Gaming hard in May

Well May is starting quite strong on the gaming front, I’ve kicked off a Diablo III character restart for the sixth season. I like the seasons in that they give me a reason to fire the game up once more, last time I had to roll a new sessional character but this one I got to restart an existing one.
I’m not a massively focused player nor do I tend to play the game with a group but I’m keen to see how the next run progresses, and attempt to complete more tasks this time around.

This week FlyinPinkMunki and I patched Elder Scrolls Online, we stumped up and bought a plus membership and then rolled two new characters. We had been discussing this for sometime and what with the Dark Brotherhood content incoming we couldn’t think of a better time to be returning. I’ve finally got around to creating an Imperial character and will let you know how we get on.

Last but not least is Overwatch which officially goes live later this month but is in open beta between the  5 and 9 with those who have preordered getting a 2 day head start. I have tried to vary the characters I play but have found that Pharah, Zarya and of course Mei are the ones I’ve favouring at the moment. I can’t wait for this game to go live as there are so many people that I follow who are playing it, if you want to add me I can be found on BT welshtroll#2579.

Finally we are still kicking around in The Division as a select few of us head towards level 20 (Yes we can blast through content but it is nice to have a regular gaming evening with some old timer clan mates). The game doesn’t do a great deal to hide the mechanics so a weekly group actually works better for me as continually play would just frustrate me.

To europe, to europe, to lower our ping

Four months after Elder Scrolls Online launched and the EU megaserver is finally going to be located in Europe. Originally the NA and EU megaservers were both housed in the US so that Zenimax could work out and deploy any post-live problems with a faster turn-around.

Of course this has seen the ping to the server being higher and some suggest it increases lag in PvP, not that I have noticed or experienced it myself.
I have often pondered if some players in PvP were NA players making the most of the lower latency to wail on EU players, it would explain my Kill\Death ratio.

So other than a 9 hour downtime starting at 1pm BST on Wednesday 30th, there shouldn’t be much to report and it will go swimmingly (Fingers Crossed).

The full announcement can be found here :

Fiddling with filters

Since reaching level 50 and completing the main story quest I’m been taking a little away from questing in Elder Scrolls Online. I’ve used the opportunity to take a quite a few screenshots in the areas I’ve completed recently I wondered about adding effects to the images to see what I could produce.

There are a number of applications out there for image manipulation but I decided to use one I was already familiar with, as I have it installed on my phone. It’s one of 3 apps from Autodesk and is called Pixlr-o-matic , you can use it online or it’s also available as a download using Adobe Air.

Here are the results

I have to say I do like the way the lighting is altered in each, it makes effect 3 and 4 almost feel like drawings/artwork.

#ESO #ElderScrollsOnline

Taking screenshots in TESO

Annoyingly The Elder Scrolls Online client defaults all screenshots into BitMap (bmp) file format, which is a paint as this format means every screenshot is around 7MB each and many online upload service require gif, jpg or png formats in order to upload.

Not if you purchased or run the game via Steam you can use the Steam client to capture the screenshot, which are stored in jpg format but are however hidden away in the depths of the Steam folder, which when I’m uploading I always fail to remember where exactly they are due to the way the folders are named with numbers.

Thankfully you can still use the naive ESO client as you can alter the default screenshot format from BMP to JPG, this reduces the size from 7mb each to about 0.5mb each.

How to set the default screenshot type to JPG

In order to do this you need to

  1. log out of game/client/launcher
  2. browse to the My Documents folder on your PC, then to the folder named Elder Scrolls Online
  3. in this folder you will have a folder called Live or LiveEU, you may have both if you play on both MegaServers, open the folder
  4. you are looking for a file called UserSettings.txt which you need to open in a text editor like notepad
  5. find (using ctrl+f) the string ScreenshotFormat, which should look like SET ScreenshotFormat “BMP”
  6. overwrite the characters BMP with JPG and save the file

In-game settings

Once you are saving file in JPG format you can take screenshots in game using the PrtScn button ( which can remap if you like).

In the keymappings (unbound by default) is the option to remove the GUI, for me this is a must if you want less cluttered screenshots, who wants  a screenshot where a quarter of the screen is filled with the trading chat, navigation and skill bars?

To set this keymapping do the following:

  1. Open the options, goto controls and then keybindings
  2. Scroll down until you find the section labelled User Interface
  3. Look for the setting UI On/Off
  4. Bind this to a infrequently used key, I use the “Pause” key on my keyboard. ( sadly the game doesn’t allow keycombos using Alt, Shift or Ctrl for this so it has to be a single key)

I’m a fan of health bars in game showing all the time, however health bars will still show even with the GUI is off, so if you are planning some staged screenshots that you are taking the time to set up,  I would advise setting health bars to off or at least set to injured only.

#ESO #ElderScrollsOnline #Screenshots

Death to the cash shop

After paying my first subscription payment for Elder Scrolls Online I’m reinforced in my belief that Free-2-Play/Freemium is a poisoned chalice instead of the golden goblet of awesome that the F2P revolution always alluded to.

Not that I don’t see the benefits that the shift has brought with it, removing the barriers and opening up the playing field. As a MMO gamer I can play a different MMO every night for a fortnight and not pay a penny, which isn’t something you could say 8 years ago. When done badly or greedily it’s no better than the hordes of Facebook titles begging for your money.

However I feel that dividing a games assets into purchasable bundles detracts from the game as a whole. I as a player can’t experience the game in the way that the developers originally intended or in a joined up way, now the only way to get that level X equipment is to grid out experience, farm certain enemy types or transform your real money into “Company points” to soften the blow of spending it on electronic goods.

Now many F2P games offer a monthly subscription VIP/Premium/Member service that should reduce a players dependency on in-game purchases, yet in recent times it has felt like companies target these already paying customers more with exclusive deals, discounted items or just plain old asking for more money with an array of hats (replace with flavour of the month item).

I hope that The Elder Scrolls Online keeps taking my money and doesn’t venture down the F2P road.


#F2P #FreetoPlay # subscription #ElderScrollsOnline