Guys, I’m in a lull right now. I was playing a lot of random new games, but after finishing Prey (I started a new save on it because I am in love), I haven’t seen another new title that pulls me in yet. I do have some trusty titles I dive into on a regular basis so I thought it was time to show them some love. Today, I’m going to tell you the latest of what I’ve been doing in Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), and why even though I am terrible at it, I still can’t get enough. To showcase how truly terrible I am at this game, I will start this post by sharing a ridiculous fail. I die jumping off cliffs even when I put in effort to not die! And then I missed the reason I was actually risking my life so… wasted potions, wasted soul gem, wasted time. Woe is me.
Let me tell you guys that I’ve never been good at managing skills, perks, and different load outs. My approach to gaming has always been how do I make my character super cute and what is the dopest power I can use. In games where any sort of magic-based option is available, that’s what I’m choosing. You can have multiple characters in ESO, but the only one I play is my main lady Ezra’iel.
My names in these games mean nothing. I just start typing letters and hope they make a neat sounding word. I like the name “Ezra” (yeah, I know it’s a “boy name”) and then slap some unnecessary punctuation on that bad boy, add some more vowels, and bam! There she is.
I finally hit CP level 1000 (at CP 1008 as I write this) and I’m super excited about that! Yeah, I’m a high level, but I don’t really know how to be “effective” in this game. I suck at PVP and I am ultra squishy, but I cast some cool spells! And look at that ho-fo-sho style. I often get whispers confirming that I did indeed make a total bae. See? This rando thinks so!
Anyway, I love how you can do absolutely nothing in this game and still enjoy it. I’ve played the shit out of this game, but I still log in regularly to do some meandering, nonsensical things. My recent achievement was maxing out the scrying and excavation skill lines. Before I talk about this too much, yes, this is gonna be nerdy, but it is a big time investment and I’m excited I got it done!
Scrying and excavation are two pieces of hunting for antiquities. Antiquities are treasure in the game that you hunt for, dig up, and depending on what you get, either sell for gold or keep to display in your home. There are different levels (difficulties) of leads you acquire and you can only unlock the higher level/more valuable leads by doing a loooottt of hunting. Every zone has some basic antiquity you can repeatedly hunt for, but the high value ones are random drops from bosses/dungeons, found in treasure chests, or any assortment of random encounters (I found one running into a ghost dancing in the woods of Auridon).
So, here’s the condensed version. You find a lead. You open it up and you have to “scry” to find it. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. The goal is to connect each lit node before you run out of moves. If you connect all the nodes, you get a zone marked on the map to search for the antiquity. If you don’t, there are several zones that highlight and you have to find out which one actually has the antiquity. It’s annoying. Long story short, get all the nodes so you don’t have to go on a wild goose chase. You unlock some perks to make this easier to achieve as you level up. This is great because at higher levels, it would be impossible to do.
The highest difficulty is “ultimate” and you have to be level 10 to get it. The master and ultimate difficult level leads will expire after 30 days. Since they are random and harder to get, I didn’t want to lose my chance. I found grinding out the earlier levels were easier to do by just repeatedly scrying and excavating in Artaeum, a small zone with no enemies. You’ll see a lot of people in the zone doing exactly this because the only way to level the skill is to actually do it. Reaching level 10 is no joke though. It takes a loooottt of scrying/excavating to get there.
Anyway, I did this because I wanted to scry for master and ultimate leads I was finding! Here is what an ultimate scry looks like. Luckily, all of the previous perks I unlocked made sure I could complete it.
So, once you scry and you know the general location, you travel there and run around until you find a glowing pile of dirt. Depending on how big the zone is or where it is located, this is miserable, but surprise! My ding-dong face learned something new! There is actually a tool that will point you in the direction of the treasure! In the video below, you’ll see what this is. It was a little confusing at first because I didn’t know if the light was going towards the treasure or if it was pushing the ball end towards it. Does that make sense? Anyway, look at this video. You want to travel in the direction the tail is pointing.
How many hours did I waste running in circles looking for a glowing pile of dirt before someone informed me of this magical tool? I hate to think about it.
Okay, so now you’ve found the dirt pile! Now, you gotta locate the treasure. Before we start this part, if you don’t find the treasure or if you damage it, tough luck, you gotta go find another glowing dirt pile and start over. For master and ultimate difficulty treasures, you will probably have to do this several times before achieving success. That’s because as you reach higher levels, there are more layers of dirt and other obstacles that will threaten your success. You’ll see what I mean below.
First, you get a limited number of moves to locate the antiquity. It operates on a “cold, warm, hot” type pattern. Red is “you’re not close”, yellow is “you’re getting warmer”, and green is “it’s here”. You’ll see when you pick one that there are white squares or lines that will flare up. For yellow, the white line is a bigger square around it. That means that the green is somewhere within those lines. For red, it’ll highlight separate larger areas that you should check. Honestly, it makes no sense explaining it. It’s a lot of trial and error that you learn just by doing it.
Treasures are different sizes based off the rarity of the lead and you’ll learn those by doing it more. There is a time limit on excavation and lots of layers of dirt and rock to break down. I’m not gonna go and explain all that because I am usually just winging it and hoping I don’t accidentally break the antiquity once I bust out the charged shovel.
For comparison, I’m sharing what an ultimate excavation looks like too.
Look, I realize this post about ESO probably doesn’t make it sound compelling, so I’ll write more about it another time. This is a very specific aspect of the game that I’ve been working on recently, but that’s what I like about it. There’s something for everyone no matter how grand or minuscule the task is. My other hobby is buying lots of random houses throughout the different regions so I don’t have to pay for way shrines. Before I wrote this, I bought a little hut in Bal Foyen because I cannot for the life of me ever remember how to get to this god-forsaken tiny zone. 40k gold to easily find this zone I will probably never go to again? Sure!
I’ll be sure to write soon about the other random things I decide to invest a ridiculous amount of time into. My other more recent hobby is queuing up for random dungeons so I can collect trophies for my largely empty castle. I’ll give you a tour one day. Or, if you play ESO, I’ll show you in person! Do you play this game? Did I make it sound god-awful based off the antiquity aspect of the game? Let me know what your thoughts are!