All of us are holed up in our homes, doing our best to flatten the curve during the coronavirus crisis. This can result in many people becoming bored or going stir crazy. Over the past couple weeks, I discovered a wonderful way to pass the time: The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO).
For those who are unfamiliar, ESO is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). The most popular MMORPG that many are familiar with is World of Warcraft. What makes this game special is rather than being focused on player versus player gameplay, it’s leans heavily on player versus environment content. What does this mean? It means that you can play most of the game by yourself becuase you’re engaging with computer-controlled characters, surrounded by 15 million players doing the exact same thing; and if you want to team up with a stranger or a friend in real time to tackle a challenging boss or dungeon, you can.Another phenomenal aspect of ESO is you can create whatever kind of character you like, both through the character creation tool when you first start out and your actions. The more you engage in a particular activity in this game, such as crafting, swinging a sword, or using magicka, the more you level up those abilities and make them stronger. The same goes for abilities (both active and passive) that you didn’t originally assign your character. If you start out as a law-abiding citizen and then decide you want to join The Dark Brotherhood and become an assassin for hire or a professional thief as part of The Thieves Guild, go for it! The choices are endless and they are all yours.
My first Elder Scrolls game was The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for Xbox 360. It was my first time taking a deep dive into an RPG, and it blew me away—with its majestic beauty, its sweeping score, its compelling narrative, and its incredible amount of content. Since then, I’ve picked up all of the games in the series, and I’m currently making my way through Skyrim for the first time on Nintendo Switch—and it’s delightful.
ESO has rekindled my love for this series of games because it’s a celebration of all things Elder Scrolls. I can travel whenever I want to wherever I want. If I want to go to destinations made famous in previous games, I can. If I want to visit locations that are available for the first time in this 26-year-old franchise, I can do that too. ESO’s developer continues to produce new content for this game, big and small, and there are numerous events all year long that keep things fresh. It’s a thriving community of gamers like myself who are looking for a gorgeous and fantastical place to explore, and ESO provides us with the ultimate escape.