Elder Scrolls Online: Groups and Skyshards #IntPiPoMo
I’ve played ESO back when it was subscription only but it’s since gone free-to-play and shortly before I began playing again, the One Tamriel update happened. In my opinion, One Tamriel was the best thing that could have happened to the game, and it’s something that other MMOs can learn from. Not only does the world scale to the player’s level now but regardless of your character’s faction, you can now quest in any zone you want and group with any players. This has been fantastic for group activities.
Between Lord Crumb joining me in-game and finding out that Tyrannodorkus and his brother also play, we have enough folks for the standard 4-man party. The problem is getting us all online at the same time. One time when just Tyrannodorkus and I were online, I suggested that we try a dungeon after I thought I read that dungeons also scale to group size and could be duo-ed. I later found out that I had misread and you are suppose to have 4 people. We died quite a few times but once we got a hold of the mechanics, we actually managed to complete several dungeons.
So it seems that if you have a tank and a healer, it is possible to duo dungeons with a bit of skill. Adding in just one DPS makes it about the difficulty that I’m used to from a full -non-heirloomed group in WoW. So running an ESO dungeon with just three people is definitely doable and we’ve run most of the dungeons with that many people.
We have discovered that there is a marked difference between Version I and Version II dungeons though. Version II dungeons are more difficult than Version I, kind of like WoW’s heroic dungeons. Version I dungeons can be run with 2 or 3 players, Version II requires the full 4-player party, at least for us.
One of my absolute favourite mechanics of ESO dungeons (and grouping in general) is that the responsibilities are much more spread out and mechanics are more forgiving. Tanks aren’t expected to have aggro on everything and in fact, the only two taunts in the game are for single targets so they’re pretty much reserved for bosses. Groups of trash mobs are handled by the whole group, and everyone has the health to be able to take some hits, even healers. In one of our dungeons, our tank didn’t have a taunt so I, as a healer, spent half of the fight with the boss aggroed on me. And it worked out because it’s more about knowing when to block, interrupt, and dodge rather than being a damage sponge. Also, every player is capable of rezzing because all that’s required is for them to be carrying a filled soul gem; it’s not tied to class or role at all. In another instance, I was tanking and the other two party members died on the last boss fight. I managed to get away from the boss long enough to rez one, who then went to rez the other, and we managed to complete the fight with everyone alive.
Oh yeah, and all of the loot is individual, even the chests that are found in dungeons. So you never have to worry about loot ninjas. If the gear you get are soulbound, you can also trade them to other party members for a limited time. My only complaint about this system is that the level of the gear are set when you loot them, so if you’re partying with people who are 10 levels lower than you, they won’t be able to wear it for another 10 levels. Making it so that the level is fluid until the trade timer runs out would be a great fix.
While there’s a part of me that missed the control of mobs that I had as a WoW tank, I really enjoy this style of dungeons and have had a lot of fun in them. It also helps that it’s flexible enough to be enjoyed with 1-3 friends. 🙂
Dolmens, world bosses, and public dungeons oh my…
ESO has even more group content than just dungeons. Dolmens (AKA dark anchors) are like world events that always happen in the same place. Molag Bal (the main villain) drops them out of the sky with loads of enemies that need to be killed before the anchor can be broken. I have yet to see a dropped anchor that doesn’t have lots of players around it, probably because you can tell that it’s down from a fair distance away. It’s less fighting off an invasion and more trying to tag something so you’ll get credit and be able to loot the chest that spawns at the end.
World bosses are exactly like you’d imagine: very tough mobs that spawn somewhere in the world and require several people to take down. Whether there’s enough people to kill a world boss is a toss up; there have been instances where I’ve had to wait for the boss to spawn because there’s so many people around who want to kill it, and other times where 5 players weren’t enough to take down a boss and its lackeys so we ultimately gave up.
Lastly, public dungeons are like regular dungeons in that they’re instanced and the bosses usually need a few players to take them down. However, everyone shares the same instance and can help one another take down the various bosses. (Similarly, there are also delves which act in the exact same manner, only are tuned in difficulty so that the bosses are soloable. Not that the delves are ever empty either.)
Basically, ESO has so much group content that even if you never venture in a regular dungeon, you can still fight alongside friends and strangers while out in the world. I just love the amount of variety it has.
Skyshards have nothing to do with grouping, they’re collectibles out in the world that give you an extra skill point for every 3 you collect. But the effect that happens when my characters get them is so pretty that I’ve taken several screenshots of just that over the months. I always get a little bit excited when I get another one.