They told me I was special. That the world depended on me. That my soul was plucked right from my fragile body, and I was doomed to wander the wasteland forever. Then I freed an old man from a cosmic prison, stabbed a few elementals with a rusty dagger, and learned how to dodge. Once again, in the grand tradition of the Elder Scrolls series, the world was my oyster. And as I looked around this godforsaken island, for the first time in the franchise, I was not the only one.

The Elder Scrolls franchise has always imbued the player with a bit of an ego. The very first moments of Oblivion has an old emperor entrusting you with the continuing prosperity of Tamriel, acutely aware of the assassins in the rafters and his own impending mortality. In Skyrim you were the tip of the spear for a brutal rebellion, the head of your class in the thieves guild, and the sole resuscitating force of the Dark Brotherhood. You were the breath of life in a static world, pressing the buttons to make the cogs turn. Those campaigns were freeing, but also incredibly personal. To sit by the babbling brooks, and climb the abandoned towers, knowing that all the processing power in the world is making it damn well sure that you’re not going to run into anything you’re not capable of handling. My time in Tamriel was best defined by long, soul-replenishing silence. Uninterrupted by any knocks at the door or pings in general chat. It was the closest videogames get to pure sanctuary.

So that’s why when the old man with the staff tells me that I’m the chosen one, I know he is full of shit. This is The Elder Scrolls Online. I know full well you just told all those dudes and laides wearing the exact same clothes as me the same thing. Thus brings us to the primary issue with WiFi Tamriel: The core experience The Elder Scrolls Online aims for is also totally incongruous with the tenants of MMO gameplay.


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