The global pandemic is still on-going and with what is beginning to feel like there is no end in sight, my partner and I are trying to find new things that we can do together without actually being able to see each other in person – There’s something endearing with being able to inhabit a world together without actually being physically present.

I’ve been wanting to get back into The Elder Scrolls Online for what feels like forever now, and 

with the release of Greymoor which promises a Gothic story line taking us back to areas explored in Skyrim, how could I resist. Furthermore with the base game being on the Xbox Game Pass, this felt like the perfect opportunity to drag my partner along for an adventure in Tamriel!

Four years ago One Tamriel was introduced into the game which completely opened up the game, turning it into a true open world game where your character is scaled up to the environment you’re in, it also removes the alliance boundaries too. Originally when the game launched, you were tied into the narrative of your alliance and afterwards you were able to venture into the other two alliances’ story lines. 

Knowing this I thought that this would be perfect, It would mean that we would have something we can play together and when I’m the only one online – I would be able to jump straight into Greymoor and experience it to the fullest. While I’m adventuring as the massive nerd that I am, I would be able to go back to the base game and support my partner through her story. Let’s face it, there’s always going to be disconnect with playing an MMORPG between a group of players who have the intention of playing together, that’s why the end-game is when the real game begins in this genre.

The best way to send your relationship to Sovngarde

As I’ve purchased the full game including all of the games expansions (referred to as Chapters in-game), this has automatically thrown me into a different tutorial to the one that base players experience – This means that at the time of starting the game, I was running around homeland of the Khajit and slaying dragons. While the base game of The Elder Scrolls Online introduces you to the world and the champions that inhabit it, the events in the expansions appear to happen afterwards. 

This wouldn’t be an issue to players that are accustomed to how games of the genre work, but this has already created a rift between the experience of two adventurers who represent the same alliance who have started together.

In my eyes, this is one of the failings of the One Tamriel system as people won’t be buying into the game for just one of the expansions – They’re going to be buying into an expansion of The Elder Scrolls lore. There are key characters which are introduced to you throughout the base version of the game but are openly talking with you here. 

Now, as I’ve played the game before I know that I’m able to teleport to other locations and the easiest way to remedy this was to get some additional gold and teleport over to the starting area of our alliance – off to Khenarthi’s Roost! While I was a little bit behind that of my partner, it didn’t take me too long to catch up and for us to Sync up our progress and everything was perfect. 

Why doesn’t the game push everyone down the same introduction to the world, or at the very least give you the option of which tutorial to start the game? I understand that we are empowered to meet the criteria of the enemies of the area but it feels like it takes too long to actually whittle  them down, with very little reward. 

With Khenarthi’s Roost conquered, we sailed on to Auridon. As this is the second zone, you would naturally expect the world to start to open up with more mechanics being thrown at you but this was something else – this was overpowering. As I’m subscribed to ESO Plus (the games subscription method which brings together a lot of benefits and is worth the money), I was presented with a lot of NPCs, all of which are trying to pull my focus away from the zone I’m in – it was a little immersion breaking.

As I set foot off the boat that brought us here, an NPC dressed in black arrived and upon accepting the quest, my screen went black – my character had been hit over the head and dragged away to the Wailing Prison. I’ve just been sent to the tutorial that my partner had already completed! I understand the need for this, as it’s helping to bridge the gap in the narrative that me arriving in Northern Elsweyr has caused.

After completing the scenario of escaping with The Prophet, I wake up as he’s looming over me but there’s one issue – I’m back in Khenarthi’s Roost! While I’m laughing this off as it’s happened, it’s caused a lot of confusion for my partner who is wondering if she’s done something wrong to go so far off the beaten path and is trying to deal with the quest bloat from Auridon. 

While the game has been out for a long time now, it feels that the new player experience needs to be overhauled again to fix this disconnect between new and veteran players. While narrative in MMORPGs aren’t the key focus, it’s the foundation of what makes The Elder Scrolls franchise so great – There’s got to be a middle ground between the World of Warcraft, which ignores the foundation of it’s narrative and FINAL FANTASY XIV which is so adherent to it’s lore that it can be disheartening for new players who want to jump into the most recent content.

What can be done?

Let’s start talking about the realistic approach that the game needs to take improve it’s new player experience. 

Let’s not overlook that there are going to be those players who will treat this as a Single Player game as a way to get their Elder Scrolls fix, especially as there’s going to be a long time before the next true game in the franchise – and that’s perfectly fine. Let’s bring focus onto the player base which are going to be playing this as a true multiplayer game, with the focus on co-op gameplay.

  • With the franchise revolving around choice, enable players to choose where and how they want to start their adventure. Want a legacy beginning, awesome. Want to start in Greymoor, perfect – go slay those blood sucking vampires! If the player hasn’t beaten the original campaign, they’re going to get knocked out and taken back to the Wailing Prison. 
  • If the player has completed the legacy campaign, let them start in any chapter they want without having to go back to the Wailing Cavern.
  • Create a brand new tutorial area, which is separate from all of the games chapters and includes crafting – Fully preparing new players for their adventures ahead.

Are there any experienced Elder Scrolls players out there, or anyone that has tried playing online games with their significant others? Tell us about your experiences below, or if you’ve got any suggestions that me and mine can try in the comments below!

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