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Although it’s been a few weeks since I made a reasonable post on this site, there are a few things that I should mention in regards to updates on the Nightwish’s expedition and other projects I’m working on.

The SPVFA Nightwish is continuing its journey around the galactic core. As of today, we are entering Expedition Day #85. We’ve made quite a few amazing discoveries including more rocky ice worlds with astonishing mountain ranges similar to David and Goliath which was discovered earlier this year. Imagine my surprise and excitement when that discovery was featured by Down to Earth Astronomy! Because of the way that I share screenshots from Elite Dangerous and the brief nature of daily updates, you can follow the ship’s journey on my official Twitter account @CMDRExorcist.

In other news, I’ve made some small changes to the main gallery page. The images are still hosted in Google Photos, but the main gallery page has been changed to focus solely on the image galleries for the various games I photograph.

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The recent Elsweyr update to Elder Scrolls Online has kept me away from Tamriel’s other regions, but I’m slowly getting back to these areas to continue photographing key areas. I’m happy to announce that there are quite a few additions to my ESO Gallery.

Among these new images is a stunning panorama of Shimmerene (pictured above) from Summerset and several new panoramas of Elsweyr delves, dungeons, and other points of interest. I’m preparing to head back into the Daggerfall Covenant to capture some of the classical architecture in those regions as well as ESO’s desert oasis.

The Daedric realm of Coldharbour also makes its first appearance in my ESO work with captures of The Black Forge and numerous delves and mechanical constructs that litter the dark Coldharbour landscape. I hope you all enjoy these new images. They’re available in high definition now in the ESO Gallery.

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Update 25 June 2019 @ 0830: Images from Far Cry 4 and Far Cry New Dawn are available in the gallery.

More and more games have ways to hide the user interface, weapons, or have full-fledged photo modes. Ubisoft’s Far Cry series joined these games with an update last year that added a photo mode. It has some great photography features, but I’m happy just finally having a way to hide the weapon and UI in a Far Cry game!


Far Cry 5: Fall’s End (Credit: CMDR DasExorcist)

I’m happy to announce that my new Far Cry Gallery is now open. It has a few panoramas loaded and will gain more content in the coming weeks. All of these images are taken using an Xbox One X


Far Cry 5: Hebane River Bridge (Credit: CMDR DasExorcist)

Far Cry 5 and Far Cry New Dawn both have photo modes, so they’re first on my list to tackle. I also have plans to capture shots from Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4 although those games are going to be more challenging than their successors. Regular gallery updates from Far Cry 5 and Far Cry New Dawn will not be posted here on the blog, but I will make a post when I’ve published my first work from Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4.

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The entire Elder Scrolls Online community was in a frenzy yesterday because the newest chapter, Elsweyr was finally released for all platforms. It’s been out for PC players for a few weeks, but us console peasants™ had to wait patiently for our port to arrive. Well, arrive it did, bringing an entirely new area of Tamriel to explore along with several quality of life improvements.


Ashen Scar in central Elsweyr. (Credit: CMDR DasExorcist)

The hype around this release has been intense, especially since Elsweyr is the legendary home of the Khajiit, Tamriel’s beloved cat people and the subject of countless “Khajiit coin” memes. Additionally, this chapter introduces dragons to ESO, which are something that we’ve not seen since Skyrim. I’ll admit without shame that I got chills down my back when I was playing the game last night and a dragon yelled FUS RO DAH while blowing a wave of fire my way.


The dark side of Tamriel. (Credit: CMDR DasExorcist)

Additionally, Elsweyr introduces a necromancer class to the game, which allows players to resurrect the dead and use them as combatants. It’s an interesting dynamic, especially since necromancy is illegal in Tamriel. Therefore, anyone using the necromancy class and features could potentially face legal consequences when visiting cities and settlements around the continent.

Personally, I enjoy running with my knightblade sorceress, so I have no plans to create a necromancer class at this time. Maybe in the future. For now, I’ll sit back and watch others build and experiment before diving in.


R’havyn gets a makeover. (Credit: CMDR DasExorcist)

Unlike past chapters, Zenimax has no plans to release a physical collector’s edition of Elsweyr, which is a shame given that they’re missing a prime opportunity to sell us a Khajiit collector’s figure. Instead, the digital collector’s edition comes with some in-game perks like a special pre-order mount, new outfit, and a free crown crate with a guaranteed high value item. For me, that high value item was a new camel mount (pictured above). It’s gold and R’havyn pulls out some kind of magical orb whenever she’s riding. This, to me, was a really cool way to start the chapter.

The verdict so far? Elsweyr seems a bit smaller in physical size than Morrowind and Summerset, but that doesn’t seem to detract from the region’s beauty and mystery. It’s not as accessible as other zones and there are times when players will have to plot their routes to reach certain destinations. Zenimax has also modified the contents of random bags, barrels, trunks, etc. acround the world, so there is a greater chance of picking up more useful items like motifs or crafting praxis. The story has me hooked and there are some interesting twists that I think shows how the ESO team has grown in the past few years with their creative writing skill.


Heeeeere, kitty kitty kitty… (Credit: CMDR DasExorcist)

In my opinion, there’s no better time for new or returning players to jump into ESO. It’s obvious that Zenimax/Bethesda has committed the appropriate resources and the right team to develop and maintain the game. I believe that most editions of Elsweyr available right now include the Morrowind and Summerset chapters, so it’s certainly the best deal for new players looking to get started!

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Commander’s Log:

The Nightwish just departed Morgan’s Rock for the second time this week following a catastrophic accident which destroyed much of the ship’s upper structure and cost us 91% of our hull integrity. This occured for reasons far too common among Elite Dangerous pilots: high gravity pilot error. We attempted to land on a 4g world and things were going well until I miscalcuated the height of a crater rim and was unable to compensate for the height differential. The Nightwish slammed into the crater wall at around 45 kps, which is devastating on a world with such high gravity. To make things worse, the vertical thrusters were damaged in the collision, which made it almost impossible to keep the ship from slamming against the crater wall a second time, which is what drove the hull integrity to a terrifying 9%!

Fortunately, we were able to recover the ship and land just south of our intended landing zone to assess damages and ultimately complete our survey mission.

We used the remote drone camera system to capture the dramatic image above, which broke my heart. I’ve never seen my baby in such poor condition before. Knowing that she was less than 9% damage from complete destruction was terrifying. Unfortunately, none of my allied Commanders were in the local area, which required us to jump 30 systems backwards to NGC 6188 for repairs. I was shocked as sparks, flames, and smoke poured out of the ship as it limped back to station for repairs. Two crew members suffered minor injuries in the accident.

Many thanks to the medical staff and repair teams at Morgan’s Rock for helping to get the ship back on its feet. We spent the evening in dry dock with an army of technicians crawling around the ship working to get her back on her feet. Because we were well on our way to David and Goliath, I decided not to remain at the station and departed as quickly as possible following the quality assurance inspection on the repairs.

To make up for the damage and the mission setback, we cruised for an hour after leaving the station before coming upon a really nice F-class star with a closely orbiting ringed lava world (pictured above). The new Elder Scrolls Online chapter releases today, so I doubt that I’ll be traveling anymore today until I’ve had a chance to explore the Khajiit homeland on Elsweyr. Until then, fly safe, CMDRs!

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Commander’s Log:

Last week’s discovery prompted me to divert to the nearest station, which was Morgan’s Rock in NGC 6188. The Nightwish spent most of the weekend docked as the crew took time to stretch their legs before heading back to the black. It was decided that we’d head back to David and Goliath for a quick photo and SRV session before moving along to the next expedition waypoint.

It’s curious that it didn’t take long after leaving Morgan’s Rock to find something new and interesting! Another rocky ice world of similar composition to last week’s discovery popped up on a close system map. It lacks the exaggerated surface features, however, but it does have an insanely eccentric orbit around its parent gas giant as you can see in the image below.

My biggest wish for this world in particular would have been for some kind of geologic activity, but there planet itself is as inactive as they come. Fortunately, views like the one above with the tilt of the gas giant make up for that lack of activity. We spent about an hour exploring this planet’s surface, collecting refining materials, and enjoying the sights before pressing on.

As most Elite Dangerous players will tell you, discoveries come and go. There are good days, bad days, and terrible days. Sometimes you’ll discover two amazing systems in a row; other times will take up to 200 system jumps before anything remotely interesting appears. After departing the tilted gas giant, the Nightwish entered a region of space between David and Goliath and NGC 6188 where the systems are populated mostly by rocky ice worlds and common high metal content worlds.

We ended the evening in orbit around the high metal content world pictured above. I chose it for a panorama shot because I think it closely resembles Mars and our sensors detected the presence of silicate particles caught inside of several massive hurricanes traveling around the planet’s surface. We continue to monitor and analyze atmospheric samples and will depart sometime this evening.

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