Issue time07:31:00 pm, by Damon   14935 views
Categories: Elder Scrolls, Analysis

For those of you who haven't played Morrowind (heresy!), the premise of the game is that the Emperor personally ordered the release of a prisoner from the Imperial City's prison who appears to fulfill the Nerevarine prophecies, which speak of a reincarnation of the Dunmer war hero Indoril Nerevar, a being who will repel the attacks of Dagoth Ur, an enemy of Morrowind, see the fall of the Tribunal, who are the religious leaders and demi-gods of the Dunmer faith and nation as a whole, and possibly restore the independence of Morrowind outside of Imperial control.

The Emperor, at the start of the game, sees the prisoner, who will be the Player for the events of Morrowind, as fulfilling at least part of the Nerevarine prophecies, and after speaking with his advisors, he commands the prisoner to be shipped to Morrowind and released as a free man with orders to make contact with Caius Cosades, the head of the local Blades in the area. Through directions given to Cosades via a coded package, the player speaks to informants to learn about the Nerevarine Cult and the Sixth House, and then is initiated into the Nerevarine Cult as a prospective Nerevarine.

Ultimately, the player acquires Nerevar's Moon-and-Star, a ring cursed to kill anyone who wore it aside from Nerevar himself, thus proving that he truly is the Incarnate, then he gathers the support of the ashlanders and Great Houses by being recognised as the reborn Nerevar and Hortator (a war leader who leads the unified Great Houses in times of war), and gets the attention of Vivec himself, who recognises that the player is destined to end the Tribunal's divinity by defeating Dagoth Ur and saving Morrowind from the blight.

Now, I bring all this up, because the question I've always had is "Why?" -- Why did the Emperor research into and then start pulling the strings to fulfill an ancient prophecy related to the Dunmer? The Nerevarine Cult believes that, in addition to defeating Dagoth Ur, who is a dangerous threat to the stability of the province,  and proving the Tribunal to be false gods and dismantling the Tribunal Temple's religion, he or she will also drive the Empire out of Morrowind.

Did the Emperor just happen to be studying ancient customs and prophecies and recognise Dagoth Ur's threat to Morrowind and eventually to Tamriel as a whole and then decide that keeping Tamriel as a whole protected was worth it at the loss of control over Morrowind (looking more into the short-term)? Most of Morrowind is wrapped up in their own customs, with only the Hlaalu truly being integrated into the Empire and enthused about the relations between the Empire and the proud Dunmer people, so it could have been argued that letting go of Morrowind wouldn't be badly taken by the Dunmer people, and he'd reckon that despite initial turmoil from the Temple being destabilised, the people as a whole would thrive under a reborn Nerevar once free of the threat of Dagoth Ur's tyranny. 

Or, did he see the Nerevarine, should the prophecy be true, as a true leader of the Dunmer who could protect and lead the Dunmer people in the near to distant future and be a leader in a way that none of the Tribunes or the mortal monarch of the province could manage (more of a long-term look)? That's equally possible, because at the start of Oblivion, the Emperor tells the player that he's seen visions of his death and the coming of dark times for all of Tamriel. And, the Emperor's health had been failing around the events of Morrowind, which had resulting in the recalling of Legions to Cyrodiil and orders to recall key members of the Blades to the capital to aid in the succession, meaning that while attention was focused on the capital, the day to day affairs of the other provinces were being less scrutinised.

Without conclusive proof that visions of the Oblivion Crisis only started to happen relatively soon to the event (which happens six years after the events of Morrowind and the rise of the Nerevarine), it's entirely possible that the Emperor was acting to stabilise the province by removing internal threats and then pulling strings to unify the Great Houses and the ashlanders under one competent leader, in the event that the Emperor was incapacitated, that the succession issues lead to war, or in the event that visions of the Empire's destabilisation were true and were coming to him years before the actual event.

This long-term look at the stability of the province against many threats, rather than just the threat of Dagoth Ur alone, as I posited in my first theory, is the one I believe to be most legitimate of my two theories, based on dialogue from Caius Cosades, who says to the Nerevarine, "You're no fool. The days of the Empire are almost over. When the Emperor dies, nine hells're going to break loose. Forget about the Imperial City. Think locally. Worry about the Sixth House and Dagoth Ur. And squabbles between the Great Houses and the colonists. The rest of the political nonsense doesn't amount to a plate of scuttle." This clearly foreshadows the fall of the Empire in Oblivion and sets up that thngs will become really bad in the imminent future, and that a true leader will be needed entering the final years of the Third Era and the Fourth Era, a role that the popular Tribunal wouldn't be able to fill as their powers diminished and as Dagoth Ur grew powerful or was defeated, breaking the Tribunes and Dagoth Ur's unnatural divinity.

We might never know Uriel VII's motives for believing what many thought was an ancient superstition and sending a prisoner to change the political and religious landscape of Morrowind, but it's certainly fun to think about.

Issue time02:49:00 pm, by Damon   5789 views
Categories: Games, News, Analysis

It's nearly that time of year again. Next month the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will kick off once again for the developers and publishers from the gaming community to come forward and announced their latest products.

Before E3, in a few days in fact, Ubisoft will unveil the latest entry to their Assassin's Creed money bag, which has been believed to be called Victory and set in Victorian England.  I am a big fan of the Assassin's Creed, franchise, and I have played nearly every title as addictively as I have any Elder Scrolls game, and I'm cautious with this release.

When Unity was announced and rushed to release, it completely bombed. It was a buggy, horrible mess, and the game as a whole, even down to writing, ultimately disappointed me. In a way, it was expected that the game would be unpolished on the next-gen console, because there are always going to be hiccups on new, untested hardware, but it was absolutely apalling that the game was released in so unplayable of a state -- in fact, I never completed Assassin's Creed: Unity.

I am hoping that Victory will be a bit more polished out in terms of gameplay, because in theory I loved a lot of features in Unity. And, Ubisoft needs to do their best to polish out the game, because while I found something to enjoy in each AC game I've played, I am of the opinion that despite the advancements in gameplay, the story has been suffering as they tried to milk out the series with all these yearly releases, and I know other fans are feeling roughly the same.

The series is Ubisoft's big money maker, and they know it, so they work so hard (or not hard at all, depending on how you want to look at it) to bang out titles year in and year out, and it's amazing any of them remain interesting. The fans will be expecting an amazing game to make up for the wreck that became Assassin's Creed: Unity, so the question on my lips is "Can Ubisoft deliver a good title, or will this one flop?" For their sake, it has to be the latter, because this game will be under intense scrutiny from the fans. So much "innovation" at a loss to quality will only further damage the series's reputation, and I know for a fact that if I buy Victory and it bombs, I'm going to pull out of the Assassin's Creed series altogether. 

I wish Ubisoft would do quality over quantity. I'd rather wait 2-3 years between Assassin's Creed titles and have really damn good games, instead of have a new one announced just as I got bored with the older one and end up disappointed.

Also, in other news, as it was announced some time ago, Bethesda Softworks, the owner of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout IPs, is having their own conference at E3, and it's rumoured, although NOT CONFIRMED that Fallout 4 will be announced at the conference, and I can't wait!

Issue time12:31:00 pm, by minor edits   1526 views
Categories: UESP, Analysis

Shuryard has launched the Real-World References page. Enjoy it while it's short, because it's inevitably going to become the largest page on the UESP.

There's plenty of uncontroversial stuff to add, so let the free for all begin. I just caution you to follow this general rule: if there's any doubt in your mind that what you want to add is appropriate, there is no doubt that you should take it to the talk page first.

Issue time06:14:00 pm, by minor edits   3881 views
Categories: UESP, Analysis

Our top news of the day: a big welcome back to The Silencer! He may be in the top ten for all-time edits on the site, but what really matters to me is having another cranky old gamer around to keep all you whippersnappers in your place.

I don't mean to diminish the incredible Ranks and Hierarchy of the Daedra, the new addition to the Loremaster's Archive released earlier today. This is so awesome, in so many ways ... there really are no words.

I lost my card and had to get it replaced. Without any warning, my ESO Imperial Edition preorder was canceled, and I was not allowed to reinstate it. No call or email, no reasonable time for me to update the order, just poof, gone. "No Imperial Edition for you; would you like a $10 gift card to go with that kick to the balls?" I didn't know I could be this angry over a video game without a corrupt save file being involved. But in keeping with the theme of this blog, I'm going to remain silent on which incompetent retail chain is responsible. Not that I have to; think "incompetent retail chain", and they're probably what come to mind nowadays.

There are so many things to say about the last ten days, it's mind-boggling, and I do have to highlight a couple. I mean, Skyrim was free for a weekend, there was an ESO console beta, an ESO Live, GStaff posted the best ESO screenshot yet, and a new Crown Store Showcase was just released. And on the UESP, editors are just ripping through the site like tsunamis. Edit - and Shuryard became a full-fledged Patroller!!!

But let's see, anything else, any other gigantic events in the TES community since last time which deserve notice ... hmm, nope. Pretty status quo. Just glad to have the Silencer back. :)

Issue time06:38:00 pm, by Jeancey   4655 views
Categories: Analysis

There is a TON of misinformation out there involving paid mods. I'd like to take this opportunity to do a sort of FAQ to clear some of them up.

Q: Is Bethesda allowed to do this? Don't I own my mod?

A: Bethesda isn't forcing you to charge for your mod. That being said, Bethesda owns the copyright to all things created in the Creation Kit or intended to enter their games. This is what you skipped past when you click agree on the EULA. Therefore, it is perfectly legal for them to take a cut of what you make if you choose to charge for your mod.

Q: Can't someone just take the mod I've released for free and put it up on the workshop for money?

A: They can, just like they could have taken your independent film you created and charged people money to watch it. In this, and that, case, you can file a Takedown request using Valve's easy form. This is the same form that you would use if someone releases your paid mod for free, or even claims your free mod as their own and puts it up for free as well. It is extremely easy to prosecute someone doing this because they are required to provide contact, bank, and tax information in order to get a paid mod approved. Anyone profiting from your work can easily be found. No more anonymous theft!

Q: Any money I might make is given to me in Steam Wallet funds, not actual money. How do I pay my rent with Steam Wallet funds?!?

A: No idea where this rumor got started. You are paid using an Electronic Funds Transfer into the bank account of your choosing. In fact, you have to go through some pretty extensive tax and bank disclosure just to get a mod approved for sale. Because of this, they will only pay in US dollars, and not in Steam Wallet funds.

Q: If I buy a mod with money, and get a refund, it goes into my Steam Wallet and not my bank account! How is that fair?

A: You are only able to buy mods with Steam Wallet funds in the first place, so if you do buy a mod and get a refund, the money is coming from your Steam Wallet, and is going back into it as well.

Q: What if someone releases a paid mod that requires another mod?

A: If anyone releases any mod on Steam, paid or otherwise, that requires the use of another mod, or even uses assets from that mod, they are required by Valve to receive permission from the original creator of the assets before they release it. If someone has used your assets and didn't ask your permission, and you are annoyed about it, feel free to contact the author of the mod, or file a Takedown request.

Q: What if someone charges unreasonable amounts for an essential mod?

A: Valve and Bethesda reserve the right to lower or even eliminate the fee on a mod prior to it being published, so if they are charging $200 for almost nothing, it won't get released at that price.

Q: Valve only gives us 25%, that's so low!!!!!

A: Yes, 25% is very low in terms of the amount the mod authors receive, but this has nothing to do with Valve. Valve's information states that the amount that the mod author receives out of the overall price shall be determined by the Publisher, not by Valve, so blame Bethesda for only giving you 25%!

Q: They should just create a donation system!

A: They are way ahead of you. Along with setting a specific price for a mod, the author can chose to set the price as "pay-what-you-want" allowing the downloader to decide what they want to pay. This is essentially a donation system, and if every mod author chooses this, everyone would be much happier!

If you have any further questions, feel I missed something, or would like the specific spots where I got the answers to these questions, feel free to contact me!