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Non-Vestige playthrough

Dr_Con
Dr_Con
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I figured I'd post a gamer's journal of sorts here of every inaccurate or peculiar thing that's happened on this playthrough that wouldn't have happened on release.

Yes this will be a higher CP playthrough on a new character starting at level 1. I will be streaming it- you can check me out on twitch by searching Dr_Con if you want to experience this playthrough with me or ask questions/comment in real-time. I will update this as I go along and encourage others to do the same, or a similar thing with other faction playthroughs. I will also take breaks to craft myself some training gear every 10 levels or so as I plan on using this character as well. Outside of visiting Blackwood to get Mirri/Bastian to help show some zones they maybe shouldn't be allowed in without significant dialogue change (i.e. flashbacks) I won't be really delving too much into questing in other zones until I "experience the ebonheart pact" on this character, in an order that is as close to sequential as possible.

First off, I found the High Isle tutorial to be well thought out as far as tutorials go. As I started off the game I had the choice of doing it, or not doing it. I don't own High Isle so it was my first introduction, and you even get a skyshard from it. Reasoning to why I was here was... vague. You get tons of starter weapons and armor throughout the dungeon and they make no secret to say that with the passage of time the weapons have aged in the weapons you get at the very start (in other words, they are bad). I killed at least 1 NPC with every weapon to get skills lines introduced, and really got the feeling that someone could get to 50 without ever leaving the tutorial if they were consistent enough. This was some pretty good set-up as far as tutials go, the premise behind why the daedra and myself were teleported there wasn't really explained and I'm sure the High Isle story goes into it a bit more.

At the end of the tutorial I decided to start my EP character on Bleakrock, where I would pick up with at the end of the coldharbour tutorial, this is where the issues begin. I've done playthroughs on other characters before so I know to expect some inconsistencies with the lore- we always used to start in coldharbour, but this time i'm going to avoid the coldharbour quest (orange one) until experiencing the core game, and post the inconsistencies that I find. I will also get a companion- Bastian and/or Mirri, as I've seen in other playthorughs that the companion enters flashbacks and go places where they shouldn't/weren't invited, in hopes that this gets addressed someday... I will even post the names of the zones where they enter and maybe shouldn't be part of.

Now while it's possible that Molag Bal has already taken/defiled my soul, this isn't really stated or implied at the start of this play through. It is not until we do the core game and get kidnapped that this actually happens, so I could also ignore the fact that I even did the tutorial as I think it would start me in Western Skyrim as it did with my Argonian if I didn't do the tutorial.

I will also subjectively classify these into high priority, medium priority, and low priority changes.

High priority means that the dialogue needs to be altered completely, that it directly references the status of a Vestige without me being a vestige and breaks continuity.
Medium priority means it may allude to me as the Vestige in passing, but I could still continue the game without it really bothering me
Low priority means it's an off-comment that someone made that can be considered ramblings or nearly negligible, but if we use a fine tooth comb we know it's dialogue inspired by us being the Vestige.

My format will be:
Quest: Zone, Problem

High Priority -
Prologue- The Demon Weapon Mage's Guild, Stone Falls, Davon's Watch Abnur Tharn, not yet free of Mannimarco has two halves of the Wrathstone (obtained through dungeon and dlc content) and invites me to start on this prologue quest for Northern Elseweyr DLC content. I have done run throughs before and seen this version of Abnur Tharn in the same exact building while doing the main story quest with the Abnur Tharn that is downstairs in common mage clothing in hiding. edit: Additionally, Anais Davaux outside of the town attempts to have us go to Abnur saying we match the description he gave. While it could be a mistake on her part, going to Abnur confirms he was looking for "us" specifically.
Night of the Soul - Ebonheart, Stonefalls- the servant of Almalexia states quite plainly that I was the person who had my soul stolen without me ever stepping foot in Coldharbour.
Divine Favor - 1- Servant of Almalexia once again says that I am the child whose soul was stolen.

Medium Priority -


Low Priority -
The Frozen Man: Bleakrock Isle ice cave Eiman in his dialogue says I don't have a soul, and offers me his. We can treat this as the ramblings of a mad ghost, or use our 20/20 knowledge to know that he assumes I have no soul due to being the vestige.
Breaking Fort Virak Stonefalls, Fort Virak Ruin
-Walks in Ash alludes to us not being "whole" and are properly attuned to the realms beyond, and therefore to the elixir. Refers to us as different and that not "all of you is with us"


Companion issues:
Hozzin's Folly: Bleakrock - Sergeant Seyne tells me to pick up a disguise off a dead bandit, but ignores the fact my companion is here and doesn't have a disguise.

When the flame colossus is summoned (I forget the quest, will look it up) and I am transported to the boat, so too is my companion, and my companion begins attacking the flame collossus as he kills the covenant soldiers on the boat, resulting in some buggy interaction before it despawns.

Wake the Dead: Stone Falls - since I was the one to disturb the high born mage from their rest, the undead should be coming after me, as was warned by Onuja. Instead, I stood still for about a minute while my companion gathered aggro and killed them. The focus should be on the one who did the ritual for this quest in particular. This should apply to anyone doing this as a group as well I would think, this isn't a normal "tank gets aggro" encounter or "Whoever damages first gets aggro," it should be aggro directed at the summoner/disturber.

Rending Flames Stonefalls ->Charred Ridge After talking with Mavos Siloreth and collecting his candle and skull, he takes me into the past. My companion also comes into the past, though he is never referred to nor was he said to be a target of the spell to be cast. Yes, there are daedra here to kill, but none who require the help of a companion (also wtf throwing ash onto the portals knocks our character down, what happened to silly interactions like this in later content?). The writing of this quest/flashback is pretty decent as it came together at the end (why we needed the apprentice's skull, why he was the favorite apprentice), props to whoever wrote the original quest.

Senie, Stonefalls - I had Bastian out, who isn't usually sarcastic, and amidst all the dying people I decide to harvest a mushroom. He states randomly that this is a great place to harvest ingredients amidst all the suffering and destruction. I found this to be very out of character for this companion- had Mirri said it I may have had a chuckle since she has that sort of dark humor, but for Bastian it just seemed out of character.

Breaking Fort Virak Stonefalls, Fort Virak Ruin
After I drink the elixir to pass through the walls, my companion follows me thru them, when I had to drink an elixir and be properly attuned. My companion proceeds to murder ghosts which are said to not be seen in the "otherworld" by our eyes unless we've drunk the elixir (we are turned into a wisp for this and told to avoid the ghosts)

Edit: I'll also be looking into some books populated into the world that mention events that seem out of order as I come across them, maybe some of them should be locked until a certain quest happens. I'll place them here before offering a suggestion, also opening them up for comment

Books/Scrolls/Notes:
An Unusual Alliance by Aicantar of Shimmerene, Spiarch of Indoctrination

A Bit of Sport: Ebonheart, Stonefalls
The companion joins in on drunk 1v1s

Other comments since release and running these quests that stands out
The Death of Balreth: Ash Mountain, Stoneroot Falls - I remember this encounter being considerably harder, taking many attempts to do. I would re-revise this quest in particular and make Balreth have more invulnerability phases or tricks up his sleeve, I simply had to walk in, use the storm stone the argonian gave me, and flame whip him a few times. This is not how easy I remember this fight to be, there needs to be more of a challenge to imprison this legendary colossus.
A good fight to compare this to is the killing of the boss in The Coral Heart - she has many phases as her HP gets low and changes her attack pattern and goes to full hp, what Balreth needs is just invulnerability phases not to be killed instantly.
Edited by Dr_Con on September 1, 2022 5:14PM
  • psychotrip
    psychotrip
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    This undertaking is both maddening and unecessary.

    I love it.

    Not sure how many people will be into this, or if doing this will cause any kind of corrections on ZOS's part, but at the very least you've got me on board.
    No one is saying there aren't multiple interpretations of the lore, and we're not arguing that ESO did it "wrong".

    We're arguing that they decided to go for the most boring, mundane, seen-before interpretation possible. Like they almost always do, unless they can ride on the coat-tails of past games.
  • Danikat
    Danikat
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    There's been a lot of discussion over the years about the inconsistencies in the plot caused by updates, going back to when it first happened with One Tamriel and then Morrowind. Given players have been raising these issues for literally years and ZOS has done nothing about it I doubt they'll change anything now. I'm not saying give up on your project, but do it because you want to, expecting anything more than that seems like an excercise in futility at this point.
    Dr_Con wrote: »
    First off, I found the High Isle tutorial to be well thought out as far as tutorials go. As I started off the game I had the choice of doing it, or not doing it. I don't own High Isle so it was my first introduction, and you even get a skyshard from it. Reasoning to why I was here was... vague. You get tons of starter weapons and armor throughout the dungeon and they make no secret to say that with the passage of time the weapons have aged in the weapons you get at the very start (in other words, they are bad). I killed at least 1 NPC with every weapon to get skills lines introduced, and really got the feeling that someone could get to 50 without ever leaving the tutorial if they were consistent enough. This was some pretty good set-up as far as tutials go, the premise behind why the daedra and myself were teleported there wasn't really explained and I'm sure the High Isle story goes into it a bit more.

    The tutorial isn't tied to High Isle. It was actually introduced with Blackwood and was designed to be a 'universal' tutorial that could be kept indefinitely, instead of ZOS making a new one for each chapter. That's why it's so vague about where you come from and how you came to be there.

    I like that personally because it gives me more freedom to tell my own stories. I hated that my warden had to start on a boat going to Morrowind because there was no way to fit that into the story I had in mind for her so my only options were to re-write the character or pretend part of the game didn't happen and I wasn't happy with either. I actually deleted and remade her after Greymoor came out partially because that tutorial was a much better fit.

    With the current tutorial all you're told is you came through a portal. That gives players a lot of flexibility to work with. Maybe an aspiring adventurer heard about the problems from one of the Direnni and she volunteered to help. Maybe a mage was experimenting with a spell and inadvertantly teleported himself there. Maybe a thief stole the wrong item and inadvertantly triggered a portal. Maybe it was a strange incident involving a bet with a tavern bard, two chickens and the lord mayors daughter. It's entirely up to you how your character starts their adventures, and I like that. (It's also reminiscent of previous TES games where you're never told how you came to be there.)
    PC EU player | She/her/hers | PAWS (Positively Against Wrip-off Stuff) - Say No to Crown Crates!

    "Remember in this game we call life that no one said it's fair"
  • Dr_Con
    Dr_Con
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    Danikat wrote: »
    There's been a lot of discussion over the years about the inconsistencies in the plot caused by updates, going back to when it first happened with One Tamriel and then Morrowind. Given players have been raising these issues for literally years and ZOS has done nothing about it I doubt they'll change anything now. I'm not saying give up on your project, but do it because you want to, expecting anything more than that seems like an excercise in futility at this point.
    Dr_Con wrote: »
    First off, I found the High Isle tutorial to be well thought out as far as tutorials go. As I started off the game I had the choice of doing it, or not doing it. I don't own High Isle so it was my first introduction, and you even get a skyshard from it. Reasoning to why I was here was... vague. You get tons of starter weapons and armor throughout the dungeon and they make no secret to say that with the passage of time the weapons have aged in the weapons you get at the very start (in other words, they are bad). I killed at least 1 NPC with every weapon to get skills lines introduced, and really got the feeling that someone could get to 50 without ever leaving the tutorial if they were consistent enough. This was some pretty good set-up as far as tutials go, the premise behind why the daedra and myself were teleported there wasn't really explained and I'm sure the High Isle story goes into it a bit more.

    The tutorial isn't tied to High Isle. It was actually introduced with Blackwood and was designed to be a 'universal' tutorial that could be kept indefinitely, instead of ZOS making a new one for each chapter. That's why it's so vague about where you come from and how you came to be there.

    I like that personally because it gives me more freedom to tell my own stories. I hated that my warden had to start on a boat going to Morrowind because there was no way to fit that into the story I had in mind for her so my only options were to re-write the character or pretend part of the game didn't happen and I wasn't happy with either. I actually deleted and remade her after Greymoor came out partially because that tutorial was a much better fit.

    With the current tutorial all you're told is you came through a portal. That gives players a lot of flexibility to work with. Maybe an aspiring adventurer heard about the problems from one of the Direnni and she volunteered to help. Maybe a mage was experimenting with a spell and inadvertantly teleported himself there. Maybe a thief stole the wrong item and inadvertantly triggered a portal. Maybe it was a strange incident involving a bet with a tavern bard, two chickens and the lord mayors daughter. It's entirely up to you how your character starts their adventures, and I like that. (It's also reminiscent of previous TES games where you're never told how you came to be there.)

    Totally fair, wasn't sure that was in blackwood and now I know! I'm doing this because I want to and am passionate about ESO lore. I feel if someone organizes it and itemizes the inconsistencies, they may be more willing to go back into the dialogue and add character flags to each interaction, or once again make us start in coldharbour. In all likelihood, the creators of that dialogue and the new dialogue are not the same people, but I feel that enough people do appreciate lore and continuity to want to know that these issues exist and should be addressed at some point. Perhaps someone will even take it upon themselves to make an add-on that addresses this issue if it goes ignored, but this still helps lay the groundwork for that to happen. I'm going to continue the project but also do a little PVP since the patch got released, maybe put out a few YT videos on it based on what I have here.

    There's likely easier ways to do this, such as to aggregate all ESO quest dialogue and look for mentions of soul, vestige, etc, but this is my way to experience all the quests and figure out what feels right and wrong.
  • Ugrak
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    I'm taking a similar approach with this necromancer I'm leveling. but it won't be a full non-vestige play.

    In my head, she doesn't become a necromancer (read: get access to class skills) while alive.

    Neither does it make sense to pick up skyshards, as the vestige only uses them to reattune her new daedric form to Nirn. There was that odd incident in the new starter Direnni place, but other than that, they are just shiny curiosities.

    Despite Norianwe's speculations in the starter place, she is not yet officially the chosen one in any prophecy such as an elder scroll either. Just a clanless orc being a scoundrel, a mercenary and a pirate.


    In short, she will have to inadvertently earn the attention of Molag Bal through becoming an unusually troublesome opponent. This also lines her up in the quantum-esque and ever changing nature of an elder scroll as the piece on the chessboard that must play, and has always played out the events of the main story.

    In my head when first interacting with Molag Bal's plans, she is just like any other mortal, but an increasingly formidable and problematic one. So he schemes to have her ambushed and sacrificed to him; remade as a vestige. Paraphrasing Molag Bal, having her forged in the soulfire of Coldharbor to be his tool.

    Some Dolmen quotes:
    "I don't want revenge. I want your submission."

    "How many have you killed to defeat me? Each death is like a prayer to me!"

    "Bend your knee to me, I'll give you a minion for each enemy you've slain. You will have an army."

    "I've made you an offer, mortal."

    "The time remaining when you can still refuse me is dwindling."

    "It is you who will strike the final blow at our enemies. You are almost ready."

    "You must defeat me every time. I need defeat you only once."

    "Throw aside the pawns, my knight. Until one day you are taken unawares."

    She would have fully become his servant if not for the intervention of Lyris and the prophet. Instead she ends up with necromancer powers, but without the darkest aspects such as trapping human/mer souls in black soul gems, raising their corpses as permanent thralls and so on.

    She is an orc but it would have been almost poetic to have her be redguard, because it's such a Molag Bal thing to do to someone (a bit reminiscent of the Lamae Bal story).

    In any case I'm having a lot of fun playing this way, and the character is strong despite not using class skills at all. Managed to solo an oblivion gate at level 12 with two handed and vigor, and my companion serving as tank (until the final boss where the companion had to be given a resto staff to keep out of harm's way).

    Of course champion points help, and I'm wearing (level 1) twice born (steed + serpent) and mechanical acuity. It would perhaps feel more satisfying to forgo some more power during the pre-vestige phase, especially the self-heals aside from potions and resto staves. To feel more mortal. Also if the game would respawn you on death at some kind of hospital location, like "wow, we just barely saved you." Then after becoming the vestige, you simply reform in place as now. I suppose one can always choose to not carry soul gems and/or reswpawn at wayshrines.
  • ghastley
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    This situation is not new. When you do the Main Quest to completion, you get your soul back, but remain Vestige. So my take is not that people see your lack of one, but see your capacity to act independently of it. That would not change before losing, or after regaining it.

    Companions are common, and anyone can have one. So a Mirri doesn’t need a disguise as long as she is with “one of us”, any more than a pet or mount would. Which makes me wonder if looking exactly like her would be a universal disguise?

    They have done a decent job of making sure you’re not accompanied by multiple Abnurs or Lyris or Sais while you mix MQ and prologues. And resurrecting them is not much different than the Vestige’s story. After the Warp in the West, all such things are trivial, and yes, this is after even though it is before, because time works differently when it has to.
    Edited by ghastley on August 26, 2022 5:00PM
  • Eporem
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    For me I have never thought of characters played as Vestiges, most likely because I never played the singular games and never really understood in ESO exactly what a Vestige was. To me they are ones who did not get back their soul when it was taken or sacrificed to Molag Bal.

    But before you even reach Molag Bal when you fall and use soul gems to revive are you not receiving the essence of whatever was in those soul gems? That would makeup a soul anyways?
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