Welcome to the first of what will likely be an occasionally recurring article series on Tamriel Foundry which allows our staff members and moderators to come together and share their thoughts or opinions on various ESO related issues. This first installment is pretty laid-back, instead focusing more on our histories as gamers and our expectations for ESO. I hope this is a nice opportunity for the TF community to get to know some of the folks whose dedication and time makes this site possible. Be sure to share your own answers to the same questions in the comments below, as we would love to hear back from our community on the same topics!
Isarii - I got into the MMO genre back in the day with the announcement of World of Warcraft; note that I said the announcement, and not the actual game. The concept of a game as a social, virtual world grew on me, and I found myself hopping into Star Wars Galaxies - one of my favorite MMO’s even today, and while I’ve had my fun in many of the modern themeparks, I look forward to the apparent resurgence of the sandbox in the hopes that it can rekindle some of the magic of Star Wars Galaxies.
My most memorable moment is harder to pin down. When I played World of Warcraft during The Burning Crusade expansion, I played on a tight-knit low population server with a thriving world PvP community. The community ran a “gank list”, which was a list of players active in the community who were to be killed for points; the first person to post a screenshot of themselves getting the killing blow was rewarded with a completely meaningless point on the leaderboard we maintained. It was all in good fun, and formed a great community of friends and rivals fighting together and against each other to get the first kills. Most of my fondest MMO memories come from this game or the people I met through it, and all of the memories come from similar communities, which are always responsible for the best memories and experiences from a game – not developer created conent. This is why I will always advocate for features that enhance community over convenience.
Nybling - I started gaming in the Winter of 1988 when I received an NES for Christmas (I had the choice between the NES and the TurboGrafx-16, I think I made the right choice, even at such a young age). The first game I ever played was Super Mario Brothers & Duck Hunt. The first video game magazine I ever conned my parents into getting for me was Nintendo Power (I had the first issue at one point, kinda wish I still did). It was through Nintendo Power that I discovered various RPGs like Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy and Crystalis.
As the 90s came around and information about the SNES started coming into the magazine (this was our only source of information at the time, there was no internet for kids to go talk about games.. actually I’m going to lay down some old school shit here soon, so fair warning)… something caught my eye. It was a feature for a little game known as Final Fantasy II (Final Fantasy IV in Japan). I had to have one.
So for my birthday in 1992 I acquired my Super Nintendo, and it had such great games. Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Chrono Trigger (the first game that I actually purchased with money I earned by doing chores/mowing yards), Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore (a forgotten gem which was scored by none other than Jeremy Soule, his first video game score in fact), Breath of Fire I & II, Ken Griffey Jr MLB, Earthbound, I mean I could go on and on, the fact is the SNES was amazing, and anyone who says differently is wrong.
As the 90s progressed I eventually got a PlayStation, and played the hell out of games on that, but something else came into my life in 1994… I got my first PC. Before that, we had a family PC that I played some DOS games on (like a Sherlock Holmes game or two amongst others), but this was our first Windows PC. Windows 3.1! My first ever game for this beastly machine was a little gem called SimTower. Other games followed including one little gem you all might never have heard of called Daggerfall.
When 1995 rolled around, we upgraded to Windows 95, which to me remains the best OS of all time. I loved 95, so much customization man. So much! All easily done too. Oh, and I started using a little service called AOL (AOL 3.0, oh do I remember you well). AOL is where I was introduced to game discussion on the interwebs. I’ll be surprised as hell if any of you kids has ever heard of or remembers a little outfit called Antagonist Inc (ANT), but that was pretty much THE place to go for video game news and discussion on AOL. Oh man, how life changed after that.
In late 1996, I started to hear about a game in the works that was unlike any other game I’d ever played. Curiosity was aroused, and I paid close attention to the game. When it launched, I picked up a copy and played it until another little game came out. The first game? Ultima Online. The second? EverQuest. These two games doomed me to playing and loving MMOs.
Now.. as to my favorite MMO moment. Oh sure, I could mention various raiding events, but… how about this; once, while playing a game that had PvP similar to Dark Age of Camelot’s (in regards to there being three factions), I participated in a rather vigorous keep defense with several guild members. If I remember right, there were about 10 of us. Because we were very experienced, skilled, and knew how to work with one another; we were able to fend off wave after wave of attackers from both other factions in numbers three to five times our own (so groups of 30 to 50). Finally so many enemies pushed against us we couldn’t keep up and finally met our fates. It was so much fun, and so epic… I felt like I was one of the defenders of the Alamo against Santa Ana’s men!
Rial - I guess it can all be traced back to Morrowind. Morrowind taught me to love vast worlds with rich lore. A love that would lead me to Warhammer and all its lovely novels, and ultimately made me give Warhammer Online a try. MMORPGs in general profit more from a vast, rich world rather than an engaging story the way singple player games do, so it was only natural for me to opt for MMOs to get my fix, so to say.Despite all that I’ve experienced over the years, my most memorable moment would be using WoW’s flight paths for the first time; from Thunder Bluff to Orgrimmar. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the land, seeing the lush grasslands of Mulgore giving way to the Barren’s savannah with its giraffes and unicorn zebras. It was beautiful.
Atropos – I started playing MMOs with original EverQuest, although I was too young and inexperienced with the RPG genre at that time to really appreciate the game’s brilliance. My rogue never made it to max level and in retrospect was probably quite terrible; but the damage was done, and I got hooked on playing online games all the same. One memory in particular still pains me from my time in EverQuest. My lousy dial-up internet decided to get all flaky while I was on a boat in the middle of the ocean. I got disconnected (linkdead in EQ terms) from the game, and upon re-logging found my character floating in the middle of the water, with no land in sight. EverQuest had no in-game map (or minimap), so I didn’t have the faintest clue which direction to swim. I just picked the way I thought the boat was heading and set out. After just a few minutes I was eaten unceremoniously by a giant shark. I never found my corpse, or recovered any of my equipment.
My true involvement with MMOs didn’t begin until the launch of Dark Age of Camelot, a game which I had followed closely prior to it’s release. I was lucky enough to get the game on launch day, and my commitment to Mythic’s game lasted for the next 8 years. I took vacations from time to time, playing most big MMO releases; SWG, EQ2, WoW, DDO, Warhammer Online, Age of Conan, and others. I’ve felt a bit stranded in the modern MMO genre, however, with both SWtOR and Guild Wars 2 failing to live up to my hopes. After a brief sojourn following 38 Studios ill-fated Amalur MMO, I have leapt on-board the ESO bandwagon with full enthusiasm. I see ESO as being the genre’s best hope for a long-lived and successful fantasy virtual world that incorporates many of the elements I have loved in past games, ranging from the vast and epic fantasy of EQ, to the intense 3-faction PvP of DAoC, and the group challenges from WoW.
Rial - One mechanic that is of immense import to me is, of course, healing. I really like the way healing works in World of Warcraft and its clones, often over-simplified as whack-a-mole healing. ESO’s approach to healing with its targeting system and “mostly AoE” heals isn’t entirely my cup of tea. But then, after the disaster that was Guild Wars 2, I’m glad ESO’s got healing at all.What I’m looking forward to very much though is the rather Elder Scrolls-y character progression. Leveling up my skills and skill lines by using them is great to make a character’s growth feel natural, and not restricting any class to certain weapons and armour allows for a great lot of freedom and variety. Although it’ll end in my playing my character in a way that just feels wrong because I want to max my bow skill line.
Isarii – MMOG’s were initially created as virtual worlds, and generally features that enhance their role as such as my favorite in a game. Community promoting features (or lack of features), persistent, seamless, and open worlds, and meaningful non-instanced PvP are the biggest things for me. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to Cyrodiil the most for its seamless world, and open world PvP that looks to be rewarding for organized groups of players.
Atropos – I could identify a lot of core MMO features as ones that are hugely important to a game’s success, but I think that one of the features of ESO that looks to be most promising is it’s potential for post-launch growth. Few franchises have the depth of lore, geographical variety, and expansiveness of The Elder Scrolls. The amount of Tamriel that has yet to be “filled-in” in ESO, along with the ability to expand to Daedric planes and other continents of Nirn has me really excited about following the journey of ESO for years to come. Most MMOs expand on an ad-hoc basis, inventing a new piece of terrain or a new continent as required. In the case of ESO, we know what’s out there, and it will be an adventure to gradually explore new areas like Vvardenfell and Summerset Isle; areas (hopefully) complete with challenging raids, dungeons, and maybe even PvP!
Nybling - I like to start trying to find incremental upgrades at max level. If I can squeeze out a few points more damage to help me DPS better, why not? I also like having weapons with really cool procs, so I hope ESO has some really awesome high-level enchants on weapons.
Atropos - I think based on the limited amount of ESO which I have seen personally, that I’m most intrigued by playing a Sorcerer tank, mixing a high mitigation with great AoE damage. I think the potential for mixing Heavy Armor, One-Handed and Shield, with the Sorcerer class abilities like Lightning Form and Bound Armor will create a really sturdy defensive caster that can wade into a group of enemies and wear them all down with sustained AoE. I think Lightning Splash, Encase, and Daedric Mines are all really attractive abilities which play further into the niche of “AoE tank”. I think this character model will be really useful in group PvP, used effectively to bomb enemy groups with Negate Magic and Encase. The Destruction Staff is a great secondary weapon, adding more AoE damage as well as some escape tools if things go badly!
Nybling - So, I’m currently debating between a caster-ish Templar, or a caster-ish Nightblade. With either class, I am looking at using a Bow as my primary weapon and then a Two-Hander or maybe Destruction Staff for the Templar and Dual-Wielding for the Nightblade. I’ll be using a Light/Heavy armor mix too, of course, because it’s sexy. Other than that, why get into specifics just now? Who can say where skills will end up in 6 months!
Rial - Seeing as I’ve always preferred to play healers, I’d go with an Argonian Templar (Argonian because Argonians are great, no matter the racials). I’d use a restoration staff to get all the heals and wear mostly light armor. I’m not sure about the second weapon, though. Possibly a destruction staff to allow me to go full light armor and because I just don’t like bows (Even though the snares could come in handy). I’m interested in trying if One-Handed and Shield would be viable as a secondary weapon in tight spots, though.
Isarii - A Nord with the manliest of beards, carrying the largest of two-handed swords, smiting people with the holy fire of his Templar traditions. Throw in a bit of support, armor him in heavy steel with a few pieces of light to bolster his magicka reserves, and you have yourself my character. The most important part of my build is the beard, a truly awesome sight the likes of which will make men and women together quiver at the knees in concurrent terror and arousal.
Thanks for reading, I hope this has been an interesting glimpse into the minds of our team members. Be sure to let us know what you think about the above questions by leaving your responses in the comments!