it’s been over 20 years…

…since the release of Daggerfall, so yeah, it’s about time Beth started implementing all the features that were in dev but never made it into DF back then.

Sadly, the capitalist reality we have to live in means that they’re doing it for their current flagship, which is Skyrim, and anyone who’s been following me for a while knows what I think about Skyrim.

But yeah, this is finally a step towards a better game.

And yet, what (naturally!) interests me way more is how well the Daggerfall Unity project is progressing. I do have hopes for Lucius’ XLEngine still (being a Blind Guardian fan teaches you that good things come to those who wait), but if we eventually have two recreations, it can only be for the better.

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the chances of me ever playing TESO…

…are pretty slim. Although I do want to, a lot, but there’s a lot of reasons why it’s not happening.

Either way.

I was looking at the maps – this lovely ESO one at UESP and an old Arena one at the same UESP, and I saw that the locations of Firsthold and Skywatch haven’t changed (see, TESO looks to be much better than we were expecting a few years ago).

Which makes me think that the Crystal Tower location was not retconned either.

I’m wondering now if it’s possible to see it (and Eton Nir the mountain behind it) from that “Auridon” island (the name is what I never liked back then and don’t like now). Lore-wise, should be possible (the Tower’s HUGE, it’s magical after all). In-game?..

And I also found out by accident that a real-world Crystal Tower (almost as immense!) almost got built here in Moscow =D Thankfully my Crystal-like-Law design doesn’t look similar at all.

to_cloudrest_by_mustakettu85-d64nd3r

To Cloudrest by mustakettu85 on DeviantArt
…yes now you know where my WP userpic comes from.

morrowhat?

No, really. I mean – you can’t deny Morrowind’s place in CRPG history, but. Nobody really likes Skyrim fanboys who next to drool on their Dovah collectible figurines.

But Morrowind fanboys are no better.

I mean… TES did not start with Morrowind. It didn’t end with it, either. Neither did CRPG history.

Whining constantly about how no other game could ever hope to compare with Morrowind is, well, rather immature.

No amount of pretentious claims like “the first two titles were generic fantasy” (generally uttered by someone who never played them) will fix that attitude.

I’m younger than some of those fanboys (actual gender identity varies). But I’m old enough to remember how Morrowind was considered to be ‘BethSoft selling out’.

It – to be precise, the community reaction to it – set the tone, that’s for sure.

at.long.last.

Bethesda Softworks launches a GOG.com storefront and brings Battlespire and Redguard back!!

Battlespire. Redguard.

I have been dreaming of this for years.

And buyers also get the first two TES ‘proper’ titles, Arena and Daggerfall, which should come with a trusty GOG.com no-hassle installer. Yeah, these have been legally free for years, but there were no official installers for post-MSDOS-based systems, only fan-made ones, with the Arena package being continually frowned upon by the TES forum mods. This must’ve kept a few potential players away.

Y’know… I’m not much of a true gamer to judge any random game’s quality objectively, especially if we aren’t talking realtime action CRPG, but I’ve been a TES fan for next to half my life. So when it comes to realtime action CRPGs, I know a thing or two simply due to experience. And from that PoV, while Morrowind holds a cult status because of its unique setting and storyline, and Skyrim had that crazy commercial success, but if you ask me, the most groundbreaking game-as-a-game was Daggerfall. And Arena, when viewed in the context of it being a 1994 release, is no less amazing. It’s just that Daggerfall is even better, even when compared to contemporary realtime action CRPGs. Only The Witcher series and Divine Divinity are in the same league IMO (but not every Divinity game is a realtime one).

But of course, it all depends on what you want from a realtime action CRPG…

and when I like stuff, I tend to like it a bit too much

I was going through the Wiedźmin saga again (fanart research), and I felt that the first two volumes are exactly the format of storytelling I prefer: a series of short stories tied together by a common thread. Short stories have a sense of closure about each; besides, they tend to be better vessels for showing off writing technique. Although I plain adore the way pan Sapek writes everything.

And that brings me to questioning whether the English-speaking readers are going to get an equally impressive experience out of the saga. The translated snippets I come across online, in the Witcher wiki and on the forums, they are rather … tame, for lack of a better word. Plain and featureless.

The Russian translations have their weak points. Sometimes there are errors even, ranging from omissions of important characterization bits to mixing hooks with buckles. But they have… vigour.

Polish and Russian are similar in many ways. So it’s to be expected that a good Russian translation would be easier to do than an equally good English one.

And yet.

It seems nobody even tried.

Actually, the way pan Sapek weaves voices and narrative techniques, it’s fairly rare in the English-speaking SF/F that I have read. Especially that last story in the Sword of Destiny (that story!! B’vec, what a story)… the way it’s written, it only brings to mind one ‘obscure text’ by the (infamous) Michael Kirkbride, an ex-dev of the Elder Scrolls series.

// ‘Obscure text’ in the TES lore fandom means material written by a developer or former developer, but not explicitly included into any official published source like a game, an art book, a licenced novel or what not; whether these are ‘canon’ has been a part of one too many ‘canon war’ //

Here it is – Lord Vivec’s Sword-Meeting with Cyrus the Restless , and while I am head over heels in love with this story, I have no idea if it’s actually readable unless you are well-versed in TES lore. It’s written from a mercilessly in-universe POV – which I actually find _the_ way to do SF/F (immersion!! sense of mystery!! the satisfaction of figuring it all out!!), but I may well be in the minority.

That’s how pan Sapek’s stuff should feel in English. IMO.

And hey, if you happen to be that non-TES fan who actually bothers to read the story, would you please let me know what it was like to you?

playing TES:Arena again…

…it’s still the same playthrough I started quite a long time ago. You see, I am a slow type of gamer – I take pleasure in the process rather than results. Besides, these days I keep getting distracted by “real life” and other hobbies.

And, y’know, when it comes to TES, there is that vast body of lore that can be accessed outside of actual playing.

Either way, I love Arena. Obviously, with it being more action-oriented than Daggerfall and having no difficulty slider (unlike later titles), I had to cheat in order to anyhow make it out of the first dungeon – I used a savegame editor to up the character’s hit points in a not insignificant way. We still have to stock up on various potions to make it through any MQ dungeon, though.

But the experience of playing it is amazing. It has both the quirkiness of an unknown early-to-mid 90s action RPG and the foundation of what was to become TES’ distinctive flavour.

acd_163

Not the stuff you’d talk about with the TES lore community, pt. 1

As much as I love the contributions that a certain ex-dev by the name of Michael Kirkbride made to the “official” TES and to the TES community creations, it saddens me that it created a sort of an “elitist rift” in the community.

The most 1337 of leets are those who only read fanfics that are often not supposed to be called fanfics but some other fanciful words (c0da, anyone?). Those fanfics, if ever narrative, tend to be written in a similarly “incomprehensible” style and deal with “incomprehensible” subject matter. // i.e. what MK generally calls “incomprehensible” – things beyond the average thinking range of a more or less functional very white very NorthAmerican very male individual, thank you very much; MK tradition seems to attribute this ‘transmundane’, for lack of a better word, experience to “non-humans”, claiming “humans” are unable to “understand”/”comprehend” (with these particular terms never precisely defined) “non-humans”, including “cats” and “elves” (but MK, who thinks himself “human”, somehow _can_ write this “incomprehensible” POV – huh?) – in short, this “incomprehensibility theory” is easily debunked by anyone with decent logical skills and enough knowledge of contemporary philosophy, psychology, natural sciences and cultural studies, but: you will never prove your point to MK and those who fell victims to this faulty – but oh so everyday – reasoning (keyword: dehumanising; look it up; and yeah, rant over now) //

And while I love “incomprehensible” (because this is what I actually understand much better than the average everyday “human” POV); while I adore writers like Dinmenel

It should not be the end-all, be-all of a “good TES fanfic”.

Continue reading “Not the stuff you’d talk about with the TES lore community, pt. 1”