Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review of FIREBLOOD and a look at the newest MMO, Elder Scrolls Online

Hello everyone! This post is probably going to be the nerdiest one I've written in a while. And that's saying something. I once rambled about Skyrim and its sheer awesomeness for at least a page. Like the title says, I will be doing two things in this post: 1) Providing a brief review of Fireblood (Whispers from Mirrowen) by Jeff Wheeler 2) Showcasing some sweet screenshots from the Elder Scrolls Online (now that the NDA is relinquished).

Let's get straight to it then!

Courtesy Goodreads
Fireblood is the first in Jeff Wheeler's Whispers from Mirrowen series. It's set in a fantasy world beset with a devastating plague. There is everything you would want from a fantasy series: magic, lore, evil creatures, quests, danger, intrigue, and so much more that I just can't share because it would spoil some of y'all's fun. The characters are multi-faceted, full of personal twists, and absolutely endearing. Yes, even the evil ones have something attractive about them (maybe they're born with it, maybe it's Maybelline?). 
Courtesy Goodreads

The second book of the series, Dryad Born, was just released (on my birthday!) and I can't wait to start it. Fireblood left me right in the middle of a big reveal and gosh darn it I just can't stand waiting!

Maybe I have the Fireblood and just don't know it? I have always wanted that sort of power. But goodness, the responsibility is daunting.

Anyway, that's all I'm going to say for now. As a fantasy fan, I recommend this series. Wheeler does a fantastic job of weaving a believable tale in a believable environment with believable consequences. Even the book covers are nice! In summary: delicious book.

I now summon the gaming nerd in me. Come forth, thou keyboard and mouse-clicking fanatic! Show yourself!

For a while now, I've had the opportunity to Beta test (long term) the newest Bethesda/Zenimax/Havok creation. I'm talking about the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Elder Scrolls Online or ESO for short. Until recently, I wasn't allowed to talk about my experiences in Beta or take and share screenshots, videos, etc. There was a really strict nondisclosure agreement (NDA) in place and I, for all intents and purposes, always obey rules.

Besides, silence was a small price to pay for testing the game out before its release, and I like to think that I'm a pretty helpful person. I have helped test the game on a public test server (PTS) (I know, there are SO many acronyms), reporting bugs in quests, providing feedback on the forums, and basically stress-testing the server with my incessant questing.

Herein lie my thoughts and some lovely screengrabs of just a few of the places in ESO. (The graphics are amazing, not going to lie.)

The final chamber in Coldharbour's starting quest.
In ESO, characters start out in a place called Coldharbour, the home plane of daedric prince Molag Bal. It's a really purple place. Like, really purple. I'm sure Prince would like it. The best thing about Coldharbour is all the random loot you can find in containers. I literally walk around in the large chambers and open every jar, chest, or trunk and take whatevers inside. It might be an ingredient, a lockpick (score!), or even a book that teaches me a new crafting style (double score!).

Depending on which Alliance you've chosen to join, you will end up in different places upon exiting this purple dungeon of doom. Albeit, you will leave with slightly less "soul" than when you entered. Actually, you will not have a soul at all. Cool, huh?

My Khajit character collecting a Skyshard. Getting some soul.
To gain back some of your souliness, you will gather Skyshards in Tamriel.  

<-----Doing so will look like this. It's pretty neat.

Part of what makes ESO so awesome is the fact that you are playing with other people. I love Skyrim and other Elder Scrolls single player games and still do, but it's a whole different experience taking down a dungeon with fellow ESO fans.

Now for some gratuitous screenshots of my characters in ESO.

Crafting is one of my favorite things to do when
I'm not killing things or absorbing Skyshards.

There are books EVERYWHERE to read. So I read them. 

This character has a tattoo and a penchant for killing things
that glow red with her bow. 
So, if you feel like joining the ranks of adventurers such as myself, you can starting on April 4. The game is available for preorder now for Mac, PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One, but only Mac and PC will be released in April. Console versions will most likely come out in June. If any of you do become ESO players, drop me a line. We can explore the far reaches of Tamriel together, killing all that glows red and tries to kill us. That's the dream, right?

Until next time...