Is ESO Dead?

  01:47:00 pm, by   , 140 words  
Viewed 12412 times since 06/08/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls, Rants

Player complaints are surfacing that Elder Scrolls Online is "dead" (see Reddit). While exact figures are unknown, a substantial amount of players have let their subscriptions expire, the release of the Craglorn content was rocky, and players are finding it more difficult to find people to play with and enjoy their experience. Gaming commentators are starting to talk openly about how the game can be saved, which never bodes well.

I'm reminded of the comments of Bethesda's Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Peter Hines. I can't help but think that they are now facing a "different scenario" which is going to require some compromises on their end.

*cough*Freetoplay*cough*

The next update is supposed to be available around June 23, so I guess we'll find out in about two weeks what the master plans are for the game moving forward.

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Interviews with Emperors

  06:42:00 pm, by   , 55 words  
Viewed 20456 times since 05/06/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls

Zenimax Online has a series of interviews planned with those who have claimed the Ruby Throne. The first was released a few days ago, but if you haven't seen it yet, check out the interview with Emperor Morkulth, Savior of Heaven, Inspiration of Faith and Safeguard of Justice, Blessed Be His Holy Name, etc., etc.

ESO Reviews in Progress

  10:21:00 pm, by   , 124 words  
Viewed 14097 times since 04/29/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls

I generally ignore game reviews, but now that people with no financial incentive to mislead others have had a substantial amount of time to play Elder Scrolls Online, reviews which are at least theoretically unbiased are starting to come out. Judging from what I've seen, the general opinion can be summarized as "an inferior, money-sucking, half-completed beta of Guild Wars 2". A few I've looked over:

Shoddycast podcast review & written review (bemused)

MMO fan (generally positive)

Gamespot (yawn)

TES gamer (irate)

Angry Joe review (take a guess)

Francis (lololol)

The upside is that it's becoming more and more likely ESO will become free to play in the near future.

Edit- By the way, the final ESO boss fight can be viewed here. Spoilers, obviously.

On Our Lore Standards

  03:13:00 pm, by   , 1085 words  
Viewed 12967 times since 04/13/14
Categories: UESP, Rants

The UESP's lore section is always a work in progress, and we encourage people to contribute to it. News flash: Perfection Isn't Required! Add as you see fit! We're here to help you add reliable and verifiable info, not hinder you.

Anyway, the following are my thoughts on what we're trying to do with the lore section. TL;DR, unless you're bored.

Creating the lore of the Elder Scrolls is an interactive process. Always has been, to some degree or another. The developers look to what the fans are thinking and taking away from their games, and it influences how they make content moving forward. They are collecting stories, information, how we view the world they created and are continuing to create, and then picking the bits they liked best. You may have noticed allusions to this process by the developers, in-game and otherwise.

The problem is, not all lore is the same. There's official lore, and unofficial lore. Notice, I'm not talking about whether something is "canon". Look at the lore guidelines. There's nothing about "canon" in there. Rather, we're talking in terms of in-game lore and out-of-game lore (OOG). "In-game" in practice means "official", as we have treated anything which has Bethesda's formal, official "stamp of approval" as "in-game" for our purposes. The novels, game manuals, pocket guides, and spin-off games, for instance. (Update - the guidelines have been revised to acknowledge this official/unofficial distinction.)

Then, there's unofficial lore. This is stuff which the greater community is familiar with, most notably the works of the prolific TES contract writer and former developer Michael Kirkbride, but which has not been expressly incorporated into the games or other official supplements to the game world. Many of the people here love it, myself included. Many excellent sites cater to this unofficial lore, and I will avoid mentioning names only because I don't want to insult anyone by omitting them. Go out there, find them, absorb their stories, pick the stuff you like best, and make that your Elder Scrolls. This is your "monkey truth".

Time and again, the developers have acknowledged bits and pieces of monkey truth. It is by definition the stuff so good that it should have been in the games, so naturally, they feel need to incorporate it in some way moving forward. So go out there are pick it, you monkeys!

But catering to this unofficial lore has never been our purpose. We're here to provide accurate and verifiable information.

This policy has been criticized, because so much monkey truth has proven to be "accurate and verifiable", and it seems like understanding the Elder Scrolls requires some understanding of it. Sometimes, if you want to understand what something in-game is referring to, you need to know something they have never made explicit in the games.

This is why we allow some OOG citations, preferably when they have the blessing of the community, when it helps to explain in-game content.

But sometimes it feels like a disservice to a topic to include some of its points but not all. And some OOG writings are more widely known and cherished by the Elder Scrolls fanbase than the finer points of, say, Battlespire lore. So why not document everything? Short answer: because the game developers did not see fit to do so.

Apparently, when Jimeee explained to Michael Kirkbride why it was unlikely his stellar OOG epic c0da would be documented by the UESP, he replied, "Whatever, wiki-man. Your site always plays catch up. It always has."

A valid criticism. But also a compliment, in a way. The UESP is not really concerned with documenting where the Elder Scrolls is going. We're here to document where it has been. It necessarily entails that we are always striving to catch up, and never inventing.

While many of us here are big fans of the monkey truth and we all have our own personal headcanon, this site is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the content. The UESP is like pings of sonar between submarines. With every revision, we say "This is where I'm at. Where are you all now?" Imagine if we all included our own OOG headcanon into the quest guides. No, we couldn't knowingly allow anything that was not accurate and verifiable by the standards of the community in those. And it can't be any different in the lore section. We compromise this only when we're forced to, when doing so is necessary to provide contextual information on something which the developers have not adequately explained in-game. It is ancillary to explaining the in-game content.

But why not do away with OOG altogether? All or nothing? Well, again, because we're being forced to flesh out articles. And if I have to do some necessary elaboration in an article concerning a topic which is never properly elucidated in the games, relying on Michael Kirkbride's words, official or not, is bound to be more reliable than utilizing my own personal, vague impressions.

I've heard rumors that some game developers have been known to check on us once and a while. This is both the greatest complement we could possibly receive, and terrifying, because I'm terribly aware of how much work we still need to do.

But could you blame them? Even if each person there knows every bit of past TES lore off the top of their heads (and who does?), they've got their own "Bible" of secrets about the world, I'm sure. How are they supposed to keep track of what their audience already knows and what only they know about the Elder Scrolls lore? Keep in mind, they're just a group of people, and individuals come and go with each game. How are they supposed to keep the world they've built as consistent as possible from game to game, and thereby preserve that all-important element of immersion for their RPG series?

Well, that's what the UESP lore section is here to do: we're chopping out all that unnecessary game-mechanic info which is specific to each game, and saying, "This is what we've been told, this is where we've been, as completely and as accurately as we can convey it given our limited manpower."

The only thing we need to do this job right? More people, helping the cause! So if a more consistent, vivid, immersive TES world is something you want, help us make sure that your fellow fans and possibly even the architects of your favorite series are all on the same page. Or Pages.

Zenimax recommends out-of-game trading site

  03:06:00 pm, by   , 97 words  
Viewed 10327 times since 04/11/14
Categories: Rants

Don't use Twitter? Then you're a good person. Kidding, obviously. I don't know about you, but I'm still hoping this particularly vapid social media fad will die out. Bunch of narcissists, activists with agendas, and generally stupid ... well, twits. No thanks. And by that, I mean that I offer no thanks to the people who infected the world with this crap.

But just so you're aware, Zenimax recommended the TESO Elite forums as the place to go for trading in-game ESO goods. So go see if you can pawn off all your fishing tackle and Coldharbour rags!