About The Eternal Watch

The Eternal Watch is a guild that embraces both the "friends and family" atmosphere along with the "hardcore" drive to excel at end-game content.


TEW is over 14-years old, beginning in Asheron's Call 1, moving to Asheron's Call 2, Lineage 2, Aion, Age of Conan, World of Warcraft, Rift, Star Wars the Old Republic, TERA, and recently Guild Wars 2 and Neverwinter. 

Now the guild is branching into The Elder Scrolls Online saga, joining forces with Queen Ayrenn and the Aldmeri Dominion.


The Guild rules are simple:  don't be an ass and treat your guild members with respect and courtesy...and most of all, have fun!



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MMORPG Editorial...

by Mithoron, 36 days ago

Interesting commentary here...and I wondered the same thing....

Elder Scrolls Online Column: Are ESO Subs Going to Plummet?

By Ryan Getchell on January 28, 2015

With the announcement of The Elder Scrolls rebranding itself to The Elder Scrolls: Tamriel Unlimited and utilizing a Buy to Play model a lot of people are questioning if it is worth subscribing to the game after March 17th, myself included.  Let me explain why.

 

When ESO was first announced, Matt Firor and the team behind him stated they wanted to achieve a very audacious goal of releasing content patches every four to six week, a goal that they were almost attaining. However, that goal has now become a distant memory and they will no longer be focusing on that, which is why I am questioning if it is worth subbing after March 17th.

On Friday, Zenimax did a live Ask us Anything on the ESO Reddit and one of the answers did not sit well with me, or with a lot of people:

We are not going to keep up our 2014 pace of updates in 2015 - and our future update pace will focus more on new adventures and game experiences than system changes. It's time to let the game breathe a little - we've done so many new features so quickly that we want to make sure everyone is on the same page with us. 1.6 alone has a complete rebalancing of most player abilities - we don't want to do that again, for example. Our #1 priority right now is getting Tamriel Unlimited launched on PC, and then focusing on a successful console launch. While we do those things, we have other teams already working on DLC and expect to see that start rolling out at some point after console launch settles down. – Matt Firor

A lot of people do not realize how horrible this news is. Basically 1.6 is going to be last major update to the game until “after console launch settles down”. First, let’s try and figure out when that is, typically a MMO has two months after launch before it settles down. Trying to fix the bugs and server issues that always come with an online game launch takes a bit of time. With consoles being released in June that places the next potential release of content somewhere around September. If 1.6 launches the same time as Tamriel Unlimited that means we’ll have a stale period of six months before anything new is added to the game.

If this was World of Warcraft, six months isn’t that long of a time, as lot of guilds and players will still be pushing their way through the current tier of raiding. This is ESO, we don’t have a gear grind that takes six months to achieve. We have trials that take an hour to defeat, and these trials do not always drop best gear, sometimes the best gear is crafted. Once you’ve received the crafted gear what is there for you to do? Quest? Most VR14 players have already completed the quest lines for all three factions and if they haven’t they surely won’t take six months to do.

While patch 1.6 is incredibly massive it does not offer six months’ worth of content, maybe two. In terms of content patch 1.6 is giving players the Justice System. While this is going to be an extremely fun aspect of the game do you really foresee yourself spending six months looting and pillaging cities? Is that really how you want to spend your in-game time?

Of course there is PvP, and I really enjoy PvP.  It is one of the major reasons I am still excited about this game. Even then, after days of strict PvP I get bored. Undaunted Dailies aren’t overly difficult and once you’ve obtained your 2 piece set, and capped out the undaunted skill line there isn’t much reason to continue them. As time goes on we’re going to see less and less people looking to do the undaunted dailies.

Let’s say I did stay subscribed, and it took six months for ZOS to release content, what will I have gotten in the mean time?

  • 9000 crowns
  • Access to all downloadable content
  • Exclusive character progression bonuses for the duration of membership
  • 10% bonus to experience point gain
  • 10% bonus to crafting research
  • 10% bonus to crafting inspiration gain
  • 10% bonus to gold acquisition

Having played the game since release in April, a lot of those benefits are worthless to me, and many other people.

The XP gain is great for leveling an alt, but useless on my level capped character unless it counts towards champion points as well.

Crafting Research time, means nothing as I’ve capped out all my crafting already. Unless they release additional crafting traits this bonus serves no purpose. Which I can’t see them doing for six months.

Crafting inspiration gain, again same as the crafting time, I’ve capped my crafting skills inspiration means nothing.

Gold acquisition is the only major thing that I’ll be utilizing for those six months. Even that isn’t a lot. The average mob drops 50 gold, with the bonus I’d be getting 55 gold. Every 10 humanoids killed I get a free 50 gold. Nothing I’m super exciting about, but I’ll take it.

I’ll also be getting the 1500 crowns every month, or 9000 total. These crowns would go towards vanity items such as costumes, pets, mounts etc. This is something that is 100% optional and offers nothing in the way of actually playing the game and enjoying it for what it is. I’ve played this long without it and enjoyed every moment of it, doing it while wearing a jester costume would be a bonus but one that I can easily say no to.

All the bonuses offered by Zenimax are outstanding and extremely beneficial to a new player or a player who is returning but for those who’ve been enjoying the game since day one they are mediocre at best.

On top of ZOS not releasing any content for six months, I found this worrying thing within their FAQ:

Does purchased downloadable content (DLC) come with me if I switch megaservers?

No. DLC purchased in the Crown Store is only available on the megaserver where it was purchased. (For example, if you buy DLC on the North American megaserver, it will only be available when playing on the North American megaserver.)

When you buy ESO, you’re given access to play on both EU and NA servers. You can switch between them at will. You do not need to own two copies of the game, yet for their DLC releases if you wish to play both EU and NA servers you’re required to purchase two.

What is the difference between buying the retail box or buying a DLC for that retail box. I do not see any difference however Zenimax has placed an imaginary difference on them.

This is my plea to Zenimax, please for the love of the eight, make the $15 a month feel valuable to us. As of right now it feels like anyone who subscribes from now until the first DLC release that isn’t a new or returning player isn’t getting anything of value.

I had no issues paying the subscription fee in order to play the game, my money was going towards access to this fantastic game, but with it going Buy to Play where I can enjoy the same exact game with no limitation for FREE why should I subscribe. So please, Zenimax make us want to spend the money, give us content, even veteran dungeons is acceptable.

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TESO going Buy to Play

by Mithoron, 44 days ago

Looks like I'll be able to afford playing again...ON MY BIRTHDAY, woot, what a birthday present!

Elder Scrolls Online General Article: Tamriel Goes Unlimited on St. Patrick’s Day

By William Murphy on January 21, 2015

The rumors can end now, folks. It’s official, as of this moment in time. Elder Scrolls Online is ditching its subscription model in favor of a model more akin to Guild Wars 2.  Rebranding itself as Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, players now will simply buy the base game, gain access to all of its content, and never pay another dime unless they deem it necessary. In addition, the PS4 and XBOX One Editions will be launching officially on June 9th. It’s all coming up Tamriel this year, it seems. However, that’s not quite all she wrote.

With the Tamriel Unlimited launch, we’re also going to be seeing optional subscriptions remain, because like GW2, ESO will now have its own virtual currency called “crowns”. Every existing player will get 500 crowns for free, plus an additional 100 crowns for every month they’ve been subscribed since launch. The optional subscription known as “ESO Plus” will grant a monthly stipend of 1500 crowns, and will grant access to all future DLC as long as the subscription is maintained.  If you have an active subscription when Tamriel goes Unlimited on March 17th, you’ll be automatically enrolled in ESO Plus, and will start getting your bonus crowns. In this way, the model reminds me a bit more of DC Universe Online, or even The Secret World. A hybrid of marketing ideas in the truest sense of the word.

It’s worth noting that all existing patches (including the forthcoming Update 6) will be part of the base game and free of charge. What remains to be seen is just what the DLC entails, as the press release states “Regular updates and new gameplay will be offered to all players to enjoy free of additional charges.” So what will DLC entail, and how much (if at all) will it segregate the playerbase? And what’s going to be in the Crown Marketplace? According to the press release, it’ll all be about convenience and customization items, and nothing Pay-to-Win. I’m guessing at XP boosts, mounts, pets, armor skins, dyes, and all of that.

As I predicted back in MMOFTW a few weeks ago, I’m betting that this move was predetermined a while back while negotiating with Microsoft and Sony on the revenue model for the console editions. Neither company is fond of charging an additional subscription on top of PSN and XBL fees, and I’m willing to bet that most console owners wouldn’t be happy with the idea either. Going Buy-to-Play is the best chance ESO has to make a real foothold in the console space at the early end of this console generation.  All I ever heard from friends close to ESO was that the subscription retention was high, so it’s unlikely the B2P change is because of anything other than the console release and wanting one revenue model for all versions.

Regardless, a livestream from Zenimax goes live at 12pm EST today, just head over to http://www.twitch.tv/zenimaxonlinestudios at the aforementioned time to find out all the details.  Our own Christina Gonzalez has a  column and editorial on the news coming later this morning, so stay tuned.

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Blizzard cancels their next MMO Titan project...

by Mithoron, 163 days ago

 

Blizzard cancels its next-gen MMO Titan after seven years

Blizzard has officially canceled development on its mysterious next-generation massively multiplayer game Titan. The company confirmed the news to Polygon in a recent interview.

This revelation comes after at least seven years in development and word last year that the developer was going back to the drawing board to reevaluate the project.

Speaking to Polygon, Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime reiterated that the company has technically never officially announced Titan, though it hasn't been shy to talk about the game over the past seven years. "We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs," Morhaime said. "So we set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine. And it didn't come together.

"We didn't find the fun," Morhaime continued. "We didn't find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that's the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no."

 

Chris Metzen, Blizzard's senior vice president of story and franchise development, called the decision to cancel Titan "excruciating." Morhaime agreed: "It's always really, really hard to make those kind of decisions. It was hard when we canceled Warcraft Adventures. It was hard when we canceled StarCraft Ghost. But it has always resulted in better-quality work."

"The discipline of knowing when to quit is important," Metzen said. "We were losing perspective and getting lost in the weeds a little. We had to allow ourselves to take that step back and reassess why the hell we were doing that thing in the first place."

As Metzen and Morhaime have looked back on the past decade at Blizzard, a major factor in their decision to pursue Titan was the immense success of World of Warcraft, the company's first MMO and still the most financially successful game ever released in the genre.

"Is this really who we are? Is this really what we want?"

"We were trying to do the right thing and build the right, smart product, and keep it all moving," Metzen said. "The opportunity to get that perspective and dust off a little bit, scraped knees and all, stand back up and reevaluate as a team, as leaders, as a culture — it was a big blessing."

Metzen spoke of a "sense of inertia and obligation and identity that we hold in ourselves and the community may also hold toward us" that pushed Blizzard to focus development resources on a second MMO. "Is this really who we are?" he asked. "Is this really what we want? Is this really what we want to burn our passion and our work lives, our careers on, for years on end?"

"Are we the MMORPG company?" he added later, in conclusion to that line of questioning.

Morhaime answered that last rhetorical question quite simply: "We don't want to identify ourselves with a particular genre. We just want to make great games every time."

 

Metzen compared Blizzard's creative struggles with Titan to that of a band: "I'm not saying we're an old rock band. But you watch documentaries about The Rolling Stones or U2 or these bands that have lasted for a while. And there's times where they just drive each other batshit crazy. For as good as they are and the experience they have, sometimes you just don't find it, and you've got to get out of the damn studio and go have a beer and regroup."

"In many ways, Titan was that for us," Metzen said. "We took a step back and realized that it had some cool hooks. It definitely had some merit as a big, broad idea, but it didn't come together. It did not distill. The music did not flow. For all our good intentions and our experience and the pure craftsmanship that we brought together, we had to make that call."

The approach seems obvious if you look at Blizzard's history of canceling projects it doesn't have complete confidence in, but Morhaime made the company's philosophy clear: "That's for sure, that we'd rather cut out a game we put a lot of time and resources into than put out something that might..."

Metzen finished Morhaime's sentence: "Damage the relationship. Smash the trust."

"I wouldn't say no to ever doing an MMO again," Morhaime said. "But I can say that right now, that's not where we want to be spending our time."

Metzen clarified that Blizzard will continue supporting World of Warcraft. "My hope personally is that we'll support it forever," he said.


Throughout the interview, Metzen and Morhaime suggested that the recent trend of smaller-scale Blizzard releases like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm has played a part in the company moving away from Titan.

 

"I think the lesson that comes around again is just making damn sure that the things we commit to do and the things we burn calories on and the things we commit to our community that we will do are coming from a place of focus and inspiration," Metzen said.

He explained that Hearthstone had helped the studio realize that they don't need to fit themselves into the box of only making products of a certain scale.

"Maybe we can be what we want to be and inspire groups around the company to experiment, get creative, think outside the box and take chances on things that just might thrill people," Metzen said. "Maybe they don't have to be these colossal, summer blockbuster-type products."

Stay tuned to Polygon for more Blizzard news throughout the coming week, including an in-depth look at how the developer's culture has shifted and survived throughout the company's 23-year history.

 

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MMORPG.com TESO Editorial - 6 months

by Mithoron, 169 days ago

 

Elder Scrolls Online Column: As Month Six Approaches, an Eye on ESO

By Christina Gonzalez on September 17, 2014

When it comes to MMORPGs, their status as ever-changing, live worlds is part of the whole experience. With The Elder Scrolls Online just having received a new major update this week, one that will carry the game into its sixth month of release, it seemed like a good time to reflect upon where the game has come to this point, as well as a couple of wishes for the future. While there have been mistakes, promises, and changes, the game continues to evolve as it seems to have found its audience and development gets closer to a console version. After all of this, ESO heads into its sixth month on a few solid notes.

 

I feel that the team is utilizing its resources well in bringing both major changes and incremental ones including aesthetic and immersion such as more messages for hirelings added in this patch, and things like better animations and lighting. Things that make the game feel more realistic, such as being able to steal items, and to pick up some items in the world and utilize them, are all good examples of giving ESO more flavor and making it feel more alive and more ‘Elder Scrolls’.  Promises of things to come, like Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, and the justice system are all good. With any MMO, there are usually different teams working on different aspects of the game, so that’s why it can seem like things aren’t being addressed for a while, while at the same time there are improvements and additions, large and small all around. Fellow Nightblade lovers, a full overhaul hasn’t arrived just yet, but we’ve gotten a few steps forward and a couple of steps in place.  Yet, overall, the updates have been mostly well rounded. Sure, it would’ve been nice to have a few faster overhauls on certain aspects, but the major points of contention have been or are being addressed on an ongoing basis.

In translating The Elder Scrolls into an MMO, it’s clear that there were some mistakes made and some learning going on through community feedback and beyond. I’ve been vocal about the abundance of phasing and other ways grouped players could be separated from one another, but I’m pretty impressed that efforts to help address this problem have come steadily and to a satisfying degree. This has been happening in stages, but with the latest patch, it finally feels like these changes are significant. The patch that hit live this week was a major phase of this transition. Two dozen different quest lines which were set to receive some changes to reduce separation between party members and to lower the number of solo instances.

In an RPG, there are a lot of layers and in a single player game, you can make moral choices and decisions that are your own. One of the reasons The Elder Scrolls series’ is so great is that, even with an overarching story, how you approach the game overall can be pretty unique. It’s kind of difficult for two players to have the same gameplay experience if they don't collude beforehand. A gameplay experience can really be your own. When making an MMORPG, there are some obvious concessions that need to be made, which include how story dynamics work. Yet there should at least be ways to do that without separating players.  In SWTOR, moral decisions made when playing as a group are saved and recorded individually per character (as in ESO) but there too was a degree of separation as, unless everyone was the same class, there’d be instances for story missions.

ESO does something similar, except instead of doors in a generally safe area, it started out as a game that would send you into different phases without warning. Little changes, like telling you something is a solo instance, and the option to teleport to group leader, were the beginning of changes, and now that quests are being overhauled in bulk to reduce layers and solo play for those of us who prefer our MMORPG time grouped up, these have gone a long way in earning confidence from me. SWTOR’s doors are a fine way of handling things for the separate class stories involved in that game (which is another that has become better over time, IMO). One significant distinction was that even within your instances, you could have friends in your group come assist you. ESO’s immersion-heavy way of going from one leg of a quest to another without big green story doors is more fun to me, so now that the major part of the changes are happening, I’m looking forward to diving into this restructured content and hoping it’s as smooth as its potential.

In many respects, ESO is doing well  with its population (according to unofficial figures) and seems to have found its core. I think that having the team say ‘Hey, we screwed up on a few things. But we’re listening’ helped refocus, but only because ZeniMax is following through.

With the launch troubles, the mistakes, and all the free to play talk that came even before launch, it might have been easy to write the game for a while. But now, I think that’s much harder to do.

We even had some speculation in this space last week about that particular question. I would tend to agree with Ryan’s assessment in its current state. Right now, every player is a paid player and the game opens pretty much everything to you. Going free to play or buy to play would deliver an incomplete game for anyone not subbing, as well as lead to resources being spent elsewhere. If the numbers are as high as reported, or even a more modest half a million, that’s millions of dollars in assured income right now. Cash shop only games are considered successful if only 10% of their players spend money at any given time. Tiered models like that of SWTOR would, at this time, almost certainly result in some sort of drop  right now, because time spent breaking the game and gating it to monetize certain elements would require money spent, and then a drop in subscriptions means going from 100% of players are paid and being able to count on a certain amount for at least a month ahead, more irregular numbers. While going buy to play helped save The Secret World, if you buy just the box you’re getting an incomplete experience.

This is relevant in the six month discussion to me because we’re looking where the game has been, where it is now, and where it’s going, and the payment model discussion just isn’t going away. Personally, I was a little skeptical about the overhauls coming for phasing, builds, Provisioning, and Enchanting and didn’t expect to see them roll out so quickly. Sure, there are still some cynics, some with talking points that haven’t been relevant since the weeks after launch. And that’s not counting those who simply dislike the game as it is.  Hey, not every game works for every player. But heading into its sixth month, some might complain it feels like the PC release is an extended beta test for the upcoming console versions, but others can focus on the variety of changes, good and bad, as well as promises actively being kept. Those are good signs, and if the population counts are anywhere near rumored figures, probably speaks well of continued confidence and more kept promises.

 

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Today September 11....

by Mithoron, 176 days ago

Regardless of religion, beliefs, or whatever, please take a moment of silence today in memorial of the lives lost not just of the first responders, but all the victims...

 

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