives, yes, but the mobs you kill are incidental to the objective, and are usually only because they’re in the way. There is lots of talking, and clicking on things to make them go, puzzles to solve, helpless men to rescue… The main story runs throughout, with side quests in addition to alliance quests that run tandem with the overall story arc. I even completed some of the out of order, which gave entirely new spins on what I thought was going on! In one, after doing the level 40 quest line, I tried to kill off a character in an early 20’s level quest, because I didn’t like what the character did later on… only to find out what my choosing that action was what make the …being… so unlikable. I guess even ESO hates a paradox! Well done, writers.

If you hate quests, you may not care for this aspect of the game much. There are map icons which indicate where you should go, but there is no golden path as there was in Skyrim. You’re just going to have to run around and find it yourself. (Hint to non-American players: “Throwing” a lever means you find a switch and push it. You don’t actually throw anything.)

Land ownership:

None, but rumors are that player housing is panned for some point in the future.

Customization:

The dye customization is interesting. You can dye any piece of armor that you like, for free, as many times as you like, but the trick is, you have to unlock the dyes first. You can unlock dyes through quests and achievements.

Trade: In what has to be an MMO first, there is no global auction house, which takes some getting used to. The theory is, when you have a global auction house, said auction houses’ prices and availability of items can be monopolized by one guild or even one person. Instead, ESO uses a system in which you can join up to five player-created guilds at once. Each guild, if it has over 50 members, can have a store. You can purchase from any guild store that you find in the world, but you can only put items up for sale in your own guilds. This has kind of an interesting effect, where you can join a guild or two for social reasons, grouping reasons, or trading reasons, or any combination thereof. I have three guilds I do extensive selling with, for example, with two social guilds, one a rather nicely hardcore group that executes dungeons with precision, and another social guild with lots of chatting and new people (like me) trying to figure out how to just play the game. The guild system fosters a very comfortable gaming community, where everyone tends to get along because there isn’t a whole lot of cut-throat competition for resources or customers. Everyone can be a master craftsman. Just because your guild has one, doesn’t mean you can’t be one, too!

Crafting:

Happy to report that unlike some games, you don’t have to limit yourself to only picking one or two or three things you want to do with crafting, and being forced to level alt after alt in order to pick up the others. The skill points system means you can put points wherever the hell you want to. I was initially advised to only pick two crafts. I blew that advice off, and am now happily crafting clothing, weapons, staves, and enchantments. There is a 1-50 progression for crafting, with one skill point needed every 10 or so levels. Within that progression, there are other skills you can choose to pick up, using your skill points, such as free daily materials, glowy materials in the wild, extra research slots, and more. (Did I mention that gathering is NOT a skill? Gather whatever you want, whevener you want.)

Like most MMOs, your crafting will take increasingly better materials to make increasingly better items. Where it gets better than other MMOs is in the research! There are a number of “sets” available to craft found around Tamriel, but each set requires a number of known “traits” in order to craft. For example, let’s say you want the “Seducer” set to increase your Magicka recovery and max amount of Magicka. You’ll need to have researched at least 3 “traits” from other armor, for each piece you want to make. That’s three for the light helmet, three for the chest, three for the boots, etc. You can learn up to 9 traits, with increased research time per trait. The first is 5 hours. The fifth is five days. (I haven’t gotten beyond five yet.) This is where the community comes in handy! You’re quite likely to run into a crafter who is happy to make whatever you want, for the materials and tip. Your guilds wants you in good armor, and the armor materials themselves are relatively inexpensive. It’s the research time that’s the killer!

You’ll also have fun trying to gather all the different “styles” of armor (because who wants to run around in a robe that looks exactly like everyone elses’?) All in all, its a complex but fascinating system. I’m working on a spreadsheet.

Pros: CRAFT ALL THE THINGS!

Cons: Improving your items can be pricey.

The other white meat
Don’t ask where that stat food came from.

PVP:

No global PVP. However, there is an entire huge zone of PVP content, in which you fight for strategic points such as lumbermills, and the on to siege the castles and keeps. Bring your healers, your trebuchets and your catapults!

Pros: Balance! I know, I know, I was stunned, too. I woudln’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t (stealthed) watched two max-level dudes try to duke it out for over six minutes without either one of them making any headway. After a while they stopped fighting and sort of walked away together. I like to think they were going for a beer.

Cons: You can ONLY fight alongside your NPC-guild alliance members, so if you’re with the NPC alliance, Daggerfall Covenant, while your PC guildmates are Aldmeri Dominion, forget it. Unless you want to see who can wipe the floor with the other, of course.

End Game:

I haven’t gotten to the end game yet. I imagine it’s more dungeons and better gear. ESO dungeons so far have been fun , and don’t feel very grindy and boring. The bosses have unique challenges to overcome (you ever tried lockpicking yourself out of a cell while your party mates scream at you to hurry up so you can heal them? Ya. Unique.) They’re also not all the SAME dungeons, with different mobs scattered around. Each feels very different from the others, with different layouts, design, and length.

Community: The community is amazing. My personal hypothesis is, this is not a game where the objective is to screw someone else over, so it isn’t attracting the kinds of players who only play a game to screw someone. *cough*ArcheageEve*Cough* You’re not smashing someone else’s ships, fortresses, castles, or trade supplies. It’s more of a multiplayer get-along-gang game, where cooperative play is actually encouraged. Very refreshing.

As games go, I highly recommend this one. You should try it.

Ari the Wonderdog DMG Charity Youngdiggers.com.au

Like most countries in the world Australia has a military and people are often asked to go and do things that the ordinary person would not even be able to comprehend. These people form the armed services who fight and are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice it does not matter what country they belong to they all share that bond of brotherhood that can only be explained to someone who has stood in exactly the same shoes you have.

As a member of the Australian Military i have been on multiple active deployments that have taken me away from my family and friends on multiple occasions (both eve and RL) and i have done it for 12 years. Its funny i only signed on the dotted line for four years and 12 years later is still find myself getting dressed in a military uniform.

Unfortunately some of this service has taken a toll on me personally. I was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Major Depression coupled with anxiety attacks that can be brought on by simply crossing the road. The stigma of mental illness in Australia still exists that i suspect it does in many other countries, in particular with veterans. You see we are taught to turn on the kill switch but very few people are taught to turn it off. So when we come home we feel isolated distant or sometimes a different person. The world has moved on without us and we struggle to relate to our own families and friends. The expectations are the same, howerver some people just cant switch the brain off.

I got lucky after two failed suicide attempts and an intervention from my friends i voluntarily checked myself into a PTSD Mental Health facility that caters to serving and ex serving members of the military. Here i learned quite a lot about myself and about what it means to constantly have to battle my mind everyday. I also discovered a wonderful non profit charity group called Young Diggers.

Young diggers offer support and guidance to serving and ex-serving members as well as their family’s as you can see below their mission statement.

Support and programs for serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families
It’s about YOU!

Young Diggers provides a variety of support services and programs to help serving and ex-serving personnel of the Australian Defence Force, their dependents and direct family members.

Whether you, or a family member, has served in the Army, Navy or Air Force on operational deployment or during peace time, or you a member of the Australian Federal Police who has served on peacekeeping missions, we are here for you. Our main objective is to enhance and maintain your quality of life during your transition from military to civilian life and help you overcome the difficulties you are facing.

On top of this they have what is known as a dog squad and this is where Ari my 2.5 year old German Shepherd comes into play

The Dog Squad


Assistance Dogs for Combat Stress and Physical/Mental Illness

The Young Diggers Dog Squad trains dogs to become Assistance Dogs to support our serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members who are dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). This program helps more than just the individuals.
The Dog Squad helps Defence families to better cope with the effects of PTSD and saves the lives of many rescued dogs.
Throughout this program, Young Diggers provides members with help and practical support to enhance the quality of life for both the dog and the individual.
We are an organisation that does not stigmatize, pass judgement or devalue those living with and suffering from combat stress and mental illness. We provide a safe environment for our members to network with one another, exchange training tips and support one another through tough times. Family members are welcome and encouraged to get involved with the Dog Squad training.

Each dog that they rescue and train is provided to a veteran in need. These dogs offer more than just companionship they have the ability to wake you from night terrors, sense when you’re about to have an anxiety attack and pull you out of flashbacks/day terrors. They also force you to interact in normal life again rather than shutting yourself away from people. Having to take the dog for a walk or go get dog food while it might seem like an easy ordinary task for some people can be a reach challenge

These dogs are vital to the rehabilitation and recovery for people suffering from Mental Illness brought on by their service to their country. I know this is an Australian program but it is one i hold very dear to my heart, because they saved my life.

So we as a directorship for DMG have decided that this is a worthwhile cause to get behind and support and we hope you do as well.

It takes $2500AU per dog to rescue, train and rehome with a needing veteran and like DMG leadership we are hoping that the DMG and SMA community can rally behind this great cause and help veterans in need no matter what country you are from.

If everyone in SMA donated $1 for each of their characters in SMA we would raise about $5000 which is enough to get two dogs fully trained, and provided to a needing Veteran

So regardless of your country of origin check out the site and make up your own mind and if you can please donate to the DMG Charity Paypal by clicking on the little link below and let’s see how far we can get as a group and community. Donations will close at the end of February and whatever we make will be given to Young Diggers.

http://www.youngdiggers.com.au

If you cannot afford to donate please share it on facebook or other social media to help spread the word.

The Oceanic Timezone in Spacemonkey’s Alliance

You will have to excuse me as i continue to call it the Australian Timezone. In recent weeks/months it was pointed out to me that it has progressed passed the point of just being for capsuleers who identify as being from the land down under. I can see why it might upset people who come from New Zealand or the Islands and even from some of the Asian islands that fall into a close timeframe as the Aussies do. Coupled with some parts or Russia the timezone itself if looked after and catered for can be quite a powerful entity in any Eve Online Community

It was pointed out to me and i scoffed at the idea not so long ago that Hawaii is also fairly close in time as long as you don’t mind being a day behind the rest of us in the future.

Either way the Australian, sorry Oceanic Time Zone in SMA is starting to thrive. We are taking on more corps with members who play in the dead hours of the US TZ and the early hours of the EU TZ.

Dingo Squad is a specific sig in SMA that has built its its community around capsuleers who play in the same TZ and have the ability and want to communicate with each other. Forming fleets before and after downtime to enable people to have fun while the rest of the world sleeps. They can quite often be seen camping gates in Fade, Pure blind and Cloud Ring regions of New Eden or dropping capital ships on unsuspecting neutral or red pilots as they fly through those regions.

If you play in the Oceanic (Australian) Time Zone and looking for content then look no further then Dingo Squad. You can speak to;

AITCH dylanstar12 Erata,
AITCH Daniel Tawate,
HOTDM Helen Sotken,
MINI3 Marshall Boma.

If you are a new or returning player looking for an Australian (Oceanic) TZ base of members you can try one of the following corps;

House of the Dead Monkey,
Internet Terrorists,
Minion Revolution,
Astro technologies.

Get involved in the Oceanic Timezone Community and reap the rewards of being part of a close tight knit group of people.

Monkey Culture – Respect

Respect

SMA is one of the best Alliances in EVE. We may not be the biggest or the baddest, but we do have heart. Our strength of will brings us together, makes us family. Our determination and cohesion helps us outlast those who would subdue or conquer us.

With the influx of new corporations and new members, it is perhaps time for a brief reminder of what SMA stands for.

First and foremost, we stand for each other. From the newest raw recruit to our most aged vets, SMA backs its people and rewards loyalty with loyalty. If you're in trouble, reach out and ask for help. Ask your corp mates, ask a diplo, ask in Alliance chat. When someone else is in trouble, go help them. In turn, the directorate will back you straight down the line and make sure you have a comfy, safe place to play.

To ensure SMA is a safe place, for all monkeys, no matter which game we play, there is a lot of information that doesn't get discussed in public. It may therefor feel like leadership is AFK, or doesn't care. The opposite is true- they play every day, and are accessible nearly 24/7 if the need arises. I can tell you from personal experience that while some decisions are easy and swift, other are carefully planned out, and some decisions are only made after weeks of agonizing debate-- and only what is in the best interests of the group as a whole will pass.

What does this mean for you, in your daily play? This means you have the right to be treated with respect, and also means you are expected to treat others with the same dignity. SMA is not your typical "Internet-Apocalypse Zone" where you may heap scorn on others, troll, or make personal attacks. To whit:

SMA is proud to have a high percentage of female players, for example, many in positions of leadership: diplos, starbase, training, CEO's, and FC's among them. Remarks that are personal attacks or misogynistic in tone, such as "jokes" about domestic violence and/or rape, are not welcome.

Similarly, we come from many countries around the world and come from a variety of backgrounds. While good-natured ribbing about Pommes and Kiwis may be tolerated, racist or ethnic slurs will not be allowed. Making such remarks WILL get you banned from Teamspeak, and repeated offenses may find you or your entire corporation kicked from the Alliance.

Other culturally sensitive topics you should be aware of: people with disabilities (please don't use the word "retarded," come up with something more original when you mean "dumb"), and LGBT people (The word "faggot" is not tolerated. Using "gay" or even "ghey" is expressly frowned upon and makes you look like a jerk). If you are anti-military, or have other strong political beliefs, this is similarly not the place for such discussions- we're here to play spaceships, not beat dead horses. If you, in turn, feel harassed or threatened while in a fleet, on comms, or in Alliance chat, let the person know they should stop. If the do not, copy the log and find a diplo.

If you are one of those people who absolutely MUST have someone to pick on, bully, or otherwise demean and belittle, here is a list of words which SMA finds culturally acceptable for use as a put-down:

MOA

TRI

Pandemic Legion

Spai

Fail

TEST

reset

Combinations such as "MOA Spai" or "TRI Fail" also work.

SMA is a team, and we are all on the same side. We come from all avenues of life, all over the world, and we expect that each one of you will treat everyone else with the same level of respect you deserve. Help each other when help is needed. Fight as one. Destroy our enemies. Long live the fighters!

SMA Diplomatic Office

Our Mission Statement

The Diplomatic Affairs Office seeks to raise the level of discourse and communication within our Alliance.  We hold our office to standards that make us efficient, helpful, well-spoken, informed, and relevant to all Monkeys regardless of their place in the Chain of Command; all the while representing the interests of The Executor as we serve at his pleasure.
 
The members of the Diplomatic Affairs Office also serve to secure the membership of the Alliance as a whole from threats both within and without. Thus, our eyes and our ears are open to the words and actions of the world at large.
 
At all times we speak the gospel of our Alliance, and, if necessary, we use words.

Our Charter

Contacts

1.  To represent the interests and will of The Directorate to all in SMA.

2.  To represent the interests and concerns of the members of SMA to The Directorate.

3.  To investigate, to the best of our abilities, those who wish to join our Alliance.

4.  To effectively gather, collate, and give curation to intelligence that will benefit the Alliance.

5.  To provide tools of security, counsel, and leadership to the Corporations of SMA.

6.  To, at all times, have an interest in the participation, leadership, and economic prosperity of the Alliance, and the Corporations within it.

Head Diplo - Widget Zombie

Deputy - Kyle Aparthos

Deputy - Ralos Emiris

Deputy - Myravingin

aLostProphet

Karasu Kado

Jason Baros

Deathwalker James

Apollo Rotineque

Mikeyy Lee

Helen Sotken

T’har Beowulf

Shannahan

Picard Naari

Napalm 1776