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!”
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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?