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One Tamriel’s Design of Freedom

William Murphy Posted:
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Elder Scrolls Online’s most recent update, One Tamriel, fundamentally changed how the game can be played. Now, with Skyrim’s Special Edition launching for PS4, XB1, and PC, we take a look at how ESO’s One Tamriel has turned the MMORPG into the premier Elder Scrolls experience.

I spent a good deal of last night revisiting Skyrim, the Elder Scrolls game that took the series into the mainstream more than any of its predecessors.  The Special Edition is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. But as I sat there experiencing the majesty of the Dragonborn all over again, my mind wandered to how Elder Scrolls Online has evolved from a good MMO into a great one that also now happens to be a quintessential Elder Scrolls experience.

Now, some will scoff at that idea, but it’s true. Over its first few years, ESO has undergone an incredibly transformation into one of the best all-around MMOs available.  With every update, Zenimax Online has added features that its players genuinely want. The final piece of the puzzle being housing which is set to be the next big update for the game in the coming months. Sure, some (myself included) want a quick and easy PVP “arena” or battleground to play in outside of Cyrodiil, but housing in a TES game takes precedence because it leans further towards the overall theme of freedom in a fantasy world.

Prior to One Tamriel, that sense of freedom was lacking.  ESO was tied too closely to the standard format of theme park MMORPGs, making players follow a linear path through different zones in order to reach the end of a prescribed narrative. With One Tamriel, those artificial boundaries of progress are no more. You can go anywhere and do anything in any order.  Combined with the addition of the Dark Brotherhood, the Thieves Guild, Imperial City… the greatest hits of The Elder Scrolls are right here. All that’s missing is for us to become Dovahkiin of old and ride dragons. Oh, and that pesky underwater swimming.

But truly, ESO: One Tamriel makes an already great game even greater and it seems that Zenimax Online Studios has no plans to slow down. Housing is coming soon, there are tons of regions in Tamriel left uncovered, and endless possibilities for new classes, skills, weapons, crafting professions, stories, and more. I’ve had friends ask how long they’re going to have to wait for TESVI, and I always point them to ESO. It’s basically the next several Elder Scrolls games (though it takes place long before the original game in the timeline), and you get the added benefit of being able to play with and against friends and foes alike.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.