Do you enjoy playing Skyrim, Morrowind, Daggerfall or Oblivion? Perhaps you like getting REALLY retro and prefer the classic Arena (the first Elder Scrolls game for the uninitiated). That’s all well and good, and I am glad you enjoy playing these fantastically spellbinding RPG video games, but there are problems starting to occur within the Elder Scrolls series itself…
Here Are Some Elder Scrolls Problems
Ever heard of that word before? You probably haven’t, considering I just made it up. Elder Scrolls games suffer from this immensely. To Bethesda’s credit, they have constructed wonderfully meticulous and dense backgrounds that provide rigid structure for all the games to follow. Though with this amount of interestingly similar lore spanning multiple games, it can perhaps become much too familiar.
When the Daedra and their gods come up almost every game (also the Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild, Fighters Guild, similar weapons and armor, raiders, towns, quests), it can unfortunately become incredibly predictable to a fault. I know that when I raid crypts in an Elder game, there will be walking skeletons brandishing rusty swords, and I also always know that the Thieves Guild is going to ask me to steal something.
This plagued Skyrim when I first played the Dark Brotherhood questline to completion. What happened in said quest didn’t impress me at all, as I had already been thoroughly wooed by Oblivion’s vaguely similar series of events in its Dark Brotherhood. The next Elder Scrolls game(s) can’t do anything new if they continue to follow the same tenants from the previous five iterations of basically the same game with (yes, impressive) graphic updates in between.
See what I’m getting at?
2. How different can Tamriel really get?
So, let’s suss out the map of Tamriel – where all the Elder Scrolls games take place – in depth shall we? There are nine provinces of Tamriel altogether. Eight are on the mainland itself, and Summerset Isles is off on its own. Kind of like Hawaii.
The land of Tamriel is pretty darn big, but most of it (see: High Rock, Hammerfell, Skyrim, Cyrodiil, Morrowind) has already been covered extensively in the five games so far. Think back on the ones you have played.
They look pretty similar, don’t they? How many times can we roam lush open fields of green grass, snow-capped mountains and dingy caverns? Though Skyrim looks beautiful, the same snowy tundras were depicted identically in Oblivion before it. The environments are renowned for being beautiful, but does the beauty of a single photograph lose its essence after the fifth viewing?
Oh the combat in The Elder Scrolls has always been a sorted mess, hasn’t it? Even Skyrim, with all its tweaks and renovations of previous mechanics and even a completely new engine could not fix this perplexing problem of getting combat just right. Why. Is. It. So. Hard?
I feel like I’m poking my enemies with a q-tip every time I try to stab them. The animations never seem to feel right as well, almost like I’m painting with a really long brush when using one-handed and two-handed swords.
This is something so critical and completely jarring to the experience The Elder Scrolls is trying to pull you into that it almost always breaks the immersion of the game. I am on this amazing adventure in a mystical kingdom of elves and giants and I can’t kill something without repeatedly knocking it over the head with my sharp sword twenty times?
Nothing can sink below the horror of Morrowind’s terrible, terrible combat mechanics, but the newer games come damn close.
4. No more heroes
You are the chosen one. You and only you can do this task. Why? Because we said so and that’s why. In every Elder Scrolls game you are almost always the chosen one, even though you start out as a person imprisoned for a nondescript crime.
Can’t we just play as a normal dude who is no better then the rest of the villagers in Tamriel? I think that would be awesome if you had no powers, no special birthright or no creepy old dudes saying they have seen you in their dreams.
But, Isaac, it’s a video game! I know that, but hear me out. Wouldn’t the next Elder game be amazing if it focused on the player as a jigsaw piece among many other intricate pieces as opposed to being the only piece? Perhaps a more emotionally driven and intense story that focuses on character relationships and struggling with the Tamriel way of life, all the while still keeping with the thematic magic and mysticism of the previous games?
5. Go Fetch
We need some more interesting quests, really.
Quests usually (see: always) revolve around you either: getting something for someone, fighting something, or destroying something. Bethesda needs to up the ante when it comes to the quests that frequent the land of Tamriel.
I’m getting very tired of doing something for some idiot who will then give me something that I can take to another person so I can get him something else so I can get the information of where another person is.
Granted, I’m generalizing a bit here. There are interesting quests that pop up in the games every so often (see: infiltrating the high elf HQ, Skyrim) but there simply aren’t enough of these unique gems to complement such a massive game world.
If any of you actually enjoy tedious fetch quests, I really just feel very sorry for you.