From Beta to Live – The final countdown

Recording some things for posterity while I wait for the Elder Scrolls Online to officially open at 7am EDT this morning.

Exploring the Elder Scrolls beta history Invite to Stress Test Beta
Invite to the Stress test Beta

I think this was the second invitation I received. I somehow managed to trash the first, probably during one of my mass purges of my email recently.

After every beta test was over, I’d receive a message that looked like this:

Elder Scrolls Online beta - Why didn't you play?
Why didn’t you play?

I sent a note the first time, explaining that I had a Mac and there was a message that the Mac client wasn’t available, so what should I do? The response was to write back every time saying that I had a Mac, which is what I did with each beta invite that came.

Each beta test without a Mac client available added to my eagerness to try the game, though. It was almost like waiting for Christmas before you learned to read a calendar as a child.

And of course, ZOS would send things like this out to tease me, reminding me of what I couldn’t play yet (remember I’d been waiting for a new Elder Scrolls since counting down the days to Skyrim and then realizing it wouldn’t run on either my old PC or my Mac).

Elder Scrolls Online beta Character Creation Video Teaser
Character creation video teaser

I still remember the day I got my invitation to join the Psijic Order. I was still waiting for a Mac version, but now as soon as one was available, I knew I wouldn’t have to wait for the next beta test.

And soon enough, the Mac version was ready to play. On that day I’m pretty sure I jumped up and down in excitement and did a happy dance or two for good measure. 🙂

Once I could download the game, time went fast. I spent the first 10 days or so getting my feet under me, figuring out what was what and what was different than I was used to. Oh, and of course there were the bugs just to keep the game interesting. But, bug finding was why we were playing, after all, and it is kinda fun stumbling across a new issue the first time, especially if it’s a funny one, like falling through the ground.

Elder Scrolls Online Beta Infinite Fall
Infinite fall

It seemed like almost no time before we were getting ready for the last couple beta tests. The NDA had only recently been lifted, and we could now share what we’d been experiencing while we explored Tamriel. The only limit still left was a request for us not to run live video feeds during the week.

On the second to the last beta, we were allowed to invite a friend, and I had another friend who had an invite he wasn’t using, so I sent them to a couple friends I thought would enjoy testing the game out.

Elder Scrolls Online Beta - Invite a Friend
Bring a friend

Two weeks later, we were on the last beta test and the end of testing was rushing toward us.

Elder Scrolls Online - Final Beta Test Invite
Final Beta Test Invite

And then it was finally here, the last few days of testing and then a few days with everything closed while ZOS managed to finish up the things they needed to do before the game officially opened.

And now we’re actually here, the first day of early access is upon us, and Tamriel awaits. See you in the game!

All you didn’t know about addons, but were afraid to ask

Teeg: Today I want to introduce you to Wykkyd. I posted a question in the ESO forums a couple days ago about wanting a clock that showed what time it was in the game, and Wykkyd suggested that his addon could be the solution. I had hesitated at using addons before, but decided to try it out and found Wykkyd’s Framework to be very helpful.

Today, I sent him a note and asked if he would want to write a post about using addons and about what goes into building them. So without further ado, please welcome our guest author, Wykkyd:

Addons?  We don’t need no stinking…

One thing you’ll learn about me if you’re around me enough is that I throw movie quotes into nearly everything.  The subject, for example, is a slight twist of the ‘badgers’ quote from an old 80’s movie named UHF, starring Wierd Al Yankovic.  I’m an odd person and I have no qualms admitting that.  Aside from my oddities, and perhaps because of them, I’d like to thank Teeg for inviting me to write this article for the blog… though that invite might soon be regretted. 😉

I am Wykkyd.  I’ve been playing Massively Multi-player Online games (MMO’s) since August of 2000.  I’ve been playing Role-Playing Games (RPG’s) since way back to Zelda in the 80’s.  You could say I’ve been around the block quite a bit, as I’m sure many of you have been.  And if you haven’t, that’s ok too.  While I absolutely do have a history of playing with a rather elitist mindset in many, many games I also take joy in helping others.  You’re just as likely to find me putting some cocky jerk in his place as helping, and probably defending, some hapless ‘newb’ who’s simply trying to learn.

None of that is why I’m here today, however.  I’m here to talk about ‘Addons’, or ‘Mods’… those things that some of you are aware of and, seemingly, most of the TESO public seems to be somewhat unaware of, or uneasy about.  Well, I’m here to help with that.  I’m here to explain what they really are, to help you set your expectations in advance to be able to spot poorly authored addons, and to finally explain a little bit about what it means to write addons.

Addons vs Mods

The terms are not actually interchangeable.  The different communities that have evolved around RPG and MMO games have started to mingle the two terms but in reality, at their core, they are fundamentally different.  Even some Addon authors and game companies sometimes refer to Addons as Mods, and errantly so.

An Addon is an uncompiled collection of related plan-text files that interact with a program’s Application Programming Interface (API) in order to tweak or enhance that application’s User Interface in an application-limited fashion.  They work within the confines of the host application’s, or game’s, limitations and provided functionality and thus they can only do what that program, or game, allows them to do. ‘Add-ons’, or ‘addons’, add onto the program or game that they’re built for. ‘Add onto’, not modify.

 A Mod is, by distinction, a ‘modification of’ the program or game that it is being applied to.  It changes something.  In Skyrim, for example, Mods were capable of complete overhauls of the combat system, total conversions of the entire game world, creation of brand new content, even changing the way blades of grass were or weren’t rendered by your video card.  Mods ‘modify’, fundamentally, the application or game that they touch and they usually don’t bother with an ‘API’ to do what they do.  They are limited by the developer’s ability to do their work without causing errors.

 And here’s where I apologize for being overly technical.  It had to happen at some point, though.  For someone who’s been an Information Technology professional for over twenty years it can sometimes be a tad difficult to break things down for the laymen.  HopefullyI didn’t lose half of you with the above definitions.

 The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) allows Addons, not Mods.  To confuse things, though, they’re built on top of a franchise whose longevity is built upon the usage of Mods (a quick browse of will reveal that quickly).  And to make matters even worse, the Addon development section of the official forums is named… ‘In Game Modding’.  And since we’re not really modding… well, you get how so many people can get so confused so quickly.

 Zenimax Online Studios (ZOS) invite me and around two hundred other players to a private, exclusive beta server back in October of 2013.  We got that invite specifically to do extended testing on things the general public hadn’t seen yet (and still hasn’t seen, mind you).  But we were primarily invited due to the launch of their API.  They wanted developers, testers and users to start playing with their new API to see what we would do with it and what was possible.

The first few months didn’t see much in the way of hardcore addon development. We were all kind of blown away with the volume of content we’d been exposed to.  Many of us dabbled a bit but continued to play. Hardcore addon development didn’t really start for most of us until January 2014.

 What do TESO Addons Do?

What a given addon can do is dependent upon the author and what they chose to do with it, so I won’t get into too many specifics in this part of the article.  What I will do instead is talk, in general, about what ZOS’s vision was for them.  Keep in mind that while I’ve met the devs at ZOS and been in PTS for six months, I do not actually work there so I can’t officially speak for them.  It is safe to assume, however, that I have a relatively accurate inclination as to their intent.

 ZOS provided the game’s API as a way for Addon authors to enhance their user interface to suit the preferences of certain sections of their playerbase.  This was done for two primary reasons.  One, because it’s obvious that with a game like TESO there is no way to please every type of player the game will attract with a single user interface.  And two, because the crowd that is typically the most desiring of custom interfaces is the MMO crowd of players; a crowd of players that typically have the fewest reservations about using Addons.

 According to that description of their purpose it’s easy to surmise that ZOS had no intentions of players being given ‘unfair advantages’ by the use of addons.  They also didn’t want to force players to use them or not to use them.  Yet they wanted people to feel like the game was flexible and that you were able to play the way you wanted to play.  These goals tend to compete with one another, though, so they’ve had their set of issues with the matter.

What about this API nerf I heard about?

This goes back to the previous section’s description of what addons were supposed to be used for.  And the end result really wasn’t one that was hard for the discerning, informed eye to predict.  See, most if not all of the early addon developers were previous MMO players.  And those players are used to seeing certain things.

 So it’s no wonder that addons popped up which revealed more information about the player’s target.  After all it wasn’t abnormal for an MMO player to see things like Magicka or Stamina or Cast Bars for their target in any previous MMO.  In fact, it’s very normal to have access to that information in other MMOs.

 It is, therefore, little surprise that those things were created and those players certainly, for the most part, meant no harm or ill will while creating them.  To them it was ‘par for the course’, IE: normal.

 This provided what other players, who were not used to this level of information availability, an unfair advantage.  And when compared to the game’s built-in user interface, it certainly was.  They had a very valid point.  The argument raged on for weeks until someone posted a video using such addons in conjunction with a very illicit third party program to automate combat movements such as blocking hits, interrupting spells, etc.

 As a result a veryjustified change was made to the game’s API to limit this information and make it, with little exception, unavailable to addons.  That doesn’t mean cheaters can’t still go and use that third party program to automate things.  They most certainly can… but it’ll be harder without an addon feeding them information.  So, small justified win for ZOS.  Do I feel everything they changed was warranted?  Not all of it, no.  But I’ll withhold those complaints because they’re not relevant to this post.

Should you still use Addons?

That is completely up to you and depends greatly what your needs and desires are.  The answer to that question is very likely to change for you several times over the course of a month, let alone your entire time playing the game.

 I’m certainly going to use them.  In fact I plan on running two accounts and each account will have different addons running.  That’s the thing… addons become personal.  You grab the ones you like, or need, and you ignore the rest.  You find something fancy, you try it out and you keep it if you like it.  They can be installed, uninstalled, enabled, disabled and reconfigured at your whim.  As such, no addon decision is ever permanent.

What should I expect?

What you should NOT want from your Addons:

Exploring the Elder Scrolls Online WOW AddonThat is a classic example of the kind of thing most anti-addon users fear, and I don’t blame them. Meanwhile, the following is a screenshot of my character on the PTS (permanent testing server) running all 7 of my addons:

Exploring the Elder Scrolls Online beta AddonSee the difference?  Not all addons need to assault your eyes or clutter your screen and I, as an addon author, am a big fan of the ones that keep a very minimalistic approach to what they throw at you. And you, as a user of addons, should have that same expectation.

What about YOUR addons?

My addons are hosted on, &  I create what I like to call ‘Convenience Addons’.  They are designed to improve the quality of your gaming experience without being too abrupt or ‘in your face’.

Wykkyd’s Framework is at the core of my development for TESO.  All of my other addons use Framework as a base and build from there into their own thing.  This allows me to write less code over time as the code in Framework is written once and re-used many times.  But, Framework provides many nice features of its own including:

  1. Macros – The core game doesn’t provide a way to build quick little macros for emotes, addon interaction and other such things. Framework adds a tiny window where you can create up to 48 of them (a roleplayer’s dream come true) and you can keybind up to 12 of those.
  2. Toolbar – This little information bar is designed to sit, unobtrusively, on your screen wherever you position it and shares information that you choose to add to it.  The things it can be told to show you include: Local Time, Frames Per Second, your Zone, your Character’s Name, Character’s Level, Character’s Class, Character’s Race, An Experience Bar!, your Experience in your level, your Bag Space, your Soul Gems, Your Mount’s Feed Timer, your gold and more.
  3. Subtitles – A tiny little feature that gives you a re-positional on-screen box (that hides when you lock it in place) to which NPC roleplay chatter is sent as you run around the game.  All it means is that you won’t have to watch your chat window so much if you like to Roleplay.
  4. Auto-sheath – Do you feel silly when your character runs around holding their staff out for hours for no reason?  I do. So this watches for combat to end and toggles your sheathed weapon state.  It’s not perfect, because the game’s API is a tad limited but.. it’s better than nothing.
  5. Chat Background – a small grey box that sits behind the chat window if you want it to.  It just makes things a bit easier to read.
  6. Loot Notifications – This is very handy for people who use auto-loot.  It, quite simply, just puts text in your chat window when you loot something to tell you what you looted.
  7. And more, actually… try it and see.

Wykkyd’s Full Immersion is a very small, very simple addon that lets you hide the Compass, the Quest Tracker, the Alert box at the top right of the screen or, quite possibly my favorite addon feature: The ability to ‘Smart Hide’ your targeting reticle.  Try this.  Seriously, do yourself a favor.  I promise that most of you will agree with the following sentiment: This is how the game was meant to be played.

 Wykkyd’s Outfitter is extremely handy. It lets you set up sets of gear and action bar skills and swap them, on the fly, with a few quick clicks or keybinds as long as you’re out of combat and have enough bag space.  And it works beautifully in conjunction with Framework’s macros.  It is so beneficial to players who constantly change roles that I’d, personally, consider it a must-have for any character that does more than one thing.  Being able to, with a click, switch between DPS mode, Tank mode, Heal mode, PVP Group mode, PVP Solo mode, etc… I really couldn’t imagine going back to the tedium of playing without it.

And there are more. I currently publish 7 addons, actually.  Go check them out.  I’m also very open to suggestion for new features and I’m very responsive when people have issues.

Finally, about Addon Development

I got into Addon development while playing WoW as a way to clean up the addons that other people wrote to trim them down and fix them to suit my needs (and the needs of my gaming wife).  We just like a cleaner interface, and most addons at that time didn’t offer that.

When I left WoW for Rift I took up the Addon Development banner after a full year of not touching it and running no addons.  I wrote an Outfitter addon for Rift that is still used today, though it’s maintained by other developers now.  It swapped gear in a very nice way that was very exclusively Rift and people loved it.  I wrote that addon because I was lazy and tired of the tedium of moving gear around.

In fact, that’s mostly what I tell people: I write addons because I’m lazy.  I don’t want to open 10 game windows to get information, I’m lazy.  So I took over Bazgrim’s toolbar when he quit, rolled it into Framework, rewrote it twice and enhanced it… all so that I could see information at a glance without opening windows.  I worked more so I could be more lazy.  That’s my brain for ya.

And that’s the key word: Work.  Addon development iswork.  I didn’t really register that until I dove in.  I didn’t give it a thought.  I just glossed over that fact subconsciously, took these works that others had created and used them; often complaining when they failed and rarely saying thank you.  I’ve been a programmer in the “real world” since 1992 (1986 if you go back to Jr High school).  I should have known better and, I’m sure, some part of me did.  But it just wasn’t important to me, I guess, so my subconscious mind just blew it off.

Well, I’m also here to ask you not to blow it off.  At least say thanks.  Share the addons you like with others, encourage them to also give feedback.  Spread the word: Addon developers volunteer to not play the game we all love so that you can have a better gaming experience.  I’ve spent over two months rushing home from work, dining with the wife and kids, kissing the boys good night and then putting my nose into a computer monitor to program addons, while standing still in a town inside game.  Unable to play.  Meanwhile hordes of players would have killed to have the access I had to the game… a game I wasn’t actually playing anymore and was instead programming against.

Dozens of us did this.  We put in, collectively, thousands of hours to make ‘options’ in our free time, eating through our ‘play’ time.  So… say thanks.  And if you can spare a couple of coins, toss some of your favorites a donation or two.  We will burn out faster than you, I promise.  Fans sending us thanks and the occasional donation will keep us playing, and developing, long after we’ve burned through our motivation.

Thanks again for sticking around and reading my long-winded blog post.  I hope I’ve opened some eyes and brightened some days.  If you have any questions or just want to chat you can find me on Twitter @WykkydGaming, on email as and in game as @Wykkyd or @WykkydGaming (depending on which account you find online).

Cheers, and happy hunting.

Teeg: If you enjoyed this post and appreciate any of Wykkyd’s addons, please also read and share this post and help Wykkyd and others get their names back in ESO.


How Do I – Train Skills

For today’s question, zukula asked, “Can we train skills, and if so where they are located?”

There are several ways to train skills, and even add new skills as you play ESO. The most basic way to add a new skill is to gain a level. Each time you gain a level, you will receive an attribute point and a skill point to add to your character.  Another way is to find Skyshards, which are hidden around Tamriel, much like the welkynd stones were in Oblivion. For every three skyshards you find, you’ll gain a new skill point. Finally, as you use the skills you have added (or the inherent skills that you were “born” with), those skills will gain levels. It’s not at all unusual to be exploring the wilds and get the message that your light armor skill has gone up.

How to add a skill

Typing ‘K’ brings up the Skills screen:

How To find Skills on the Selection Menu
Skills on the Selection Menu

Here it is on the game screen so you’ll know where to find it.

How To Skills Selection Menu on Screen
Where to find the Selection Menu on your screen

Clicking on the skill menu (or typing K) opens up a side screen on the left that will look similar to this:

How to add skill points - skills list
Skill List

The skill headers (Class, Weapon, Armor, World, Guild, Racial, and Craft) will be the same no matter what character you’re playing, but the choices under them will change depending on how you’ve designed your character.

Each class has a unique skill set, as well as each race. Use the balance of the two to create exactly the character you want to play.

Depending on the type of character you want to play, I recommend spending at least one early skill point on your favorite weapon type (poison arrows are very handy if your character isn’t very strong yet) and if you’re wanting to do alchemy, quickly get to level 2 and then add the skill to be able to find material easily. Alchemy plants are hidden in the wild, so having anything that makes them easier to spot will significantly help your collecting.

Eastshore Islets Camp – Hidden Crafting Spot

While I was out exploring today, I came across a little camp not too far from the town of Vulkhel Guard, the starting city for the Aldmeri Dominion.

Now, it’s not unusual to find a camp while you’re exploring. Often the camp is filled with some enemies or maybe a chest and some supplies. But I was pleasantly surprised today to find a complete crafting set-up today when I happened across the Eastshore Islets Camp.

Secret Crafting Spot - Eastshore Islets Camp
Eastshore Islets Camp

The camp is hidden back a little from the shoreline, so here s a view from the ocean, so if you come across it while you’re exploring the area, you can take care of any crafting needs you have.

Secret crafting spot - Eastshore Islets Camp from the water
Eastshore Islets Camp from the water

One final screen shot of the camp, as you enter the camp, you can see all the crafting stations.

Secret crafting spot - Eastshore Islets Camp
Entering the Eastshore Islets Camp



How to Read Maps in ESO

As you explore in ESO, the details of the maps fill in. From Wayshrines to where the nearest bank is, this information is added along the way.

Here is the key to read ESO maps:

Key to Reading Maps in the Elder Scrolls Online

Here is what each icon stands for:


  • You

  • Group Member


  • Wayshrine
  • Dock
  • Caravan


  • Marketplace
  • Inn
  • Alchemy
  • Enchanting
  • Clothier
  • Woodworking
  • Blacksmithing


  • Bank, Guild Bank, and Guild Store
  • Stables


  • Mages Guild
  • Fighter’s Guild

Friday Questions – How do I…

Each Friday here at ExploringESO will be devoted to answering your questions. From how to create a new character to how to use a lock pick to break into a chest to how to use an add-on, ask away. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does.

Some of the questions lined up for future posts:

How do I use a treasure map?

So how do I use a lock pick?

What is a waypoint, why do I need one, and how do I use it?

How do I find the beginner island from Davon’s Watch?

How do I find other beginner’s islands?

What is the best way to get started in ESO?

How do I make money in ESO?

How do I buy a horse?

What other questions would you like to see answered? Leave me a note in the comments and ask away.

How Do I – Chat and Chat Codes in ESO

I often write these posts to answer questions I wonder about while I’m playing the Elder Scrolls Online. Other times, I write them in response to issues I notice others running into and it’s often easier to write out and share a blog post than it is to try to explain the same answer several times to different people. And of course, I’ll also write posts in response to questions I’m asked.

This post is a combination of the first two situations. I had wondered about some of the chat codesand I’ve shared a few times how to do things like group chat (in ESO there are guilds, which can be composed of an infinitely large number of people, and there are groups, which can only have up to four people at a time). Both guilds and groups have different chat codes so you can chat with exactly who you want to.

So how do I use chat?

To start with, simply type / in the game.

How to Use Chat in ESO - The Chat Box
The chat box

That will bring up the chat box.

In the box, you can use a number of chat codes to identify who you want to chat with.

  • /say – The default chat
  • /yell – Shouts (the default color for yell is red)
  • /tell (player name) – Sends a whisper to anyone online
  • /group – Sends a message to everyone in your group (max is 3 other people)
  • /zone – Sends a message across the zone you are playing in. Very few Psijic beta testers use this except to reply to someone’s question.
  • /enzone, /frzone, /dezone – sends a message to the specific language zone
  • /emote – Allows you to preform an action.
  • /guild1 or /g1, /guild2 or /g2, etc. – Guild chat. Since you can belong to up to 5 guilds, each # allows you to speak to that guild. See settings (below) for how to find which guild is which number.

There are also a few chat codes that can help with other things in the game.

  • /bug – Let’s you send a bug report
  • /feedback – Send feedback on something that could be changed in the game.
  • /fps – Lets you check the frame rate of the game.
  • /reloadui – Reloads the UI
  • /help – Opens the help info box in the game.
  • /invite – Allows you to invite another player to your group.
  • /jumptofriend – A magic code if you have multiple characters and like playing with friends. Allows you to jump to the nearest wayshrine or graveyard near where your friend is play, even if you’re playing a different instance of the game (this means that the people you see playing the game around you aren’t the only people playing that same part of the game at the same time, but it is broken into sections so the game doesn’t appear to be overcrowded).
  • /jumptogroupmember – does the same thing, but allows you to jump to someone you’ve added as a group member.
  • /jumptoguildmember – Same as above except with a guild member.
  • /jumptoleader – allows you to jump to the wayshrine or graveyard closest to the group leader (the person who created the group).
  • /logout – Logs you out of the current server.
  • /stuck – Probably my least favorite, although it does come in handy if you discover a bug like falling through the stairs and having them close up around you. Unfortunately, it kills your character in order to unstick them.
How to Use Chat in ESO - Stuck under the stairs
Stuck under the stairs

Chat Settings

First, hit the Esc key in the game. This brings up a sidebar of options.

How to Use Chat in ESO - Escape Key Controls
Escape Key Controls

Under Settings, click on Social. This will bring up the Social options screen.

How to Use Chat in ESO - Social options screen
Social options screen

There are several options here that can help make your game chat fit your needs. I’ll warn you though that setting the transparency also makes the chat box stay on the screen, so choose whichever one is less annoying for you.

How to Use Chat in ESO - Guild list
Guild list

Scrolling down through the social settings will show you which guild is set to which number. Then you can chat with that guild by typing /g1, 2, etc.

By the way, guilds and friends are set to your account, while groups are set to your characters. That means that you can easily reconnect with friends and chat with your guild mates, but if you want to keep up with the members of a group when you’re all on other characters (or toons or alts – you’ll probably hear various names for the characters you play), you’ll need to add them as friends or create a guild with them.


/emote or /e or /me (activity) – allows your character to do the chosen activity.

How to use chat - Emotes
List of Emotes

Body Markings of the Khajiit

Creating yet another new character today, this time it is a Khajiit Sorceress that is starting out in Devon’s Watch, which means that Bleakrock Isle will be the beginner island.

Although there is no requirement to go play the beginner islands, I recommend starting there, especially if you choose the Ebonheart Pact or the Daggerfall Covenant as your starting Alliance. I did play for a while after joining the Aldmeri Dominion and was able to explore the island and advance fairly easily without starting off at the beginner island, but I was also playing as a Dragonknight, which to me is the easiest of the four skillsets to play if you’re planning to play much solo and plan to explore instead of following the quests in any kind of order.

From what I’ve seen so far, most, if not all, of the body markings are the same between males and females. On the Argonians and Khajiits, I would expect that to be the case even more than the humanoid characters.

As always, there are 23 positions on the slider, not counting the 0 position, which as far as I’ve seen is always free from markings.

Position 0 – No Markings

Body Markings- Position 0, No markings
Position 0 – No markings

Position 1

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 1
Position 1

Position 2

ESO Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 2
Position 2

Position 3

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 3
Position 3

Position 4

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 4
Position 4

Position 5

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 5
Position 5

Position 6

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 6
Position 6

Position 7

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 7
Position 7

Position 8

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 8
Position 8

Position 9

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 9
Position 9

Position 10

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 10
Position 10

Position 11

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 11
Position 11

Position 12

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 12
Position 12

Position 13

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 13
Position 13

Position 14

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 14
Position 14

Position 15

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 15
Position 15

Position 16

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 16
Position 16

Position 17

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 17
Position 17

Position 18

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 18
Position 18

Position 19

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 19
Position 19

Position 20

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 20
Position 20

Position 21

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 21
Position 21

Position 22

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 22
Position 22

Position 23

Body Markings of the Khajiit - Position 23
Position 23

Thoughts on Getting Started – An Introduction

Yesterday I created another new character (an Imperial), chose a new alliance to join (Ebonheart), a new class (a thief), and started exploring a new beginner island, which reminded me of when I first started beta testing Elder Scrolls Online.

When ESO first released the Mac version of the game, I could finally sign on. I knew that the PC testers had been playing for a good while already, so I posted a question on the forums asking for the other testers best tips for getting started in the game. Tabbycat gave me some great advice –

You will probably enjoy one starting zone more than the others. Make one of each alliance and level each one to at least level 8. Decide which zone you enjoy the most and go from there.

Some of the boss encounters are really difficult. If you can’t beat a boss, level up, change your build, update your armor and weapons. Don’t be afraid to ask others for tips.

Join a guild. Most of the Psijic Testers don’t use /zone chat.

The crafting professions are very useful but try to focus on leveling up only one or two at the most. Provisioner is the easiest to level and Enchanting seems to level the slowest.

Do not play this game as if you are expecting the next TES game or the next MMO. The game is truly a blend of the twoand you will have more enjoyment from it if you stop expecting it to be one or the other.

I have found the comments about enjoying one starting zone more than the others to be absolutely true.

When you create your character, you have the option of choosing which of the 10 races you want to play, and then (a fairly recent change), which alliance you would like to play.

Getting started - Elder Scrolls Online
Choose your race and alliance

When I first started playing, your alliance determined what race you could be, and vice versa. Except for the Imperials, who could play any alliance, for the others, your race was limited to the three races directly underneath the alliance on the picture above.

I am grateful for the change, since that gives you more freedom to create exactly the character you want to play.

Edit: This choice is only if you preorder the game. Buying it on April 4 or after will limit you to being able to choose one of the three races pictured directly under the alliance you want to play. The Imperial choice, which can play any of the three alliances, only comes from ordering an Imperial edition of the game.

Perhaps more than any previous Elder Scrolls game, the choice of race is going to influence your game play. This game doesn’t have the ability to create your own class, something I loved in the one-person games, so if you are wanting a non-traditional character, take advantage of the combined skills from creating a non-standard combination of race and class (for example, since my favorite character combines traits from the thief and Sorcerer, I can create a Khajiit Sorcerer to have the natural agility and stealth along with the spell-crafting ability of a sorcerer).

I’ll cover this more in-depth in later posts.

Some of the boss encounters are really difficult.

I learned this on my first boss encounter.

The first boss I had to fight was supposed to be a level 4. My character, a sorceress, was level 6, then 7, and finally 8. At level 8 I finally beat him, but only after spending pretty near 48 hours and running through the same dungeon umpteen million times. It wasn’t until I took some extra advice, went back to the village, and learned to make my own armor and weapons that I finally managed to win that battle.

Join a guild

When I first started playing, finished up the starter island (there are 3 in the game, the alliance that you choose will determine which one you get to play), and finally made it to Tamriel, I was excited when I came across the Mage’s Guild.

Although I knew that we could only join 5 guilds, I still rushed in, chatted with the NPC and joined up. Then, I ran over to the bank and clicked on the guild account, hoping to finally be able to check out a guild bank.

ESO counts the number, not the weight, of the groups of items you are carrying and only gives you a limited amount of carrying space. Banks give more space, and items stored in the bank can be shared among all of your characters. And then there are guilds, which also have bank space where you can deposit your items and anyone else in the guild can withdraw and use the items. If you have something that others might want and you don’t mind losing, then add it to the guild bank. Just remember that it may or may not be there when you come back later.

I laughed at myself when I realized that both the limitations on how many guilds you can join and the guild banks are only for player-created guilds, not in-game guilds like the Mages and Fighters.

Joining a player guild is a great way to get to know other players, get game advice (someone in your guild may have already been playing for a year or more and have done the same adventure that you are currently stuck so many times that they’ve lost count), and even find people to group up with.

The crafting professions are very useful

I love crafting. It’s one of my favorite things in TES. I’m not sure I’ve ever played a character that didn’t max out the alchemy skill.

ESO offers even more options. I can make my own weapons, armor, cook my own food, and of course, make my own potions. Crafting in this game is pretty amazing andif it’s something that you enjoy, you can spend a while figuring out the intricacies of it, but you can enjoy the game a lot without spending a single skill point on crafting if you’re not really interested in it.

Do not play this game as if you are expecting the next TES game or the next MMO.

This was, quite possibly, the single best piece of advice I received when I first started playing ESO. It’s the reason I asked Tabbycat if I could use their comments for my post.

This game isn’t Morrowind. It’s not Oblivion. It’s not even Skyrim. At the same time, it isn’t any other MMO I’ve played either. Some parts play like you’ve dreamed an Elder Scrolls MMO would play. Grouping up and going through a cave with 4 friends is awesome. I love how they made it so everyone gets treasure when your group kills creatures, so there’s no worrying about divvying up what you get. At the same time, there is a main storyline, and you can play through the entire thing by yourself without having to team up with anyone if you don’t want to. I love that, since I often enjoy playing solo.

Even better, even if you do group up, you don’t have to do the same battle, stay in the same place, or anything. Each person can be off doing something completely different, but it’s easy to stay in contact through group chat (/group) and there is a group icon in the direction bar to show you where the other members are if you want to join them later.

I want a Senche-Tiger for a pet

Today while I was exploring the world of the Elder Scrolls Online, I came across a quest that involved senche-tigers. I immediately fell in love with them. How fun would it be to explore the world with one of these at your side?

Cinder-Tail and his Senche-Tigers
Cinder-Tail sitting with his Senche-Tigers. Wouldn’t it be fun to have one for a pet?

Of course, the problem would be keeping it supplied with moon-sugar, according to this senche-tiger guide.

Sugarbelly - A Walker's Guide to Happy Senche-Tigers
Sugarbelly – A Walker’s Guide to Happy Senche-Tigers

Still, I think a tiger would make a very fun pet, especially if it could help in your battles. 🙂