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MMO Money Magazine

Writings on the business of fun: Virtual Worlds and Real Money Makes Online Gaming a Big Business. My economic view on the world of online games - without the hype.

Author: Inktomi

Top Five Things The Elder Scrolls Online Should Have

Posted by Inktomi Wednesday January 30 2013 at 12:14AM
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In my last post I had spoken in length about getting into using mods for Skyrim. I promised that I would come back with a detailed description or how-to. Don’t think this is a cop out but I would have to direct you to the S.T.E.P. Project. They have a really detailed wiki and did a great job putting together a list of must-have mods to take your Skyrim experience to the next level. I followed their guide and have currently been playing a very stable, attractive and fun custom built Skyrim. Now with over 150 mods and running smooth. 

From working with the modding community I have put together a list of what we feel would be great takeaways for Zenimax Studios upcoming release of The Elder Scrolls Online.

5) Complete control at character creation.
Who doesn’t like choices? Easily the best part of any Elder Scrolls game is the character creation screen. It is a lot of fun to play around with the sliders and make either the most fearsome or rediculous looking character to chase necromancers with.

One of the most popular Skyrim mods this month is the new Race Menu by Expired. This mod gives an easier to navigate character creation screen. By adding more choices and making it simpler to tweak even the look of your character you can look at your warrior when he is smashing Alduin and say, “Man, look at that perfect nose!”

4) Let em' get crafty!
There are just so many mods for all the Elder Scrolls games that add armors, weapons, scrolls, potions and spells. Your can practically craft anything now, even unique armor and weapons.  At the Nexus there are mods that give you the ability to craft cold weather gear that synergize with other modifications that give you a good reason to craft them. Other than looking cool, that warm cloak you just crafted from the bear claws and the bear skin you got from that bear that tried to have you for lunch, you are really going to need it soon. I will tell you why later down the post.

In a recent interview with TESO’s Creative Director, Paul Sage, our own Bill Murphy gets the skinny on crafting and how it is going to be an intergral part of The Elder Scrolls Online. Paul says that, “but nevertheless, crafting is going to be a very vibrant and detailed part of the game’s overarching economy and it won’t be the same-ol’ same-ol’ crafting we’ve grown used to in recent MMO offerings.”

In my opinion, EVE Online has the best crafting system on the market right now. CCP’s single-server economy depends on crafting in certain sections of the game and could actually hurt in the long run if one does not partake in it at all. I hope Zenimax stays true to their word and builds up crafting enough to make it just as important as questing and dungeon delving.

3) Real Lighting.
It doesn’t take a supercomputer to run a game with decent graphics if you have kept up to date on some of the latest hardware improvements. My rig is strong enough to run the brilliant ENB graphics improvements and keep up a very respectable 30 fps. Sometimes my FPS may drop during certain larger scale battles, but I would give up a few FPS here and there to keep my incredible lighting setup. I can walk into a room and the way the light flickers makes a big difference.

I am not asking for super details on all the houses, castles and grass, but the right lighting makes a big difference. Recently I have upgraded to Sydney’s and Daemonui’s Realistic Lighting Overhaul. With this new mod along with darker dungeons and True Vision ENB I can really be glad that I spent the extra 300 gold on that Candlelight spell.

2) Crime, Punishment and Payback.

True economics is the balance of goods, services and limited resources. In most MMO’s there is never a real shortage of anything. Sure, it might be harder to come about certain objects or ingredients, but in the long run if you wait long enough and fight hard enough to bop something over the head, it will give you what you want.

If Zenimax should build a real criminal system into TESO. If you commit a crime and get caught you will be a wanted man. Not only by NPC’s that mindlessly chase you down, but a warning should be sent to other players in the area that a pickpocket is on the loose. I have to point at CCP for their revamping of EVE's bounty system. Bounty hunting is now a viable part of the game and players fly around looking to make money off of people who have committed crimes and have bounties put on them by other players. This makes an Assassins Guild an attractive option for players looking for an excuse to hunt and kill other players.

Like they ever needed one.

1) True Immersion 

Yeah, I said it. Not because I am looking to play make believe with my character when he strolls into The Bannered Mare looking for a bowl of soup and a bottle of Nord Mead. I buy food because I need to. Hey, remember that warm bearskin cloak we made earlier? Well, I need to wear that because it is really cold in Skyrim, and if I don’t stay warm I will die.

Oh but wait, I can’t buy the mead and soup because it is  a snow storm outside and it’s 12:00 of Last Seed and the shops are closed. So I am hungry, thirsty and now I am getting tired, so my encumbrence is lowered and I am moving slower. I am in really bad shape if I don’t build a camp soon and might die from exposure. And I am scared I will die because someone will loot my stuff. I am feeling real panic here and do you know what that is? True immersion. Because when you get comletely absorbed in the well being of your character, then you have reached the point of complete immersion into the game. That is something I haven’t felt in an MMO for a while now. Most of the reason I don’t play them as I used to.

The list of mods that I have installed that gives me the experience I just laid out for you is Chesko’s incredible Frostfall, the camping survival mod. Cloaks of skyrim by Nikinoodles not only gives me the ability to wear cloaks which should have been in part of the original Skyrim. They are not only for aesthetics, they can be made to brave the elements. Just saying, make me responsible for my actions and my decisions really mean something.

Both Isoku’s Wet and Cold mod and Perseid's Realistic Need and Diseases adds that edge of desperation to the game. Getting stuck out there in a freezing rainstorm with no food or water, you might  as well just start up from your last save if that happens. But have no fear, both Frostfall and Camping Kit of the Northern Ranger give you the ability to build a campfire and pitch a tent so I can make it through the cold and lonely nights of Skyrim.

There are so many things that I would love to be part of The Elder Scrolls Online. Everyone has their own wishlist for a game that they are anticipating. At least I got a chance to build the type of RPG I want to play because of the incredible wealth of talent from the Elder Scrolls modding community. Without Bethesda’s Creation kit none of it would ever be possible, I understand that, and I know there will be no Creation Kit for the online game. Zenimax should take real hard look at what people want in their games by what is built and has become popular. Put all the body mods that provide half naked and naked girls aside, and realize that your fanbase has taken what you given us and improved on it and customized to our own specs.

Make that happen and you will have the most successful MMORPG on the market.

Good luck Zenimax, I am pulling for you. 

Skyrim, Modding & You - Part 1: Tools of The Trade.

Posted by Inktomi Friday January 4 2013 at 6:29PM
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Happy New Year MMOers! It's nice to be on break and getting a chance to do some ininhibited gaming. I have not gotten into any new MMO's recently, I am biding my time. Instead, I have picked up an old pastime of mine, which is modding single player games.

NOT MMO RELATED! Yes, but no in a way. As online gamers, we ask for a few things in our games; really we come to expect a lot and complain when we don't get it. We want individuality, fairness and the ability to create. Many games do not give us that, but if we sacrifice online playing to customize a game to our liking, then we would enjoy it much more, right? Best of all, they are all free except for the game itself. Yeah, yeah, I know you can get the game free too, but I am not that cheap. I always support my favorite developers.

Help me out here.

I have been modding Bethesda games for as far back as I can remember. Morrowind to the teeth, Oblivion to the point that it was not Oblivion any more. Many others, such as Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, Homeworld, even Doom 3 Sikkmod, gave that a whirl. 

Doom 3 is still Doom 3, just prettier. If you haven't played Doom 3 yet, get it cheap and run through it with Sikkmod for a much more graphically intensive experience. And graphics is what I am aiming for in my latest build for Skyrim. But before I go into the guide which I am writing for both you, fearless reader AND me as well. I've found plenty of "best mods for skyrim" articles, but not many good "how to" or DIY Guides.

My Rig

OS: Windows 7 64 Bit

Intel Core 2 Quad 2.83 Ghz

6 Gigs of DDR2 Ram

Nvidia Geforce GTX 560 (not overclocked)

2 Monitors, 1 HD 1080p

1.5 Terabytes of space for what I don't know.

That is my midrange machine. Works great, less filling and is going to give me the ability to play Skyrim with hi-res graphics.

I played Skyrim to death on the PS3 which I (cough, cough) got as a gift. Since the PS3 has been officially frozen out of all DLC, I felt the best way to really enjoy the game was to play it on PC (masterrace.) Just so happened that Steam had a big winter sale and offered me Skyrim, the Dawngaurd DLC and the tiny Hearthfire DLC for $40.00. Well worth the money, IMO.

On with the show!

Tools of the trade. PS: Always read the readmes

DO NOT GET MODS FROM THE STEAM WORKSHOP! Some are not fully supported, some outdated and most are also posted at Skyrim Nexus. Nexus has set the gold standard in the modding community for years now and I fully support them. Save the link, you are going to use it a lot if you follow this guide.

1) Buy Skyrim, either through Steam or dowload from somewhere or by discs. This is a steam-centric guide, so anywhere you see Steam, just ignore the steam part and focus on the path filename.

2) Installation of Steam (skip if not using steam) Many mods will tell you that putting mods in a \My Program Files folder is not recommended. Keep in mind, I did this from a format and a fresh Win7 installation and Steam installation. So everything is in my C:\Games\Steam folder. 

3) Install Skyrim and additional DLC. DO NOT INSTALL HI RES TEXTURE PACKS! You're going to get better ones from the community. The ones from Bethesda have caused many a crash or CTD.

4) Run Skyrim until you reach character creation. Close it up. That is your test stop if you are testing mods for compatibility. PS: Your are going to be starting a fresh game of Skyrim. I do not recommend adding Mods for games in progress. If you decide to and works seamlessly, good for you.

5) Steam Install: Right click on Skyrim, hit Properties, go to the Updates tab and under Automtic Updates turn it to Do not automatically update this game. I will show you later on in this guide how to update without wrecking your "build." Run from Steam again and adjust your graphics or let the game adjust them for you. This is the last time you will be running Skyrim from Steam or the regular .EXE.

6) Test the game and see if it runs.

7) Download these tools:

8)make sure you have updated Skyrim to the latest or higher build. Install and run BOSS. It should open up a browser screen showing what mods you have installed and the condition. Don't worry about dirty edits, just look for anything red. You should see none since this is a starter build.
9) Install 7zip if you don't have it. Then follow directions and install the above tools to the folder where your Skyrim game is installed to. It should be in C:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\Skyrim
10) If you are installing Wrye Bash and doing a full Python Install, run the installer twice and there is another .dll they need to install for you. The Wrye Bash executable will be in the \mopy folder. Make a copy of that and send it to desktop. Heck, make a copy of all of them and put them on your desktop. One further, make a folder on your desktop and drop them all in it. Keep it clean because modding is like home improvement, always keep your tools handy.
10 b) Read teh readmes. Wrye has an extensive, yellow and indepth readme online and has been keeping it updated for years now. Really talented team.
Mess around with your new toys. Read up around on some bonus websites I am posting below, and play some vanilla skyrim, for this is the last time you will.
Come back tomorrow when we start cleaning house and then start wrecking the joint. 
Disclaimer: These software licenses are protecting by the GNU Public license and by no means am I getting any compensation or recognition for their support. The just taste great together.
Dedicated to Knots the Inane, where ever you are.

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