It’s definitely been a while since my last ESO Adventures column. I have something different to discuss this time around, however. Instead of giving you guys a recap of my previous week of play, I’d like to engage in a conversation about ESO and Elder Scrolls in general. This week’s focus: Cyrodiil and PvP.
Cutting straight to the point: I’m disappointed Cyrodiil has PvP. Let me be clear about this, however. I fully understand why PvP exists in Cyrodiil from the lore perspective. There’s a massive Alliance War going on, all vying for the White Gold Tower. I get it.
But for me, this lore doesn’t matter purely because of my unabashed love for Cyrodiil borne from Oblivion. It’s a love steeped in heavy bias and nostalgia. Oblivion was the first Elder Scrolls game I’ve played. I know some people swear by Morrowind. And that’s cool. But I’ve never played it, and when I did go back to play it after Oblivion, the dated combat genuinely the fun for me.
When Oblivion released, I had played nothing like it at the time. People who know me will know just how much that game changed my life. It made me think of games differently. It made me realize that games are truly art. They are entire worlds just waiting for me to explore and love. It’s a major reason -- the reason -- why I’m even in games journalism.
The counter argument to my dilemma is, “If you don’t like it, just don’t go into the PvP zone. No one is making you play it.” This isn’t untrue, but it’s also irrelevant because this misses the crux of my conundrum.
And that conundrum is this: Because Oblivion has such a special place in my heart, and specifically because of my deep emotional attachment to that game, I can’t help but yearn to explore and quest in Cyrodiil without the fear of getting ganked by enemy players.
Sure, you can go into Cyrodiil as it exists today in ESO and undertake quests, or just walk around the zone. But for a player like me who loves ESO for its focus on single-player playability which I can also play with my friends, the shadow of getting ganked by an enemy player would forever taint any intrinsic fun I would have.
Image via Elder Scrolls Fandom
I have such fond memories of visiting Cheydinhal and finding the Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion. That questline was truly special as it continually provided me new and novel ways with which to eliminate my targets. But visiting Cheydinhal in Cyrodiil’s current PvP implementation would be soured somewhat knowing that there’s a war raging and enemy players may be lurking looking to take me out while I’m sat drunk on nostalgia.
I remember visiting the Imperial City and exploring the Market District for the first time, stunned by just how many shops there were. Alchemical shops, armor shops, clothing shops, the Market District had it all. But in ESO, the Imperial City is a smoking pile of rubble, decimated by constant bombardment. How I’d love to revisit the city in a more pristine state, thousands of years before Oblivion took place, and speak with the denizens and quest with the NPCs without reminders of a raging war.
The landscape of Cyrodiil was and still remains breathtaking to me. It’s an idyllic world of rolling green hills, dense deciduous forests, and jaw-dropping vistas. I spent scores of hours in Oblivion doing nothing but exploring the land, avoiding quests for days on end.
But in ESO, this landscape is scarred. It’s wounded and bleeding due to the war. And as dumb as this may sound, it feels like my own friend is beat up and bloodied. Her beauty and innocence are gone. And this makes me sad.
Image via Elder Scrolls Fandom
Again, I understand why Cyrodiil is the PvP zone in ESO. But hopefully, you can now see why that makes me so disappointed and, yes, sad. I do know, however, there are people who don’t care for this and genuinely enjoy PvP. For them, I propose a solution
Zenimax have excellent phasing technology in ESO. This technology could be leveraged to have two separate instances of Cyrodiil. Have one instance featuring a PvE Cyrodiil, and one featuring a PvP Cyrodiil. This way, Oblivion-lovers like me can experience a war-free Cyrodiil and quest and explore just like any other zone, and PvP players will still get their fill.
I make no proposals for the feasibility of such a solution. After all, I am not a developer. But it would be fun and satiate both camps. Alas, I will be kept waiting for a wish which will remain unfulfilled. But I can dream.