Lately I have been going through an anxiety ridden period where I just find it super stressful to be around people on a regular basis. This started over the break, and for some extent I pulled myself out of it a little bit around the time I went back to work. However increased stresses in that realm seems to have caused a relapse. As a result I am firmly back in what I refer to as “turtle mode” where I duck my head into my shell and largely forget the world exists. As a result I am taking every possible excuse to avoid doing things that have lots of people involved with them, and I missed both raids this week… both with completely reasonable reasons but reasons that I probably could have avoided were it not for my anxiety desperately clinging to them. Sure I had a window to fix, but I could have probably been done in time for the raid. Sure I dozed off on the sofa, but had I drank a monster or some coffee I probably would have been fine there too. The excuse was too convenient not to take it when the reality was I am simply having trouble processing existing around other human beings.
When I am in deep turtle mode it is all I can really do to exist on a daily basis, let alone have to pretend to be a normal human being. Which I realize is a bit odd given that I am generally a gregarious and welcoming sort, and have become famous for opting people. There are times where I just can’t be “rockstar bel” as one of my friends has referred to it. There is time when I just need to hide out and pretend the other human beings don’t exist. Generally speaking when I am in this mode I play a lot of Minecraft or Skyrim… or in the case of what has happened over the weekend return to playing an MMO that I really don’t have much of a social structure in these days. Awhile back I reinstalled Elder Scrolls Online and this weekend I stared playing it extremely seriously. I am enjoying myself immensely and other than the occasional message from folks who are also dipping their toes in as well and just happy to see a familiar face.
I have to say the game feels amazing coming back to it after a significant time gone. The game has released a ton of DLC/Expansion content since release and there are basically two ways of playing it. Either you buy the DLC outright, where there is a deal that can be had that includes the four major DLC packs for 5500 crowns… which is $39.99. The other option is to subscribe to the game which immediately unlocks all of the content… so long as you keep an active subscription. However there is another reason to go for the ESO Plus subscription option… because it magically fixes your bag situation. At launch one of my key problems was trying to keep enough bag space to be actively looting crafting ingredients, while at the same time picking up gear that drops from things I was killing. With the subscription plan it adds what seems to be a separate bottomless crafting inventory, that items simply go to automatically when you loot them. This means you can finally afford to loot all of those random crates and barrels full of fish and berries because it all gets whisked away off into the ether into a storage bin you never actually have to mess with.
The other awesome thing that has happened in the period of time I have not really be playing is that they have shifted the Veteran Rank system to be the Champion Point system. At first I thought this was a one for one swap over to a sort of Skyrim-esc celestial system based around the Thief, Warrior and Mage. However it seems to be way more than that, in that they are essentially an account wide system of alternate expansion much like the Planar abilities in Rift or Paragon points in Diablo 3. That means if you log into your level 7 alt like I did yesterday… I had 130 champion points to spend making me able to do some pretty insane stuff at low levels. Sure this greatly trivializes the leveling process for alts… but I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. In truth it makes me far more likely to level alts knowing that I have a lot of the same benefits, on them as I do on my main character. That said the collections and cosmetic systems also exist at an account level so you can keep using your favorite mounts and pets… or anything you have unlocked through the crown shop. All in all I have been happy to fade quietly back into a game that I still fine immensely immersive at least from a single player level.