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Story question - Continuous DLC stories instead of separated chapters?

E_Lucan
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So this is a post I've been thinking about for quite some time, and it's related to specifically ESO's story, not the gameplay or the mechanics or difficulty or anything else, which I want to clarify because I know gameplay changes are a big topic here rn. I also don't want this to come off as a "ESO is becoming trash" post or anything - though I'm not delighted about the topic described here, it's mostly my opinion and not what I'd consider a sign of the game going rapidly downhill.

I've been playing this game since 2014-15, and I've stuck with it even during massive changes like CP, the levelling system, scaling, etc. I have played through every DLC/Chapter, and though many people have had and are currently having their own gripes with the game, I'm not too displeased. I do PvE content exclusively, and I also mostly do it solo save for the random dungeons I like to go through every now and then. I play this less as an MMO and more as a nice Elder Scrolls game to return to because I loved Skyrim and Oblivion but I don't want to replay them hundreds of times on repeat.

One thing that's been bugging me in the recent years, however, is ESO's system for its Chapter and DLC stories. You can play them in any order (edit: to clarify, "any order" as in the individual year-long adventures, not that you'd play Firesong before High Isle, though idk if there's anything to prevent you from doing even that), which is nice I suppose, but this makes the stories feel, well, kind of pointless, doesn't it? At first, I didn't mind it too much, as we got to explore new regions and each had its own drama going on, but now the "save the world - wait a year - save the world but on a different map" formula is kind of overdone, and I'm less and less excited about new stories. Because after all, whatever happens in this DLC will be completely forgotten about by the time the next one comes out.

I suppose my question is, is there anyone else here who feels like they might have benefitted more from a system where the DLC stories actually tie into each other, a bit like the older ones sort of did? It wouldn't have to be extremely intense to the point where you have to play one before you can even start the other, but having an overarching story that spans multiple regions would give your actions in the individual regions purpose. As it is, I feel like it's kind of neither here nor there - it's a story-focused Chapter with a new region that they put tons of effort and time into in terms of models, voice acting, and writing, but ultimately it's forgotten the second you complete it and move on to the next DLC which is completely disconnected from it. I was reminded of this yesterday when I finished Firesong/High Isle, very close to Necrom's release date, and I kind of thought about how we had this grand world-threatening thing we ended, but people scarcely think about it now as they've mentally moved on to the next adventure. And I think that's a bit of a shame.

From what I hear, new players don't benefit from the "play DLCs in any order" (assuming they have the DLCs through ESO+ or bought one of the bundles that has them) system much anyway - they just wind up confused, because even though technically there isn't a system to them, there must be some sort of order you should play them in, right? The one way I myself benefit from these DLCs being separate is when I make a new character, I can get through their basic levels in a different zone instead of levelling them in their alliance questline like in ye olden days - but I could just as easily do that still if the stories were at least partially connected.

I haven't looked into Necrom much yet, as I want to experience the story and setting without knowing much about it ahead of time, but I worry that if they continue this trend of "self-contained" DLCs for years to come, I'll lose interest in the game's story completely, because I'm struggling to find a reason why I should rush to go through a questline when it's the game equivalent of a TV series with a different, entirely disconnected conflict in each episode. If they connected in some way, I think I'd be way more invested in what happens, because it'd go from "save the world for the 25th time but surrounded by big mushrooms instead" to "progress this story that you've been waiting to see the continuation of for a year". I know that in Firesong and HI, they already featured NPCs from previous stories, which is great, but I kind of want more than that.

Ultimately, though, this could just be my opinion, and I of course understand that for people whose primary focus is end-game content or PvP, this is something that is likely of little concern, but I'm certain there are players like me in the game who enjoy the story itself, so I'm curious: Have you been enjoying the separate DLC stories format? Do you feel any sort of divide between how grand and impactful the stories are presented as vs how insignificant they end up being a year from their release?
Edited by ZOS_Hadeostry on June 3, 2023 1:21AM
  • BenTSG
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    I do wish the chapters all did feel a little more connected. To me as it stands, everything feels isolated, that the world isn't progressing alongside every release. All we have is characters that reappear and all it does is add a little extra flavour dialog about what they did after X's adventure.

    I am curious though about how ZoS will handle things going forward. For starters, how this chapter will hold up now that it's all going to be in this chapter instead of spread out over two parts (The chapter and then Story DLC), but also because they've said the story now is going to be a Multi Year story, so I assume similar to the way before, expect its the next chapter to continue it and not a story DLC the same year. Hopefully they'll do a decent job at connecting the Chapters together for whatever this story will end up being.
  • E_Lucan
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    BenTSG wrote: »
    I do wish the chapters all did feel a little more connected. To me as it stands, everything feels isolated, that the world isn't progressing alongside every release. All we have is characters that reappear and all it does is add a little extra flavour dialog about what they did after X's adventure.

    I am curious though about how ZoS will handle things going forward. For starters, how this chapter will hold up now that it's all going to be in this chapter instead of spread out over two parts (The chapter and then Story DLC), but also because they've said the story now is going to be a Multi Year story, so I assume similar to the way before, expect its the next chapter to continue it and not a story DLC the same year. Hopefully they'll do a decent job at connecting the Chapters together for whatever this story will end up being.

    Yeah exactly! I like the stories themselves, I think they could do a great job, but I think the potential they have is a bit diminished when the story just abruptly ends and then is never mentioned again because there's a new adventure out instead.

    I am wondering about how they'll handle it with Necrom, too (I forgot for a moment there that they will supposedly make it a multi-year story lol), and if they really do plan to connect the chapters more then I'm excited for things to come - though whether or not it works out remains to be seen I suppose.
  • colossalvoids
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    Guess most people actively playing would prefer world moving forward instead of static one we have since what, Vvardenfell? We're just still not the main audience for the chapter/dlc releases as those are made with absolute new player in mind so they can go everywhere straight from the tutorial and have no issues whatsoever.

    That's more likely to start happening when the game would target it's present active playerbase instead of attracting new players, whenever it might come.
  • E_Lucan
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    Guess most people actively playing would prefer world moving forward instead of static one we have since what, Vvardenfell? We're just still not the main audience for the chapter/dlc releases as those are made with absolute new player in mind so they can go everywhere straight from the tutorial and have no issues whatsoever.

    That's more likely to start happening when the game would target it's present active playerbase instead of attracting new players, whenever it might come.

    Yeah for sure, though ironically what I've heard from new players is that it's really confusing when they buy the game and are placed in front of this option of which story they want to play first (in the new tutorial), since most people still want to find a way to play the stories "in order", so it's debatable if they're actually successful with this strategy.

    What I see happen a lot is that people get some deal on Steam which includes base game + a bunch of DLCs, but they've never played the game before so they have no clue what the vanilla content is as opposed to DLC stuff, and then you get new players who have no clue the Coldharbour/Alliance War storyline is even there lol, which makes sense given the flood of DLC stories but is still strange to see when you remember how the vanilla main quest was basically all there was to the story portion of the game in its first years (save for the guild questlines which I personally don't like a whole lot). But I suppose we'll see how Necrom changes the situation, if at all.
  • SeaGtGruff
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    Aside from specific questlines, such as the Main Quest, or guild questlines, the single-player games let you do a lot of quests out of order-- and even guild questlines have some leeway as far as being able to do quests from the Fighters Guild or Mages Guild in flexible order if there are questgivers in different cities. So I'm not sure why ESO should be different in that respect.
    I've fought mudcrabs more fearsome than me!
  • BenTSG
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    SeaGtGruff wrote: »
    Aside from specific questlines, such as the Main Quest, or guild questlines, the single-player games let you do a lot of quests out of order-- and even guild questlines have some leeway as far as being able to do quests from the Fighters Guild or Mages Guild in flexible order if there are questgivers in different cities. So I'm not sure why ESO should be different in that respect.

    I guess the issue with that here is that the game doesn't really acknowledge what you've done if you've done them out of order. You could do two expansions then go back to the base game main story, and any and all characters you'd have met before won't know who you are, or what you've done. I assume with the likes of the SP games, they'd still either mention that you already did x, y or z, or just completely skip that step while still keeping things coherent
  • vsrs_au
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    More connected stories might work better if ZOS published a guide to the chronology of these, but the only guides seem to be on forum and wiki pages, so new players end up having to search for them.

    There's a guide on this forum, but ZOS haven't exactly made this forum easy to join: you have to be invited. I'm pretty sure I got this invitation sometime soon after I originally bought ESO 3 years ago, but then I misplaced it, and ended up having to submit a ticket to ZOS to get another invitation. Truly welcoming forums don't make you jump through hoops like that.
    PC(Steam) / EU / play from Melbourne, Australia / avg ping 390
  • E_Lucan
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    SeaGtGruff wrote: »
    Aside from specific questlines, such as the Main Quest, or guild questlines, the single-player games let you do a lot of quests out of order-- and even guild questlines have some leeway as far as being able to do quests from the Fighters Guild or Mages Guild in flexible order if there are questgivers in different cities. So I'm not sure why ESO should be different in that respect.

    I'm not necessarily saying you'd have to do them in order, like I said - but to me there's a lot of disconnect between how grand some of the DLC plots are (many of them revolve around a cult that wants to destroy the world, unlike quests in, say, Skyrim, which are often regional or personal problems) and how little impact they have the second you step out of the zone.

    In Skyrim, sure, you can do the quests in any order save for progressing ones like the main story quest, but the side quests you do in the individual towns and cities aren't all "save the world from a daedric prince" - even with conflicts that do involve more powerful characters like the Waking Nightmare quest in Dawnstar, it's still just the town that's threatened, not the whole world. In ESO, however, the vast majority of DLC content is consistently trying to convince you that you're doing something massive only to never mention it again as soon as you're done.
  • E_Lucan
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    vsrs_au wrote: »
    More connected stories might work better if ZOS published a guide to the chronology of these, but the only guides seem to be on forum and wiki pages, so new players end up having to search for them.

    There's a guide on this forum, but ZOS haven't exactly made this forum easy to join: you have to be invited. I'm pretty sure I got this invitation sometime soon after I originally bought ESO 3 years ago, but then I misplaced it, and ended up having to submit a ticket to ZOS to get another invitation. Truly welcoming forums don't make you jump through hoops like that.

    Oh yeah tell me about it lol, I made my account in 2014 and I only managed to get a forum account now because I totally didn't realise you need a separate account for the forums and can't just use your in-game one. Basically just made the account to post this because it's been bugging me just long enough that I want to talk about it.
  • E_Lucan
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    Braffin wrote: »

    Newer players are confronted with much bigger problems here: After they managed somehow to find out how the heck the mainquest is started (there will probably be some research to do on the internet) and they left behind Lyris in coldharbour, most of them will travel to the nearest fighter's guild to enroll to the fight against molag bal and are welcomed by ... yeah exactly, Lyris :smiley: A few days later they travel back to coldharbour to save exactly this Lyris and bring her back to Tamriel.

    Another example is Abnur Tharn. You can have two of this guy (yes, singular) in the same building of the mage's guild at exactly the same time. As veteran I know of course how this man likes himself, but cloning just to have a little chat with himself at vulkhelwatch's mage's guild? I don't think that's fitting :wink:

    Oh yeah this especially is a huge problem. They have a "play it in any order" policy, but I can't even begin to imagine how a new player must be feeling when walking into a major city and being confronted by 20 NPCs yelling at them that they need help, as so many of the DLC starter quests are crowded in one location and as far as I can tell there's no easy in-game way to see which quest is for what. And let's face it it probably doesn't help that (this is a spoiler for the main vanilla quest, just in case lol)
    You can sacrifice one of the companions (Lyris or Sai, as the Prophet doesn't appear in DLC quests afaik) in the main story finale and then still have them show up in the DLC unharmed, saying that they "woke up" somewhere and are magically not dead. So not only are they cloned across the map and magically appear wherever needed, they now also resurrect after this huge emotional event where you have to sacrifice one of them.

    I also agree on the rest, even a small way to connect them would be better than the way it's done right now. We saved the world in Blackwood/Deadlands (again), but I haven't heard a single mention of that anywhere since, and it just feels strange. If they want to stick to the "play the DLCs in any order" thing in the long run, I think maybe it might be better to have actual region-focused stories instead of Tamriel's 50th evil cult trying to take over the world. I was kind of looking forward to that with the "political intrigue" that was hinted at regarding High Isle, but in the end it was yet another cult but this time druid-flavoured lol

  • E_Lucan
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    Hurbster wrote: »
    Took a break to play FF14 for a year and it's a heck of a jolt to come back to separated stories again. Then again FF14 doesn't have scaling like ESO does.

    A contiguous story gives characters time to grow and change, not just getting 'grumpy with everything' Lyris in Greymoor, Eveli in Blackwood and everyone treating the Vestige like an idiot.

    They could at least do the Coldharbour first, kick the story off properly.

    Oh yeah the Vestige is so clueless sometimes it hurts me, and the NPCs are often no help either.

    Re: Coldharbour, it almost seems to me like they've given up on that main quest, even though it received a number of changes since it was first put into the game. I remember the original Coldharbour game intro where you started the game in your cell (which iirc now happens as part of the quest, unless they changed that since I last did it), but as they replaced the tutorials with DLC-themed ones and ultimately the current tutorial which presents you with a "crossroads" of stories to start, the main storyline of the vanilla game is barely noticeable among everything else.

    Now you just get into it through a random NPC in a big city, just like the DLC content, and it's hard to even tell it's supposed to be the "main" vanilla questline (alongside the alliance war one) because unless you already know which NPC is for which quest and story, then the hooded figure is just another guy asking you to take on a new quest.
  • E_Lucan
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    evan302 wrote: »
    As someone who started playing fairly recently (early this year), I have to say that trying to do the story in order is a huge challenge and requires a fair bit of internet research. Even then, you are likely to go wrong due to all quests being live rather than quests triggering in sequence. i.e. You can see quest 4 in a quest-line even though you have not done I, 2 and 3.
    Since most other MMOs don't work this way, it's a confusing mess, especially when you add in all the DLC NPCs yelling at you in the cities that they need your help right now, and all with what look like Main Quest markers over their heads.
    And then you have NPCs like Lyris and Abnur popping up when they really shouldn't...

    Yeahh your experience matches up with what I've heard from a bunch of other newer players, too, and it's a shame because the game has all the potential to deliver a fantastic story but due to how awkwardly it's set up with the DLCs and all it kind of falls flat. (Also welcome to ESO, albeit a few months late lol - in spite of the state of the story I hope you enjoy the game still)

    This is also a minor technical fix that I think that they could make very easily, where they could just mark the vanilla main quest with a different marker than the default "main quest" one, since without reading the forums or a guide you genuinely have no way of knowing there's a huge multi-region story that you have to do, let alone that it's split into two counterparts (alliance war/vestige storylines), let alone that you should technically do it first because the NPCs involved in it have special dialogue that references it later on in DLCs and such. I know that because I played through that story in like 2015-ish when it was the only thing to do, but how anyone new to the game is supposed to be able to tell is a mystery to me.

    On the one hand I get that they want to make the quest starts a bit more interactive, hence the NPCs, and some of them I think came from a good idea that just doesn't hold up well over time (The two NPCs in major cities with the "Can you believe it? Dragons, in your own homeland! What are you going to do?" dialogue are a good example - nice, organic way of mentioning that stuff is happening in Elsweyr, but once you hear it 50+ times it becomes really annoying). And then there are some intro quests where you have to know where their starting point is otherwise you'll never find it in-game (excluding the option to select it from collections as I'm just talking about in-game placement of DLC starters rn), like the Clockwork City intro quest which, if I recall correctly, is started through a letter placed on a table inside a Mages' Guild building (iirc it's something like "Order of the Eye Dispatch").

    I think the game would really benefit from having a easily accessible "Story" selection (kind of like the one in collections but with more guidance as to which story is which and what it is connected to), where you could see the stories available to you and you could go to some starting location for each and begin the intro quest there, instead of all the starting NPCs shouting over each other in a major city. The current tutorial, unless they changed it once again, sort of does that, but I think a screen that you can open up at any time might be a tad more practical. Though I have to say that I'm glad they finally made a tutorial for everyone instead of throwing new people into the latest DLC they happened to possess and omitting to tell them that they're in a DLC and not in a vanilla quest - I remember that happening a lot in Elsweyr specifically lol

  • EramTheLiar
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    Kendaric wrote: »
    Guess most people actively playing would prefer world moving forward instead of static one we have since what, Vvardenfell?

    Since Elsweyr, actually.

    Vvardenfell, Clockwork City and Summerset were part of the "War of the Daedric Princes" storyline.
    They changed the model and switched to the "Year-long story" with Elsweyr and that was also the point at which writing began to get worse.

    I generally disagree with this. Elseweyr was a pretty good storyline. Greymoor was a pretty fantastic storyline, I just didn't like the mechanics of the Harrowstorms.

    Thieves Guild was a pitch-perfect standalone storyline - it's not for everyone because it's very genre and playstyle specific.

    I liked Deadlands more than I liked Blackwood (though I kind of like the Blackwood zone) and High Isle was... I enjoyed playing through it, but it didn't grip me.
  • Kendaric
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    Kendaric wrote: »
    Guess most people actively playing would prefer world moving forward instead of static one we have since what, Vvardenfell?

    Since Elsweyr, actually.

    Vvardenfell, Clockwork City and Summerset were part of the "War of the Daedric Princes" storyline.
    They changed the model and switched to the "Year-long story" with Elsweyr and that was also the point at which writing began to get worse.

    I generally disagree with this. Elseweyr was a pretty good storyline. Greymoor was a pretty fantastic storyline, I just didn't like the mechanics of the Harrowstorms.

    Thieves Guild was a pitch-perfect standalone storyline - it's not for everyone because it's very genre and playstyle specific.

    I liked Deadlands more than I liked Blackwood (though I kind of like the Blackwood zone) and High Isle was... I enjoyed playing through it, but it didn't grip me.

    Thieves' Guild is one my favorite storylines still (along with Wrothgar and Vvardenfell).

    I think we mean different things when we refer to writing... I'm refering to the actual dialog writing, not the story itself. High Isle's story itself was pretty good, but the dialog and character writing was generally extremely bad. Much of it felt too modern for me.

      PAWS (Positively Against Wrip-off Stuff) - Say No to Crown Crates!. Outfit slots not being accountwide is ridiculous given their price. PC EU/PC NA roleplayer and solo PvE quester
    • colossalvoids
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      Kendaric wrote: »
      Guess most people actively playing would prefer world moving forward instead of static one we have since what, Vvardenfell?

      Since Elsweyr, actually.

      Vvardenfell, Clockwork City and Summerset were part of the "War of the Daedric Princes" storyline.
      They changed the model and switched to the "Year-long story" with Elsweyr and that was also the point at which writing began to get worse.

      Yeah, remember the shift. Was referring to actual lack of timeline progression as if I remember correctly last dlc that had progression time wise (like advancing year, months and days) was Orsinium. Might be bit wrong though but it's stopped now for too long already.
    • Hoghorn
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      my impression is zos believes the players are too dumb to grasp the idea of "play in whichever order is most pleasing but also here's the base game msq and chronological expac order if you like it that way." i'm curious what sort of data they had about player behaviour and engagement that produced this messy status quo.
    • SeaGtGruff
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      @evan302, I wouldn't worry too much about doing things "in order," at least not on your first character. I joined ESO after the Morrowind chapter but before the Clockwork City DLC, and bought the base game with the Morrowind chapter and the "Guilds and Glory" bundle containing the first four DLCs-- not nearly as much territory to explore as today, but a lot nonetheless. When I took a boat to travel from Vvardenfell to Daggerfall (because I didn't yet know that I could just take a wayshrine there), it led to a lengthy exploration that took me willy-nilly through just about every zone in the game, with no real rhyme or reason other than to marvel at the diversity of zones and try to accept and complete every quest I encountered, totally out of order, without even knowing that there was an order to them. By the time I actually started the Main Quest, I had already done many of the quests from all three alliances' questlines. It was madness, but it was a lot of fun.

      On my other characters I've mostly tried to do the questlines in proper order, now that my experiences with my main character taught me what's what, and the stories do make a lot more sense that way. But at the same time, it can be a bit of a chore to work through the content in proper sequence, given the sheer size of the game and all of the events and endeavors and even the guild daily repeatable quests which draw you away from whichever zone you're currently questing through so you can go shut down dolmens in another alliance's zone, or clear a dungeon in a zone you've never visited before, or go grab a skill line from a DLC or chapter zone, etc. The only way to play through the content "in order" would be to ignore a lot of those other things, which would also mean missing out on a lot of things because you aren't "ready" to go to a particular zone yet, etc.

      In my opinion, the best thing to do is to just have fun on your first character, and if it bothers you that you're doing things out of sequence then make another character who will play through the content in order, but at the same time being able to enjoy things out of order on your first character.
      I've fought mudcrabs more fearsome than me!
    • I_killed_Vivec
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      The issue they have is that with 1T you can go anywhere at any stage and see essentially the same world as anyone else. This isn't really true, because if you do the main quest lines then the world must be different. The suggestion of playing Firesong before High Isle is an interesting one. I suspect that if you try you won't see any of the main quests, or if you do you'll be pushed back into High Isle to start from the beginning.

      I would also like to see some more joined up main quests, with an over-arching theme. However, ZoS is hellbent on selling the "exciting" new adventure zone each year, they would lose this if they basically told you to go back a couple of years and buy an older version (though I can't see why they couldn't have subsequent years where you get Chapter in zone X; Chapter in zone Y, but you also get zone X, which is where you have to start; Chapter in zone Z, but you also get zone Y and zone X and you have to start in zone X.

      At least that way you could be greeted as Hero of Zone X, rather than "mercenary".

      I'd go further than just having an overarching storyline, I'd like the quests to go back into the "old" zones, but meeting new people, doing more things. Reusing the places we have been and people we might already have met.

      But I'm sure that would require a lot of careful thinking about plots, even before the quests are written. And I don't think ZoS are prepared to work on those timescales.
    • E_Lucan
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      The issue they have is that with 1T you can go anywhere at any stage and see essentially the same world as anyone else. This isn't really true, because if you do the main quest lines then the world must be different. The suggestion of playing Firesong before High Isle is an interesting one. I suspect that if you try you won't see any of the main quests, or if you do you'll be pushed back into High Isle to start from the beginning.

      I would also like to see some more joined up main quests, with an over-arching theme. However, ZoS is hellbent on selling the "exciting" new adventure zone each year, they would lose this if they basically told you to go back a couple of years and buy an older version (though I can't see why they couldn't have subsequent years where you get Chapter in zone X; Chapter in zone Y, but you also get zone X, which is where you have to start; Chapter in zone Z, but you also get zone Y and zone X and you have to start in zone X.

      At least that way you could be greeted as Hero of Zone X, rather than "mercenary".

      I'd go further than just having an overarching storyline, I'd like the quests to go back into the "old" zones, but meeting new people, doing more things. Reusing the places we have been and people we might already have met.

      But I'm sure that would require a lot of careful thinking about plots, even before the quests are written. And I don't think ZoS are prepared to work on those timescales.

      Oh yeah definitely - and I think on Steam at least, they have deals like that, where for example they sold High Isle and all the previous DLCs, so they could continue doing that still. I can't find similar deals in the non-Steam version but at least they do it somewhere lol

      It is an interesting idea that you could have quests in old zones, and come to think of it I actually would like that as well. It might make the zones more appealing to revisit outside of events that give more daily quest rewards. It'd also be less work for the devs because they can make a new story but don't have to create a whole new map for it with new NPCs, so benefits for everyone really.

      As a sidenote, I happened to have some free time today and a character that I haven't done HI with at all, so I teleported into Galen to see if it'd let me start the quest, because my assumption was the same as yours, that it'd lead you towards High Isle first, but nope, you seem to be able to do them in that order also. Unless it stops you right after A Sea Of Troubles, the main quest seems to be progressing like normal. I took two screenshots of it, one that shows the first Galen quest, and the other that shows my progress on High Isle on that character (no idea why it shows vents and such as discovered, unless that's shared across characters now, but you can see I did none of the story quests there). I suppose that what will happen is once you do finish the Galen storyline, it will just not prompt you to start the finale quest until you've also finished High Isle? But it definitely feels strange.

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    • Kendaric
      Kendaric
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      E_Lucan wrote: »
      As a sidenote, I happened to have some free time today and a character that I haven't done HI with at all, so I teleported into Galen to see if it'd let me start the quest, because my assumption was the same as yours, that it'd lead you towards High Isle first, but nope, you seem to be able to do them in that order also. Unless it stops you right after A Sea Of Troubles, the main quest seems to be progressing like normal. I took two screenshots of it, one that shows the first Galen quest, and the other that shows my progress on High Isle on that character (no idea why it shows vents and such as discovered, unless that's shared across characters now, but you can see I did none of the story quests there). I suppose that what will happen is once you do finish the Galen storyline, it will just not prompt you to start the finale quest until you've also finished High Isle? But it definitely feels strange.

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      Firesong's main quest is unrelated to High Isle's main quest, apart from both quests involving druids to some degree. The only part of Firesong that relates to/continues the High Isle plot is the epilogue.
        PAWS (Positively Against Wrip-off Stuff) - Say No to Crown Crates!. Outfit slots not being accountwide is ridiculous given their price. PC EU/PC NA roleplayer and solo PvE quester
      • E_Lucan
        E_Lucan
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        Kendaric wrote: »
        E_Lucan wrote: »
        As a sidenote, I happened to have some free time today and a character that I haven't done HI with at all, so I teleported into Galen to see if it'd let me start the quest, because my assumption was the same as yours, that it'd lead you towards High Isle first, but nope, you seem to be able to do them in that order also. Unless it stops you right after A Sea Of Troubles, the main quest seems to be progressing like normal. I took two screenshots of it, one that shows the first Galen quest, and the other that shows my progress on High Isle on that character (no idea why it shows vents and such as discovered, unless that's shared across characters now, but you can see I did none of the story quests there). I suppose that what will happen is once you do finish the Galen storyline, it will just not prompt you to start the finale quest until you've also finished High Isle? But it definitely feels strange.

        8sviiemryo97.png
        7kpsej802flx.png

        Firesong's main quest is unrelated to High Isle's main quest, apart from both quests involving druids to some degree. The only part of Firesong that relates to/continues the High Isle plot is the epilogue.

        Yeah that makes sense, it's just never occurred to me that you don't even have to do the chapter/DLC in the order they're released, since I've done them in the "original" order every single time lol
      • chessalavakia_ESO
        chessalavakia_ESO
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        I think I liked the design idea of separated chapters better than continuous but, I think ZOS might be better at continuous stories vs separated.

        Minor Necrom PTS Spoilers:
        Necrom is in the continuous style and it is definitely step above the recent separated chapters

        Clockwork City, Morrowind, and Summerset were considerably stronger in my view than the separated chapters that came after.

        I like the idea of separated chapters because it allows you to run the content you want with the characters you want and it allows for greater variation with the theme and style of chapters. With a more continuous story you need to run through everything on the same characters for it to work out well and the stories will tend to be similar.

        A prime example of this would be Summerset.

        Summerset spoilers:
        Summerset hits far differently if you have never met Razum-dar, Darien Gautier, and Veya Releth and it's the third story in a row with Daedra as antagonists that are making a play for power.

        The problem in my view that ZOS hits with their separated stories is they aren't really playing to the advantages of separated stories by varying the content up and that ZOS's writing tends to be stronger when it comes to character than plot. Shorter length stories tend to offer less opportunities for character interactions/development while offering opportunities for plot failures to cause issues.
      • E_Lucan
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        I think I liked the design idea of separated chapters better than continuous but, I think ZOS might be better at continuous stories vs separated.

        This could also be the case, and I do think that there are regional stories that can be done well. I think that, like you said, they just stick to a formula way too much, and it's becoming immensely predictable. The setup with an evil cult that turns out to have infiltrated the ranks of your allies is done so often that I go into basically every DLC expecting that to happen, which I think is what made some of the stories so anticlimactic for me because I saw the "obligatory" plot twist from miles away.

        If they were to do more regional stories without connecting them, I think a good way to go about it would be to actually focus on regional drama, and not threaten to end the world with every single quest. I suppose the idea is that a longer storyline deserves a more "cataclysmic" conflict, but I for one wouldn't at all mind a more region-centred crisis rather than a "Yet another evil guy is trying to take over all of Tamriel".

        The stories that the vanilla region questlines are based on are a good example of this I think, though the writing for the really old quests is of course a bit dull compared to newer content. The individual stories are connected within the alliance war I suppose, but for the most part you're solving very localised problems, and that just makes more sense to me given the scale of the quests as opposed to the larger storylines going on in the game.

        I do see the advantage of being able to play through the content in any order, to an extent, though I think after playing the game for so many years it's just lost its charm to me and I want to see some change in the in-game world instead of it remaining stagnant with region-contained stories (edit: though this is 100% just my personal preference, I should say). The way I imagine the more connected chapters is you'd be able to join your character into the story at any point (say 3 chapters come out, you don't have to play the first one to get to the third one per se), and it'd be treated as, say, when in a tabletop RPG a player joins in during a later session (not a common occurrence but I've seen it happen a few times) and they're treated as a newcomer that's just joining the story at a slightly later point. Of course you'd get less time to "bond" with the NPCs, but it'd eliminate the need to always start from the very first quest. It's definitely tricky to implement, and I guess I'll see how they handle the situation in Necrom and whatever comes after it, too.

        If nothing else though I am just hoping with every fibre of my being that I will at last get a DLC where I don't have to fight another cult - I feel like "evil cultist" is Tamriel's #1 occupation after all these adventures.
        Edited by E_Lucan on June 1, 2023 8:35PM
      • Kesstryl
        Kesstryl
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        I do like that I can start my alts in any zone or DCL with any story as I tend to RP them as having started in different places. Ever since One Tamriel, I tended to keep my Characters contained within their own zones, and chapters so they do not overlap each other as they are supposed to all be alive at the same time and know each other from escaping Coldharbor together. I also think the very first character a new player has should go through the Coldharbor story first at least once. After that, we should have had the option to pick whichever tutorial quest with whichever Chapters we had for subsequent characters. I dislike the Balfira tutorial as it just dumps you into a town to be waylaid by a ton of NPCs clamoring for your attention and you lost the tutorial quests from previous DLCs (some of which were very good and I was sad to lose them).

        What I dislike most and agree with here is the lack of continuity between chapters, DLC, and NPCs you built relationships with in those places (yes they might greet you differently if you met them before, but that's about it. There's no actual continuation or change or growth between the NPC and that alt from previous encounters). It does feel very disjointed and stagnant.
        HEARTHLIGHT - A guild for housing enthusiasts! Contact @Kesstryl in-game to join.
      • E_Lucan
        E_Lucan
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        Kesstryl wrote: »
        I do like that I can start my alts in any zone or DCL with any story as I tend to RP them as having started in different places. Ever since One Tamriel, I tended to keep my Characters contained within their own zones, and chapters so they do not overlap each other as they are supposed to all be alive at the same time and know each other from escaping Coldharbor together. I also think the very first character a new player has should go through the Coldharbor story first at least once. After that, we should have had the option to pick whichever tutorial quest with whichever Chapters we had for subsequent characters. I dislike the Balfira tutorial as it just dumps you into a town to be waylaid by a ton of NPCs clamoring for your attention and you lost the tutorial quests from previous DLCs (some of which were very good and I was sad to lose them).

        What I dislike most and agree with here is the lack of continuity between chapters, DLC, and NPCs you built relationships with in those places (yes they might greet you differently if you met them before, but that's about it. There's no actual continuation or change or growth between the NPC and that alt from previous encounters). It does feel very disjointed and stagnant.

        I do the same thing with my characters, with each being levelled in a different zone, so I don't hate that some of them are disconnected, but the lack of continuity/consequence for them being completed is killing me sometimes lol - I firmly believe there's some magic balance between the DLCs being too dependent on each other and between them being this separated with no consequences for completing them at all, so I hope we see that used sometime in the future. Some of the DLCs of course work perfectly well as standalone ones too, like Thieves' Guild or DB, but my problem currently is with stuff like Blackwood/Deadlands where I did this whole questline and nobody has said anything about it ever since. Guess nobody in Tamriel reads the newspaper?

        And I agree on the tutorials, too. While the current tutorial lets you see all the DLCs instead of just putting you into the latest one which makes the DLCs easier to navigate, you're right in that their unique tutorials were really charming and added that extra bit of immersion to the game as well. I'd maybe let people pick which DLC they want to start with when making the character, and then they'd be sent to that DLC's tutorial - or they'd pick the main game and do the Coldharbour one like in the ancient times before they redid that sequence a bunch.
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