I’ve been playing and livestreaming The Elder Scrolls Online consistently since 2018. Players who had been playing the game longer than I had were eagerly anticipating the release of the next expansion at the time, Summerset. I, on the other hand, was still exploring Morrowind.
Since then, I’ve played through the majority of the content that ESO has to offer players. I’ve met and fallen in love with so many NPCs on my Vestige’s journey across Tamriel, saving it again and again from Daedric Princes, necromancers, dragons, and gods only know what else at this point. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I get excited every time I find a favorite NPC from a previous expansion in new content. I’ve even developed a grudge against one of the “nicer” Daedric Princes. (There is a reason for that, but that’s a post topic for another day.)
However, as of the writing of this post, there’s still one journey in Elder Scrolls Online that I haven’t done.
Believe it or not, I have never experienced the entirety of the ESO storyline in chronological order.
For longtime players of the game, this may not necessarily be a surprise to you. For anyone who is not, allow me to explain.
Prior to the release of The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, new players got to experience a tutorial that was themed around whatever the latest expansion was at that time. The tutorial experience for The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor, as an example, involved players being captured by the Icereach Coven along with the vampire Fennorian, and you two would be exposed to elements of the main plot of the expansion before being sent on the bulk of the expansion’s main storyline.
When I started playing, the most recent expansion to be released at that point in time was Morrowind, so my first experience was the Morrowind experience in its entirety. I began with a ship my character was sailing on being hit by dunmer slavers, meeting Naryu, and escaping from those slavers before heading into Morrowind proper, meeting an assortment of dark elves and Argonians, and helping the living god Vivec.
It wasn’t until I was close to completing the Morrowind storyline that I remembered, “Oh. Wait. There’s still the entirety of the storyline from the base game to play through, too.”
The entire experience was so different to me from other massively multiplayer online roleplaying games that I had played previously. In MMOs such as World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV, players immediately begin at the beginning of the story from a chronological standpoint.
ESO, on the other hand, throws all that completely out the window, and as a result, my namesake Vestige’s journey across Tamriel felt like a bit of an awkward one. I started in Morrowind, went back to the base game’s story for the Planemeld arc, and then completed Clockwork City (which I will admit left me a bit fuzzy on some details since Clockwork City ties a bit into the Morrowind storyline and it took me a while to get through the Planemeld stuff). I’ve completed everything else in chronological order after that, but that doesn’t change the fact that the start of my journey with this character was not.
And while I’ve created (and subsequently deleted) an assortment of other alts in ESO, I’ve always started them in whatever current content was at the time, never the base game. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it was just my unwillingness to leave those zones just yet.
Despite that, when I started contemplating creating a brand new alt recently, I found myself wondering what it would be like to experience ESO’s storyline in proper chronological order, starting with the Planemeld arc from the base game and working my way through from there.
Last night, I created an alt specifically for that purpose: a dark elf Dragonknight that I’m planning a magicka build for.
Her journey began specifically in the original base game tutorial experience (which, oddly enough, you can still access as it directly ties into the plotline of the original game): sacrificed to Molag Bal by a mysterious altmer. She and the Prophet have recently escaped Coldharbour.
And to be honest with you all, it’s incredibly refreshing.
I’ll be posting little snippets of updates as the weeks’ progress and sharing with you all my thoughts on experiencing the storyline like this. I’ll even talk a bit about whether I’ll be touching certain DLCs with this or not (such as the Dark Brotherhood or Thieves Guild).
Either way, though, this is going to feel like a new journey and I’m excited about it.