Elder Scrolls Online – The Task at Hand

As someone who has been one of the main supporters of the concept of us having a blog, I find it odd that I’ve never taken the time to ever write a blog entry for the blog that I’ve so thoroughly supported. Ever. I’ve encouraged others to do so, but I never actually sat down and did it myself. To finally quiet my suspicion that I’ve been rather hypocritical when it comes to this section of the site, I think it’s about time I write about something. So let’s talk about something else I’ve been thoroughly ignoring for a better part of a year after initially showing the interest to take the lead in UESP projects relating to said thing. I am of course referring to the Elder Scrolls Online.

The Elder Scrolls Online was bound to be a rough subject for us. Not because we won’t be able to write about it, but because we aren’t sure how we’ll write about it. While at its core it appears that its shaping up to be a fine part of the ES franchise that we know and love, it is still an MMO. MMMOs are significantly different beasts to the normal, primarily single player RPGs (Battlespire and Shadowkey being the reasons for the ‘primarily’) we’ve dealt with in the past. It’s about time that we start to look at some of the major issues that will eventually cause a ton of arguing in the near future. So without further ado, let’s begin.

VIPs – Very Important Players
It’s an odd fact about MMOs that sometimes in a game with millions of players, one of them will become infamous (I can’t think of a single case where a player became famous in an MMO community without that bothersome ‘in’) enough that they draw ire from the entire community, and eventually from sources outside the game. I’m talking about people like “Cursed You”, the username of a Runescape player infamous for being instrumental in the discovery of a way to attack other players outside of PVP zones, or just take one of the dozens of major scammers who ripped off thousands of dollars of real money from players in Eve Online (random example). Players can earn such a reputation that we should document them, right?

Well, that’s the issue. We’ve never allowed documentation of people who are famous members of the community before, so this is going to be quite a point of contention amongst us. An example of this already happening would be all of the people asking if we’ll bother to document who becomes the Emperor in the PvP element of ESO. And while I don’t think those people will really matter for the most part, there may be times when we’ll argue about allowing documentation about a specific person.

The simplest solution will be to just deny documentation for anyone who doesn’t earn an extreme amount of attention (as in, news sources outside of the game take interest in the story), but there is certainly going to be quite a few scuffles about where we draw that line. Of course, sometimes the player isn’t as important as the incident we create, which incidentally leads into my next topic…

Extraordinary, Player Created Events
Who doesn’t remember the Cursed Blood Incident? The player created plague on the land of Azeroth? If there is one thing players love more than anything else, it is finding a way to utterly break a game. When you happen to do that in a world populated by millions of other players, well, all the better. There is a real possibility that we’ll see events such as that one happen in ESO, and we need to figure out a fair way to deal with them. ES players have quite a history for odd behavior that attracts quite a deal of attention (take the dreaded ‘arrow in the knee’) gag as an example, and ES games are infamous for their bugs. When the two collide, we might have to document the results.

As of now we’ve been pretty much ignoring memes and the ilk in the ES community, but I think that we might have to rescind or at least change our policy when it comes to these things. While it might mean we’ll have to make a reference to the obsession with murdering the Adoring Fan (in the General namespace most likely, to keep that nonsense far away from our game documentation), but it may be a better alternative to simply ignoring these events entirely. I can’t even think of any mention we give to the controversy surrounding the reclassification of Oblivion by the ESRB from ‘T for Teens’ to ‘M for Mature’. That was all over the news, virtually everyone heard about it, and we didn’t give it any attention. Yes, it goes against our normal instincts to ignore stuff like that, but the fallout for ignoring these events may be worse than giving in. We are still a fan site, and there is little a fan loves more than seeing how awesome their fandom is (I guess shipping would beat out that, but that’s off the topic at hand). Of course, if we start to act more like a fan site, that might mean a few other changes to our regular operations. Mainly when it comes to our involvement with the community.

Playing a New Part in the Fandom
The UESP has been for years widely accepted by ES fans as a generally great guide for ES lore and quests. We might have to start emphasizing our involvement with the fandom in the years to come. This means playing a more active part in updating the community on ES news, keeping tabs and taking part in Elder Scrolls related events, and being an active part in the path the games take themselves. That last one in particular will be a hard one. I’m talking about things like player guilds. With ESO coming out, we probably should form one for the game. The main issue with that being that our reputation in the game may very well help or hinder the site, so this may easily become one of the hardest things we’ll have to deal with if we do it. Even more importantly, we must remain active for the course of ESO for the whole ‘playing a more active role in the ES community’ thing to work. This also means playing a more active role outside of the games. As in, being a bit more reliable for things like interviews and call outs to the fans by the developers.

To be entirely honest, this is the subject I know the least about, and I believe the ignorance is somewhat shared by my fellow editors (or that just might be me projecting my own mental incompetence on those fine fellows). This is likely going to be something we’ll have to learn to do together to make it work, so it’s best we iron out what our role will be in regards to the community surrounding ES is going forward. We will of course remain a game and lore guide, but we might have to apply more of a focus to the part Elder Scrolls plays in our world.

In Summary
The UESP will and must remain largely the same as it has been for years, but we also have to start looking to the future. While the UESP has been practically a boulder for the ES community over its run, I think its time for us to try to be a rock and roll with the course the developers are taking the series (by the Nine, that comparison fell apart rather quickly). The developers are taking the series in strange, new directions, so we must learn to adapt to those changes ourselves. This isn’t the first time they’ve branched out of their rut, so we might as well learn to do the same. I predict we’ll see more regular ES content in the future (more regular content for the games, new books, possibly a movie, or even a regular comic series or television run. Basically, we should prepare for anything related to ES in the future as we simply don’t know what they’ll do), and we have to be adapt for this.

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