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The Wounded Timeline - And How to Mend It.

Kambo
Kambo
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Earlier this year after Elsweyr first launched a discussion went on about what year it actually takes place in, as Abnur Tharn mentions that his half-sister Euraxia conquered the city of Rimmen 6 years prior to the events of the chapter. The original conclusion I came to in that thread was that the year was 2E 583, one year after the very beginning of the game and its main story, but that it had not reached the month of Frostfall yet, as Euraxia's claiming of Rimmen was known as the Frostfall Coup. However a revelation occurred as the thread was still going on. Because the subject was on my mind and there happened to be a Reddit AMA planned I decided to ask our good Loremaster himself what year the timeline was currently set in. His answer was, in my opinion, less than enjoyable. He claimed that due to the nature of the game allowing you to do content in whichever order you like, effectively making everything relative to the player, we should assume the year is still 2E 582. I and a few others voiced concerns over this in the previously mentioned forum thread, and a few even responded directly on the AMA with their concerns, but ultimately he gave his answer. By keeping the year in 582 it effectively allows the player to enjoy the entirety of the game without the timeline progressing and potentially disrupting their own chosen flow of time.

Here is why this answer doesn't work.

To start, eventually the timeline will have to move forward. If it remains 582 forever then the year becomes incredibly bloated with events to the point where there is no reasoning the idea that it even is still 582. It was already a bit hard to believe it was still 582 by the events of Elsweyr. But when they do eventually move the timeline forward it will contradict their original philosophy on how the timeline is relative to the player.

The current year in-game really only affects those who pay attention to the lore, and most who do prefer to do content in the correct order as well. This was a concern brought up back on the AMA and original thread and I feel it still applies greatly. Those who play because they enjoy the gameplay don't care what year it is in the timeline for the most part.

There is a journal in Orsinium that flat out states the year is 583, which we can assume is now a retcon. Despite this it's still in the game and anyone who reads it and then goes and plays some other content could easily become confused and assume that Orsinium is supposed to happen after everything else. It is a bit of a slim chance to be fair, but it's still a possibility.

I've recently been talking about this topic with my friends who also think the decision was less than ideal. The result is something I'd like to propose. A suggestion. Instead of saying that the year is still 582, why not just say the game starts in 582 and then leave the passage of time ambiguous? We already know that the year 582 is confirmed to be the start and current year of the game's timeline, and it would solve many issues if the passage of time was left completely ambiguous to the player. No mentions in-game about when certain events occurred. No journals stating which year it currently is. And no need to move the timeline forward as it would make the timeline even more relative to each player and allow them to come to their own conclusions about how much time has passed.

This fulfills the idea of mixing the gameplay freedom together with the timeline, and it does it far better than assuming it's still 582. And that does bring me to fun little thing to end this whole post off. I would love to see the individual interpretations you all have for how much time has passed and which events have occurred in which order. I also would like to see all of your thoughts on the subject itself as well as my suggestion.
Straight out of Mo- uh, oh wait. Um... Ebonheart, I guess?
PC US
Characters:
Niveth Othrril - Dunmer Stamina Dragonknight
Rivayn Indunil - Dunmer Magicka Dragonknight
Undetermined. - Undetermined.
Throlomar - Altmer Magicka Necromancer
  • Danikat
    Danikat
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    I don't understand why they think it's an issue to let the timeline progress.

    Guild Wars 2 has a similar system where you can play storylines in different orders. Until level 80 you only have access to the base game story but after that you can skip ahead to the latest story, then go back and do an earlier one etc.

    But their stories progress in a linear order, with time moving forward. It was the year 1325 AE when the game started, it's now 1332 AE and NPCs will talk about the events of precious stories in the past tense.

    As the OP stated those who care about the timeline will choose to play it in order and those who don't care...well, don't care. They might sometimes question how or why something happened in a story they skipped but as far as I've seen they understand that they did it out of order and accept there will be things which don't make sense as a result.

    I can't imagine it would be much different in ESO.
    PC EU player. | PAWS (Positively Against Wrip-off Stuff) - Say No to Crown Crates!

    "Remember in this game we call life that no one said it's fair"
  • Kambo
    Kambo
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    Danikat wrote: »
    I don't understand why they think it's an issue to let the timeline progress.

    Guild Wars 2 has a similar system where you can play storylines in different orders. Until level 80 you only have access to the base game story but after that you can skip ahead to the latest story, then go back and do an earlier one etc.

    But their stories progress in a linear order, with time moving forward. It was the year 1325 AE when the game started, it's now 1332 AE and NPCs will talk about the events of precious stories in the past tense.

    As the OP stated those who care about the timeline will choose to play it in order and those who don't care...well, don't care. They might sometimes question how or why something happened in a story they skipped but as far as I've seen they understand that they did it out of order and accept there will be things which don't make sense as a result.

    I can't imagine it would be much different in ESO.

    Like I suggested in the OP if they want to tie the gameplay and timeline together the best way to do it is to simply act like the game started in 582 and that everything after the beginning is ambiguous and relative to each player.

    The thing about how they're doing it right now where it should be assumed that every event happens in 582 is that it also is more of a suggestion than anything. They want players to experience the events and passage of time in each of their individual ways, so technically they're already doing the right thing here, but they don't act like it with how they describe certain events in-game. As mentioned before it's flat out stated that Euraxia conquered Rimmen 6 years prior to the events of Elsweyr, with the exact year in which that event takes place being 576. You could have just left out the specific line that it happened 6 years prior and replaced it with "a few years back" and it would have genuinely been a lot more smooth and interpretation friendly.

    Now I'm not trying to rag on the writers or devs or anything with the OP and this reply here, trust me I love the work they've all been doing and I think ESO overall has the best lore out of all of the ES games I've played, Morrowind included. But as a self proclaimed lore master I feel it's only fair to criticize the decisions that don't quite sit right.
    Straight out of Mo- uh, oh wait. Um... Ebonheart, I guess?
    PC US
    Characters:
    Niveth Othrril - Dunmer Stamina Dragonknight
    Rivayn Indunil - Dunmer Magicka Dragonknight
    Undetermined. - Undetermined.
    Throlomar - Altmer Magicka Necromancer
  • Juzz
    Juzz
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    Usin’ a simple but comfy clock addon, who’s sayin’ that it’s 605 for me, explainin’ that ye’re not a Superman, who definitely should put yer nose in all the stuff goin’ on in parallele. Just one person, aye, vestige person, who’s takin’ act in some of the stuff goin’ in big-big Tamriel, innit?

    And about mendin’ itself, aye, it’s a good idea, if the lorekeeper gonna place it in the right order, but still doesn’t work for the huge part of the players who don’t even care, just gettin’ undaunted keys all the time not even knowin’ why they’re doin the same stuff in a sequence.
    Edited by Juzz on December 27, 2019 3:29PM
    Make Skyrim great again.
  • Vrienda
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    Not progressing the timeline harms the story, everything feels vague and disconnected. We don’t see Molag Bal’s dolmens in new zones yet supposedly he’s still invading? We should be in 2E 587 by now. So much has gone on.
    810 CP Dunmer Stam DK/Bosmer Stamplar Been playing ESO since the 2014 January Beta Test.

    Let us solo DLC dungeons for the skins and other rewards please.

    Waiting for the day when characters not created in Morrowind or any other chapter are allowed to have that extra skill point we were denied!
  • RaddlemanNumber7
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    I haven't given any real thought to this 2E 582 business. It doesn't affect my in-game experience, so I'm pretty much ignoring it.

    But, if I was going to get to grips with this issue I would treat the Lore Master's statement as a Galileo moment. This does not mean that I would be trying to get him to recant, or demanding that he be burned at the stake (unlike some people here). What I would do is bury my old theories about how the Cosmos works, and then have fun developing some new ones based on the new information.

    In the same way that it was proven that the cosmos is not geocentric, it has been authoritatively stated that ESO takes place in 2E 582. I would base my new theories on that.
    PC EU
  • Ashnarug
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    why link it to a timeline at all ?

    The game came out on Friday, April 4, 2014 ... so Fredas, 4 Rain's Hand 2e582

    play it like you want. A game day is approximately 6 hours of play. So just start to add the days ... technically today we are Morndas, 6 Sun's Height 2e588 - but not necessarily, just if you play 6 hours a day, every day since the game came out !

    I started a character (Genri Oakblossom, Female Bosmer, Stamina Warden) on July 3rd, 2020:
    cumulative time played 16 hours 48 minutes - Monday 6 July 2020 / Loredas, 27 Sun's Height 2e581

    starting date Middas 24 Sun's Height 2e581 - she meets Amelie Crowe in Solitude's Outlaw Refuge, then Quen in Anvil's Outlaw Refuge ... then accept the offer of Forge-Mother Alga and go to Wrothgar.

    After completing these three DLCs I will meet the Hooded Figure and become the Vestige... and start the Molag Bal storyline on Fredas, 4 Rain's Hand 2e582 ... after having lost a few months in Coldharbour
    Edited by Ashnarug on July 6, 2020 3:47PM
    First I give my toons a prequel to their story ... doing all the miscellaneous quests of their province of origin. Then they follow the playstyle of "What Order Should I Do ESO's Story Arcs? - A Guide"

    Haafingar - Sogrgun Drunk-Cloak - Male Nord - Guardian of the Wild - NA/PC (becoming the Vestige at level 20)
    Grahtwood - Genri Oakblossom - Female Bosmer - Savage Stalker - Aldmeri Dominion - NA/PC
    Vvardenfell - Gileig Hlaniro - Male Dunmer - Stamblade - Ebonheart Pact - NA/PC
    Alik'r Desert - Ennicey Mhejin - Male Yokudan - Stamina Dragonknight - Daggerfall Covenant - NA/PC (becomes the Vestige at level 15)
    The Rift - Eiribi Knot-Hair - Female Nord - Stamina Dragonknight - Ebonheart Pact - NA/PC
    Shadowfen - Milah Negsus - Female Saxhleel - Necromancer - Ebonheart Pact - NA/PC
    Glenumbra - Nelrie Margaux - Female Breton - Magicka Templar - Daggerfall Covenant - NA/PC
  • Avariprivateer
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    In Lotro each zone has its own place in the timeline, Ered Luin, the Shire and Bree-land being the earliest, a matter of hours after Frodo leaves Bag End, other zones take place weeks, months and eventually a year or more later.

    Pirates of the Caribbean Online, back in the day, was ambiguous other than the fact that it was supposed to be after Curse of the Black Pearl and before Dead Man's Chest.
    Edited by Avariprivateer on July 6, 2020 10:07PM
  • Eporem
    Eporem
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    I think a timeline of events since the start of 2e582 should be given - even if its on UESP with no time but the start time like you @Kambo have mentioned and then a list of events or the new chapters that were added following this, and a link maybe given to first account ones who might or might not care of the timeline or lore but at least they will have a choice of where is it they want to start - like do you want to play through the starter zone message. The Dolmens I see just remind me that there are still Mannamarco followers giving tribute to him and I liked when you do meet the Hooded figure that she most likely led you to these ones.:)

    Edited by Eporem on July 7, 2020 11:34PM
  • JMadFour
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    My Personal Headcanon says that it is currently 586, regardless of what it actually says ingame. I recognize that for new player purposes, they can't or don't want to give physical evidence of time passing (like documents, lore books, etc.)

    582 - AD/DC/EP Zone questlines, Five Companions(Up to God of Schemes), Fighter's Guild and Mage's Guild Questlines all take place concurrently,

    The Vestige is the Main Character for One Alliance and the Five Companions and Planemeld questlines. The other two Alliances have separate Heroes. I base this opinion on the events of The Cliffs of Failure in Coldharbour. If you speak to the other two Zone bosses that you did not face, they still tell you that a Hero defeated them.

    The Vestige may or may not be involved in either the Fighter's Guild and Mage's Guild. If not, then they have separate Heroes.

    Coldharbour and God of Schemes takes place last.

    Cadwell's Silver/Gold sends the Vestige back in time and puts them in the shoes of the other two Alliance Heroes.

    583 - Craglorn, Wrothgar, Imperial City, Dark Brotherhood, and Thieves Guild Storylines take place. If the player doesn't do one of them, it has a separate Hero that does. Dark Brotherhood/Thieves Guild storylines take place concurrently.

    584 - Events of Morrowind, Clockwork City, Summerset.

    585 - Year of the Dragon.

    586 - Dark Heart of Skyrim.

    Dungeon DLCs take place at their appropriate places in the timeline in respect to their release and the Main Chapters/DLCs.

    I handwave the lack of clarity in regards to what year each storyline takes place in as gameplay mechanics.

    That's my own personal headcanon in regards to the timeline. I speak for no one else.

    *edited to add Craglorn*
    Edited by JMadFour on July 8, 2020 10:31PM
  • JobooAGS
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    JMadFour wrote: »
    My Personal Headcanon says that it is currently 586, regardless of what it actually says ingame. I recognize that for new player purposes, they can't or don't want to give physical evidence of time passing (like documents, lore books, etc.)

    582 - AD/DC/EP Zone questlines, Five Companions(Up to God of Schemes), Fighter's Guild and Mage's Guild Questlines all take place concurrently,

    The Vestige is the Main Character for One Alliance and the Five Companions and Planemeld questlines. The other two Alliances have separate Heroes. I base this opinion on the events of The Cliffs of Failure in Coldharbour. If you speak to the other two Zone bosses that you did not face, they still tell you that a Hero defeated them.

    The Vestige may or may not be involved in either the Fighter's Guild and Mage's Guild. If not, then they have separate Heroes.

    Coldharbour and God of Schemes takes place last.

    Cadwell's Silver/Gold sends the Vestige back in time and puts them in the shoes of the other two Alliance Heroes.

    583 - Wrothgar, Imperial City, Dark Brotherhood, and Thieves Guild Storylines take place. If the player doesn't do one of them, it has a separate Hero that does.

    584 - Events of Morrowind, Clockwork City, Summerset.

    585 - Year of the Dragon.

    586 - Dark Heart of Skyrim.

    Dungeon DLCs take place at their appropriate places in the timeline in respect to their release and the Main Chapters/DLCs.

    I handwave the lack of clarity in regards to what year each storyline takes place in as gameplay mechanics.

    That's my own personal headcanon in regards to the timeline. I speak for no one else.

    What about craglorn?
  • The_Drop_Bear
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    A problem with ZOS doing this whole same year any order thing is that it doesn't make sense as a narrative.
    The daedric triad trilogy dlcs have to take place after the main game as this is the theat molag wars you about at the end.

    Like wise elswyer has to take place after the main story as after the soul burst which happened 5 years before the game starts Abnar was in the imperial city for a while until Mannimarco had him basically locked in the tower of bones until he escapes and helps us in the main quest.
    Same goes for sai who as if when he find him has been imprisoned and tortured for the last two years.

    And with the dark heart of Skyrim mods mention the dragons in elswyer so that has already happened, and Lyris has been imprisoned within coldharbour till she broke out in the tutorial.

    So they claim all of it occurs at the same time but it very much doesn't
  • theskymoves
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    Jeremy Bearimy
  • JMadFour
    JMadFour
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    JobooAGS wrote: »
    JMadFour wrote: »
    My Personal Headcanon says that it is currently 586, regardless of what it actually says ingame. I recognize that for new player purposes, they can't or don't want to give physical evidence of time passing (like documents, lore books, etc.)

    582 - AD/DC/EP Zone questlines, Five Companions(Up to God of Schemes), Fighter's Guild and Mage's Guild Questlines all take place concurrently,

    The Vestige is the Main Character for One Alliance and the Five Companions and Planemeld questlines. The other two Alliances have separate Heroes. I base this opinion on the events of The Cliffs of Failure in Coldharbour. If you speak to the other two Zone bosses that you did not face, they still tell you that a Hero defeated them.

    The Vestige may or may not be involved in either the Fighter's Guild and Mage's Guild. If not, then they have separate Heroes.

    Coldharbour and God of Schemes takes place last.

    Cadwell's Silver/Gold sends the Vestige back in time and puts them in the shoes of the other two Alliance Heroes.

    583 - Wrothgar, Imperial City, Dark Brotherhood, and Thieves Guild Storylines take place. If the player doesn't do one of them, it has a separate Hero that does.

    584 - Events of Morrowind, Clockwork City, Summerset.

    585 - Year of the Dragon.

    586 - Dark Heart of Skyrim.

    Dungeon DLCs take place at their appropriate places in the timeline in respect to their release and the Main Chapters/DLCs.

    I handwave the lack of clarity in regards to what year each storyline takes place in as gameplay mechanics.

    That's my own personal headcanon in regards to the timeline. I speak for no one else.

    What about craglorn?

    [snip]. I forgot about Craglorn. Probably cause I've never actually done Craglorn content on any of my characters (I'll need to, one of these days).

    Wouldn't that be 583? Just before Wrothgar, yes?

    [Edited for Censor Bypass]
    Edited by ZOS_KageW on July 9, 2020 1:31AM
  • Cygemai_Hlervu
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    Here's what I think - it's all ok with all the events happening the very same year. Yes, those events do have an intended order of accomplishment, but referencing to Zurin Arctus, each Event is preceded by Prophecy - but without the Hero, there is no Event. The ESO events are preceded by Prophecy, and regarding the Heroes - well, some of us come to participate in an Event, while the other don't. Combine it all with the idea on the nature of the Elder Scrolls I posted some time ago and you'll see that everything fits quite well in just one year of 2E 582. Yes, doing, say, the Summerset Chapter before the Morrowind DLC is said to change Veya's character to Earl Tundilwen while Veya's fate would be ultimately decided in Vvardenfell. Another example is the case of Sarvith Yunlin and Saravith Yunlin. Well, I'll speak of it a bit later, but even if the devs would not have implemented that thing with Veya, everything would nevertheless be ok.

    The devs do change dialogues for those cases when we meet some particular characters for the first time, but that has nothing common with making different DLCs chronological and all them happening in the very same year or several years - remember, we all are reading the very same Elder Scroll depicting the same events of that Second Era year, but just as it happens IRL, we read it differently and understand it differently. Some people read the Scroll from the end, the other start from the very beginning, while the rest only read those parts they want or need. But all the events are already inside that very year. It's just the matter of chapter order and this is why they make that name and dialogue changes - to make those reading the scroll from the "end" think they read it from the "beginning".

    Sorry for a long part above, but I thought it necessary to try explain it before quoting the lore on it's time concept. I can't recall how those 10 years rolled in Arena, too many years passed, but in later games the years rolled in real in-game time. The years rolled, but the world stood still, though the devs did really a great job to make us believe the opposite. If the world did not change, then that linear time was just an illusion - this is why the lore recognizes all the events started in 3E 427 as the events of that specific year and the same way it treats the events of the ESO.

    In ESO we have several accounts of what I tried to explain above:
    - Raynor Vanos - "Don't think of time and space as a road upon which you travel, but rather a rope, or a cable. Many threads, all bound together with no beginning or end".
    - Teldenrinde's Murky Time - "[The calendar] is like a bowl of water. The day and the night swim in the bowl".
    - Sotha Sil - "actions, both good and evil, are inevitable. Locked in time. Determined by chains of action and consequence". "Every action we take can tip the balance of the flow of time", he says.
    - The Augur of the Obscure called time a "chronosymphonic disc" and spoke exactly of the thing you do - "Linear time is so overrated. Just imagine, you could die before you were even born! Wait ... that's horrifying isn't it? I'm sorry. Never mind".

    Well, honestly, the Augur's words only sound that horrifying - we all actually had been dead for an unspecified amount of time before we were born, but I don't recall anybody horrified that much of that fact ;). Change the words "time and space" and "[The Calendar]" I mentioned above to "ESO", and the word "threads" to "quests" or "DLCs".. whatever.. and then read it again. That would be much more comprehensive. This is what I mean, no linear time on Nirn - it's just an illusion, though suprisingly it also effects us, the ones called in the lore the Prisoners and Heroes, the players, those who should have known it's nature by default :p.

    The Psijics teach us those three incantations - Undo allows us to step backwards in time, resetting ourselves and our position to what we were seconds prior spellcasting, Time Stop and Accelerate are seemingly almost the same Alteration spells in their essence differing only in the object of spellcast either on self or on target (ground). In order to change something globally you'll have only two options - either to summon Numidium or to "Dragon Break Dance" on the top of a tower, but even in that case you won't be able to change anything - your choice of eating either a chocolate or a strawberry ice-cream would end with both options having the same consequences. Well, there is the third option with that Nchuthnkarst Dwemeri machine, but it needs further development in order to be researchable. The world of Aedra is static, for stasis they are. For now it is "no beginning or end - it's like a bowl of water, or a cable with many threads bound together".
    Edited by Cygemai_Hlervu on July 9, 2020 8:47PM
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