Last time I mentioned Elder Scrolls Online, I was working my way through Rivenspire, which is the third zone of the Daggerfall Covenent. During the mad scramble of Blaugust and the Steam Backlog Bonanza, I wandered away from that. But I finally got back in there and finished up the Rivenspire zone story. It was less enjoyable toward the end, but I didn’t hate it.
I recorded the whole experience and I was thinking of uploading it, much like my playthrough of the Morrowind zone story. Then I realized that it wouldn’t make much sense to upload the Rivenspire zone story without the two previous zones that preceded it, so I decided to go through and record the Glenumbra and Stormhaven zone stories. I made a brand new character and started back at the beginning again.
Weirdly enough, it was kind of fun. I had already completed the entire Glenumbra “save the planet and fight werewolves” story before, but it turned out I had only completed a small portion of the Stormhaven “Nightmare on Elm Street” story, so most of that was new to me.
So I have three more groups of ESO videos ready to upload. But now that I’ve done some livestreams, it seems entirely pointless to upload videos to YouTube. Livestreams get so many more views than uploaded videos. The view totals for my eight measly Astellia Online live videos utterly destroyed my entire Bloodborne series. But I digress.
The most interesting part of playing, to me, was discovering that there are a whole lot of NPCs in Glenumbra and Stormhaven voiced by the dudes of Critical Role. I heard Matt Mercer’s, Liam O’Brien’s, and Taliesin Jaffe’s voices over and over again. Not from Critical Role, but I also heard Courtney Taylor a lot, who is instantly recognizable to me as the voice of the female protagonist in Fallout 4, which I heard a lot in working on my podcast. Oh, and the guy who voices Paladin Danse from Fallout 4 is in there a lot, the guy whose name I always forget but I also instantly recognize as the voice of Paladin Danse (aka. Peter Jessop). I think those five voice actors alone cover at least 75% of the background NPC voices in those first two regions of Daggerfall. I don’t remember specifically hearing Travis Willingham but he is credited as “Additional Voices” in ESO. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear him doing Orc voices.
I’m finding that Elder Scrolls Online is actually quite a fun game to record. Some games are good for recording, and some aren’t. ESO is a good one. Your character in the game is not voiced, so you get to read your own lines, which is quite fun for me. I also find it highly amusing that because every conversation just stops dead at the end, you can always get the last word with every NPC-there’s always a chance for some sort improvised last line before saying “Goodbye.” “Gosh you’re really a horrible person, you know? Welp, bye!” When you’re doing just the zone story, it’s a pretty tight narrative, and there isn’t very much down time or “kill 10 rats” time wasters. And because levels don’t matter in ESO, you’re never blocked from getting to the next part of the story. It makes for relatively focused half-hour story blocks of video content, which is hard to accomplish with most MMORPGs without judicious editing.
I’m still meh on the actual ESO gameplay mechanics though. I find combat terribly unsatisfying because it feels like random chaos. (Much like Guild Wars 2.) Character progression feels largely pointless because of the One Tamriel everything-is-the-same-power-level thing. (Much like Guild Wars 2 also hehe.) My characters feel disposable. I can start a brand new character and jump anywhere in Tamriel with the starter sword and no armor and get through it fine. So what’s the point of sticking with a character? (Note: With some exceptions. I just tried to go directly to Coldharbor after starting a character and it won’t let me. :)
So I might keep playing ESO for a while. It’s … wait for it … completely free for me to play! A great feature in a game these days. Next up after Rivenspire is the Alik’r Desert, another zone story which I’ve only seen a small piece of before.