One Tamriel... The days before it were bound in chains, but put in a right order. After Tamriel was completely opened and people from all the alliances started to travel to their enemies' lands... Timeline has fallen, making a big riddle - hard even for a Dwemer. And there was a hero... A strange one. His or her story is both known and unknown. We know the events, but not the dates or motives. But what can definitely be said is that the rules of nature and time were broken around this one. It was this hero's blessing and curse...
Hi there. The problem of The Elder Scrolls Online's timeline is following my thoughts for around two weeks. I've already made a few topics about it, tried to highlight this problem and asked for fixes. If you didn't know about them, there is a small (but big enough to put it in spoiler) summary of what's going on:
After One Tamriel update, you can visit all the alliances' lands and complete their quests without any restrictions. This broke the game's timeline and logical connections. There are few examples of it.
- It feels like two of the Main quests, "Messages Across Tamriel" ("MAT") and "Weight of Three Crowns" ("WoTC"), are completely torn from any progress you could've achieved while travelling across ALL the Tamriel, not only your alliance. For example, if I play as an Ebonheart Pact warrior, but have completed other alliances' questlines too BEFORE starting "MAT", there are strange things going to occur: your friends, other alliances' leaders, won't recognize you for no reason. Also, if you start their alliances' quests AFTER "MAT" and "WoTC", they won't recognize you as other alliance's greatest champion as well.
- After "MAT" and "WoTC" you find yourself in Coldharbour, meeting characters from different alliances, primary from Daggerfall Covenant. Yes, I'm talking about Darien Gautier and Gabriel Benelle. The problem here is similar: if you meet this characters BEFORE Coldharbour, they won't recognize you in there, and if you meet them AFTER Coldharbour, they won't recognize you as well. They just won't say anything like "Oh hey, I know you, we met in Coldharbour" or "Hey, we defeated this Angof guy!". The only thing that Darien can say is "It's good to see you again, my friend!" in "WoTC", but it's all... And there's probably a lore-wise reason for it.
- You see, Darien... This guy is special. He disappears in the end of Coldharbour storyline and for a good reason. However, if you decide to complete Daggerfall Covenant story quests after Coldharbour, you will see him in a good shape and won't even ask him where he was gone. But then, he appears in Summerset chapter, where he finally can be asked where did he disappeared after Coldharbour. Also, Gabrielle can reflect on the events of Coldharbour and be told about Summerset events in Western Skyrim.
- On the tip of this mountain, it should be said that we can always leave one region for another and meet the same characters in both regions... Who may even refer to events of the regions, which were "before" the region you are in. Especially if we're talking about Aldmeri Dominion, it's Queen's brother and his wife.
Since I don't own any DLCs or chapters (I bought TESO before it started to include Morrowind chapter), I can't really say much about contradictions of the base game with them.
All these things show that there are few major questions to TESO timeline:
- Who our character truly is, so he or she is recognizable at some moment and unknown to the other one?
- What is the right order our characters' adventures and travels?
- How does Meridia's light truly works and does it work at all?
All these questions would've never appeared if not One Tamriel. I don't want to say that this is a bad thing, but it definitely left these riddles I'll try to answer. Also, please don't think that I try to command you the way you should think of your characters' past and future: I simply try to suggest an answer to these questions (even though I feel that it's incomplete) and would love to see your explanations
Who is our character and what was the order of his/her travels across Tamriel?
Our character is... Multiple characters, as the title of this post says. However, it's not that bad... And not good either.
Basically, our characters' story starts with their soul captured by Molag Bal's cultists and they thrown into prison in this beast's plane. This is how The Vestige was born.
After being released by Lyris, this hero arrives in one of their alliances' territory. Inspired by people of these lands, they decide to fight for it, becoming their alliance's great patriot.
The Vestige fights through all their alliances' lands, facing the true danger of Molag Bal's Planemeld. The only way to resolve this problem is to unite. This is why The Vestige calls all of three Alliances' leaders to meet on the Island of Stirk. Even though negotiations were bad, they went even worse with the direct arrival of Molag Bal's forces.
After this fight, our hero and their companions found themselves in Coldharbour. They gained forces to fight Molag Bal's army. In the end, they finally won, even though King Laloriaran Dynar died and Darien Gautier disappeared.
Then, it was a moment for The Vestige to finally fight Molag Bal in a direct combat. They fight this daedra, slicing this monster into two pieces... And then it's time for The Vestige to stop being Vestige. Meridia catches their soul, allowing the Soulless one become truly alive again.
And this is the moment where things start to get strange...
Before the Vestige was born, there was another hero. A simple Adventurer
, who lived their life in their homeland, training to become a mercenary. When the War of Three Banners raged, this hero became, for an unknown reason, ignorant to it's homeland and alliance, but found an opportunity to travel around the world. They used their skill to help people from all the Tamriel, to experience new lands and cultures.
This hero's braveness was infinite and power was endless... But the Worm Cult tricked this Adventurer. Only once, but it was fatal. Worm Cult captured Adventurer's soul and put the hero into the cell.
Since this moment, it was a completely different person. For some reason, maybe even because of Meridia's secret influence, people of Tamriel stopped seeing an Adventurer in the Vestige
- this hero was just gone for some time.When The Vestige has finally reclaimed this Adventurer's soul, their memories were combined and even a bit messed, making a new, complete hero - Savior of Tamriel.
This means, that this hero's alliance story was a "present" thing while other alliances' stories was their past. That The Vestige is a patriot of their alliance and Adventurer is just a traveler of their own business.
The Savior of Tamriel is a combined version of both of them, capable to make their own decisions without being manipulated by any of the alliances. This is why our hero decides to move on and travels these lands that are even less involved in war: starting from Orsinium and finishing, by now, with Blackwood.
What about other characters? All of them see the Savior of Tamriel as a hero of their own vision. All the alliances' leaders recognize their own champion, completely ignoring that they fought and maybe still fight for the other sides. There is an aureole of universality around our hero... But their true motives aren't completely known even to themselves.
As the result, true order of our characters' adventures is like that: other alliances (as an Adventurer) -> their own alliance (as the Vestige) -> DLC regions (as the Savior of Tamriel). This is the order when their story feels more complete and have less contradictions. As I told earlier, this order is imperfect, but I find it the best explanation since One Tamriel was implemented.However, if this explanation it's really well, all the adventures of The Vestige can be described as somebody's stories that were told by a slightly incompetent storyteller, maybe like the Prince from Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
What about the Light of Meridia which appears in Harborage after the Main Quest?
This question is even more complicated and it's answer looks more like a conspiracy theory. Since Meridia is known to be a huge trickster, it makes sense, but all in all, it's explanation is more like... trying to make things fit the theory I explained before. I don't like it, but after One Tamriel arrived, the Light of Meridia in Harborage has lost any sense, giving us space to think about it differently.
In my opinion, the Light of Meridia from Harborage didn't really put our hero into the sea, but in a random location which can be considered as a safehouse. On a bed, right. However, it made us experience our travels once again, making us say like we "travelled the world" to Cadwell.
Why does Meridia need it? She's a god! How can you understand a god?
Maybe she's collecting your data, maybe she's providing you with information... Anyway, her Light doesn't work as she told it is - it's definitely.
Of course, it's bad that we must make theories about a complete product just because somebody didn't overseen something wrong with it's timeline. When Morrowind was released, Bethesda Game Studios made the greatest piece of The Elder Scrolls lore, creating Dragon Break, making Numidium cause it and even making Dagoth Ur repairing Akulakhan - the second version of this time-shattering machine. I think that TESO deserves something like this as well. The Elder Scrolls Online has a potential to be the most meta-physical game of the series and this potential should definitely be used.
However, by now, it's fun to create theories that somehow explain all the inconsistencies of the timeline. I hope that at some point we will know the truth, will be officially and in-game guided through these stories... But now the only way to explain this is making theories.
Thank you for your attention!
Even though TESO is a great game, it suffers from continuity issues
that may hurt narrative experience and confuse lore-caring players. If we want TESO to be a decent exemplar in The Elder Scrolls series, these problems need to be fixed. Please, acknowledge with this information more in this thread
. Thank you.