The maps of the Elder Scrolls Online - Tamriel

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.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Getting Started – An Introduction”

  1. Thank You! For all of the work you have put into your site, very useful and fun stuff. Keep up the good work.
    Just in case anyone is interested, I found the Magnus Crafting Station in Shadowfen. It is Xal Haj-El Shrine, there is a wooden trap door when you climb to the top of the stairs.

    1. Thank you, Lucien, for leaving the first comment on my blog! I’m glad you enjoyed it and hope it continues to help. 🙂

      Thanks for the information on where the crafting station is in Shadowfen. Eventually, I hope to have all the major cities mapped out so even if you haven’t explored all of a city (and thus have a full map), you can come here and look up where you’re going and know which direction to head in.

  2. Thanks for putting this together, it’s pretty helpful information. I thought I’d point out, however, that the ability to choose which alliance you’re in regardless of race is a perk of having preordered the game rather than a change to the game itself. Those buying the game on release day and beyond will still be limited to a particular faction based on which race they choose. Or at least, that’s how I understood it.

    I debated with a friend of mine who felt it weakened the narrative that it actually adds to the immersion/realism because, as anyone who’s played the earlier iterations of the series knows, you’re still going to see the occasional rare race outside of their birthland. Travel through a nord city and you might find it’s predominately nords with perhaps a dark elf slum … but occasionally you’ll find the odd khajiit or orc.

  3. You are absolutely right, Matchstik. I just edited the post to reflect that. Also, the Imperial player only comes with the purchase of the Imperial version of the game, something else I hadn’t realized when I wrote the post and then forgot that I needed to change.

    I was just thinking yesterday how by allowing some people to create any character in any area and then only allowing everyone else to create the characters who should populate the area, it’s actually going to enhance the realism of the game, since almost anywhere you go (in real life and in all the previous TES games), you’re going to find small groups of people who aren’t native to the area but who have settled down and made it home.

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