Category Archives: Getting Started

A Look at Mods for Sims 3 – Getting Started

Yesterday, we looked at NRAAS mods that will help fix issues with the Sims 3 game.

Today, we’ll look at more NRAAS mods – these will start changing how you play the game.

An update from the Story Progression mod
Story Progression update

Story Progression – I actually ran my game for ages without this one, until I learned how to fix the settings so I wasn’t being notified about everyone in town. I recommend reading this (quick couple paragraphs) and changing the settings they say – it’ll save you having to learn the stories about everyone in your town, unless you want to. Of all the mods on this list, this one will probably affect your game the most noticeably. The only issue I have with it is that sometimes I have to go in and change the settings because the game already had plans for the sim that my sim is interested in. That’s a fairly easy fix though, and other than that, I love it. :)

Picture of the dreams panel in the game
Dreams and wishes are controlled by Dreamer

Dreamer – I love this one. It controls dreams and Wishes, allowing you to complete a wish without

adding it to your 4 choices, and adjusts how long dreams and wishes remain available.

<3 Traveler <3 – One of my very favorites; this helps with issues when sims travel between worlds, along with doing a lot of other things, like letting you decide whether the sims in the travel worlds should age normally, allowing you to move to a travel world or stop the time clock so you can spend as long there as you’d like, oh, and it allows you to use each world you own as a vacation world, so you can send your sims to the beach for a visit. :)

A view of the vacation chooser with Aurora Skies showing as the designation.
Traveler turns all the worlds into vacation designations.

Last, but definitely not least, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Master Controller and Debug Enabler.

There is so much to both of these, that it is hard to just casually mention them in a blog post. I will come back later and post more about what you can do with each of them, but for now, Master Controller lets you manage your sim and the population of your town. You can max motives, make the selected sim your active sim, enter CAS to edit the selected sim, etc. If you played Sims 2 and remember the tombstone of Life and Death, you can do almost everything that you could do there.

Debug Enabler takes it even further. With the two added to your game, there’s really not much of anything that you might want to do to your sim that’s not possible (except for turning your sim’s head into a cupcake – that’s only possible in Sims 4).

The first screen you see for Master Controller
The Initial Screen for Master Controller
Showing the advanced choices for Master Controller
Choices under the Advanced option for Master Controller

A Look at Mods for the Sims 3 – Basics

I <3 NRAAS mods. They are the only game-changing mods I will use. I have almost all of them and can’t really imagine my game without them now.

This first post will focus on the basic mods that are good for everyone to have. They help with basic issues in the game (like routing).

Error Trap – Be warned, this mod produces Script Error files in your Sims folder. The errors aren’t from this program, they are the errors from your game. I just delete them about once a week or so, although if you have a recurring issue, you can always post them on the Nraas site and let them figure out what’s causing the issue.

An image of script errors in a Sims 3 folder
GoHere – You want this one. You won’t even notice it’s there, but once you’ve used it, you’ll notice it’s absence (it’s a routing program).

Image of Overwatch in the Sims 3
Overwatch

Overwatch – Quoting from the site, “This mod’s purview is the correction of persistent or recurring errors produced by the Core game or other mods.” In other words, one of the most necessary of all Twallan’s mods. Also allows you to turn on TestingCheatsEnabled so that you don’t have to redo it every time you start playing.

Register – Helps fix some of the bugs in the game related to tourists, cashiers, etc.

Saver<3 Automatically brings up the save box at whatever time period you specify. This has saved me sooooo many times. It also brings up the box when you’re in the middle of a build, the only way I’ve seen to save during a build. I love this one. :)

And that’s it for today. Tomorrow, I’ll share about a few fun mods that can make a major difference to your game.

Choosing a Class

Class

Exploring the Elder Scrolls - Class Selector
Class Selector

There are only four classes to select from in the Elder Scrolls Online, which really feels limited when you first look at them. Anyone who has played any of the one-person Elder Scrolls games or pretty much any other D&D style role playing game knows that selecting the class of your character determines how you play more than almost anything else in the game.

The original Elder Scrolls games were unique when it came to class selection because although they offered you the option to play traditional classes, you were also allowed to create your own class, combining the skills you were interested in pursuing to create a character that was uniquely you.

When I first saw the 4 classes, I was worried that ESO had left that option far behind, forcing us into the more traditional RPG roles of Fighter, Healer, Wizard, and Thief.

And at first glance, when you read the Class descriptions, that is how it looks.

Exploring the Elder Scrolls Online - Dragonknight description
Dragonknight Description
Exploring the Elder Scrolls - Class: Sorcerer Description
Sorcerer Description
Exploring the Elder Scrolls - Class: Nightblade
Nightblade Description
Exploring the Elder Scrolls Online - Class: Templar
Templar Description

Remember that yesterday I mentioned that you are really unlimited in how you play your character. Your sorcerer can wear chain armor if you’d like, and your knight can cast spells (and has one of my very favorite low-level spells in the game).

When you choose a class in most RPGs, you are determining the limits of your character. A thief isn’t likely to wield an axe, for instance, nor is a sorcerer going to wear iron. The Elder Scrolls turns class into a starting point instead, and I can determine where it goes from there. If I want to roleplay a traditional character, a sorcerer who only wears robes and carries a staff, then I have everything I need to be able to play that character.

If, on the other hand, I want to play a character from one of my favorite science fiction books, someone who doesn’t fit with the traditional character styles, I can also design a character to fit that description.

In my next post, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the early stages of each class and how race figures into the character equation.

How Do I – Chat and Chat Codes in ESO

I often write these posts to answer questions I wonder about while I’m playing the Elder Scrolls Online. Other times, I write them in response to issues I notice others running into and it’s often easier to write out and share a blog post than it is to try to explain the same answer several times to different people. And of course, I’ll also write posts in response to questions I’m asked.

This post is a combination of the first two situations. I had wondered about some of the chat codesand I’ve shared a few times how to do things like group chat (in ESO there are guilds, which can be composed of an infinitely large number of people, and there are groups, which can only have up to four people at a time). Both guilds and groups have different chat codes so you can chat with exactly who you want to.

So how do I use chat?

To start with, simply type / in the game.

How to Use Chat in ESO - The Chat Box
The chat box

That will bring up the chat box.

In the box, you can use a number of chat codes to identify who you want to chat with.

  • /say – The default chat
  • /yell – Shouts (the default color for yell is red)
  • /tell (player name) – Sends a whisper to anyone online
  • /group – Sends a message to everyone in your group (max is 3 other people)
  • /zone – Sends a message across the zone you are playing in. Very few Psijic beta testers use this except to reply to someone’s question.
  • /enzone, /frzone, /dezone – sends a message to the specific language zone
  • /emote – Allows you to preform an action.
  • /guild1 or /g1, /guild2 or /g2, etc. – Guild chat. Since you can belong to up to 5 guilds, each # allows you to speak to that guild. See settings (below) for how to find which guild is which number.

There are also a few chat codes that can help with other things in the game.

  • /bug – Let’s you send a bug report
  • /feedback – Send feedback on something that could be changed in the game.
  • /fps – Lets you check the frame rate of the game.
  • /reloadui – Reloads the UI
  • /help – Opens the help info box in the game.
  • /invite – Allows you to invite another player to your group.
  • /jumptofriend – A magic code if you have multiple characters and like playing with friends. Allows you to jump to the nearest wayshrine or graveyard near where your friend is play, even if you’re playing a different instance of the game (this means that the people you see playing the game around you aren’t the only people playing that same part of the game at the same time, but it is broken into sections so the game doesn’t appear to be overcrowded).
  • /jumptogroupmember – does the same thing, but allows you to jump to someone you’ve added as a group member.
  • /jumptoguildmember – Same as above except with a guild member.
  • /jumptoleader – allows you to jump to the wayshrine or graveyard closest to the group leader (the person who created the group).
  • /logout – Logs you out of the current server.
  • /stuck – Probably my least favorite, although it does come in handy if you discover a bug like falling through the stairs and having them close up around you. Unfortunately, it kills your character in order to unstick them.
How to Use Chat in ESO - Stuck under the stairs
Stuck under the stairs

Chat Settings

First, hit the Esc key in the game. This brings up a sidebar of options.

How to Use Chat in ESO - Escape Key Controls
Escape Key Controls

Under Settings, click on Social. This will bring up the Social options screen.

How to Use Chat in ESO - Social options screen
Social options screen

There are several options here that can help make your game chat fit your needs. I’ll warn you though that setting the transparency also makes the chat box stay on the screen, so choose whichever one is less annoying for you.

How to Use Chat in ESO - Guild list
Guild list

Scrolling down through the social settings will show you which guild is set to which number. Then you can chat with that guild by typing /g1, 2, etc.

By the way, guilds and friends are set to your account, while groups are set to your characters. That means that you can easily reconnect with friends and chat with your guild mates, but if you want to keep up with the members of a group when you’re all on other characters (or toons or alts – you’ll probably hear various names for the characters you play), you’ll need to add them as friends or create a guild with them.

Emotes

/emote or /e or /me (activity) – allows your character to do the chosen activity.

How to use chat - Emotes
List of Emotes

Thoughts on Getting Started – An Introduction

Yesterday I created another new character (an Imperial), chose a new alliance to join (Ebonheart), a new class (a thief), and started exploring a new beginner island, which reminded me of when I first started beta testing Elder Scrolls Online.

When ESO first released the Mac version of the game, I could finally sign on. I knew that the PC testers had been playing for a good while already, so I posted a question on the forums asking for the other testers best tips for getting started in the game. Tabbycat gave me some great advice –

You will probably enjoy one starting zone more than the others. Make one of each alliance and level each one to at least level 8. Decide which zone you enjoy the most and go from there.

Some of the boss encounters are really difficult. If you can’t beat a boss, level up, change your build, update your armor and weapons. Don’t be afraid to ask others for tips.

Join a guild. Most of the Psijic Testers don’t use /zone chat.

The crafting professions are very useful but try to focus on leveling up only one or two at the most. Provisioner is the easiest to level and Enchanting seems to level the slowest.

Do not play this game as if you are expecting the next TES game or the next MMO. The game is truly a blend of the twoand you will have more enjoyment from it if you stop expecting it to be one or the other.

I have found the comments about enjoying one starting zone more than the others to be absolutely true.

When you create your character, you have the option of choosing which of the 10 races you want to play, and then (a fairly recent change), which alliance you would like to play.

Getting started - Elder Scrolls Online
Choose your race and alliance

When I first started playing, your alliance determined what race you could be, and vice versa. Except for the Imperials, who could play any alliance, for the others, your race was limited to the three races directly underneath the alliance on the picture above.

I am grateful for the change, since that gives you more freedom to create exactly the character you want to play.

Edit: This choice is only if you preorder the game. Buying it on April 4 or after will limit you to being able to choose one of the three races pictured directly under the alliance you want to play. The Imperial choice, which can play any of the three alliances, only comes from ordering an Imperial edition of the game.

Perhaps more than any previous Elder Scrolls game, the choice of race is going to influence your game play. This game doesn’t have the ability to create your own class, something I loved in the one-person games, so if you are wanting a non-traditional character, take advantage of the combined skills from creating a non-standard combination of race and class (for example, since my favorite character combines traits from the thief and Sorcerer, I can create a Khajiit Sorcerer to have the natural agility and stealth along with the spell-crafting ability of a sorcerer).

I’ll cover this more in-depth in later posts.

Some of the boss encounters are really difficult.

I learned this on my first boss encounter.

The first boss I had to fight was supposed to be a level 4. My character, a sorceress, was level 6, then 7, and finally 8. At level 8 I finally beat him, but only after spending pretty near 48 hours and running through the same dungeon umpteen million times. It wasn’t until I took some extra advice, went back to the village, and learned to make my own armor and weapons that I finally managed to win that battle.

Join a guild

When I first started playing, finished up the starter island (there are 3 in the game, the alliance that you choose will determine which one you get to play), and finally made it to Tamriel, I was excited when I came across the Mage’s Guild.

Although I knew that we could only join 5 guilds, I still rushed in, chatted with the NPC and joined up. Then, I ran over to the bank and clicked on the guild account, hoping to finally be able to check out a guild bank.

ESO counts the number, not the weight, of the groups of items you are carrying and only gives you a limited amount of carrying space. Banks give more space, and items stored in the bank can be shared among all of your characters. And then there are guilds, which also have bank space where you can deposit your items and anyone else in the guild can withdraw and use the items. If you have something that others might want and you don’t mind losing, then add it to the guild bank. Just remember that it may or may not be there when you come back later.

I laughed at myself when I realized that both the limitations on how many guilds you can join and the guild banks are only for player-created guilds, not in-game guilds like the Mages and Fighters.

Joining a player guild is a great way to get to know other players, get game advice (someone in your guild may have already been playing for a year or more and have done the same adventure that you are currently stuck so many times that they’ve lost count), and even find people to group up with.

The crafting professions are very useful

I love crafting. It’s one of my favorite things in TES. I’m not sure I’ve ever played a character that didn’t max out the alchemy skill.

ESO offers even more options. I can make my own weapons, armor, cook my own food, and of course, make my own potions. Crafting in this game is pretty amazing andif it’s something that you enjoy, you can spend a while figuring out the¬†intricacies of it, but you can enjoy the game a lot without spending a single skill point on crafting if you’re not really interested in it.

Do not play this game as if you are expecting the next TES game or the next MMO.

This was, quite possibly, the single best piece of advice I received when I first started playing ESO. It’s the reason I asked Tabbycat if I could use their comments for my post.

This game isn’t Morrowind. It’s not Oblivion. It’s not even Skyrim. At the same time, it isn’t any other MMO I’ve played either. Some parts play like you’ve dreamed an Elder Scrolls MMO would play. Grouping up and going through a cave with 4 friends is awesome. I love how they made it so everyone gets treasure when your group kills creatures, so there’s no worrying about divvying up what you get. At the same time, there is a main storyline, and you can play through the entire thing by yourself without having to team up with anyone if you don’t want to. I love that, since I often enjoy playing solo.

Even better, even if you do group up, you don’t have to do the same battle, stay in the same place, or anything. Each person can be off doing something completely different, but it’s easy to stay in contact through group chat (/group) and there is a group icon in the direction bar to show you where the other members are if you want to join them later.