The Latest Update for ESO: Tamriel Unlimited

The Latest Update for ESO: Tamriel Unlimited
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Earlier this week, Update 11 for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited hit PlayStation 4 and Xbox One after already being live on PC and Mac for two weeks. This update includes the DLC game pack Shadows of the Hist in addition to the base-game patch, which brings many much-requested features, including the Style Parlor, costume dyeing, and the long-anticipated text chat for consoles. I’ve spent a few days with Update 11 on Xbox One and, for better or for worse, have a few opinions on the newest addition to Zenimax Online Studios’ MMO.

Base-Game Patch

The meat of Update 11 includes the base-game patch, essentially quality-of-life improvements to the game. Many of the improvements added include the big ones, such as console text chat, costume dyeing, and the Style Parlor, but many other smaller improvements exist as well, such as improvements to Aetherian Archive and Hel Ra Citadel, rebalancing of Racial Passive abilities, increasing the Champion Point cap from 501 to 531, and improved Clothier surveys, among many others. While I did not have an opportunity to test and critique all the improvements brought with the base-game patch, I will touch on some of the larger additions to the game.

Console Text Chat

Arguably something that should have been in the console versions of ESO since the beginning, text chat has finally arrived on PS4 and Xbox One with Update 11’s base-game patch. It functions much as one would expect: you can forgo the awkward and oft annoying integrated voice chat in lieu of a more traditional method of MMO communication. Being that this is on console, however, there are some adjustments and, in my opinion, drawbacks in relation to how text chat is handled on PC/Mac.

The most apparent difference between ESO’s text chat on console versus PC/Mac is that you have to open a separate menu in order to use it. Sure, this speaks to having this feature on console—and, truthfully, ZOS did the best they could given the limitations—but it is noticeably far less streamlined than it is on PC. Not only is the separate text chat menu clunky and takes multiple button presses to reach, but using it at all is cumbersome. This hands-on time was spent on Xbox One, so for Xbox One users, your main option for using text chat would be via Xbox One’s on-screen keyboard, though if you have the Xbox One chatpad, a USB keyboard, or are utilizing the Xbox One app (formerly Smartglass), those methods can be used as well.

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Though Xbox One offers a variety of ways to type your in-game messages, I find each of these methods rather cumbersome. I did not test the text chat function using the Xbox One chatpad, but navigating the on-screen keyboard with a controller is slow and annoying at best, and keeping a USB keyboard in your lap or having to reach for your smart phone each time you want to send a quick message is less than optimal. I can’t speak for PS4 users, but I can’t imagine using PS4’s on-screen keyboard with a controller or otherwise using a USB keyboard is any more intuitive on Sony’s platform.

Technicalities aside, the utilization of text chat in ESO on consoles fares just as you might expect if you’re familiar with text chat in any other MMO: a ton of players trying to sell junk (and even bind-on-equip) items, and others just plain insulting each other. Though this is simply the nature of MMO text chat and is in no way the fault of ZOS, I find this truth just plain annoying. Beyond initially opening up the text chat window to see how it looked and to take a few screenshots, I found myself hardly going into text chat at all while otherwise navigating the game’s UI. Personally, it’s just not for me.

If you dig into the game’s main options menu, however, you will find the ability to toggle on and off a profanity filter as well as the choice to have area chat persistently appear on the right side of your screen. While I find the latter useless since you can’t send messages from that screen, the option is there should you desire it.

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While the whole idea of text chat on console doesn’t tickle my fancy, there seem to be many players utilizing it. So despite my criticism of how text chat functions on console, if it’s something you want to use as an alternative to having to speak to people in area chat, by all means, give it a go. Just don’t be surprised when insults begin flying every which way.

Costume Dyeing

Another much-requested feature finally making its way into the game is costume (and hat) dyeing. That’s right—all the costumes (and hats) you’ve acquired both in-game and via the Crown Store can now finally be customized to your liking. Not only are you able to purchase dye packs from the Crown Store, but any dyes you’ve unlocked via in-game achievements are fair game to use as well.

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Unlike armor sets, costumes and hats, respectively, are displayed as a single item, so you can only use the standard three slots to place your dyes. For example, for a heavy armor set, your chest piece has three dye slots, your helm has three dye slots, etc. Costumes and hats only get their three slots each, so while you cannot customize your costumes down to the individual piece, it still opens up hundreds of color combinations for the once-stagnant costume sets we’ve seen. This is great news for anyone who values uniqueness and character customization in ESO. While I only played around with one costume on one of my alts, I’m excited to see what other cool costume color combinations (try saying that five times fast) I can come up with.

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I should probably also mention that costume and hat dyeing is an ESO Plus member-exclusive benefit, so if the call of bonus gold, XP, monthly Crowns, and crafting bags wasn’t enough to persuade you into subscribing, perhaps this might be.

Style Parlor

Have you found yourself deleting Champion-rank characters because you ended up choosing the wrong hairstyle, or because you simply just didn’t like your Wood Elf’s eyebrows? Steady that delete finger, for the Style Parlor has arrived in the Crown Store! Finally, after ages of people on the official ESO forums asking for some kind of barbershop feature, we finally have it.

There are a couple different ways to modify your character’s appearance with the new update. First, there is the token method. ZOS has introduced three varieties of tokens—Appearance Change, Race Change, and Name Change—that can be purchased for a set number of Crowns. Appearance Change Tokens will allow you to change any aspect of your character’s appearance using the default character creation tool; Race Change Tokens give you all the options of the Appearance Change Tokens, plus allows you to change your character’s race; and Name Change tokens do just that—allow you to change your character’s name.

The second method of customizing your character is to visit the “Style Parlor” section of the Crown Store. Here, you can purchase a variety of adornment packs, hairstyles, etc. to deck out your character as you see fit, and these options will appear under the Collections menu.

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I personally find this a fantastic and long-overdue addition to the game. While I think locking this option down to the Crown Store is somewhat of a missed opportunity (why not offer Tokens for substantial amounts of gold?), it’s still great to have the option to change your character’s appearance once you get your Champion-rank gear and perhaps decide your adornment or markings don’t match. Shout-out to ZOS for listening to the players!

Shadows of the Hist

Unfortunately, during my time with the update thus far, I have not had a chance to run either of the new dungeons, Cradle of Shadows or Ruins of Mazzatun. Once I’ve had the chance to assemble a group and run these new Argonian-themed dungeons, I will be back to update this portion of the article.

Final Thoughts

Update 11, though smaller content-wise than some of the previous updates, has brought some much-needed quality of life additions to The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. With the addition of costume and hat dyeing and the new Style Parlor, players now have more ways to customize their characters than ever before, and text chat for consoles gives players yet another communication option for those who are either microphone-shy or simply prefer the simplicity (if only it were simple!) of text chat. Given the regular nature of ZOS’ update cadence for ESO, I’m sure there’s plenty here in Update 11 to tide us over until the next content update—whatever it may bring (spellcrafting, ZOS?). For now, though, I think I’ll go rummage through my costumes and see what I can come up with at the nearest dyeing station.

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