While reminiscing about Fable and kicking myself for never actually finishing a game I was so thoroughly enjoying, I got to thinking about something: The effects the player’s decision has on the actual world is virtually non-existent in The Elder Scrolls.
In Fable, for instance, when you’re a Hero with a high karma, the people applaud you and rejoice when you visit them, and when you’re evil, they cower and act submissive in an attempt to not be the latest victim of some heinous crime you perform. In The Elder Scrolls, regardless of whether or not you’re good or evil, renown or unknown, the population doesn’t pay any mind to you.
I can be the Thane of every hold, Dovahkiin, Legate of the Imperial Legion, Archmagister of the College (or whatever the leader’s called – I’m a Morrowind guru), Harbinger, Listener, Grandmaster Thief, etc, and I’ll still get snarky remarks about how I am virtually nothing and unworthy to be in the Cloud District or in some other place of station.
And, in terms of how your actions happen in game, there is no tangible gain to having each of those titles. Sure, the emperor is dead, but how is Skyrim affected by it? Shouldn’t the legions become more vigilant to locate these assassins? Or should the Pentius Occulatus show any indication that they’ve lost the man they swore to defend?
Don’t get me wrong, the Elder Scrolls is a fabulous series that gets you immersed in the world, but I can’t help but feel like I am not a part of the world, if I’ve accomplished so many great or evil deeds, yet there is no indication to the world that it’s happened.
I get that it would be hard to implement so many different events affecting your perception by other NPCs in such a greatly larger game, but it really takes from the experience.
I want to see something along the lines of Fable eventually, where the people talk of your deeds and respond to them. It really helps with the immersion, and it makes you feel like the events of the game have meant something to the people in some way.