(You're reading all posts by Rob LeFebvre) Anchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef
About Rob LeFebvre
Elder Scrolls Online is a new massively multiplayer role playing game by Zenimax Studios and Bethesda Game Studios that attempts to compete with the behemoth of the premium subscription MMO, World Of Warcraft, on its own turf in the fantasy genre. While the base gameplay is fairly similar — go on quests, fight bad guys, level up, game with thousands of other players — this new MMO has a lot that’s unique to offer gamers.
What Elder Scrolls Online brings to this competitive gaming genrea is a long history of games set in fantasy world Tamriel, beginning in 1994 with The Elder Scrolls: Arena and continuing through three the present day with four sequels: Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim. There’s a ton of lore and backstory here, as much as any high-fantasy Tolkien-esque novel you might read, and this deep infusion of fictional reality — as well as the action gameplay style of the original single-player games mentioned above — is a solid asset in Bethesda’s favor.
Reviewing any MMO is a massive undertaking itself, and so we decided to dig in deeper than we usually do to give you a better sense of the world of the game, filtered through the eyes of a new Elder Scrolls Online player.
Here’s what we came up with.
I’m not usually a big fan of the whole “do it over and over until you get it right” genre of games typified by the Trials series of games, but this one has me hooked. Developed by RedLynx and now published by Ubisoft, the latest version of the game is also the first on mobile: Trials Frontier. You can grab it for free now for your iPad or iPhone.
Like all of the other installments in the series, Frontier is all about piloting a motorcycle with a rag-doll rider through increasingly intense tracks with jumps, loops and environmental hazards.
Here’s a quick gameplay video to show you how it works.
Sure, a simple passcode with four numbers will keep most casual folks out of your iPhone, but if you want it to be really secure, you should think about using an alphanumeric password, like you would on a website or your Mac.
The idea here is simple, the more characters you have (and the less obvious your password is), the better your security. Balancing a large enough number of characters with ease of recall can still be tricky, but I’d bet you’ve got it fairly worked out on the websites you visit — why not use that same acumen on your iOS devices?
Here’s how to turn off the simple passcode in iOS, and set up a more secure one.
I had just finished a long assignment from the elven ambassador in the province of Elsweyr. I was tired from running to and fro, tangling with spies and fighting the Sea Elves at every turn.
Suddenly, Commander Karinth stopped me in my path and pressed me into duty fighting these ocean foes. I had to run into the fabled Wind Tunnels, looking to destroy the foul Storm Totems. Enemies at every turn of the weaving passages forced me to dodge back and forth to avoid vicious attacks while retaliating with my own spells and sword blows.
After what seemed a lifetime of combat and destruction, I returned a hero. Then I took some time out for me, finding a crafting table to put together some ingredients I’d gathered to make something useful. A restorative meal got me feeling better than usual.
As in many MMO games, Elder Scrolls Online offers many activities to engage in, including questing, crafting, cooking, combat (both player versus player and player versus environment) and traveling through dungeons with a few close friends. Even marriage — if you bought the digital Collector’s Edition.
There’s a reason people get addicted to games like Elder Scrolls Online: There’s so much to do that it’s incredibly easy to get sucked into these deep virtual worlds.
If you’ve ever come across a great snippet of text you want to Tweet right from your Mac, you know the drill: you have to copy it, open Twitter, create a new message, and then paste in the text there. Then hit the Send button.
Sure, it’s not that difficult, but what if there was an even easier way?
Well, there is, and here it is.
Editor’s Note: Due to the sheer size of Elder Scrolls Online, we’re publishing our hands-on impressions of the game in three chunks. Part one is here. What follows is part two.
Queen Ayrenn is a modern monarch. She’s definitely trying to do the right thing, but I can hear the weariness in her tone when she tells me about the endless rituals she must complete in order to be accepted by her subjects.
I’m not sure what happened to her during her 17-year absence, nor why she returned to the kingdom at age 28 to inherit the throne of Alinor. Honestly, I don’t much care. What I do care about is that she is tired. She knows these rituals and adventures are necessary, but she finds them tedious, if dangerous.
She’s always glad to see me. I always want to help her. I’ve bonded with Queen Ayrenn, and she’s not even real.
That’s one of the real triumphs of impressive new MMO Elder Scrolls Online: It’s a virtual world, but the individuals you meet there somehow can, at times, seem more realistic than the people you might spend your day next to on the subway.
Spotlight is crazy useful to find stuff on your Mac. Just hit Command-Space on your keyboard and type in the name of files, words from in text files, the kind of document you want, or even the date when you think it might have been created or modified, and you’ll find it in an instant.
I rarely organize stuff into fine-grained folders anymore due to the power of this one simple to use feature in OS X.
Sometimes, though, I want to know where a found document is — here’s a cool trick to do just that, sent to us from Cult of Mac reader Ivan Manzanilla.
Disruptor Beam, the company behind Game of Thrones Ascent, hopes to thrill the thousands of Star Trek fans worldwide with its upcoming social strategy roleplaying game, Star Trek Timelines.
You’ll need to build your own starship and crew to boldly go where no one has gone before, exploring the Star Trek multiverse alongside characters from all eras of Trekdom.
There’s a new teaser trailer with the voices of Commander Data, Leuitenant Uhura, and Captain Jean Luc Picard to get you excited.
Editor’s Note: Due to the sheer size of Elder Scrolls Online, we’re publishing our hands-on impressions in three chunks. Here’s part one.
I dash up a sandy dune, rushing past palm trees, looking for the spot on my map where an eyeball icon beckons my attention. The sky is blue — it’s mid-day here in the Hammerfell region — with a few clouds to tease the eye. It’s hot enough to fry an egg on my heavy armor, but hey, I’m not really running anywhere.
As I crest the little hill, a brilliant lens-flare from the sun draws my attention skyward, distracting me from the broken bridge. I tumble heavily to the sea below, splashing into the water.
I’m in good company: there’s a small school of orcs and elves who have made the same rookie mistake. We make the slow swim of shame to the sandy beach, then rush off to explore this idyllic, if tricky, land.
This all takes place on the continent of Tamriel, which will be familiar to gamers who’ve played the previous titles in the series: Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind. It’s like Middle Earth for game nerds. While each of the previous games took place in just one area of Tamriel, the Elder Scrolls online promises the whole land mass.
It’s paradise –I wonder if I can bring my kids with me when I move here.
When you start your Mac up, you may notice the process taking longer and longer over time. One of the reasons may be the sheer number of little menu bar and helper apps that you’ve allowed to creep into your system over time.
One way to decrease this start up time is to take these items out of the Login Items list, which is in your System Preferences app.