I recently got my wife and some friends into Elder Scrolls Online, and was struck by just how much work it is to get the game to play the way I feel it should as a long-time MMO player. Here’s a list of addons I install and settings I set for every new computer/character, roughly in order of importance to me. Hopefully it will help some other players get into the game more easily.
Ok, this isn’t a addon, it’s a addon manager from ESOUI.com. Let’s face it, as great as they are, keeping track of mods and addons is a pain, especially in a game that updates every few weeks. Minion makes getting and updating addons easy. You don’t have to hunt around for your addon folder or fiddle with unzipping addons in just the right place. Just open Minion, search for what you want, and click Install. If the game is open, just type /reloadui and your shiny new addon will show up instantly. All of the links I’ve provided below can also be downloaded through Minion.
In my opinion, every MMORPG, if not every open world RPG online or not, needs a minimap. I understand the arguments against it–it’s screen clutter, immersion breaking, just use the compass, etc.–but it just makes navigating so much easier. If I don’t have a minimap, I’m going to find a way to get one modded in. I’m still amazed there’s no official option for this.
My wife tried ESO several times before it clicked with her, and she just told me the other day that she thinks the main reason it worked out this time was that she installed the minimap addon.
It’s a minor annoyance when Lord of the Rings Online only allows five quests on its tracker, but it’s understandable. It’s a holdover from a bygone era when screens were smaller with a lot fewer pixels. But when a game launches in 2014 with only the ability to track one quest a time? That’s just unacceptable. It’s made even worse by the fact that the compass icon for an untracked quest is the same as that of a quest you haven’t picked up.
Show Buffs & Debuffs
Settings>Combat>Buffs & Debuffs
This should have been in there at launch, but at least we finally have it now, even if it is off by default. I think they thought they could get by without it, putting indicators on character models to show that they have buffs or debuffs, but when you’re running around in a dungeon there’s too much visual clutter to see if an enemy has bleed particles or if your character is glowing in all the right ways.
Another feature that was finally added officially (again, defaulting to off) that I’ve never understood how they launched without. It’s usually easy enough to tell which characters are NPCs and which are players (just look for the ones trying to jump their way over a fence, and failing), but I like to know who characters are without having to point at them. Plus I like to see the clever character names that people come up with.
Show Ability Bar
I’m an altaholic, so when I log into a character I don’t always remember where all of my skills are. Some people prefer to remove the screen clutter when not in combat, but I like the comfort of being able to see my skills at any time.
Prevent Attacking Innocents
So, on my very first character, I was doing to main quest in Vulkhel Guard, running errands for some evil elves who were trying to be subtle about their evilness (and failing). One part of the quest involves searching a warehouse and being jumped by a random assassin (I still don’t quite get why, but whatever). The assassin died from a DoT, right as I was about to release a fully charged bow attack. The arrow fired just as the guy died, and because video game physics are weird, the arrow flew right through his collapsing corpse and hit some unsuspecting dock worker right behind him, one-shotting him. And, because video game ethics are also weird, while everyone would have been totally fine with my killing the assassin in the street in broad daylight, and wouldn’t have intervened to help me, killing the random dock worker caused me to get zerg rushed by every guard in the town.
And that was the day that I discovered the Prevent Attacking Innocents option.
So, there’s a whole category of items that are just vendor trash. There’s a way to mark items as junk and hide them from your normal inventory. Why not automatically mark junk items as junk, and sell them automatically when you visit a vendor? Dustman does just that. It also has a lot of settings to fiddle with, so if you want to to automatically trash ornate or white items, you can have it do that too.
One of my favorite things about ESO is that it encourages exploration through meaningful rewards. One of the most useful rewards, at least while you’re leveling, is skyshards. Collect three and you get a skillpoint for relatively little effort. But sometimes you’ve had enough exploring for the time being and just want to take the quickest leveling path possible. That’s what the Skyshards addon is for.
The same goes for lorebooks and the Mage’s Guild line. I actually usually disable lorebooks just because there are so many of them it makes the map cluttered and hard to navigate, but I leave it installed in case I want to powerlevel Mage’s Guild. Also, as any Elder Scrolls lore fan will tell you, all of the lore books are very well written, so if you like to take reading breaks between monster killings, this addon is for you.
Controls>Standard Keybinds>General>Roll Dodge
Double tap to dodge is fine, but sometimes the extra few milliseconds it takes to press a key a second time is the difference between dodging out of the red and being a daedra snack. I usually bind this to middle click, since it’s easy to access.
I have a few other addons installed, like a addon to gridify my inventory, add a GW2-style /wiki command, or prevent accidental stealing, but those are more about preference and I wouldn’t call them “essential.” I’m sure there are lots of other cool addons out there I haven’t discovered. Let me know in the comments what your favorite addons are!
A great collection of tips! I need that NPC-saver setting, I’ve had to run from guards by accidentally triggering an attack too close to NPCs a few times! I like the sound of dustman as well. Oh and I’d love to be able to see buffs better, will have a good look at all this when I next play. I don’t mind the minimal UI actually in general, I’m used to just using the compass and not having a list of quests to do, although I like minimaps and quest trackers in other MMOs, I kind of like having a different experience in ESO – playing Secret World has broken me of the need for all games to do this alike, I guess.