This is by no means a novel concept. It may even border on cliché. But I really do fundamentally believe that the world is the main character in Elder Scrolls Online. When I refer to the world, I’m not just speaking about its geography. I’m including everything inside it: the citizens, the locations, the cultures, everything. Tamriel is one amazing place.
It is no secret that my favorite Elder Scrolls game is Oblivion. One of the reasons I loved it so much was precisely because of the world. To me, the idyllic rolling hills of Cyrodiil paired with the dense deciduous forests are the ideal fantasy setting. I grew up in New England surrounded by such geography, and boy did I love it.
Image via Elder Scrolls Wiki
For me, October is my favorite month because autumn is my favorite season. The foliage in New England is breathtakingly beautiful. I never tired of it. So when I strolled through the Orange Road in Oblivion connecting Bruma and Chorrol, the foliage on display there stunned me then and continues to do so today.
Yes, it’s nostalgia. Yes, it’s obvious bias. But the geography of Cyrodiil sincerely spoke to that New Englander in me and evokes a powerful sense of home. The closest feeling I’ve had to this in Elder Scrolls Online is when I adventured in Summerset. The wonderful whimsical geography harkened back to that feeling I had when playing Oblivion, and to date, Summerset is my favorite region in ESO.
Let’s not forget the cultures of all the denizens in Tamriel. The Khajiit of Elsweyr are completely distinct from the Altmer of Summerset. Their languages are different. Their mannerisms are different. Their architecture is different. Even their colloquialisms are different. All this detail really helps sell the believability of this fictitious world.
Perhaps what I love is that the team at ZOS have managed to reflect the landscape in its denizens. Summerset is a whimsical, slightly ancient place, and the Altmer reflect this with their tall stature, rightful smugness, and pompous speech. Elsweyr, meanwhile, is harsh. This is reflected in the Khajiiti people, who have learned to live off the land and are eager to defend their own.
On top of all this, I have so many more locations to explore in ESO. I cannot wait to finish my adventures in the marshes of Murkmire, to adventure in the volcanic ash of Morrowind, and further explore the forests of Valenwood. Because of ZOS’ excellent world-building, Tamriel comes alive and convinces me that it’s a real place filled with real people. It has me excited to explore the unexplored and discover the undiscovered.