I post infrequently, and only if something strikes me, mostly because I don’t really have time to sit down and really type, knowing that it’ll take me some time and deciding I have other things I need to do on my word processor.
Now, however, I’m walking. It’s not a walk for leisure – I’m trying to get from A to B – and while I can completely immerse myself in the present if I wish to, I find myself needing to type this even more.
One Tamriel which allows free exploration of Tamriel regardless of your charscters’ factions launched slightly over a week ago. Everyone is battle-leveled which means that those new to the game will have their stats artificially buffed. They can now play with higher leveled players and the only difference is skill range and Champion Points. With that change came new dropped sets across every zone in Tamriel. That’s great – a range of options for gear sets means, obviously, more choices for players to fine tune their set-up, and people get to play with friends in different factions (like real life!).
Here’s one of the things I have an issue with: everyone appears to be grinding to get to Champion Points 160 and to farm the new sets now.
The thing that set ESO apart, for me, was the storyline and the choices you can make in-game. Yes, they don’t really affect the final conclusion of the game where you will beat Molag Bal (they should definitely buff him) but that’s because it’s deterministic in a way. Kind of like real life. We think our actions have some significant meaning and can change our future but it’s something we will never know however our future turns out. It could be that that was how it should have been all along, but this is a discussion for some other time.
Let me continue – Aside from the choices we get to make (or not), the storyline sets ESO apart from other MMOs, and that is the strength of the Elder Scrolls series in general. That’s the reason I have 12 characters, most of whom I’ve taken through Cadwell’s Gold (I’m working on the remaining few). Every storyline is different for each character; every choice I make them make is dependent on their motivations. Every quest I pick or don’t pick up, every NPC I help or don’t help is dependent on that character. The stories made them alive; the stories gave them and their personalities form.
Now everyone and their pet is blazing through the storyline, just hitting dungeons (without really listening to dialogue or reading it, I think – not even on the first run-through). (Obviously it’s not ‘everyone’ – you think I don’t know that? – it’s rhetoric.)
I formed a guild with the initial notion of exploration. It’s for wanderers of Tamriel, not grinders. But even most of the wanderers have turned into grinders. It’s like One Tamriel brought out the inner-grinder in them. And I’m still pottering along, doing quests. To be fair, at my cp level, I don’t have to grind anymore, and I understand where the grind mentality comes from. Maybe they are not long-term focused on this game; maybe they want to see what they can do with this game and move on to the next game that comes out. So we have different motivations. I get that.
The thing is, the guild is for wanderers and explorers. It was quite explicitly stated. And it turns out that most of them are not. I’m not disappointed or frustrated. Not really. I have a part of me that says – remove the grinders. And I do feel like doing it. It’s like you build a home and you put an ad saying, hey if you’re like this, join me! Then they join and become your housemates. Only, they were not as they presented themselves and only said they were so they can get a home too. That’s what it feels like. I don’t have the sort of emotional attachment to people that some people do so I won’t be able to say I’ll miss them. I get that it’s not a diplomatic thing to do and that I might be burning bridges.
The other part of me feels like leaving the guild and starting another one, a post-One-Tamriel guild for people who feel the way I do, because now, the true explorers will emerge. I even know what I’ll call it already.
In the meantime, I’m hoping the grindfest will lose its novelty in a bit and some of the guild members can go back to exploration.
In the meantime, I have papers to write and my walk has ended. I have reached my destination.