Today is the day that The Elder Scrolls Online launches on consoles. Unless you had a code last night, at which point yesterday was that day.
Long about 5PMish Bethesda sent out the codes to us folks who upgraded and transferred our progress from PC to console. I headed over to the ol’ paperweight, logged in, and entered my code, allowing me to “pre-load” the game. I didn’t come back until five hours or so later, after hearing the gates were actually open.
So I associated my game account with my PS account and lo! There were my characters, in the same state of disarray as I had left them months ago, standing around aimless and…earth-tone-y. I logged in with my highest level character (a paltry level 20 something) and found myself in…some city-town. Wayrest, I think? Is that a place?
Of course, the first thing that I think anyone does when they return to a game is to figure out the controls. Making matters more complex was the fact that I was playing with an unfamiliar input device, one with a lot of buttons. I saw another player who was apparently also testing buttons, so I started mashing things and observing the results.
One of the first buttons I found was the hotbar activation, and I knew this because I saw my character launching a fireball at a nearby NPC. It didn’t dawn on me what happened until the NPC sprinted over and started whacking me with a stick. I was forced to defend myself, killing the poor person in the process. It wasn’t long before one of the town guards came over, saw the corpse and my flaming hands, and elevated me to Public Enemy #1. I figured there wasn’t much I could do, so I let the guard kill me.
This morning while waiting for the “opportunity” to head out to work I fired up the Vita which I actually found and charged for this special occasion, and logged into the PS4 via the Remote Play option. The Remote Play feature is pretty good for simple games, but the much touted back-touch-screen is actually a poor analogue for the shoulder buttons of the normal PS4 controller. I had ventured out of town to see what I could see, captured a butterfly and harvested some plants, but I got a little too close to a spider who decided to expectorate on me as a way of saying “hello!”, so I was forced to throw down…the Vita, because TESO combat using that hardware is infuriating, especially considering I hadn’t yet mastered the control scheme in general.
Putting the Training Wheels On
Because nothing says enjoyment like inviting repeated kicks to the crotch, my friends and I opted to jump back into Heroes of the Storm last night. We started out wondering if last week’s slaughter was a fluke, like solar flares or the popularity of Nutella, but also like Nutella, we found that we still suck.
On a whim, one of my friends suggested we try a custom game, and there we found that we could tweak the AI settings. We started all of the AI (even our own) at the lowest level possible, and then moved them up the ladder of difficulty with each match. We learned that we’re only good enough to take on AI who are set at levels below Adept, which is like saying we’re only competent enough to have conversations with third graders. Although we were buoyed by our stunning victories on the first two lowest difficulties, we were saddened that we didn’t get any benefit from playing a custom game. Of course, no XP or gold is awarded in this mode in order to prevent farming, so it looks like our only recourse is to return to the normal mode and subject ourselves to a firm beating in exchange for payout. So, kinda like getting a job.