Sir Bear belonged to a little girl named Suzie who had been very, very sick. She and Sir Bear had been in the hospital for a long time, but Suzie was doing better and they were coming home.
Sir Bear and his best friend, Dragon Dragon (along with Mom and Dad), had planned a surprise for Suzie.
When Mom asked what Suzie missed the most while she was in the hospital, Suzie quickly answered, “Colors. It’s so white here, I miss all the beautiful colors.”
And so, Sir Bear and Dragon Dragon (and Mom and Dad), redesigned Suzie’s bedroom. Dragon Dragon would come visit every day and whisper to Sir Bear of the wonderful changes that were being done.
“Mom and Dad hung our portrait on the wall,” Dragon Dragon whispered to Sir Bear on one visit. “As soon as you come home, we’ll have to pose under it.”
Dragon Dragon was proud of himself. He didn’t tell Sir Bear all of the secrets, because Mom and Dad were turning Suzie’s bedroom into something special for all of them. They were turning her room into a castle with an indoor courtyard.
“What it must feel like to be such a large dragon,” sighed Dragon Dragon to himself. “But then I wouldn’t be able to fit into Mom’s bag or curl up on the bed with Sir Bear and Suzie.”
“Mom and Dad planted a garden in front of Suzie’s window and she can lay in bed and look out at the flowers,” Dragon Dragon whispered to Sir Bear on one visit.
Mom knew that Suzie would need a lot of rest when she came home, but she would also want to move from the bed sometimes. And so, Mom created a courtyard in the bedroom, with places to play and places to snuggle up and rest without having to lay in bed.
“What do you think, Sir Bear?” Dragon Dragon asked on the day they came home. Dragon Dragon had been showing Sir Bear the courtyard and smiled when he saw how surprised both he and Suzie were. “I’m glad I learned how to keep a secret,” Dragon Dragon thought to himself.
“I love it!” Suzie told her parents, echoing Sir Bear’s response to Dragon Dragon. Sir Bear smiled when he heard her, and reached out to give Dragon Dragon a hug.
Guild Crafting Skills for ESO is a spreadsheet in Google Docs where each person in your guild can list what crafting abilities they have in cloth, blacksmithing, and woodworking, along with which racial motifs they’ve learned; then if someone is looking for an item with a particular skill or style, they’ll know which people can create it for them.
To use: make a copy of the form and save it, add your name to the first empty column, and then mark which skills you have. There are separate tabs for each type of armor, blacksmithing, and woodworking (for the two armor classes) and motifs.
Crafting Skills for the Elder Scrolls Online is for an individual player to keep track of the skills for all their characters. There are two tabs, the first lists all the clothing, woodworking, and blacksmithing skills and the second lets you keep track of which motifs each of your characters can make.
Use it the same way as the one above, save a copy of the form and then fill in the information.
I have been a fan of the Elder Scrolls, Bethesda, and ZeniMax (ZOS for short) for years. When I first heard they were making an Elder Scrolls Online game, I rushed to sign up for the Beta, even though the computer I had at the time couldn’t really handle running Oblivion, and even Morrowind had to be at its lowest settings.
Thankfully, by the time the beta started, I had a new computer, a Mac this time, and eventually I was happy to join in the beta, get invited to the Psijic Order, and play to my heart’s content.
All of that to say, this is probably one of the few posts you’ll ever see on here that’s not favorable toward ESO and Zenimax. To be honest, I think they dropped the ball on this issue, and in my opinion, it’s something that needs to be addressed soon.
How It All Began
5:00 AM EST – Early on the morning of March 30, the Psijic Order (the group of beta testers who played on the permanent testing server) was buzzing with people waiting for 7 AM EST, when ZOS was scheduled to open the live server, in order to claim the names that they had used throughout testing.
The Live server was a clean version of the beta server, using the same download (plus an upgrade or two) as the beta server that so many (over 5,000,000 registered to beta test) had helped to test. All the beta characters were gone now and everyone was starting with a clean slate.
6:07 AM EST – ZOS had a habit of opening betas earlier than advertised, so people had been checking periodically to see if it was up yet. This time, someone comes back to the group to share that the game is finally open.
6:14 AM EST – 46 minutes before the game was supposed to be open. Wykkyd came back to the group to share that someone stole his name. He wasn’t the only one. With 40 minutes still to go before the game was supposed to be open, person after person came back to the group to share that their names have been taken. Although a few are names that someone might have taken by accident, several, like Wykkyd, are unique names that are well known either across the gaming world or through the social media one.
My Personal Thoughts On How This Should Have Been Handled
Keeping our beta account name wasn’t enough.
At the very least, our account name should have been reserved as a character name – and I think that is true for anyone, whether they were in beta or not. Account and character names should be linked so that there are no duplicates across both game and forums.
As soon as ZOS started allowing and sharing live steams, those names should have gone into a reserve that could only be accessed by having the right account or proving you were that player. Even if you had to wait a week, until things calmed down, for one of the devs to help and accept your proof of identity, it’s still better than knowing someone else is running around with your name and doing who knows what. For many of us, our main character names were not created just for this game, but they are names we are known by in many places.
While starting early was appreciated during the beta, it was part of the problem when the game went live. Name-grabbers were able to take several well-known names before most people realized that the game had even opened.
Most social media sites have rules for well-known names precisely because they’ve gone through this before. For instance, Facebook allows you to change your Facebook address once (after you’ve set one address) for this very reason. When they first started allowing personal addresses, you were supposed to be stuck with them for the life of your account, but in the first 10 minutes or so of allowing people to claim them, some of the most well-known social media names had their name claimed before they could grab it.
When you have had a nickname for years and across sites, the name becomes an extension of yourself. This isn’t just a playground issue of having another child take your toy, but more of an identity theft issue – the more well-known your nickname is, the more harm someone can do to your reputation by taking the name and behaving in ways that don’t reflect your character.
It’s even worse with ESO because of the way they use account names. When you talk in guild chat, you see the account name, not the person’s name. You see the same account names if you talk with them in the forums. And then, if you’re exploring and run into someone with the same name, your first reaction will be that you know that person.
What about if you first ran into someone in the game and they were behaving badly, shouting over chat, repeatedly asking you to join their guild, or even gold spamming. Then, you see the same name in a guild that you’re part of, or someone with that name shares advice or even asks a question on the forums. Now you’re likely to respond to that person as though they were the character in the game that got you so frustrated, even though it’s actually two different people.
@Alucard just informed me that it gets even worse. Having a friend request added by the person who owns the account name also adds the person with the in-game name!
The majority of the Psijic Order testers who had their names taken have not been able to contact anyone by that name in the game. So the characters were created, not by someone wanting to play that name, but by someone purposefully trying to hold the nickname of someone whose name is well-known.
It reminds me of back when the internet was so new and all, and people rushed to claim business names so they could then turn around and sell them back to the business at a significant price increase. The companies took the name claimers to court. The court listened to their case and decided that the companies had a right to own their name online.
Thoughts From Others
To close, let me share some of the discussion from the Psijic group after I asked for anyone to share their thoughts and experiences in preparation of writing this post:
@Alucard – I am frustrated that my main characters name was taken by someone who isn’t even playing that char (I was able to speak to them ingame and they confirmed this). This name is the same name as my account name for both Beta and PTS. I am beyond frustrated at this because I logged into the server at 6:10am the morning of early access only to find out that the server has been up for at least 10 minutes prior, a whole our earlier than we were told by ZOS. When I asked why this happened and no one was given notice of the early server start time I was given this response:
You absolutely may! We advertised that our game would be live by 7 am, and we were fortunate enough to have an incredibly smooth launch, which resulted in the servers opening a little earlier than advertised. Our goal was to have the servers open by the specified time, which is what we accomplished. If you have any other questions, i’d be more than happy to help!
@Wykkyd – And of course many people in Psijic know that my character name Wykkyd was stolen, and presumably parked by the person who did so. I’ve been waiting on a response for over a week now on the status of getting it back. Sometimes people go to absurd lengths to ruin things for others. Considering how “in the open” my name has been prior to launch, and even moreso afterward, I can’t expect to be anything short of intentional.
@Wykkyd – I’ve not received any response […] in over a week on my name issue. Email, forum PM’s… all seem to go to an empty cloud. Yeah, I’m sure it’s busy there. It’s busy here too and this is very important to me. I spent 2 hours defending who I was last night (loosely, I was trying to avoid most of the troll baiting) because my char name isn’t “Wykkyd” in zone chat.
There are only four classes to select from in the Elder Scrolls Online, which really feels limited when you first look at them. Anyone who has played any of the one-person Elder Scrolls games or pretty much any other D&D style role playing game knows that selecting the class of your character determines how you play more than almost anything else in the game.
The original Elder Scrolls games were unique when it came to class selection because although they offered you the option to play traditional classes, you were also allowed to create your own class, combining the skills you were interested in pursuing to create a character that was uniquely you.
When I first saw the 4 classes, I was worried that ESO had left that option far behind, forcing us into the more traditional RPG roles of Fighter, Healer, Wizard, and Thief.
And at first glance, when you read the Class descriptions, that is how it looks.
Remember that yesterday I mentioned that you are really unlimited in how you play your character. Your sorcerer can wear chain armor if you’d like, and your knight can cast spells (and has one of my very favorite low-level spells in the game).
When you choose a class in most RPGs, you are determining the limits of your character. A thief isn’t likely to wield an axe, for instance, nor is a sorcerer going to wear iron. The Elder Scrolls turns class into a starting point instead, and I can determine where it goes from there. If I want to roleplay a traditional character, a sorcerer who only wears robes and carries a staff, then I have everything I need to be able to play that character.
If, on the other hand, I want to play a character from one of my favorite science fiction books, someone who doesn’t fit with the traditional character styles, I can also design a character to fit that description.
In my next post, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the early stages of each class and how race figures into the character equation.
You may be wondering why so many of these posts focus on character creation. That is because Zenimax created an amazing character creation set-up. While the choices are far from unlimited, still there are enough options that I doubt anyone will run into an identical twin in the game unless they were made that way on purpose.
One issue I’ve run into while creating a character is that you can’t put a name in as the first step and claim it. You have to complete the creation before the game saves it as yours, so if you have a name you really want, you’ll probably be rushing through Character Creation to make sure you get the name before anyone else wants it. As time goes on, this likely won’t be such a big issue, but right now, it’s definitely something to consider.
Because of this, if you already know or have an idea of how you want the settings, that makes it much easier to just run through the creation and make sure you get the name you want on a character that looks as much as possible the way you want it to look.
With that in mind, today we’re going to explore the racial and alliance options when creating a new character.
When you first click on “Create Character,” this is the first screen that opens up. The game has randomly chosen a female Orc from the Daggerfall Covenant for me, but today we’ll look at all the other options.
One thing to keep in mind, if you purchased the Imperial Edition before the official start date (today), then you have the option to play any race with any alliance. As of today though, the only character advertised to be able to play in any dominion is the Imperial – and that’s only if you purchase the Imperial edition.
So What Are The Different Alliances?
There are three alliances in ESO – Daggerfall Covenant, Aldmeri Dominion, and Ebonheart Pact. Each has its own unique storyline and location. DC has desserts and netches (they look like giant jellyfish), plus two starting areas to explore, combined into one storyline; AD has wild monkeys, southern climes, and my favorite starting island, Khenarthi’s Roost; EP has snow, Bleakrock Isle, Davon’s Watch, and more snow. LOL EP has a good storyline too, I just get enough snow living in upstate NY, I’m ready for spring instead of more snow. 🙂
What about Races?
Races in the Elder Scrolls Online are the same races you’ve known and loved in the other TES games: Breton, Orc, Redguard, High Elf, Wood Elf, Khajiit, Argonian, Dark Elf, Nord, and Imperial.
One thing that I think ESO does well, perhaps better than any other Elder Scrolls game, is to make choosing a race an important part of your character selection. Since there are only 4 classes to choose from (we’ll look at those in another post), the racial benefits are what makes your character truly unique.
Use the racial benefits to help create exactly the character you want. Do you want a sorcerer who can also be sneaky? Look at the skills that a Khajiit would add and see if that’s what you’re looking for (She Who Explores – my character named for my blog, is a Khajiit Sorceress, by the way). No race has to be a certain class, so create a character that you’ll enjoy playing. As a hint, any class can wear any armor or use any weapon, so don’t worry about an ability never being used, even if you create an orc healer.
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.
So far, the characters I’ve shown you were humanoid females. I usually do play a female ingame, I tend to forget if I try to play a male, and then my chats get rather confusing. I’ve tried it before, it’s not very pretty. 🙂
But, to be honest, I’ve really been going with whichever gender the game brings up when I click on “Create.” Today, the game gave me a male Breton, which I named Carl. And Carl is going to show us the parts of the Character Creation screens.
On the right side of the page are the character creation options.
I have already set Carl’s race (he’s a Breton) and class (he’s a Templar in every picture but the next one, apparently I had changed him to a Dragonknight for that photo).
If you look to the right in the picture, the options across the top are Race, Class, Body, and Head. Race and class will be the focus of another post, today we’ll focus on the body and head tabs.
The first choice you have is to choose body type. Do you want your character to be large, thin, or muscular – or some combination of the three?
You should be familiar with the next section if you’ve read either of my previous posts. This is where you choose your skin coloring and where the Body Marking slider is located.
Next is determining how your upper body will look. By the way, I just double-checked, and the options are the same for either male or female characters.
And then there’s a similar selection set for lower body options.
I have played a few games that gave more options to how your character looked, but only Second Life was online, and it’s not really a game. Overall, I’m very impressed with the character creation options and how the different races are still distinguishable from each other, even with the multiple options.
Okay, now it’s time to go from the Body tab to the Face one. Clicking on this zooms in to your character, giving you a close up of what his/her face looks like.
The next selection option is one I have fun with, when I’m creating my characters.
I recommend starting at one corner and then jumping to each of the other two corners, watching the changes in your character’s face. Then find a spot that gives you the look you want, whether it’s a baby-faced Nightblade or a battle-hardened sorcerer.
You have a choice of 8 different voices. Considering that most of the times you hear yourself you’ll either be shouting in battle or grunting as you make a jump, having 8 different options is really not bad. You really won’t be listening to yourself all that often, at least in my experience.
Hair is another option where each position on the slider is a different choice. I plan to do a whole series on the different hairstyles for each character.
Features has 2 sliders that are set up similar to the Hair and Body Marking sliders. Each position on the Adornment and Head Marking sliders gives you a different look. I will be covering these in future posts.
Age gives you the option to go from a new recruit to a battle-hardened veteran, whatever your choice is.
The next sections will let you adjust the look of your character however you want. There are limits to the range of the sliders, you can’t turn a Breton into an Argonian, for example, but you could create an elf-mix by sliding the Ear Tip Flare slider all the way to the right.
I’ll show each section, and point out the ones that will be covered in later blog posts.
These are all self-explanatory, giving a good range of choices but nothing really surprising.
Each slider is really measured in small bites instead of steps, so you’re not going to be able to move the eyes to the side of the head or make anime-style big eyes, but still, if you’re really into how your character looks, you can have fun with it.
We will cover the Eyebrow slider in another post, since once again, each position of the slider is a different style. Eyebrow Skew was a surprisingly fun slider, with the ability to add a little human-ness to your character (one thing I learned when creating characters for Second Life was not to always make both sides equal, it makes the character feel fake because we, as humans, are all asymmetrical. And although it’s not always noticeable when we view others, the lack of any asymmetry feels fake when we look at a character.
Nose shape will give you far more playing room than any other facial adjustment we’ve seen so far. The rest is pretty basic, from what I’ve seen.
No hidden designs here, but I am happy with the fact that my character can walk around with more of a smile if I want her to. Slide Mouth Curve to the right to give the smile if you want one.
The last section before your character is ready to play. With the Breton, at least, you can turn your character into a pseudo-half elf by adjusting the Ear Tip Flare.
Well, that’s all the basics of the Character Creation screens. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. 🙂