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ZeniMax Online should do better work with lore, timeline and continuity questions

Treshcore
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I want to make a clear statement that me, as well as many people who would support me in this topic, do not like the way ZeniMax Online maintains lore of The Elder Scrolls Online.

It seems like each zone of the game lives it's own life, allows such confusing things as:
  • Dead/disappeared characters appear with no explanation (e.g. Darien Gautier);
  • People you already met don't know you (e.g. Coldharbour characters if you meet them after it, alliance leaders in "Messages Across Tamriel" and their alliances' quests);
  • You can't choose dialogues which would fit into conversations better (e.g. meeting Gabriella Benele on a Gold Coast vs meeting her in Western Skyrim after completing Coldharbour);
  • People refer you and your character refers themselves as soulless in the base game zones - with some quests based on this feature (e.g. "Heart of Evil" quest in Bangkorai);
  • ...and so on.
It's definitely clear that each zone represents it's own story which is put near to other stories, but connections between them are very, very selective and contradicting to each other. This way of maintaining the overall story is abusive to players who came to TESO as to The Elder Scrolls game, not as to online game.

Definitely, game's lore, continuity and timeline should be officially explained or fixed by ZeniMax Online. Players who come here for lore and story may leave it after they see some of these inconsistencies! I love this game, but I'm tired of making my headcanon theories to explain all of these things.
And no, this is not a demand. This is a very important require - an urgent one. Since most of the other aspects of the game are definitely good or even nearly perfect, lore aspect starts to be the most important one.

ZeniMax Online, please give us the official explanation of The Elder Scrolls Online timeline - after seven years since the game's launch, old players and newcomers deserve to have it and understand the game's main problem as a part of The Elder Scrolls series.
Edited by ZOS_Volpe on May 18, 2021 1:01PM
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.
  • SirAndy
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    You do realize that lore is entirely made up fiction, yes?
    And that ZOS is the one making/changing/updating the lore.

    They can (and do) make anything they want to be lore. They are in fact the one and only truth.
    shades.gif


    Edited by SirAndy on May 17, 2021 7:30PM
  • Marto
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    It's all tradeoffs.

    A more linear and directed story has less contradictions and more consistent characters and developments, but it is obviously more restrictive.

    TES games have always been about freedom, and that freedom comes with a cost. The Dragonborn ping-pongs between ruthless murderer and goodie two shoes, the Hero of Kvatch can save the world in a couple weeks, or faff around for years collecting flowers.

    There's also technical limitations and tradeoffs. For example, having multiple different instances of a town (A version that's peaceful, a version under attack, and a version being rebuilt) is very immersive, and makes the world feel like it's reacting to your actions and choices.
    But if you want to meet up with your friends, you need to be on the same instance. And the more instances there are, the more complicated that becomes.

    Ultimately, Bethesda believes that the lore should serve the game, not the other way around.

    Will TES VI take place in Akavir? Will it have mysticism magic? Will it allow you to play as a Dwemer? Will it have guns?

    The answer to those questions is not a long complex ramble about lore.
    The answer to those questions is, and always will be: "If it's fun to develop and play? Yes."
    "According to the calculations of the sages of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth, the batam guar is the cutest creature in all Tamriel"
  • Treshcore
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    @Hanokis, this is a good advice in this situations. The game's continuity is maintained bad, so we are free to think about it all as a Dragon Break.

    However, a different part of me doesn't share this vision. It's ridiculous, but we have an official statement, that Dragon Break (the most logical explanation of all of this mess) isn't presented in The Elder Scrolls Online in any form. It doesn't matter who said it, the only thing that matters is that it was ZOS representative. For me, this means that you can create any headcanon (and I tried) as long as your "imaginations" doesn't go against the official statements.

    If it's so, I'd like ZOS to simply make a statement that there is a Dragon Break, saying that their previous statements about it were "made very hastily and without good inner knowledge of this lore aspect". However, even during Elsweyr promotion, somebody once told us that world isn't gonna roll us into the Dragon Break. Well, while this kind of statements exist, the game continuity is an open question for us and it should be the same for ZOS.
    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.
  • SeaGtGruff
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    Treshcore wrote: »
    • Dead/disappeared characters appear with no explanation (e.g. Darien Gautier);
    • People you already met don't know you (e.g. Coldharbour characters if you meet them after it, alliance leaders in "Messages Across Tamriel" and their alliances' quests);
    • You can't choose dialogues which would fit into conversations better (e.g. meeting Gabriella Benele on a Gold Coast vs meeting her in Western Skyrim after completing Coldharbour);
    • People refer you and your character refers themselves as soulless in the base game zones - with some quests based on this feature (e.g. "Heart of Evil" quest in Bangkorai);
    • ...and so on.

    I understand what you mean, although I also understand that it can be extremely difficult to program conversation trees that take every possible situation into account, so I try to accept it as best I can.

    With respect to doing the alliance and zone quests during Cadwell's Silver and Gold, where people refer to you as soulless even though you've already completed Coldharbour and gotten your soul back, or people you've met act like they've never seen you before, I just pretend that Meridia's gift has put a type of glamour on you, or something like that, so you appear to be from whatever other alliance you're questing through, and that this also makes it appear that you're still soulless (to those who are able to detect such things). And since you treat your actual native alliance as though they're an enemy, presumably this glamour or whatever is affecting your thinking and perception as well. Or maybe Meridia's gift creates something like a dragonbreak, such that you aren't merely cast adrift in a new alliance as though you'd just escaped Coldharbour for the first time, but you actually go back in time-- except you still retain memories from your previous existence, since you still know about Cadwell's offer and the gift from Meridia. So it's sort of like going back in time, except it isn't.

    As far as people coming back to life with no explanation, who's to say they actually died? For instance, Raz supposedly dies if you choose a particular option in Reaper's March, but then he shows up at the completion of Repear's March and the finale of the Aldmeri Dominion questline without anyone ever acting surprised to see him or explaining how he reappeared, so we just have to assume that he and the others he was with had somehow managed to dig their way out of the collapsed ruin. And if a Main Story character was selected for sacrifice but then later reappeared, we just have to assume that they managed to be spared from sacrifice somehow, or else were resurrected afterward. After all, we resurrect King Emeric from the dead, so why can't one of the Main Story characters come back as well?
    I've fought mudcrabs more fearsome than me!
  • Treshcore
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    @Ekzorka, 100% agree.
    When I tried to cover this problem before, there were many people who told me: "We want more freedom, so shut up, don't ask for some content to be closed from us". I wanted to ask them if they have ever played video games, because you can't get to the end of the story without playing through what was before. They acted pretty.. aggressive because my suggestions wanted to take this freedom away from them. However, when we're talking about plot consistency, I believe that there definitely should be limitations.
    Edited by Treshcore on May 17, 2021 8:30PM
    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.
  • VaranisArano
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    It's important to keep in mind that ESO does have an internal chronological order. Zones may be free to travel in any order post-One Tamriel, and all the events may have been flattened in 2E 582. ZOS even changed some dialogue to indicate alternate meetings.

    But if you want everything to "make sense", then you need to play in chronological order of release.


    ZOS isn't ever going to force that on players, because they don't want to create the impression that you have to play hours and hours of old content before you can jump into the latest expansion you just bought. And they usually manage a pretty good new player experience! Eveli probably seems like a pretty fun character when we meet her in Blackwood - the cognitive dissonance won't hit until much later when the now no-longer-new player heads to Orsinium and meets the original Eveli.

    At least it's not as bad as introducing Cadwell, Tharn, Sai Sahan or Lyris before new players had done the Main Quest, like Elsweyr, Dragonhold, and Greymoor did.
  • Redguards_Revenge
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    Treshcore wrote: »
    I want to make a clear statement that me, as well as many people who would support me in this topic, do not like the way ZeniMax Online maintains lore of The Elder Scrolls Online.

    It seems like each zone of the game lives it's own life, allows such confusing things as:
    • Dead/disappeared characters appear with no explanation (e.g. Darien Gautier);
    • People you already met don't know you (e.g. Coldharbour characters if you meet them after it, alliance leaders in "Messages Across Tamriel" and their alliances' quests);
    • You can't choose dialogues which would fit into conversations better (e.g. meeting Gabriella Benele on a Gold Coast vs meeting her in Western Skyrim after completing Coldharbour);
    • People refer you and your character refers themselves as soulless in the base game zones - with some quests based on this feature (e.g. "Heart of Evil" quest in Bangkorai);
    • ...and so on.
    It's definitely clear that each zone represents it's own story which is put near to other stories, but connections between them are very, very selective and contradicting to each other. This way of maintaining the overall story is abusive to players who came to TESO as to The Elder Scrolls game, not as to online game.

    Definitely, game's lore, continuity and timeline should be officially explained or fixed by ZeniMax Online. Players who come here for lore and story may leave it after they see some of these inconsistencies! I love this game, but I'm tired of making my headcanon theories to explain all of these things.
    And no, this is not a demand. This is a very important require - an urgent one. Since most of the other aspects of the game are definitely good or even nearly perfect, lore aspect starts to be the most important one.

    ZeniMax Online, please give us the official explanation of The Elder Scrolls Online timeline - after seven years since the game's launch, old players and newcomers deserve to have it and understand the game's main problem as a part of The Elder Scrolls series.

    One Tamriel era changed that view. They wanted people to play with other people to do the content. Before one tamriel you could walk into an area of the zone and it would be different for you and your friend that just started. That stopped them playing with their friends.
  • Treshcore
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    @SeaGtGruff, yes, some sort of glamour can be an explaining to everything. One of the types of explanation. However, there are questions like "Where and how glamour was taken?" or "How does it work?".
    I'm not in the best state of mind to create any theories right now, but we should jump from these facts:
    • Every alliance story goes BEFORE Coldharbour;
    • Coldharbour and the final Main Quest ("God of Schemes") work like a prism:
      1. All the three alliance stories end there;
      2. You have no logical explanation for returning to alliance zones because:
        • ALL the characters there (and your character themselves) will refer protagonist as soulless while it's no longer true after the MQ;
        • Since entering Coldharbour doesn't require you to complete alliance story, you may meet some characters in YOUR alliance's story even after Coldharbour - and they won't recognize you;
    • All DLC go AFTER Coldharbour;
      • Their order is even more confused since some of the DLC may go before or after the events of the others;
    • Character can refer to the stories that chronologically go after the story they're met in;

    I WANT ZENIMAX ONLINE TO SEE THIS POST, and I "scream" not because I'm egoistical scamp but because I want them to see how bad it is with TESO's continuity! There definitely should be a clear statement about Dragon Break because I don't see any other decision. Still, our protagonist is a very cool guy and they deserves some metaphysical mystery around.
    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.
  • Treshcore
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    @VaranisArano, I agree with the opinion that the DLC content you bought with your money should be accessible almost always.
    The problem is that you may be interested in some particular DLC and not ready to pay for others which were chronologically before. This is why there should be an universal explanation which will tell you: "You are welcome in any part of Tamriel and shouldn't be worried if time goes ahead of itself or goes before of what you've already seen". All the purchases should be respected with this explanation.
    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.
  • Iccotak
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    It's important to keep in mind that ESO does have an internal chronological order. Zones may be free to travel in any order post-One Tamriel, and all the events may have been flattened in 2E 582. ZOS even changed some dialogue to indicate alternate meetings.

    But if you want everything to "make sense", then you need to play in chronological order of release.


    ZOS isn't ever going to force that on players, because they don't want to create the impression that you have to play hours and hours of old content before you can jump into the latest expansion you just bought. And they usually manage a pretty good new player experience! Eveli probably seems like a pretty fun character when we meet her in Blackwood - the cognitive dissonance won't hit until much later when the now no-longer-new player heads to Orsinium and meets the original Eveli.

    At least it's not as bad as introducing Cadwell, Tharn, Sai Sahan or Lyris before new players had done the Main Quest, like Elsweyr, Dragonhold, and Greymoor did.

    what they don't seem to get though is that they give players NO direction in the start of the game, which is alienating and just makes for a boring experience.

    I get not wanting to restrict players or showcasing freedom of choice but its ok to hand hold a little at the start - because right now I keep seeing stories of people who try the game but get lost because ZOS gave them zero direction of what to do. (so they stop playing)

    That's bad design

    Like I said in another thread
    ZOS should just have players start in Coldharbour

    it is way easier to explain to new players that they can go to any DLC they want after experiencing the intro rather than trying to explain how to properly start at the REAL beginning of the game and to make sense of the story timeline
    Iccotak wrote: »
    THIS is how you hook a player into the game, all the other starts were lackluster and had Zero direction.

    Edited by Iccotak on May 17, 2021 9:52PM
  • VaranisArano
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    Treshcore wrote: »
    @VaranisArano, I agree with the opinion that the DLC content you bought with your money should be accessible almost always.
    The problem is that you may be interested in some particular DLC and not ready to pay for others which were chronologically before. This is why there should be an universal explanation which will tell you: "You are welcome in any part of Tamriel and shouldn't be worried if time goes ahead of itself or goes before of what you've already seen". All the purchases should be respected with this explanation.

    The DLC/Chapter content you bought is always available to play. That doesn't mean it will necessarily make perfect sense now or make a mess of something later on if you don't play all the content in chronological order.

    We've got ZOS to blame for that. If you want that to change, convince ZOS to start all players in the Coldharbor tutorial, make more standalone content and stop recycling recurring NPCs like Eveli, Darien, Lyris, and Abnur Tharn. Also, stop doing Year-long Storylines that start with the Q1 Dungeons and the Prologue quests, while starting new players in the Chapter with a new introduction so they miss chuncks of story right off the bat. That would help. (It's not going to happen.)


    I'm also not sure what good a "universal explanation" would do. Well, beyond assuring players that the messed up internal timeline is a feature, not a bug.

    A "Story Guide" that lays out what zones are included in which story arcs would be far more useful.

    The original base game is very railroaded with strict continuity at parts. The new expansions build on base game content without respecting their preexisting continuity from a new player experience.

    If you want the lore-based "carte blanche" to roam Tamriel freely, it's there in a quest, but you'll have to complete the Main Quest to get it.

    Defacto, your character can go anywhere in Tamriel and do any quest. But it's "at your own risk." If you enter the Rift from Stonefalls, you'll find yourself doing the end of the Pact questline backwards, and I've seen someone do that. You can complete the Aldmeri Dominion zones in any order, though I really don't recommend it. Fundamentally, the stories in the base game won't make sense unless you do them in the original order they were designed for.

    Similarly, Elsweyr and Dragonhold can be completed in any order, but the Elsweyr Prologue won't make sense if you do it out of order, and the Chronology of the Main Quest is so messed up it literally bugs if you try to do the quest "The Tharn Speaks" while you have the Elsweyr Prologue quests active.


    At a certain point, you either play the content in order or accept that it's not going to make sense 100% of the time if you prefer to pursue your own order.
  • Einher2137
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    ESO is just fanfic, c0da is canon
  • Ekzorka
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    Treshcore wrote: »
    They acted pretty.. aggressive because my suggestions wanted to take this freedom away from them. However, when we're talking about plot consistency, I believe that there definitely should be limitations.
    It can be unlimited. The story suffers from trying to happen at the same time as the rest of the stories. Okay, our Hero can "possibly" to be in different places at the same time, but what about the others? I think the global timeline should moving through a quests. This can help storywriters not to think through all the variations of a situation depending on the completed quests (where is possible to forget about something), but to focus on only one option.
    Ah, and these dialogues for newbies in TES universe... they are increasingly perplexing. :c
  • Treshcore
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    @VaranisArano, very, very good explanation of all the problems.

    It may be a sad thing for most of people who are interested in this question too, but making "universal explanation" which makes feature out of bug seems to be the most "cheap" decision. Like, yes, I paid for TESO, but who am I to look into a deep budget of Bethesda and say like: "Alright, now you use these money for fixing ALL the content"?
    I just want an explanation, like Dragon Break or something. It's not bad because it touches metaphysics - and many players would love to see some metaphysical stuff in TES games. Even though it will, once again, be used to explain inconsistencies and fix plot holes.
    As I told earlier, the official acceptance of Dragon Break in 2E 582 will save ZOS from so, so many questions. It's very hard to tell when and why Dragon Break would like to appear. Want it or not, Numidium's remains are still exist somewhere, so maybe it was used once more after The War of The First Council and The Tiber Wars? Anyway, it can be for us to make theories, but only one statement about Dragon Break can open many ways for both us to explore the content and ZOS to have more creation freedom.
    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.
  • VaranisArano
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    Treshcore wrote: »
    @VaranisArano, very, very good explanation of all the problems.

    It may be a sad thing for most of people who are interested in this question too, but making "universal explanation" which makes feature out of bug seems to be the most "cheap" decision. Like, yes, I paid for TESO, but who am I to look into a deep budget of Bethesda and say like: "Alright, now you use these money for fixing ALL the content"?
    I just want an explanation, like Dragon Break or something. It's not bad because it touches metaphysics - and many players would love to see some metaphysical stuff in TES games. Even though it will, once again, be used to explain inconsistencies and fix plot holes.
    As I told earlier, the official acceptance of Dragon Break in 2E 582 will save ZOS from so, so many questions. It's very hard to tell when and why Dragon Break would like to appear. Want it or not, Numidium's remains are still exist somewhere, so maybe it was used once more after The War of The First Council and The Tiber Wars? Anyway, it can be for us to make theories, but only one statement about Dragon Break can open many ways for both us to explore the content and ZOS to have more creation freedom.

    I dislike the Dragonbreak explanation because I feel it's overused by fans. I think it's better saved for big events that make no sense otherwise, as in Daggerfall, when it's used to reconcile irreconcilable outcomes.

    In ESO, there is a simple explantion already available: where it matters, everything happened in the intended order. Where it doesn't matter, the Vestige can do it in whatever order they want. The momentary confusion of the player who doesn't play all the content or stumbles through it out if order need not impact the established lore and story.

    There's no choice in ESO that's anywhere near as consequential as "I handed the Mantella and a reality shaping Numidium to the Emperor/Daggerfall/Hammerfell/Mannimarco/the Underking etc." that results in greatly different endings. There's not even any choice as consequential for the story as picking a side in Skyrim's Civil War.
  • SeaGtGruff
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    Iccotak wrote: »
    what they don't seem to get though is that they give players NO direction in the start of the game, which is alienating and just makes for a boring experience.

    To be fair, the new tutorial which we'll be getting in a few more weeks does give new players a bit of direction, by giving them a choice of which zone to start in and a little bit of description about what's going on there. I know a lot of players are upset because they don't get to choose which tutorial to play, but I think the new tutorial is definitely a step in a better direction.
    I dislike the Dragonbreak explanation because I feel it's overused by fans. I think it's better saved for big events that make no sense otherwise, as in Daggerfall, when it's used to reconcile irreconcilable outcomes.

    I don't think we need to go full-on dragonbreak. But since Meridia is involved and she apparently has the ability to do some kind of timey-wimey thing involving starlight, we can postulate that there might be some sort of mini-dragonbreak-ish thing going on. Or not, since even something as simple as a glamour might help to explain certain things, again thanks to Meridia's ability to do things involving light.
    I've fought mudcrabs more fearsome than me!
  • Treshcore
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    @VaranisArano, one part of me agrees with you, a different part still feels like it's time for a Dragon Break.

    You're right from the perspective that if player doesn't play the game with the intended order, well, it's players' fault.
    For example, in Skyrim you can stand on the Throat of The World, speak to Paarthurnax... But then suddenly exit the dialogue, use fast travel and go playing bowling with cabbage. It won't be explained by any Dragon Break, it's just a player...
    From this perspective, reaching some zones before they were intended to be visited by you is less hardcore version of what I've just wrote.

    However, there are many howevers...
    First of all, visiting other alliance, as well as visiting DLC zone when there are no urgent quests is a normal thing. You will be punished for this normality by broken timeline if you do this.
    Then about Dragon Break... Yes, it is overused by community, but the The Elder Scrolls Fandom page about it shows only five instances of it during all the eras. This means that it's not overused by Bethesda.
    After it, I think that our protagonist is a very, very cool guy. This scene where he or she slashes Molag Bal in a single combat proved it. I think that his or her story should have an epic outcome - and Dragon Break is a specially good situation for this.
    Finally, there is a statement on the Three Banners War page of the same site that it's outcome is... Unknown. The event which included Molag Bal's invasion, a huge battles between three alliances (not these street fights in Skyrim or Oblivion)... Is not referred anyhow in the Third and Fourth eras. It was literally erased from timeline.

    This is why I'm ready for the Dragon Break explanation. As I told before, it will open more creative freedom for ZOS, more space for headcanon for us and even less problems for Bethesda Game Studios who are making The Elder Scrolls VI. Wish I could ask Todd Howard and Michael Kirkbride here about their vision of TESO...
    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.
  • VaranisArano
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    Treshcore wrote: »
    @VaranisArano, one part of me agrees with you, a different part still feels like it's time for a Dragon Break.

    You're right from the perspective that if player doesn't play the game with the intended order, well, it's players' fault.
    For example, in Skyrim you can stand on the Throat of The World, speak to Paarthurnax... But then suddenly exit the dialogue, use fast travel and go playing bowling with cabbage. It won't be explained by any Dragon Break, it's just a player...
    From this perspective, reaching some zones before they were intended to be visited by you is less hardcore version of what I've just wrote.

    However, there are many howevers...
    First of all, visiting other alliance, as well as visiting DLC zone when there are no urgent quests is a normal thing. You will be punished for this normality by broken timeline if you do this.
    Then about Dragon Break... Yes, it is overused by community, but the The Elder Scrolls Fandom page about it shows only five instances of it during all the eras. This means that it's not overused by Bethesda.
    After it, I think that our protagonist is a very, very cool guy. This scene where he or she slashes Molag Bal in a single combat proved it. I think that his or her story should have an epic outcome - and Dragon Break is a specially good situation for this.
    Finally, there is a statement on the Three Banners War page of the same site that it's outcome is... Unknown. The event which included Molag Bal's invasion, a huge battles between three alliances (not these street fights in Skyrim or Oblivion)... Is not referred anyhow in the Third and Fourth eras. It was literally erased from timeline.

    This is why I'm ready for the Dragon Break explanation. As I told before, it will open more creative freedom for ZOS, more space for headcanon for us and even less problems for Bethesda Game Studios who are making The Elder Scrolls VI. Wish I could ask Todd Howard and Michael Kirkbride here about their vision of TESO...

    ESO takes place in the Interregnum. Prior to this game, this lore was that this period was basically remembered as a time of chaos, wars, and many pretenders to the Imperial Throne. Keep in mind that there are 200+ years between ESO and the next era of peace and stability for Nirn when Tiber Septim becomes the next Dragonborn Emperor. Then add on 400 or so years before the Third Era TES games, and 200 more years before Skyrim.

    That's a lot of chaos and war, in which the Three Banners War is ultimately inconsequential, no matter how important it seems to us right now. Nor does Tiber Septim particularly care about making sure that history records our exploits 200+ years later. He wants to make himself look good, as the Emperor who restored the peace. Rather than being erased from the timeline, it's more like our events weren't well-recorded. This is pretty normal for Tamriel historical records, judging by other games, and particularly where Heroes are involved. The Nerevarine hardly gets a mention 200 years later in Skyrim, and they might even be still alive.

    As for the other folks who should remember the specifics like the Daedra, the Tribunal, the Psijics, or the College of Sapiarchs...well, my personal explanation is that most of them are pretty embarrassed that they got beat by or needed the help of the Vestige, and so they don't preserve our history for the general public.
  • Marto
    Marto
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    Ekzorka wrote: »
    Marto wrote: »
    It's all tradeoffs.

    A more linear and directed story has less contradictions and more consistent characters and developments, but it is obviously more restrictive.

    TES games have always been about freedom, and that freedom comes with a cost. The Dragonborn ping-pongs between ruthless murderer and goodie two shoes, the Hero of Kvatch can save the world in a couple weeks, or faff around for years collecting flowers.
    If we compare with TESO quest system it would be like: Dragonborn/Champion of Cyrodiil starts own story > Dragonborn infiltrates to the Thalmor Embassy/Champion of Cyrodii meeting Mankar Camoran > Dragonborn going to Greybeards/Champion of Cyrodiil going to Bruma > Dragonborn killing Alduin/Champion of Cyrodiil watching a monsters fight > Dragonborn watching the Dragon resurrection/Champion of Cyrodiil telling to Martin the truth.
    The singles have the linear story that cannot be started from the middle or end, you have to follow a strictly defined scenario. This allows to write a good and logical story. But when a scenario tries to be "neutral" to timeline the story becomes limited, sometimes illogical, with a missing potential.

    ESO is not entirely devoid of structure. Every Alliance, and "Year of" has a structure not unlike what you described.

    I think the best thing ZOS could do is to prepare a few sets of "Journeys", a list of areas to complete, that all form a cohesive narrative.

    They'd look something like
    • The Ebonheart Pact:
      Bleakrock Isle -> Bal Foyen -> Stonefalls -> Deshaan -> Shadowfen -> Eastmarch -> The Rift -> Coldharbour
    • The Daggerfall Covenant:
      Stros M'kai -> Betnikh -> Glenumbra -> Stormhaven -> Rivenspire -> Ailk'r -> Bangkorai -> Coldharbour
    • The Aldmeri Dominion:
      Khenarthi's Roost -> Auridon -> Grahtwood -> Greenshade -> Malabar Tor -> Reaper's March -> Coldharbour
    • The Daedric Triad:
      Orsinium -> Vvardenfell -> Clockwork City -> Summerset
    • A Rage of Dragons:
      Wrathstone Dungeons -> Northern Elsweyr -> Scalebreaker -> Southern Elsweyr
    • The Dark Heart of Skyrim:
      Harrowstorm -> Western Skyrim -> Stonethorn -> The Reach
    • The Gates of Oblivion:
      Flames of Ambition -> Blackwood -> SomethingFireBrimstonesomething -> The Deadlands

    They'd just be suggestions on the player's UI, of course. Not unlike the current new player guides and map completion trackers that are currently in the game.
    Edited by Marto on May 17, 2021 11:43PM
    "According to the calculations of the sages of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth, the batam guar is the cutest creature in all Tamriel"
  • AcadianPaladin
    AcadianPaladin
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    Plenty of good points and I agree with this and other threads that, at a minimum, the game can be very confusing to new players. The full freedom is great but at least provide new players with info (in game) on what the chronological order of quest progression makes the most sense.

    I've never had a problem with Silver and Gold because we are fully warned that no one will know who or what our history is.

    I do have a problem with the reappearance of Sai and Lyris. Firstly, they are not needed for their subsequent roles; a new NPC could just as easily act as 'guide' for our dragon hunting in Elsweyr and vampire hunting in Skyrim. That said, if keeping Sai and Lyris around is deemed important, then during the Plane Meld main quest have the Prophet be the one to decide who gets sacrificed (he'd choose himself). Of course I'm still not happy that the game would not let us free Manimarco and sacrifice him.

    PC NA(no Steam), PvE, mostly solo
  • kargen27
    kargen27
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    Marto wrote: »
    Ekzorka wrote: »
    Marto wrote: »
    It's all tradeoffs.

    A more linear and directed story has less contradictions and more consistent characters and developments, but it is obviously more restrictive.

    TES games have always been about freedom, and that freedom comes with a cost. The Dragonborn ping-pongs between ruthless murderer and goodie two shoes, the Hero of Kvatch can save the world in a couple weeks, or faff around for years collecting flowers.
    If we compare with TESO quest system it would be like: Dragonborn/Champion of Cyrodiil starts own story > Dragonborn infiltrates to the Thalmor Embassy/Champion of Cyrodii meeting Mankar Camoran > Dragonborn going to Greybeards/Champion of Cyrodiil going to Bruma > Dragonborn killing Alduin/Champion of Cyrodiil watching a monsters fight > Dragonborn watching the Dragon resurrection/Champion of Cyrodiil telling to Martin the truth.
    The singles have the linear story that cannot be started from the middle or end, you have to follow a strictly defined scenario. This allows to write a good and logical story. But when a scenario tries to be "neutral" to timeline the story becomes limited, sometimes illogical, with a missing potential.

    ESO is not entirely devoid of structure. Every Alliance, and "Year of" has a structure not unlike what you described.

    I think the best thing ZOS could do is to prepare a few sets of "Journeys", a list of areas to complete, that all form a cohesive narrative.

    They'd look something like
    • The Ebonheart Pact:
      Bleakrock Isle -> Bal Foyen -> Stonefalls -> Deshaan -> Shadowfen -> Eastmarch -> The Rift -> Coldharbour
    • The Daggerfall Covenant:
      Stros M'kai -> Betnikh -> Glenumbra -> Stormhaven -> Rivenspire -> Ailk'r -> Bangkorai -> Coldharbour
    • The Aldmeri Dominion:
      Khenarthi's Roost -> Auridon -> Grahtwood -> Greenshade -> Malabar Tor -> Reaper's March -> Coldharbour
    • The Daedric Triad:
      Orsinium -> Vvardenfell -> Clockwork City -> Summerset
    • A Rage of Dragons:
      Wrathstone Dungeons -> Northern Elsweyr -> Scalebreaker -> Southern Elsweyr
    • The Dark Heart of Skyrim:
      Harrowstorm -> Western Skyrim -> Stonethorn -> The Reach
    • The Gates of Oblivion:
      Flames of Ambition -> Blackwood -> SomethingFireBrimstonesomething -> The Deadlands

    They'd just be suggestions on the player's UI, of course. Not unlike the current new player guides and map completion trackers that are currently in the game.

    You can look at achievements/exploration and get a decent idea of what order to do things in.

    and a question unrelated to this post but related to the thread.

    If we were in a Dragon Break would we know it? Seems to me a scholar somewhere in the distant future would stumble across inconsistencies and thing hmmm.
    Sometimes purple is just a color.
  • Hanokihs
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    I dislike the Dragonbreak explanation because I feel it's overused by fans. I think it's better saved for big events that make no sense otherwise, as in Daggerfall, when it's used to reconcile irreconcilable outcomes.

    In ESO, there is a simple explantion already available: where it matters, everything happened in the intended order. Where it doesn't matter, the Vestige can do it in whatever order they want. The momentary confusion of the player who doesn't play all the content or stumbles through it out if order need not impact the established lore and story.

    There's no choice in ESO that's anywhere near as consequential as "I handed the Mantella and a reality shaping Numidium to the Emperor/Daggerfall/Hammerfell/Mannimarco/the Underking etc." that results in greatly different endings. There's not even any choice as consequential for the story as picking a side in Skyrim's Civil War.

    Emphasis mine, because literally every player character is treated like one individual, and a horde of individuals, at the same time; we're called "The Vestige," but we're also millions of different people of distinct race/gender/magical ability. Different quest choices have different outcomes, all of which are technically canon. Even the fact that we have world/town instances, where different locations simultaneously exist in different states of completion, is clear evidence of a Dragon Break.

    Plus Sai and Lyris randomly existing in other places when they should otherwise be held captive or dead - major sticking point. Even if you're not going out of order or looking to do things that way, I know for a fact that Lyris is just hanging around in the Fighter's Guild somewhere at the same time she's sacrificing her soul to help you escape from Coldharbour. You haven't rescued her yet; what's she doing loose? On one of my alts, I was minding my business when I ran into Tharn and he acted like he already knew me when I hadn't actually met him yet; what gives?

    The only reason they say a Dragon Break hasn't happened is, to paraphrase, "everything in the game is canon to the lore." But that's exactly what a Dragon Break is for! To reconcile the timeline of events that otherwise couldn't happen simultaneously or as offshoots of one another. If they don't wanna say it's a Dragon Break for the same reason you don't want to call it that, it's an overused mechanism, they need to just give us another name for and means to create a "time glitch" so the whole thing makes any kind of coherent sense again.
    "I haven't really played much yet, but lemme tell you all about how the game should include X and be a lot more like Y!" - Half the posters on this forum.
    "I've been here for years, and lemme tell you all about how they should never change or evolve Z, because then the game would be ruined forever." - The other half of posters on this forum.
  • TiaFrye
    TiaFrye
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    Treshcore wrote: »
    If it's so, I'd like ZOS to simply make a statement that there is a Dragon Break, saying that their previous statements about it were "made very hastily and without good inner knowledge of this lore aspect".

    It was clearly stated by the Loremaster that it isn't Dragon Break (and that you won't like experiencing real Break) on the Loreseekers podcast as well as you're free to start whatever you want and stay there as long as you like (some time on Reddit). So true timeline is already given to your headcanons (in terms of years passed) and it says a lot. Generally chapter is the place where new player ends up and the worst thing that can happen to them is... Immediately going to dlc zone I guess? And then doing say its prologue? Any major character death is now locked behind epilogues and one that doesn't has time shenanigans.

    Lore doesn't really the victim here. Character arcs are. Because if one changed for good in the chapter or dlc it will make little sense for them to roll back in their development if you go to base game after chapter/season.
    kargen27 wrote: »
    If we were in a Dragon Break would we know it? Seems to me a scholar somewhere in the distant future would stumble across inconsistencies and thing hmmm.

    And yes, you would know. The only way you can experience it now is by making zone MQ parts randomly. But there's canon order of events and such an atrocity only managable in base game zones and I'm not even sure at what point.

    Edited by TiaFrye on May 18, 2021 4:37AM
  • Ceejengine
    Ceejengine
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    Final Fantasy forces you to follow the main story in order and no one complains. I guess the major difference here is the side quest lore.

    FF14 locks you out of zones until you complete the quest up to it, which does not work with ESO at all unless ZOS wants to regress a good decision they made.

    I don't know what a good fix would be. I agree that an awful story flow is bad for the game.

    And also instead of a brand new tutorial island they should've just started ALL new characters in the OG cdharbour intro. It was cool, justified a ton of stuff, introduced important characters like Sai, Lyris, Abnur.

    Should've just had the prophet ask you where you wanted a portal to after you were done.
  • Uryel
    Uryel
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    It's important to keep in mind that ESO does have an internal chronological order. Zones may be free to travel in any order post-One Tamriel, and all the events may have been flattened in 2E 582. ZOS even changed some dialogue to indicate alternate meetings.

    But if you want everything to "make sense", then you need to play in chronological order of release.

    Indeed. So maybe give indications of what comes first ? Maybe not start ion Elsweyr or Morrowind or Solitude depending on what chapters you own when each and every NPC will act as if you were just fresh out of Coldharbour ?

    If consistency isn't enforced, at least it should be made obvious. As of today, a new player willing to do things right will have to google the quest order, there is no way in game to know what comes first.

    That person suggesting the game exists within a dragon break probably provided the most likely explanation to that fustercluck of a story.
  • Aertew
    Aertew
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    Not gonna read the whole thing but darien had his conclusion in summerset.

    Also they refer to you as souless because in coldharbour u get your soul taken.
    Edited by Aertew on May 18, 2021 7:24AM
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