Tamriel Infinium: The power of community in five-year-old Elder Scrolls Online

    
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Given the volatility in today’s video game industry, it’s nice when an MMO is able to celebrate some longevity. Elder Scrolls Online has not only survived for nearly five years, but it seems to be thriving at a time when not all games are seeing as much success. In light of the upcoming fifth anniversary for ESO, I thought it would be interesting to poll some of the prominent members of the ESO community to see why they continue to play the game, and what it means to them.

Charity streamer and podcaster Lotus of Doom went into the game with one set of expectations found something completely different.

“ESO started as a somewhat skeptical attempt to try playing cooperative Elder Scrolls with a few of my friends. I had never liked MMOs and insisted on playing ESO as if it were one of my single player games. I was completely blown away. This really was the game I didn’t realize I wanted, and I found so much that I grew to love. Not only is ESO one of my all-time favorite games at this point, but I’ve also met so many in the #ESOFam community that have helped with my efforts to raise money for charity. I’ve met so many friends in the game: guilds I’m a part of, the Tales Of Tamriel podcast I co-host. I can’t fathom how different my life would be without ESO.”

Although answers varied, one common thread that showed up again and again in the player responses was the influence that the ESO community has had in their lives. Twitch streamer HyperPixie described how it helped her through a very difficult time.

“This game was my very first experience with an MMO! ESO to me is so much more than ‘just an MMO.’ When I first started playing ESO, I was a stay-at-home mom who was suffering from massive postpartum depression and anxiety. The welcoming community in ESO pulled me through that rough time and gave me the connection with other adults that I was lacking as a stay-at-home parent of a newborn. #ESOFam is way more than just a hashtag, the ESO community truly does feel like my gaming family. I feel like this sets it apart from other games, it really is truly special!”

Similarly, guild leader and Abnur Tharn apologist extraordinaire Casual Ranger has been able to leverage his in-game friendships to positively impact his daily life.

“When asked what Elder Scrolls online means to me, the first thing that comes to mind is Community. My first real introduction to Elder Scrolls was Elder Scrolls Online. The fellowship and sense of belonging I felt while playing this amazing game will forever be the first thing I think of when I hear Elder Scrolls! I’ve forged lasting friendships that have even blossomed into real world friendships!”

Arkhaniir from Tales of Tamriel, describes how being a part of the game and creating content for it has positively altered some of his previously held perceptions.

“To me, Elder Scrolls Online is being part of a community that I didn’t know I needed in my life. Before ESO, I would’ve shrugged at the idea that I could become so close with people I’ve met through an online game, but here I am, proven wrong. I suppose, as cheesy as it might sound, you could say that Elder Scrolls Online is a family for me. One I’ve never met but love nonetheless.”

Jordan “Jibbs” Butts, half the the Loreseekers podcast, had this to say:

“Community. That is exactly what ESO means to me. After being in other MMORPG communities I can say that there is not a community out there that can touch ESO’s. The players are passionate but supportive; embracing your content from the moment you show up. When we launched the Loreseekers Podcast for Elder Scrolls Online, we quickly received the ol’ ‘welcome to the community’ bear hug, and we can’t thank them enough for it. The Elder Scrolls Online community is truly something special, and at Loreseekers we are honored to be a part of it.”

Twitch streamer Tea the Khajiit enjoys the communal creative outlet that the game provides:

“The Elder Scrolls Online gives me this huge canvas I can use to tell stories. Whether it’s DMing a roleplay event or sharing my experience through my own gameplay on my stream, the series has always been about crafting your own adventures, and ESO gives us the unique opportunity to now do that with others.

“We get the best of both worlds. The multiplayer aspect creates a social dynamic that separates it from the other games in the series. It also builds on its single player RPG roots to add familiar mechanics and world building that other MMO’s can’t offer.

“That is what I found myself drawn to when the game was in beta and more information was coming out about it, and that is what has kept me logging in for all these years.”

Lastly, Kash, the other half of the Loreseekers podcast, uses several methods to keep his mind, body and spirit centered. He combats the high-speed stresses of daily life with fitness, hobbies, and a healthy dose of ESO.

“As much as I’d probably deny it to your face, my life is full of stress. I live in a busy part of the world. Keep up or you’ll get steam-rolled. I have a stressful, many times critical profession. Make the right decision (and quickly) or someone may suffer. I support a family and have to spend a lot of time away from them. I worry about them constantly and every single step I take in my life if for their benefit. But still, I worry. Along with the other many stresses of life, it can add up. It can get downright overwhelming.

“Now, I’m an active guy. I blow off steam in many ways. I like to be outdoors and I love physical fitness. But even with these built-in de-stressors, sometimes my brain just needs a daily reset.

“Elder Scrolls Online gives me that reset. I used to be timid about my love for science fiction and fantasy. As I’ve aged, however, I no longer hide it. Now I own it. ESO provides me with an escape to a world beyond. It allows me to take my mind on an epic adventure every time I log in. I get to live the life of a fictional character in a world I absolutely adore. Tamriel is like a second home to me and I cherish my time in it.

“The beauty of Tamriel as experienced in the Elder Scrolls Online, however, is that I don’t have to experience it alone. I have made more friends in ESO than I have in any other game. Each night I log in to find my comrades offering a hearty “hello” and invites to join them in game content. We laugh, face challenges, endure defeat, explore the landscape, discover and laugh some more. These aren’t just friends, this is my gaming family.

“Another thirst I have need to quench often is creativity. With the birth of our podcast, I have found the joy in creating for others. Bringing a show each week to our gaming family and inviting others into our growing community has been a true blessing.

“ESO is my daily reset.”

Since my entry into online gaming, I’ve been almost as interested in the human element as in the games, themselves. MMOs, specifically, are designed to bring people together and to keep us around for a long period of time. It seems that in its five years of existence, ESO has done a good job of creating enjoyable content and fostering an environment that allows its community a shared experience that positively impacts the lives of its players. Congratulations on five years, ESO!

Do you have an ESO story from the past five years? What does ESO mean to you?

Traverse the troubled land of Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls Online! Larry Everett and Ben Griggs will be your guides here in Tamriel Infinium on Wednesdays as we explore together the world created by ZeniMax and Bethesda in one of the biggest MMOs in the genre. Larry and Ben welcome questions and topic ideas!

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Nosy Gamer

Honestly, I always thought of ESO as one of those games that is a single-player RPG, just in a multi-player world. I’ve been playing for about 11 months now, have a character up to 190 veterans points, and never really noticed a community at all. Which, compared to some games, makes the community pretty good.

Redbook
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Redbook

“I always thought of ESO as one of those games that is a single-player RPG, just in a multi-player world”

Maybe that’s why neither one of us noticed the community. I treat ESO like its a single-player game. Craft, quest and explore. I can do these things without troubling anyone.

Anyway, cool article. Nice to read about the ESO community and the effect they can have on other players.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

I never understood being able to be in 5 guilds. It just made no sense and so I never joined any. Cannot say I noticed any community there either during the launch of the game.

hurbster
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hurbster

I go in after generally a busy and stressfull day at work to chill for an hour or so. Shout out to my guilds Alith Legion, Merchants of the Wulves and Llamas rule the Party. Great people all.

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IronSalamander8 .

It’s good that’s it’s doing well, especially in today’s MMO situation, but this is one I never could get into. I couldn’t get a character I could stand the look of and I just found it tedious in beta. I know it’s changed a lot, and apparently for the better, but it just lacks that ‘hook’ for me.

Maybe because I always modded the heck out of Morrowind and Oblivion so I’m used to all that before playing an ES game. Regardless, it is nice to see a success story like this.

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Jeremy Barnes

I hate almost all of the gameplay elements, but Zenimax has done a good job as fostering a community.

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nomadmorlock9

I’ve been playing MMO’s since the launch of Ultima Online. There aren’t many I haven’t invested time into over the years.

With that said, ESO has the best community I’ve ever had an opportunity to be a part of.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I was in a guild and they were a nice group of folks but not many wanted to take the reins for running dungeons. Except for this one guy.

He ran guildies through dungeons but wanted us all to be on Discord. I don’t like talking to people in voice chat but I’ll listen for instructions so I would hop in.

Sometimes we would need a tank because no one in the guild was available so we’d pick up a pug tank.

The guy in our guild who’d setup the pug would frequently bad mouth the tanks abilities. About things like where to tank the bad guys and stuff like that. Not to the tanks face, just in discord chat.

The last straw for me and the guild(because this was the only guy who really interacted with anyone after a while) was when this guy and a girl in group that knew each other started to have a verbal dispute. He started berating her about vaccinating her kids and just being a jerk to her. He ignored her attempts to tell him to stop talking about it several times.

I couldn’t tell if they were just trolling me or he was actually being a jerk so I dropped team, dropped discord, and then left the guild.

That said, I am in a nice group of older people who do PVP and it really is funny to hear a 60plus year old woman talk about killing other players. Makes me laugh. Those folks seem to be nice people.

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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

ESO attracts some very high-calibre guilds. It’s home to one of the three best guilds I have ever been a part of: Remnants of Hope (or, RoH). (They’re also in GW2, SWTOR, and WoW.) RoH exemplifies the very best of an online gaming community: they’re inclusive, helpful, vigilant against discrimination, and still manage to take their games seriously and play competitively. I can’t say enough good things about them. But my experiences in ESO in general have been very positive, and it’s no surprise that RoH fits in so well in the game: its deep setting, its emphasis on productive cooperation, and the focus on community events all make for easy bonding and collaboration.

If you’re interested in exploring Remnants of Hope more, check them out here.

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camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Oh and they are Ebonheart Pact. The only proper alliance to belong to in ESO.

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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

Look us up!

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I shall do so this evening. Thanks!

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Kickstarter Donor
Darthbawl

Ebonheart Pact. The only proper alliance to belong to in ESO.

fact-375x215.png.png
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Sana Tan

Heads up, not a good guild if you don’t want to talk with a mic, since they ask you for an interview in one of the steps of the lengthy recruiting phase. Sadly they don’t warn you about this and you lose time in previous steps.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I will talk on mic I just get real shy and don’t feel the need to talk over people.

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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

I’m exactly the same as you. You never will need to talk. But having TS is useful for grouping, as the guild does often issue voice commands rather than text instructions. (But this is bog-standard MMO practice.)

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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

Redirect: a helpful guild to have Teamspeak on when grouping, because they group a lot and issue commands on voice. It matters not one bit if you are the one talking or not.

I know this because I maybe say 10 words a week, during social weekend leveling events. The rest of the time I am silent and typing only. (I’m playing every day and grouping with guildies every day and not talking has not been a problem once.)

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

This attitude is disappointing, but it’s true that EP win Cyrodiil almost every time, so you almost have to roll EP now if you want crystals and war booty at the end of the campaign. EP is clearly the favorite of the masses, so there is that :P

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Not so. Those damn dirty high elves seems to be taking EP and DC to task.

Least thats what it seems on Cyrodill. When I can get in. *eyerolls*