[ESO] Still more with the Templar

21 Jul
Ding VR3!

Ding VR3!

My Templar’s VR3 now, and almost done with Deshaan zone.  I vaguely remembered most of it, but specifically remembered very little of it from my 1st playthrough on my DK.  Something I did remember, though, was that all the world bosses were easily soloable with a single skill — Fire Clench.  They’re all melee, so you just keep using that to knock them back and then drop a couple of heavy attacks on them while they’re stunned and then running back at you.  Makes me sad to see all the requests for help with the various bosses, since the mobs are cc’able, which means anyone at all can take them out.  Just shows that people get locked into patterns of playing and never think outside that box, I guess.  I know I’m certainly guilty of it.  ESO actually works against this a bit by requiring you to have skills on your bars to level them up, though, so at times you may have a “non-optimal” build going with a skill or 2 that you’re leveling, and as long as it’s on the bar you may as well use it and find that it can be quite a nice addition to your toolbox.

A gorgeous Deshaan Sunset

A gorgeous Deshaan Sunrise

Anyway, I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this week’s playing.  The EP story lines were forgettable on the DK, and seem to be just as forgettable now.  Deshaan’s overall story is about a group of cultists unleashing a plague on the denizens of the zone in order to try to weaken and discredit the 3 gods of the Tribunal to pave the way for Boethiah the Daedric Prince (supposedly one of the “good” ones) to come take over instead.  I dunno why, but the EP story just doesn’t so it for me.  OTOH, back in Greenshade zone in Aldemeri I was jonesing to get back in the game to find out where the story went next.  Malabal Tor I don’t recall much about, but then fighting the Dark Mane and installing the new one in Reaper’s March was wickedly cool too.  Even so….. since I barely remember the EP stuff, it still has a new-ish feel for me, and like I said in my last post — it’s all the same level so I can explore anywhere I want and not worry about being overleveled for the zone or anything.  Makes for a fuller quest log at times — a wealth of things to do or directions to go.  Nothing like “go there next for optimum leveling while mobs still give xp.”

[ESO] Templaring through Stonefalls

17 Jul
Fort Virak

Fort Virak

I think “templaring” is going to catch on.  2 years to the Oxford Unabridged!  Or not…..

I finished up Stonefalls last night.  Something interesting to me was that in my earlier exploring I’d run across the city of Kragenmoor but didn’t find any quest givers there.  This is odd since any location in any zone typically will have quest givers ringed around it so that no matter which direction you come in from, you still get the quest for the area.  But after finishing up Fort Virak (Viraak?) my quest NPC mentioned Kragenmoor…. but didn’t give me a breadcrumb quest to go there either.  I already had the breadcrumb to go into the next zone, and I knew from time spent on a) my EP dragonknight and b) I have the Kragenmoor wayshrine on my map that there had to be more, so…… teleported to Kragenmoor and hey lookit that!  2 quest givers now.  One’s the Argonian comedian who wants to learn Dunmer humor so he can be a success all across the Pact, and the other greeted me with “Ah!  The hero of Fort Virak!”  So… that explains why I didn’t see him before, if the game actually required Fort Virak to be completed as a prerequisite for this chain.

On a treasure map hunt near Ash Mountain

On a treasure map hunt near Ash Mountain

Anyway, ran through both those quest lines in the small dungeon off to the west of the city.  I vaguely remembered the part where you get turned into a wisp and have to avoid the ghosts in one section, but I didn’t remember the Argonian comedian’s dialog options saying [He lives] or [He dies] as part of them before either.  From there I got sent to the Tormented Spire.  I remembered the landscape there and needing to dodge traps in various caves, but that was about it, so it still felt pretty new.  At least until the big fight at the end with the “2nd Brother of Strife.”  Due to it bugging out the 1st time I tried it on my DK and having to exit to let it reset and then re-do it, that fight stuck in my mind.  It really didn’t seem any harder doing it vs VR1 mobs than when the DK did it vs level 16 mobs, so that’s good I guess.

The entrance to the Tormented Spire.  Not really the most inviting looking place, is it?

The entrance to the Tormented Spire. Not really the most inviting looking place, is it?

I finally finished getting some skills to 4, so it was time to load up the bar with new skills to train.  Gotta have them for when I want them in the later VR levels, right?  Thing is though…. these actually look like they’ll be the last skills I’ll feel like I “need” and I’ve already got 11 skill points unused, and I’ll continue to get more through the story lines and finding skyshards, so it’s going to be interesting to see if I find other skills I do want to use or if I just end up letting them build up.  Time will tell on that.

Inside the Tormented Spire

Inside the Tormented Spire

Of course, as much as I’m enjoying playing this character, I’m already starting to get the urge to go back to working on my Nightblade tank….. or even make a new DK to play in a style other than as a pyromancer.  I’m thinking a leather armor dual-wielder that yanks mobs in and then does the Flurry on them like I did back in the beta weekends would be fun.  I’m told that dropping a Volcanic Rune down then yanking a mob into it is hilarious…..  Perhaps a fire staff as the alternate weapon for when AE is needed.  That could work.

Sadal in process of being "re-bound."

Sadal in process of being “re-bound.”

On the other hand, with learning recently (due to a thread on the official forums that I can’t seem to find to link to today, but it had a lot of numbers and testing and such that convinced me) that Heavy Armor is essentially useless and that Medium Armor is the best tanking armor (still using the 1H and Shield, of course), perhaps either restarting or re-specing my NB tank is in the cards.  My NB healer/wizard is quite fun to play and was cutting through Rivenspire that last time I played her, so it’d be fun to go back and see what kind of trouble I can get into with her too.  Decisions decisions. . . . . .

Edit to update:  Found the thread!  And re-read it and found that light armor, possibly a 5/2 Light/Medium split is considered best, since Light armor passively softcaps spell resist, and then class buffs from any class allow for at least softcapping (if not hardcapping) physical resist as well, and the light armor enables re-casting those buffs more often.

Happy gaming!

[ESO] Templaring it Up Even More

15 Jul
The VR1 Equipment Upgrade -- Daedric Motif staff, and Primal Light Armor.  Other than the open-toed sandals I quite like the look.

The VR1 Equipment Upgrade — Daedric Motif staff, and Primal Light Armor. Other than the open-toed sandals I quite like the look.

And yes, “templaring” is still a word.

Due to IRL illness I had 2 days off work.  Since my wife monopolizes our bedroom during the day I couldn’t really sleep it off in there, so I played ESO instead.  I’ve determined that the Templar is the most overpowered PVE solo class out there.  One skill shuts down spell casters and makes them kill themselves, another skill more than softcaps your spell resist and armor while regenerating your magicka, all while you’ve got 2 HoTs stacked on yourself, an emergency heal waiting in the wings, and you’re simply mowing things down in AE with the “lame” skill of Biting Jabs.  And a 50% spell crit rate, at least until the set bonuses are changed in the next major update, at which point it will be 46% instead.  I know… the reason it’s considered a “subpar” class is that its single-target sustained damage in PVE dungeons is only about 70% of a DK or Sorcerer, and in PvP the (channeled skill) Biting Jabs can be blocked or interrupted (though there are strategies for PvP that don’t use BJ at all that I’ve read do very well, so who knows?  I still really don’t PvP, so I only know what I’ve read there).

Caster Sorc in her VR2 Golden Saint Costume

Caster Sorc in her VR2 Golden Saint Costume

OTOH, since they get some nice heals in their Restoring Light class line and passive heal bonuses which stack with the Restoration Staff bonuses, it does make them into excellent healers.  They do lack a reliable magicka regen skill other than the Resto-staff’s built in 10% back on heavy attack and/or  the Spell Symmetry skill from the Mage’s Guild line, but if healing you can drop a couple of stacking HoTs and then you can do whatever you need for the next 16-20 seconds before you need to refresh them.  Swap to Destruction and help with dps, refresh magicka with heavy attack channels, toss in a Blazing Shards to help the melee folks regenerate their stamina while also helping AE down the trash…… Yeah, I’ve been bit by the Templar bug pretty hard.  It seems to have it all.  Offense, Defense, Heals, and Support.  All in a single package.  Perhaps the “not so good” perceotion is simply jack-of-all-trades syndrome?

1st time I've seen this bug, so of course I had to take a screenie for posterity.

1st time I’ve seen this bug, so of course I had to take a screenie for posterity.

I finished up Malabal Tor and Reaper’s March.  In my last post about the Templar I mentioned RM mobs seeming to start at 39.  I was wrong, they start at 36.  And I was 42 when I got into the zone, so parts of the zone were gray when I got there and it was actually a little rough trying to get around to the areas that had mobs that weren’t grayed out for me after I got a level or 2 under my belt in the zone.  I was actually in the upper part of level 47 when I finished the zone too, so everything in the zone was gray except for a few level 42 crocodiles I found in the extreme NE corner of the map.  Oddly enough, every humanoid mob in the area was 41 and gray, but the crocs still gave xp.  And then in Coldharbour everything was level 44 to start.  Where are the level 43 mobs?

As much as the steep cliffs force the whole "you can't get there from here" thing and artificially increase the zone size...... dang, that elven forest is pretty.

As much as the steep cliffs force the whole “you can’t get there from here” thing and artificially increase the zone size…… that elven forest is pretty.

Not that it matters.  I’ve done CH enough now that I know the “optimal path” to go, so I blasted on through.  Got to 49 in the SW corner, then hit VR1 in the SE corner, so finished the Cliffs of Failure and the public dungeon simply for the quest completion VXP turn-ins, then headed on to assault the Chasm.  I planned to just do the main zone quest story line, but my completionist tendencies got the better of me, so I went and “did it all” anyway.  Then I finished off the zone, then completed the main story by taking down Mr. Bal yet again, and on to the Ebonheart Pact to begin my veteran journey.

Of course the Khajit architecture is quite impressive too.  This is just a good looking game, no matter the style.

Of course the Khajit architecture is quite impressive too. This is just a good looking game, no matter the style.

It’s been long enough since I’ve played EP that I only vaguely remember any of Stonefalls.  For me, the freedom to go anywhere in the zone without having to worry about graying it out is a big plus.  No longer worrying about “will this aid me or not?” for leveling up my skills — now I’m free to explore, hit up spots I don’t even remember at all in the SW portion of the map, drop what I’m doing to port across the map to help with a dolmen call or world boss… And oh yeah, I hit VR2 after doing maybe 2/3 of the zone, and it represented…. as far as I can tell absolutely no change to my character.

1st Person Skyshard Absorption

1st Person Skyshard Absorption

I’m one of those that doesn’t believe in upgrading your gear at every level, and since the VR1 to VR3 gear changes are minimal at best and the enchants are identical… I just don’t see the point to upgrading until I hit Vr4.  As it was, I skipped my typical level 46 upgrade so I jumped from level 40 gear to VR1 when the time came for that, as I was “playing on along” and was already level 48 before realizing I’d forgotten to upgrade at 46 and it didn’t seem worth it to upgrade for just a level or 2 before I’d be upgrading yet again.  You don’t get a skill point with a VR level either, and I didn’t notice my spells doing any more damage with VR2 vs Vr1, plus I know that the game treats anyone who’s any VR level as “50” becuz you can go grind the level 46 mobs in Coldharbour to level skills up even as a VR12 (well…..I’m told), so based on that, it seems the ZOS doesn’t really think the VR levels mean much either.

I even got to do a brief stint with Sigvar the Axe!

I even got to do a brief stint with Sigvar the Axe!

I dunno…. to me, this is now “the real game.”  I learned how to play, which skills I want on my bars all the time, which ones to swap in at times, etc, all during the 1-49 game, and now that I’ve hit VR and the power curve went flat… now I can explore.  Now I can play this as “a multiplayer Elder Scrolls game” rather than “an MMO set in the world of Elder Scrolls.”  I just don’t get the people who complain that the VR levels are “a wall” or “a grind fest.”  For me, the VR levels are finally the “level-less, go where you want” TES experience.  I truly hope that the “improved VR experience” that’s “coming soon (TM)” won’t change it too much.

Dunno why, but I *love* the ash column in this shot

Dunno why, but I *love* the ash column in this shot

Anyway, happy gaming, no matter which game(s) you play!

I thought this shot turned out so well that I just had to include it after the post too :-P

I thought this shot turned out so well that I just had to include it after the post too :-P

[ESO] A Return to the Caster Sorcerer

9 Jul
Heading into Rivenspire on the Nightblade Healer/Wizard

Heading into Rivenspire on the Nightblade Healer/Wizard

On Sunday night I realized I’d not been logging in my various alts each day in order to buy their horse levels.  This could not stand!  So I flipped into my NB tank, my NB healer, my VR1 melee sorcerer, and then when I got to my VR1 caster sorcerer I got the urge to keep playing. . . . .   So I did a bit more of Auridon with her.  Not a whole lot, but got a couple of quests completed and did a dolmen.  Overall, I found it to be quite fun and a bit challenging,  I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t really see why people said VR was too challenging — like hitting a difficulty wall.  Yes, takes 5 hits to kill a mob instead of 3 now, but …. if you could do it before, I can’t see why you can’t still do it.

Rescuing folks from the Oblivion plane of the Dreadlands.  As your NPC companin says when you get there -- "How does anything live here?"

Rescuing folks from the Dreadlands sub-plane of  Oblivion. As your NPC companion says when you get there — “How does anything live here?”

Monday night I went back to the Templar in Malabal Tor for an hour-ish and got her up to level 37.  Something odd occured to me while playing that character — I was actually a bit stressed with the idea that I didn’t know where to go next, how to get around the map, etc, where on the NB healer over the weekend it was nice and convenient to know exactly what to do and where to go next in Rivenspire.  I thought that was weird since knowing where to go also loses the joy of the adventure.  “Been there, done that.”  I *like* exploring new zones, so I don’t know why I felt that way with the Templar that night.  I guess it maybe just depends on my mood as I’m playing?  Sometimes I simply want “the old familiar stuff?”

Loved how the Wood Elves had shaped this tree

Loved how the Wood Elves had shaped this tree

Anyway, last night (and even for an hour this morning due to waking before my alarm) I played the caster sorcerer again.  This was brought on in part due to reading the Tamriel Foundry forums yesterday and finding this caster spec that sounded very very interesting to me.  It sounded from the writeup to be even more effective than my current one, and hey… I’m all about the dps, so……  12,300 gold later I’ve respec’d in order to have all the skills from the spec (I had not taken some of them, or had “the wrong morph” for others, so the re-spec was required).  Due to not having taken some of those skills before it means I needed to level them to get to their morphs, especially since a lot of the build’s skill synergy and resource management comes from the morph effects.  I also had to craft myself a 2nd destruction staff since it’s a destro/destro build.  And I’ve moved some skills around during the process of leveling them in order to get as many of the “new ones” on a single bar as I could in order to level them simultaneously instead of “turn in this quest on bar 1, then this next quest on bar 2, etc.”

Impulse -- Lightning Edition

Impulse — Lightning Edition

With the reduction in difficulty in the VR1 (can’t really tell if the mobs aren’t hitting as hard — they never hit me much anyway) reducing the mob’s HP to about 1750 instead of 2000…. they still take 5 hits to kill — maybe 4 if I get a good crit.  OTOH, since my build is currently kinda non-optimal due to having all the leveling skills on the bar I’m still taking out the single mobs before they can get to me.  Vs. 2 mobs the 2nd one will hit me a time or 2, but not a big deal, and I’ve taken on 3-packs also, but there’s bar-swapping involved then in order to activate Critical Surge for heals and maybe pop off some AE’s before swapping to the leveling bar in order to finish the mobs off and get the xp applied toward the skills that need it.

The Overload  Ultimate -- shades of Emperor Palpatine.

The Overload Ultimate — shades of Emperor Palpatine.

Something I thought kind of amusing was that a dolmen went active near me and it ended up being a trio of us doing it.  After we finished one of the people asked “Did that seem too easy?”  The other guy replied “They adjusted the vet zones difficulty on Monday.”  “Ah….”  So thus we see….. not everyone keeps up on the game news and the updates.  I know… I’ve read the things that say only something like 14% of people actually pay any attention, but I guess I’ve always just run with people in that 14%, so it was a bit of an epiphany to see it right in front of me.

Overload Ultimate active, but not in use.  Too bad there isn't a fire version.  Perhaps in the future......

Overload Ultimate active, but not in use. Too bad there isn’t a fire version. Perhaps in the future……

Anyway, between Sunday night, last night, and the brief session this morning, the Breton Sorc has gone from about 50% of the way to VR2 up to a bit over 80% now.  I think I’m going to easily hit VR2 before getting to the next zone.  And in crafting news, I’ve got all 8 traits researched for the bow now, with the inferno and lightning staves due to finish later today.  Now I just need to find frost and healing staves with the training trait so I can research them and in a bit over a month (just started researching the 7th trait on shield, so that’s 12-ish days plus another 25 for the 8th trait) I’ll have all the woodworking traits researched.  For blacksmithing, I’m 6’s across the board now and working on the 7th trait for 3 items…. though that’s kind of irrelevant to anything since the sets need either 6 or 8.  For clothing, I’m 6’s on all the light armor, and 3/7 are 6’s on leather, with 3 others working on the 6th trait and 1 due to finish today so that I can get the last piece of leather going on its 6th trait also.  Not exactly the fastest process, but….. getting there.

Blue quality VR1 Ancient Elf motif staff topper.  That's one big-ass diamond!

Blue quality VR1 Ancient Elf motif staff topper. That’s one big-ass diamond!

I’m approaching 1000 words here, so I’ll wrap it up.  I’ve stopped doing the screenshot dumps on this site, instead just dumping everything to an album on my Anook profile.  You can check it (the album)/them (the pics) out here, if you care to.  Lots of raw pics — uncropped, unedited, and no captions, so I don’t know how exciting they would be to anyone other than me, but…. there they are anyway.

Happy gaming!

[ESO] Templaring It Up

7 Jul
At level 30 my heavy armor skill was as high as I "needed" so I swapped to full light armor and went Altmer style this time.  Love all of it except the hip pieces, but that's just ESO armor for you.

At level 30 my heavy armor skill was as high as I “needed” so I swapped to full light armor and went Altmer style this time. Love all of it except the hip pieces, but that’s just ESO armor for you.

Yes, “templaring” is totally a word.  No really…….

My Templar is level 36 now and has finished up Grahtwood, and Greenshade, so has now moved into the zone of Malabal Tor.  Most quests are already green as I pick them up, so for grins I dipped a toe into Reaper’s March and the mobs there seem to start at 39, so I can already take them on easily enough, meaning that I could theoretically completely skip my current zone.   Not that I will, but I find it kinda funny that I “could” when it still seems like I’m seeing a constant stream of forum threads that say “I’ve explored everywhere and done every quest and everything’s orange to me so I’m stuck. . . . ”  Reminds me of SWTOR when I actually *would* skip zones while leveling and yet people’d still be making the same claims.  My Vanguard Trooper I skipped 2.5 zones while leveling in order to keep myself merely “at level” when I started on Hoth, and I still hit 50 after barely getting to Corellia.

At 36 tried out the Redguard light, but wasn't feeling it, so converted to full Imperial instead.

At 36 tried out the Redguard light, but wasn’t feeling it, so converted to full Imperial instead.

In the case of ESO, though, even hitting VR1 while in Coldharbour doesn’t make a difference though, as you’ll still be VR1 when you fight Molag Bal and move on to the veteran zones anyway.  I’m curious to see how they’ve tweaked the leveling curve on it since the devs posted that they were starting tweaks with today’s downtime.  If I had to guess, I’d say the removed the masssive jump in mob HP between level 49 and the VR1 mobs.  Going from 1400-ish to 2000-ish in a single level is rather huge.  OTOH, I’ve never really found it obnoxious since I felt like I could faceroll the mobs with 1400 HP, so jumping them to 2000 made the game feel more normal-ish, in that fights actually meant something other than “loot/xp pinatas!”

Really liked the look of this costume, though it too has ESO's funky hip pieces that flap all over when you run.

Really liked the look of this costume, though it too has ESO’s funky hip pieces that flap all over when you run.

Anyway…. this high-level discussion is currently not applicable to me since the templar’s still “only” 36.  At 34, I joined a group that was simply doing random dungeons.  The 31 Nightblade said she was the tank and wore heavy armor, but she seemed to really just use single-target attacks and a 2H weapon, which doesn’t include a taunt, so I was tanking a lot of bosses since I ended up as the healer.  It seemed like the Extended Ritual plus Rapid Regeneration was more or less all the healing that was needed, with Breath of Life as a good “oh snap!” button.  I had the healing Ultimate slotted as well, but never actually used it, so probably could have tossed the Nova Bomb one in there instead.  In my 4th slot I had Blazing Spear since it a) does targeted AE damage, which is useful against the trash swarms and b) the rest of the group can “pick it up” for some stamina so it’s useful for “support/healing” to boot.  The final slot was dedicated to Inner Light since critical heals are wonderful to have.  Current crit rate is 40%, so I get a lot of nice crits.  Worked out quite well, I thought.  We ended up running through the 1st 2 tiers of dungeons, and since I’d not done any of the 2nd tier I got a few skill points there, though they were so low that none of use really got any loot or xp other than the quest that also gave the skill point.  Was still much fun.

Level 26 for the nightblade.  Nord style!  Didn't really like the fur trim on the legs and "pirate boots" so I converted those 2 pieces to Imperial and like the result a lot better.

Level 26 for the nightblade. Nord style! Didn’t really like the fur trim on the legs and “pirate boots” so I converted those 2 pieces to Imperial and like the result a lot better.

Once I hit 36 on the templar, I’m not sure why but I had a sudden hankering to play my nightblade healer, so I logged it in and got it from 24 up to 27 and finished up the Stormhaven zone.  Since it’s playing as a caster rather than as a melee character, I respec’d it to use pretty much just the “wizard” skills that are affected by spell crit rather than weapon crit.  Even so, a nightblade “wizard” still has to rely on the Destruction Staff a lot for damage.  But since the “destrostaff” has some nice skills baked in, it works out just fine (plus if I need to heal myself I the restoration staff is just a keypress away. . . .).  Even so, I found myself missing a lot of the templar’s versatility/utility at times, yet also found myself to be having a blast playing it too.  Only real “downside” was that it’s a Daggerfall Covenant toon, so it’s working through stuff I’ve already seen 2x before, so a part of me is thinking “done this before” while the other part of me goes “means I can do it faster since I know right where to go!”  And hey, I can take out an elite troll mob before it can even close the gap to me with no CC, so the dps seems to be all right, so…. no complaints in the general sense.  Couldn’t do that on any other toon without some hard CC, after all.

Happy gaming, wherever you are!

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