Category: "UESP"

A Wiki In The Age Of Reddit

  01:12:00 pm, by   , 568 words  
Viewed 3409 times since 04/08/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls, Misc, UESP

I originally penned this post back in September of 2013 and left it as a draft. It's interesting that I saw the same things then that Damon sees now. It makes me wish I had posted it back then rather than wait until now.

UESP is the best Wiki in the world when it comes to The Elder Scrolls games. How do I know this? When Dave (owner and founder of UESP) went to the Beer Garden festival and spoke to the creators of The Elder Scrolls Online, they told him they used UESP as a source. That’s right. When they couldn’t remember something, or needed information, one of the places they turned to was the UESP Wiki! Besides that being crazy cool, it is also telling of how well put together this Wiki is. Major props to everyone who has worked on the Wiki. Phenomenal work.

So where do we go from here? The world is changing, evolving, getting faster and more connected. Gone are the days when established sites were first to get the scoops, releasing them on a time table. Instead, rumors and news swirl around at a hundred miles an hour on sites like Reddit. Creators are actively engaging their supporters directly through Twitter. Projects that would never have seen the light of day are now getting fully funded through crowd-sourcing their capital at sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The world is getting smaller and more interactive at a blistering pace. Can a Wiki keep up? Is it still the best way to relay information to the masses demanding it? Are cold hard facts enough for a generation who has grown up questioning whether there is such a thing as truth? I don’t know.

When UESP started back in 1995 as The Unofficial Daggerfall FAQ, the web was just getting started. Sites were popping up left and right. They were written in HTML and maybe AJAX. They didn’t change very often, and most weren’t open to public commentary, let alone public editing. When the format of the UESP changed to a Wiki in 2005 (ten years later) it was a huge leap forward. It opened the floodgates for anyone with information to create, edit and improve the information held in the site. It has worked well thus far, and is still effective in being able to deliver its content to its audience, but what of the future?

We are two short years away from the twenty year anniversary of the UESP as a whole, and the ten year anniversary of it as a Wiki. As with anything, if a site stays unchanging it can easily become outdated and irrelevant to the world around it. Don’t get me wrong. I love the UESP and use it exclusively for my Elder Scrolls games information. My question to you, as a userbase, as co-creators of this site, is what should the UESP look like in the future? Is the Wiki format powerful enough and engaging enough for the generation that are just now getting online, or playing their first Elder Scrolls game? Will UESP change? Should it change? And if so, how? These are all questions that need to be asked, thought about, and answered. I want UESP to be around for my kids and grandkids to enjoy, and I want it to be a place that they would enjoy coming to.

The question remains, and needs to be answered.

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ESO - Where do we go from here?

  09:48:00 pm, by Damon   , 711 words  
Viewed 5340 times since 04/04/14
Categories: UESP

This musing of me was brought about by an IRC discussion going on earlier this evening.

The Elder Scrolls Online has been up for playing for the last many days now, because of the early release, and UESP has seen very few new users in response to ESO so far. I remember the deluge that came with Skyrim like it was only a few days ago, and not two years ago. Traffic was crazy to the site, and there was furious editing from many new users and anonymous editors, but with ESO, it's very quiet still.

There are a handful of new users around, including some of our forum users who have popped over to do wiki work as well, but the edits to the site are fairly few from new users in general. We have a handful of editors who are working tirelessly to create pages, but with that much work being done, which used to be handled by bot, they simply can't focus on filling in articles themselves in addition to playing.

Part of the reason for the slower traffic from new users could simply be from the amount of websites that have sprung up in response to ESO. I can think of a half-dozen new sites off the top of my head that sprung up just in response to ESO, not to mention the Elder Scrolls Wikia on the Wikia network, which has always been serious competition against UESP, simply because of its connection to the wiki network. When Skyrim released, there were two big sites to focus on for adding information to. UESP and TESWikia. Now, that's simply no longer true, and that means that for UESP there are less users available to the user pool, as they are spread out thiner.

While I believe that UESP is the best source for all things related to The Elder Scrolls, the competition is stiff. For instance, several sites also have a beautiful interactive map that is simply and intuitive to use and navigate. It lacks some features, like the labelling of locations that we have, and I don't know how editable they are (frankly, I don't know how easy to edit user-editable map is either, having not used it), but the point is, features that we once prided ourselves as being the only ones to posses, are no longer truly uniquely ours, and a search for "ESO Online map" doesn't put us on the first page of Google. There's competition out there, and while UESP carries all of the big features and traits to some degree, to completely discount a competitor as being a true threat to UESP's ability to dominate the field when there are so many resources available would be a mistake.

On to new users, it's ignorant to assume that all people coming into ESO are Elder Scrolls fans to begin with, and are not just here because of the fact that ESO is an MMO would be ignorant. Word of mouth can work with the Elder Scrolls fans who are passionate about the series and have been around for years, because we've catered to those people, but ESO is new territory. MMO users are going to be looking for a place to dump information about ESO, and UESP isn't necessarily at the top of Google anymore when you search for ESO related things.

TESWiki, for instance, gets higher hits because it's part of the Wikia network, and the simple fact that all these people familiar with MMOs contribute to MMO wikis on Wikia (because Wikia has all the bigger MMO wikis). That means TESWiki immediately has an advantage over us, because of the ease of just jumping from one wiki to another on Wikia.

My question that all of this musing is leading up to is this: How does UESP need to change to make ourselves better than the competition in the MMO world?

This is new territory for all TES sites, so we're all on roughly equal footing with ESO in my opinion, and we need to be above the others, just like with all the other games in the series, which we've managed to dominate in terms of online coverage.

Change, whether major or subtle, needs to happen for UESP to remain a serious competitor in the world of MMOs.

ESO and UESP - A Public Service Announcement

  01:30:00 am, by Damon   , 259 words  
Viewed 2880 times since 03/30/14
Categories: Welcome, UESP

Everyone, The Elder Scrolls Online is finally due to be unveiled to pre-order buyers in a few hours, and I'd like to leave a quick Public Service Announcement.

UESP is the highest quality fan-based website related to The Elder Scrolls, and it's for good reason. We have our many high quality, meticulously organised namespaces to categorise and document each game, we have our marvellous online maps, and we've got a large, active community who can be found on our IRC  channel, on our forums, and within the Wiki itself, who are all just as excited for the release as you all are, and it's these many, innumerable fans who make UESP so great with all their hard work and dedication to the site.

Everyone is encouraged to take part in editing our site and helping it to continue to grow with this new release in the TES series, and we have numerous mentors, patrollers, and administrators who are more than happy to help each and every individual user have the best UESP experience they can have.

Our forum has a fun, excited energy to it with anticipation for the release, and all things TES - including TESO - can be discussed in the appropriate sections.

Have fun, play nice both in-game and on the wiki, and enjoy our sites. I encourage each of you to register and take part in this marvellous community!

If you want assistance editing on the wiki or have general questions, don't be afraid to ask on the forums, contact a Mentor, or visit our Help pages!

AKB's Auto Korrect Blog: Will There be Another Elder Scrolls Game?

  07:02:00 pm, by AKB   , 714 words  
Viewed 3036 times since 03/27/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls, UESP, Rants
What it all comes down to

Does Bethesda like money?

Seems like a simple answer, right? Yes, obviously. While people never ask that question, people seem to have extreme doubts over whether or not Bethesda is willing to make the games that just so happen to make them that money they love so dearly. As long as there is more money to be made making Elder Scrolls than there is in not making them, we will continue to see Elder Scrolls games. A better question to ask is if Bethesda has enough other projects on the side to not only keep them occupied, but are profitable enough for them not to need to go back to their main franchise.

As far as I'm concerned, the real risk of Bethesda not creating new Elder Scrolls games comes solely from the fact that they have become quite successful due to them. Look at their release history, particularly the "Other Games" section. More and more often than not, especially since they started to feel the need to distinguish between the game studio portion of Bethesda and the software company, Bethesda is not making the games themselves, they are publishing them. At the time of writing, none of the forthcoming games that Bethesda is involved with are being developed by Bethesda. Like the extremely dubious company slogan we claimed they used since all the way back to the early days of the UESPWiki, the more we've played with them, the bigger they got. From Bethesda's humble origins of creating games for systems like the Atari or Commodore, they've grown into one of the largest software companies in America.

So is there a reasonable risk that Bethesda will simply move away from Elder Scrolls games? Well, no and yes. No company is ever going to just up and abandon valuable intellectual property like ES, but they might take a more hands-off approach to the series in the future. Like with the increasingly imminent next installment in the franchise, The Elder Scrolls Online. We have seen a handful of non-Bethesda ES games in the past, such as with TES Travels, a spin-off series that existed to create some really tricky trivia questions that only people with an N-Cage or empirical knowledge of the UESP might know. In fact, now that I think about it, almost all of the spin-offs have been pretty bad. If ESO sucks, at least we can say they were staying true to the franchise.

Now if you're anything like I imagine you to be (mostly constantly making lewd gestures at the monitor with the hope I shall somehow know you are doing it. I do), you might be a bit upset at the idea of a Bethesda not making the series that made them famous anymore. And to that, I just have to say Bethesda Softworks and Bethesda Game Studios are just a bunch of utterly meaningless words for as much as they affect my opinion of the games. A good game is a good game, regardless of who makes it. Going beyond that, a development studio is not as important as the names behind it. If you can make a good product, I don't care if you call yourself Dog Vomit Interactive. Well, I do, that's a rather appalling name for your business there, imaginary company.  But even then, I don't truly care all that much about the people behind it either. The fact that Julian Lefay, "The Father of The Elder Scrolls",   has not had anything reaching official involvement in the series since Battlespire has not harmed my opinion of the rest of the series that he was largely responsible for creating. In fact, I've liked the games that came after his departure much more than anything before it.

While it might not have Bethesda at the helm, the team we are familiar with, or the game features we expect, and likely not very good, The Elder Scrolls series will never truly die. If Bethesda were to somehow go belly up tomorrow, I'm sure there will still be the fans and other companies to pick up the pieces. And then they'll run it straight into the ground with all of their shitty ideas that ruin all that we love. That was supposed to be a comforting ending somehow, I'm sorry.

Morrowind's Ancestral Tombs and the Future Games

  09:41:00 pm, by Damon   , 640 words  
Viewed 6340 times since 03/19/14
Categories: UESP, Rants

I guess I'm about due for a new blog post, considering my last one was... The last time I did it. I also guess I ought to do some UESP-specific postings for once, and there's something that's been nagging at me recently about a minor site practice. Well, "nagging at me" is an understatement. I hate it with a passion strong enough that AKB would be forced to ban me from IRC after I described it so explicitly.

In Morrowind, there are numerous Dunmer tombs scattered around province of Vvardenfell containing the usual crypt stuff, each one named after a random Dunmer surname. Appended to each tomb's location page is a list of known Dunmer of that surname. That's fine, it's interesting to know how prevalent the family name is within Morrowind, and it helps deepen the game's immersion to go visit a tomb to pay respect to a deity's shrine, or to raid a tomb and see if there are any special items in it, save it from being defiled, etc. The thing that irks me is that we show off the members of the family who are located in future games as well within the Morrowind artcles. Granted, they are clearly marked as being from the game (Niluva HlaaluSR, a worker at Black-Briar Meadery in Riften), but it still feels incredibly inappropriate to me.

The style for the UESP articles is that the gamespace articles are written for the game's present tense, meaning you say "Balmora IS a town..." not "Balmora WAS a town", as if the Red Year's destruction was relevant to the state of the city in the game.

Why, I wonder, should the names of NPCs you'll never see be mentioned? It's rather jarring to go from reading present-tense, which is appropriate for the article, and then reading something that belongs to the future, yet is presented as if it were present and relevant. It's not often that a gamer looks up the Hlaalu Ancestral Tomb for Morrowind-related purposes, then suddenly becomes interested in this unimportant bloke from Riften who was alive 200 years later and in a completely different game. Most users want information specifically for their own game, and that's the information that we should be providing to them, in my opinion.

It would be one thing if the information was attached to a miscellaneous section that was specifically for out-of-game notes, such as the "See Also" or something, but the information is A. within the game's article section, B. rather circumstancial and coincidental, and C. other tombs, like Nordic Barrows or Cyrodiilic tombs, don't reference any names that could also be tied to the tomb. Either the information is relevant or it's irrelevant, and the inconsistency is an issue, in my opinion, though my preference is clearly that the information be omitted.

I assert that such information is circumstancial, because with very limited exceptions, there is no clear cut case of geneology ever mentioned. In the case of a Hlaalu, you can compare it to a realword Johnson or Anderson - two names that are exceptionally common names, and others of the same name aren't necessarily related, given how common the name is.

For that particular Hlaalu tomb in Morrowind, you can be guaranteed that from a Lore perspective, there are so many people and presumably so many Hlaalus that they aren't all related and tied to that one tomb.

By the way, this isn't with just the Hlaalu Ancestral Tomb: You can go to our Ancestral Tombs article, and pick articles at random. If a surname existed in a game that isn't either Morrowind, Tribunal, or Bloodmoon, it's still mentioned as if it were just as relevant to the playthrough of Morrowind.

I guess that's the end of my little UESP rant. I'll post something fun eventually, unless I let my other projects get in the way.