Ebonarm - REJECT THE RETCON

  10:45:00 pm, by   , 703 words  
Viewed 4323 times since 03/30/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls, Rants

Let me say first of all that I may be getting ahead of myself; I've only had a chance to view and experience a very small slice of ESO. I have no idea what they may have planned, and I may be misinterpreting things.

 

 

That being said, ATTACK IN THE NAME OF THE EBON ARM!! SHOW NO MERCY!!

 

 

I noticed that ESO included a new version of From The Memory Stone of Makela Leki, a wonderful, rich, often-overlooked text from the ancient days of  TES II: Daggerfall. I was delighted, as it was one of the many older texts which I had been hoping to see again in a TES game.

 

Then I read the changes in  the new version.

 

Many of the changes were insubstantial (not to mention entirely unnecessary and maybe even detrimental, but I'll save that rant for another day). But one change was substantial, and it really bugged me: they killed Ebonarm.

If you're unfamiliar with Ebonarm, see the link above. He's a God of War in the Iliac Bay region. Or at least, he was. He hasn't been mentioned since Daggerfall, but that's hardly surprising. Many, many things have disappeared from TES, only to return with gusto a few years later. That is what many of us have always loved about TES: the integrity and detail of the vast, strange world it presents to us. Almost every little thing about it seems to be carefully thought out and meticulously incorporated (almost; spare me the list, lore masters). The deeper down the rabbit hole you go, the more wonders you will find; that is TES. So naturally, on the wiki, we presume things remain "true" from game to game unless and until they are controverted.

Well, with ESO, Ebonarm's existence is now controverted. We've all been busy with ESO preparations, so I didn't even notice the absence of Ebonarm until I saw that mentions of him were actively omitted from Memory Stone of Makela Leki. But, looking back, I realized that Ebonarm's not mentioned in Varieties of Faith in Tamriel, or anywhere else I could find where a mention of a god of war would be expected. He has been written out of TES.

NO.

I've had plenty to grumble about with ESO (see Legoless' forum discussion and my previous rant), but it's mostly been over relatively small mistakes and similarly inconsequential changes. But this is different. The only gods I can think of in a similar situation are Seth, a god from Arena who has not been heard from since (most likely an abandoned concept), and Sai, a god of luck whose story is somewhat intertwined with Ebonarm's (meaning that if Ebonarm has been erased, Sai is most likely gone, too).

But unlike Seth, Ebonarm is actually an interesting character, and one with significant backstory. Take a look at the books The Ebon Arm and Oelander's Hammer. He's an enemy of all Daedric Princes. There were temples dedicated to him in TES II, for ****s sake. More importantly, he has room to grow. It's not just what they're throwing out that I find objectionable, but what they're failing to add. Ebonarm's a diamond in the rough, filled with potential. And what I expect, nay, demand, from The Elder Scrolls series is that they polish their diamonds, rather than chuck them into the trash.

I was resigned to simply add this to the list of black eyes ESO has given to the lore, until Pilaf the Defiler inspired me to fight back. So here we are. Don't tacitly accept the end of Ebonarm. Demand an explanation! Push for a reversal! Next time Zenimax wants to have a Q&A, chant the name of the Black Knight. When they ask what you would like to see, request the ebony-clad ginger with the mightiest of swordarms. Fight for the Black Knight. Shout from the rooftops that we're mad as hell, and we're not gonna take it anymore!

 

 

Or, at least, add this userbox to your user page.

 

Pilaf also pointed me to this dissertation on Ebonarm from IceFireWarden over at the illustrious Imperial Library. Speculative, but definitely worth a read.

 

And now for something completely different, courtesy of AddictedtoMorrowind on the forums:

Thanks for reading

 Permalink3 comments »

ESO and UESP - A Public Service Announcement

  01:30:00 am, by Damon   , 259 words  
Viewed 3000 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!

Damon's Throwback Thursday Post

  07:45:00 pm, by Damon   , 563 words  
Viewed 4403 times since 03/27/14
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, Misc

In recognition of twenty years of The Elder Scrolls, let’s bring UESP’s blog into the “Throwback Thursday” trend with a reminiscing blog post about my first encounter with the Elder Scrolls series. I say Morrowind was my first experience with it, and in a sense it was. It’s my first in-depth experience that got me into the series, but my very, very first time touching a TES game is what I’m talking about now.

Back in 2007 or 2008, I was hanging out with my friend at his house, and he had Oblivion on his laptop and was playing it when he offered to let me have a run at it. Where do I start? I guess from the beginning would be the most appropriate.

The Imperial City

I remember the chills I got when Uriel’s sorrowful face came up on the screen and he touched the glowing Amulet of Kingsand started his opening speech: “I was born eighty-seven years ago...” It was very awe-inspiring to see the gates to Oblivion opening and to see Daedric forces and siege engines marching towards the gateway to Tamriel. Then, the cut to Tamriel and the fly-over of Lake Rumare and the Imperial City and architecture not like anything I’ve seen before. The theme song was amazing at this point in the cutscene: It always gives me chills to hear that crescendo and then the break to silence.

Then, of course, character creation. With the exception of Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, I hadn't had much experience with completely open games, and never with roleplaying games like TES. Honestly, it was a little intimidating to look at all these different buttons and choices with no idea how it would affect gameplay. There were so many strange races that were utterly alien to me to choose from, like the Argonians and Khajiit, to even various elves. I can't remember exactly what I selected, but after a lot of "What do I choose?" and "You choose and do whatever you like" as a reply, I came up with something.

The very first thing I did was run around in my cell hitting the chains and tossing my dishes around. There weren't many games at that time that I played that had detail such as that, and it was very much the most amusing thing I did that day, running around in the Imperial underground interacting with objects.

After listening to a certain charming Dark Elf and then escaping out the sewers after over an hour of looking at every nook and cranny I could reach, I was exposed to a a large lake and the most beautiful scenery ever. Most importantly, I was right next to this huge city or palace or fortress that I saw in the opening cutscene just before, and I set off up the hill to find a way to get inside and explore.

I can't remember much else about that first hour or two playing Oblivion, and all things considered, it doesn't matter. But, what's always stuck with me was this initial overwhelming sense of curiosity (and in some instances fear) of what I could find and discover in this world I found myself in.

Happy Birthday to The Elder Scrolls, and thanks Bethesda for giving me one of my greatest passions and all the memories and experiences that came with the last half-decade of playing The Elder Scrolls!

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

  07:02:00 pm, by AKB   , 714 words  
Viewed 3164 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 6463 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.