Point Paralysis

Maybe I didn’t suck

For whatever reason this morning I am absolutely struggling to remain conscious.  I feel like maybe I drifted into the “too much sleep” territory last night.  We ended up with a heavily altered game play, in that when my wife got home last night we ended up taking our evening walk and combining it with some extra steps to go walk to eat dinner.  This was awesome in that it meant that my playtime was not perforated last night by going out to walk, but I seem to have squandered the benefit by going to bed early.  For whatever reason around 9 pm I got irrationally tired and after dealing with a few chores crashed out on the bed with two cats snuggled up beside me.  Normally I get pretty much the same 6 hours of sleep every night, but last night I got a little closer to 8 hours and I feel groggy as hell.

Awesome thing happened yesterday, in that the podcast I was a guest on over the weekend published the episode.  I feel humbled that I was offered to join in the fun, and the end result was really nice.  I listened to it yesterday after getting out of our weekly staff meeting, and I have to say I was a bit scared to do so.  I was worried that maybe I would have come off like an ass or something, but overall it seemed to flow really nicely.  Every now and then podcasts will have a guest on that is abrupt and disruptive… and I am always afraid I will be that guy.  Each podcast has a certain feel to it, and I was hoping that I was staying true to that.  It is still really damned weird to hear my own voice, but after doing this streaming thing and our own podcast I am starting to get used to it finally.

Point Paralysis

Screenshot_20140424_062015 Yesterday one of my guildies and fellow bloggers Werit posted a piece on something I think all of us have felt, that he calls “Skill Point Paralysis”.  One of the big features of Elder Scrolls Online is that the game is not so much about how you play the game but how you choose to build your character.  You can be damned near anything you can imagine within the frame work of the game.  You want to play a spell slinging rogue, or a tanky archer?  Sure you can build both of those in damned near any “class” as well.  The problem is without a reasonable undo system, it gives a false sense of importance on every single skill point.  It is a bit like playing a chess match and being afraid to make a move for fear it was the wrong one.  I have had the benefit of playing this same character over a dozen times throughout the various beta test phases.  Over that time I have refined exactly what I want to do, but still I will find myself with four points pooled up and not really sure where to spend them.

So I thought I would spend a few minutes this morning talking about the type of decisions I make.  Essentially I tend to divide things up in my head into three categories:  Active Attacks, Passive Buffs, and Utility.  At the end of the day I can only have five active attacks on my bar at any given time, so as a result I tend to discount the value of choosing one of these.  Also picking up a new active attack means I need to devote some time into raising it and unlocking the morph.  After a point new abilities are not really as useful as old abilities until you can morph them.  So that means I need to be committed to a new ability choice if I want to go down that path.  I will occasionally pick up an ability if it sounds interesting, but if you notice in the above screenshot I have Power Bash at level 1… in part because I have not really used it much in combat.

Utility abilities are a special kind of actives, and I generally limit myself to only having one of these on my bar at a time.  Sometimes these are survival cooldowns, self heals or group buffs… but most of the time I classify things into this category that are only “situationally good”.  For example I love beyond love the Silver Bolts ability.  However it is only really worth putting on my bar if I know I will be fighting Daedra or Undead… or now that I have the fighters guild rank 7 passive Werewolves.  If it is an ability that I will use only 20% of the time, I greatly devalue picking that with my skill points.  Sometimes however these abilities are useful for things other than their original intent.  Even if you are fighting something other than the mob types mentioned above… Silver Bolts still becomes a pretty potent weaponless ranged attack if your character happens to be lacking one of those.

Always On is Awesome

The final category is where I tend to spend MOST of my points.  If you look at the above screenshot I have every single passive ability that I can currently get in the sword and board tree.  Similarly if you would look at my Heavy Armor and Imperial Racial trees their passives would be completely filled as well.  If I have a useful passive to buy, I will almost always choose that over something else.  Passives do not require me to change my play style to incorporate them in, nor do they require me to level them to make them truly useful.  Instead they are a single pick that makes my character immediately and permanently better.  In a game I will always favor something that gives me a permanent boost over something that gives me a situationally better boost.  I like “always on” things, because if I can be awesome all of the time, it is better to me than being awesome some of the time.

Finally I have limited myself to a single tradeskill for the time being.  Until the points begin to flow like honey later as I wander around the world collecting them…  I have narrowed my focus to two weapons (sword and shield and two handed), three class trees (because really you want to cherry pick abilities between them), one armor type (heavy is the only choice I ever seem to make), racial tree, and a single tradeskill (blacksmithing).  Now I will occasionally pick up some especially valuable picks like Soul Lock from the World tree, that gives you a chance to fill soul stones each time you kill a mob.  Overall I  have narrowed my focus to a specific set of abilities.  The big thing I see players doing that gets them in trouble is trying to tackle more than one weapon at a time early on.  I did not pick up a second weapon until 20 or so, well after I had the ability to hot swap between them.  Trying to spread yourself too thin is something that will ultimately lead to making the game harder than it really needs to be.

#ElderScrollsOnline #ESO #SkillPoints

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