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ESO Tell Me What An Indoril Is

Supreme_Atromancer
Supreme_Atromancer
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One of the most compelling things about The Elder Scrolls series is its exploration. Even in the earliest titles, rich exploration was a driving design principle for the worlds Bethesda was creating, and while what that meant changed with the more modern titles, it remains a cornerstone of the world-building philosophy.

As Todd says, in TES, Tamriel is the main character, and TES3's Vvardenfell is one of the best demonstrations of this fact. The world itself tells a compelling story. While the first few impressions are along the lines of "wow, this world is really alien (and *really* freaking mean, omg!)"- and each new discovery of fact or place kind of just iterates on it being weird, alien and actually kind of cool in its raw creativity, attention to detail on subsequent forays inevitably leads to a deeper understanding of the world. "huh, the Hlaalu tend to live here in the lush, fertile and familiar parts of the world, while I only see these weird Telvanni cities in the far east." Much of that can be learned without reading a single lorebook: the world itself does the heavy lifting, and that's the point. Many questions that the world leads me to ask can be satisfied if I just explore a bit. And that sort of thing is what primarily makes me want to engage with- and care about- the world.

I'm posting because I'm still quite confused what the world is supposed to be telling me about House Indoril, its place and its story. I've seen others complain about ESO's handling of them, and realise I don't understand who they are either. I'm in the process of a new playthrough- re-exploring base-game content that I haven't played since 2014- to see things fresh, remind me of things that I've missed, and to re-appreciate what ZOS has created. Which, in a way, is one of the essences of Elder Scrolls gameplay, imv- explore- and re-explore- the world to learn more about it.

The question is: can ESO's Tamriel support and reward this this sort of exploration, engagement and curiosity about the world? Its not rhetorical, I'd love to see what people think about this question, including what they do right and what needs some love.

So far, for me, I've supposed that base-game Dunmer buildings are meant to represent Indoril architecture: it exists in the heartland of what old lore assigned to the Indoril, and it clearly draws from the sort of tapered, blocky, obelisky, shinto-ish aesthetic that the Tribunal DLC's Mournhold city used (in form, if not in palette). This seems to be supported by the importance of Garyn Indoril in (at least) Stonefalls. Necrom is clearly similar in form again. So, again, Indoril?

I haven't gotten any further than Stonefalls yet- there's a lot more to explore but the thing is that there doesn't seem to be much about who the Indoril are, how they relate to the other Houses and regular Dunmer in the region. What their authority structure is like, what their overall personality is. Garyn seemed honourable, but that's it. What confuses the issue even further, is that the other Houses seem to be placed helter skelter over the region, with no clear regional power-base. I know that in TES3 that Vvardenfell was a land-grab scramble, and there were treaties with the occupying Empire about how far one House could extend to combat it, but there were still clear overall patterns.

Is it just a matter of game-limitations associated with launching an expensive game? After having recently replayed Daggerfall, I learned that the cities of Wayrest and Daggerfall were meant to be quite distinct, with distinct history and aesthetic: at least for the palaces, this distinction is something you can actually see, even in its super-dated engine: Daggerfall's palace echoes its description of being a dark-stone castle, while Wayrest's is a pretty, (maybe late-medieval) estate. Again, the world tells the story. ESO's base-game High Rock, however, has them using the exact same assets, robbing them of any sense of personality or nuance, presumably because building a HUGE world with dozens of different asset sets was a freaking tall order. Is this also the reason there's little intelligibility in base-game Morrowind geography?

Even so, why does "Indoril" Gorne use the distinctly *Hlaalu* architectural set? Its like the confusion about the geography of the Peninsula was given another dimension when the sole mention that the House most closely associated with the region in previous lore is explorable amongst a completely distinct architectural style. If the architectural styles are the letters forming the visual "words" of our world-building story, what story-telling tools have you lost in abandoning them? I hear the argument that things change over long periods of time, but to me I think its fair to point out that from the story-telling perspective, you're losing vocabulary and its not really replaced with anything that helps the world tell the story except "things change". That's not something the world is telling us, that we can viscerally experience or discover: we're relying on metagaming to understand the world.

My best guess is that either the nuance is not really grasped, *or* the developers wanted to use a beautiful building set, so in it goes (which is very understandable!). From the high quality of some of the stuff that ZOS has done, I feel like its the latter. From the perspective of someone who loves TES because I love being able to explore the world and the story, and love being rewarded by finding a cohesive, compelling world that stands up to reflection, its a little disappointment to suspect those values seem so relatively expendable.

Alternatively, there's a lot that I have missed, and I just need to explore more. I'd love to know.

I love ESO, and have a lot of positive things to say about the game (and I do); I hope that this isn't seen as just a dump of negativity and complaint. I think it represents things that I value the most in ESO, so feel like it should be expressed. I hope there are opportunities going forward to enrich the exploration of the world and the story its telling, if only by understanding the perspective of the people exploring the world.


Edited by Supreme_Atromancer on July 6, 2023 5:30AM
  • LunaFlora
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  • ghastley
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    Architecture is a regional thing, not a dynastic/political one. The local building materials and craft skills determine how things are built, along with the constraints of the geography and climate.

    A regional style naturally gets associated with the dominant House of the area, but the control works the other way round.
  • Supreme_Atromancer
    Supreme_Atromancer
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    ghastley wrote: »
    Architecture is a regional thing, not a dynastic/political one. The local building materials and craft skills determine how things are built, along with the constraints of the geography and climate.


    A regional style naturally gets associated with the dominant House of the area, but the control works the other way round.

    @ghastley

    Both the Ashlanders and the Temple exist in Molag Amur, but we end up with Yurts vs. Molag Mur Canton: Local material resources is part of the story, but once an entity becomes powerful enough, it becomes less of a barrier to shaping the land to your style.

    I think its a mistake to ascribe that much thought to the decision, though. I don't think ZOS was going for a more immersive world- probably what looks cool, what was convenient, and what they think their players care about. Especially when adding so much granularity would lose a good deal of visual story-telling (and not replace it with anything).

    If ZOS were thinking along the lines of your argument, you'd be looking at what elements of the environment truly are limiting (and therefore defining), and what elements have transcended local limitations and are now just style and flare. In this example, "Hlaalu-looking" Gorne would remain as it is, but Indoril iconography and flourish would still be around to tell the story.

    Good post btw, got me thinking!
    Edited by Supreme_Atromancer on July 16, 2023 3:42AM
  • KingArthasMenethil
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    ghastley wrote: »
    Architecture is a regional thing, not a dynastic/political one. The local building materials and craft skills determine how things are built, along with the constraints of the geography and climate.

    A regional style naturally gets associated with the dominant House of the area, but the control works the other way round.

    it isn't a region thing if I recall. The Great Houses have a degree of culture about them as how each house is quite different to each other like how Telvanni act is different to how Hlaalu or Redoran would act.

    It's why Balmora and Suran is built by Hlaalu builders in the wrong style.
    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Hlaalu_Construction_Syndic
    As far as the construction of the towns of Suran and Balmora, aside from the garish use of Hlaalu architecture when the contract clearly called for the utilization of a more dignified Redoran design
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  • kaushad
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    Ghastley's explanation of regional architecture is realistic, if not something that the developers of TESIII did. Perhaps it would be better if they did, if the subcultural areas could also remain distinct. Although the mushroom towers presumably wouldn't need to source local materials in the same way. Stil, one could ask why Gorne and Camonnaruhn have the same type of sandy concrete as on Vvardenfell, while Necrom and the stone parts of Telvanni towers use other materials.
  • Carlos93
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    There are the Redoran, Telvanni, Dres, Hlaalu, Indoril architectural styles, the Vivec City style and Velothi style buildings.
  • kaushad
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    Carlos93 wrote: »
    There are the Redoran, Telvanni, Dres, Hlaalu, Indoril architectural styles, the Vivec City style and Velothi style buildings.

    Do we know that there are Indoril and Dres architectural styles? The style in Stonefalls/Deshaan/Bal Foyen was introduced in Tribunal (which had another style in the old ruins), but they didn't say that it was Indoril.

    On a tangential note, Tribunal said nothing about House Indoril, which is less than ESO. There was no Indoril council in Mournhold or mechanical faction. The only Great House affiliation in the manors of Godsreach was Hlaalu. We can guess where House Indoril stood in Tribunal's conflict between the Crown and the Temple/Almalexia, but there were no quests that explicitly featured Indoril. Morrowind's developers dropped the bar with Tribunal.
    Edited by kaushad on July 17, 2023 4:39PM
  • Supreme_Atromancer
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    So, a couple things with regard to Gorne. Firstly, you have to recognize that there's inevitably going to be asset reuse. Even the much-lauded Morrowind was not immune to this--for example, the Skaal on Solstheim used "Dunmer-style" furniture in their homes. Secondly, typically, the designers prefer to use the more recent models when they can, since they're higher quality.

    I think you're right to point this out. I remember Red Eagle in Skyrim looking suspiciously Draugry lol. I'd be shocked if we aren't all complaining about similar things in VI.

    I'm also not against asset reuse, in fact I think that the amazing work the artists have done on the stuff they've produced would be criminal not to reuse where it makes sense to do so. Rather, I think that the nuance and attention to detail in the original worldbuilding was something that made that world so deeply compelling, and therefore, in the struggle between all the other important production forces, should hold high value.
    Gorne uses the "Vvardenfell town" tileset used in Balmora, Suran, and Gnisis. Technically, in Morrowind, Balmora and Suran did use a "Hlaalu" tileset, but Balmora is Redoran territory in Online, so I think "Vvardenfell town" is a fairly accurate description. In the shape and color of the stonework, this tileset matches Velothi ancestral tombs, and is, lore-wise, probably an extension of that style (game design-wise, since city Temples in Morrowind used the Velothi tower/ancestral tomb tileset, the Hlaalu, Redoran, and Vivec tilesets all had to match aesthetically).

    Yeah, I can see how that could be true. I never considered Velothi tomb/tower architecture an extension of "Hlaalu" architecture (or v/v). You've demonstrated an excellent explanation of how it might all make sense. Do you think that this is the working model that ZOS uses? Do you think that will inform and guide how they make the world tell a coherent story in the future?

    Regarding House Indoril:
    Indoril is heavily associated with the Temple; Vvardenfell provides the House's motto, which tellingly says "Indoril shall order, the Temple shall judge." We also have a book about the House that tells us "House Indoril believes that Dunmer culture must be preserved at all costs. Change is the enemy of tradition, and it will weaken our strong foundation if we allow it to take root. House Indoril doesn't see outsiders and non-Dunmer as inherently evil and dangerous, and no outsider is forbidden from visiting Indoril territory. But housekin must always remain vigilant and observant."

    Indoril cannot be meaningfully extracted from the Temple; the House's success is tied to the Temple, and Online gives us a valuable insight into how the Temple exerts control over the Dunmer people to stay in power.

    I've also heard that its a mistake to conflate Indoril with the Temple, even if they are heavily associated. The nature of that distinction still remains unclear, as does an absolute geography for them.
    We know from Morrowind that paupers "are all educated in the Temple, free of charge..", but Online shows us that these lessons take the form of lectures (this is consistent with Ilmeni Dren's concern in Morrowind that people cannot read)--that is, the Temple does not teach its laypeople to read, since they might get funny new ideas.

    We know from Morrowind that the Temple preaches that Argonians are animals ("Argonians are cunning, savage beasts incapable of enlightenment. They are blasphemous travesties of nature, with unspeakable foulness in their private and family urges. They are fit only for service, and only when guided by a stern hand can they avoid abomination." -- topic Argonians with Temple Priests, Priest Service, and Healers), but in Murkmire, Nisswo Uaxal says "The Saxhleel do not require ease in our beliefs. We do not write words upon a page and request our followers to speak its unmoving words. Belief should be questioned. Doubted. Judged and finally accepted. Only then is it truth." This strongly implies that the Temple deliberately presents Argonians as savages so that its laypeople don't go listening to their backwards religion and thinking it's peachy to question Temple doctrine.

    We know from Morrowind that Saint Olms "conceived and articulated the Inquisitorial principles of testing, ordeal, and forced repentance," but we have several notes added by Online detailing the brutality of the Ordinators and their hostility to foreign cultures and ideas.

    Morrowind gave us Almalexia's fables, with the telling aphorism that "we must be alert not only to the obvious danger, but also to the subtle degrees by which change may result in danger...", but Online gave us a bit more insight into the lessons Lady Almalexia wants the good children of Morrowind to learn: "there is no mortal strength without limits..." and "forsaking one's nature brings nothing but ruin...".

    We were told by Mehra Helas in Tribunal that "We have gods who were once mortals. They understand what it is like to live, eat, sleep, suffer, worry... and to fear death."; Online neatly furthers that last point by showing that the Temple--and by extension, House Indoril--fears death and change.

    Ok, so this is an aside to the questions I posed but just for the sake of reflection, I think that "fear of change" might be mischaracterising a degree of conservatism necessary to Dunmer self-actualisation (if that's the right term?). I think one of the threads in TES3 is the horribly exploitative nature of colonialism. While House Hlaalu might represent the equally necessary faculty to adapt, it needs to be balanced with conservation. The point, to me, was that either, in excess could destroy Morrowind. There's echoes of that in Skyrim's story, too. Anyway, that's the sense that I'm left with from playing Morrowind.

    Before looking into it, we might empathise with the Nord raiders pillaging the Dark Elves who are, after all, degenerate slavers who worship Daedra and fear change. ESO has taken a strongly sympathetic view of the Argonians, painting them as spacy noble primitives; while Morrowind and Skyim's exposure to their peoples stories amounts to "well, its complicated", the dynamic with the Argonains remains black-and-white. I think it would fit into Elder Scrolls storytelling style to be exposed to the sorts of behaviours that could be described as "unspeakable foulness". I think that the Argonian Account gave the suggestion of this sort of sinister edge to the Argonians that I'd love to see leveraged in the future. Slavery would never be justified, but the attitude towards the Argonians just presents a very intriguing story-telling hook.
  • PrinceShroob
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    I never considered Velothi tomb/tower architecture an extension of "Hlaalu" architecture (or v/v). You've demonstrated an excellent explanation of how it might all make sense. Do you think that this is the working model that ZOS uses? Do you think that will inform and guide how they make the world tell a coherent story in the future?

    I don't think that the developers are necessarily always thinking about fitting design decisions into the lore. I think the devs are concerned with cohesion between the older games and Online's base game and the new content, along with other concerns, such as just plain creating interesting locations. The design decision behind Gorne is that it’s in the middle of a Daedric war, that it has roots shattering the stonework and creating new tunnels, and that it’s surrounded by the “bones” of Gulga Mor Jil.

    The probable answer is that for the base game, the devs decided to crib Mournhold's architecture because it was both justifiably a "mainland" style and because it was less familiar. After all, you spend the vast majority of your time in Morrowind on Vvardenfell looking at the pale stone of Velothi architecture, so the gray-green of Mournhold is a breath of fresh air (almost literally, considering Vvardenfell’s frequent ash storms). And insofar as racial styles and architecture, for the base game the devs were more concerned with making them distinct from each other rather than creating distinctions within those distinctions (for example, Crown vs. Forebear styles, or Daggerfall vs. Wayrest), which is perfectly understandable given limited development time and the large scope of Online—after all, why would you belabor distinctions that were covered well enough in Morrowind when you could let people explore places in Tamriel that haven’t been seen since Arena?

    That said, the devs don't entirely leave the base game behind and do consider existing motifs and inspirations when designing new content. With regard to Dunmer, the alternating line pattern seen on either side of the door reappears on Arvel's Ashland Attire; the base game Tribunal medallion appears with a slight visual update in Necrom.

    ***

    The visual similarity between the Hlaalu, Redoran, Vivec, and Velothi tower tilesets is not covered by the game dialogue, to my knowledge. I dug through the Construction Set for the Savant dialogue regarding Dunmer architecture; that dialogue doesn't draw a distinction between the Great Houses' architectural styles, but rather Dunmer village style and Dunmer urban style, with both dialogues emphasizing the importance of the Temple and the Dunmer village style dialogue noting the organic curves inspired by the landscape (this page is a good resource for a lot of Morrowind's generic dialogue, if UESP doesn't have it on their "generic dialogue" page).

    ***
    I've also heard that its a mistake to conflate Indoril with the Temple, even if they are heavily associated. The nature of that distinction still remains unclear, as does an absolute geography for them.

    It’s possible that, had we gotten the entirety of the province of Morrowind in that game, we might have seen House Indoril more distinct from the Temple (and House Dres more distinct from the institution of slavery). As it stands, nearly every mention—hell, nearly every sentence—regarding House Indoril includes the Temple.

    Here’s what dialogue we had regarding House Indoril in Morrowind:

    Topic House Indoril: ”House Indoril is one of the five Dunmer Great Houses, and one of the two houses without holdings or interest in Vvardenfell. The city of Almalexia is located in Indoril District, and the Indoril are orthodox and conservative supporters of the Temple and Temple authority. House Indoril is openly hostile to Imperial culture and religion, and preserves many traditional Dunmer customs and practices in defiance of Imperial law.”

    And a mention of what Indoril are like:

    Topic Mehra Drora: ”Mehra Drora is our local priestess over at the Gnisis Temple. She heals and trains the Temple faithful... for a fee. She's Indoril -- a Great House traditionally linked to the New Temple cult -- but not a snob or prig, like most Indorils.”
    Ok, so this is an aside to the questions I posed but just for the sake of reflection, I think that "fear of change" might be mischaracterising a degree of conservatism necessary to Dunmer self-actualisation (if that's the right term?). I think one of the threads in TES3 is the horribly exploitative nature of colonialism. While House Hlaalu might represent the equally necessary faculty to adapt, it needs to be balanced with conservation. The point, to me, was that either, in excess could destroy Morrowind. There's echoes of that in Skyrim's story, too. Anyway, that's the sense that I'm left with from playing Morrowind.

    That’s not incorrect, but it's not the only theme. The comparison drawn in Morrowind is that the Empire and the Temple theocracy are both aging institutions on the verge of collapse. We have the Emperor’s sickness paralleling the Tribunal hemorrhaging power, the guard charging a mob calling for the deaths of the Emperor’s heirs (whom they assume to be Daedric impostors placed by Jagar Tharn) paralleling the Temple cracking down on dissidents and the Nerevarine cult. There’s definitely an anti-colonialism message (for example, quests such as ”Widow Vabdas’ Deed”), but there’s also a focus on the corruption in the Empire and in Morrowind’s native institutions and how they struggle to ride out and contain the changes in Dunmer society caused by the Armistice. Morrowind is a land on the cusp of change, and the Nerevarine’s actions will change it forever—in order to contain the threat of Dagoth Ur, the gods of the Temple, which has been the political and religious backbone of Dunmer society since the First Era, can be gods no longer.

    Savants say regarding native Dunmer culture that ”…Native Dunmer have strong militaristic and authoritarian traditions, founded in their ancient practices of ancestor worship, and fostered and elaborated in the theocratic religion of the Tribunal Temple. The clan and family structures of the Dunmer Great House system are strong forces for social and political stability. The feudal monarchy of the Altmer, by contrast, has a long history of conflict and instability, while the informal anarchy of Bosmer clan structures produces a consciously unstable society.” But Mehra Milo tells you that Caius Cosades ”…sees the failing virtues of the Temple as a threat to Morrowind's political stability.” The thematic thrust here seems to be that while the Temple has traditionally been a force for maintaining stability, its attempts to maintain its power in the face of the threat of Dagoth Ur and the weakening of the Three is causing instability—in much the same way as trying to contain ripples spreading across water only makes more ripples.

    I have my own issues with how Morrowind presents its themes and how it could have done more with its anti-colonialism message, and about how the fanbase tends to elide Morrowind's ambiguity, but that’s a discussion for another time.
    ESO has taken a strongly sympathetic view of the Argonians, painting them as spacy noble primitives; while Morrowind and Skyim's exposure to their peoples stories amounts to "well, its complicated", the dynamic with the Argonains remains black-and-white. I think it would fit into Elder Scrolls storytelling style to be exposed to the sorts of behaviours that could be described as "unspeakable foulness". I think that the Argonian Account gave the suggestion of this sort of sinister edge to the Argonians that I'd love to see leveraged in the future. Slavery would never be justified, but the attitude towards the Argonians just presents a very intriguing story-telling hook.

    I think it’s fairly clear why Dunmer would consider Argonian practices to be foul—for example, without the context that Argonians believe in reincarnation and, therefore, place little value on the deceased’s corpse, xul-vaats must seem odd, to say the least, for a culture that ritualistically cremates its dead and keeps small pieces of the departed in the family Ghostfence to honor their memory. And we do explore darker aspects of Argonian culture—traditional Argonian culture is also xenophobic, and we have darker tribes like the Sul-Xan and Veeskhleel. Because of the cultural focus on overcoming shunatei, it tends to produce malcontents like Drakeeh the Unchained who begin as avengers and end up as bandits.

    I don’t think it’s that the representation is uniformly sympathetic so much that any amount of understanding is humanizing, and Online is the single largest source of information on Argonian culture in the entire series, next to The Infernal City and Lord of Souls. I don’t even think the Dunmer’s representation in Morrowind was unsympathetic (although this is probably at least partially due to the flat way most of the dialogue is written, where it reads like a Wikipedia article instead of speech).
  • Supreme_Atromancer
    Supreme_Atromancer
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    I don't think that the developers are necessarily always thinking about fitting design decisions into the lore.

    I wonder to what degree that's true. If so, why would they not? Is it an absurd expectation? Is it a direction in which they could improve?

    Cohesion with the older games, with older ESO, interesting locations and other concerns are all very important, and I think they do an excellent job with these. Gorne is an excellent location. Fun to explore, very evocative. Similar could be said for probably all the locations in this chapter.

    But its interesting to me because the game's detractors are arguing using those same points you've used as evidence for it being "theme-parky". A recipe for a good veneer that's divorced from the innate meaning.
    The probable answer is that for the base game, the devs decided to crib Mournhold's architecture because it was both justifiably a "mainland" style and because it was less familiar. After all, you spend the vast majority of your time in Morrowind on Vvardenfell looking at the pale stone of Velothi architecture, so the gray-green of Mournhold is a breath of fresh air (almost literally, considering Vvardenfell’s frequent ash storms).

    Btw, that's a very sound decision!
    And insofar as racial styles and architecture, for the base game the devs were more concerned with making them distinct from each other rather than creating distinctions within those distinctions (for example, Crown vs. Forebear styles, or Daggerfall vs. Wayrest), which is perfectly understandable given limited development time and the large scope of Online—

    This part makes sense.
    after all, why would you belabor distinctions that were covered well enough in Morrowind when you could let people explore places in Tamriel that haven’t been seen since Arena?

    I think the main thrust of your argument is that "there are more important things", and the older games already did nuance, so there's no point. You've written a lot of very thoughtful (and thought-provoking) stuff, so if I have that wrong, forgive me!

    My stance is that the older games are the point. The nuance is the point. I think there's an impulse to reduce the demand for "nuance" into this nebulous whatever demand, without seeing the value behind what is looked for. Being able to read the world, to viscerally feel and experience the differences, to learn about them is a core experience. If there is an aspect of those games that people are explicitly saying are key, they bare consideration. I understand there are probably other production forces competing with what gets done, but if a sense that its "belabouring" is the reason, there might be a big disjunct in expectations. People clearly think that those things matter.

    From my limited perspective from my gaming chair, I also wonder why fitting design decisions into the lore can't be a major priority, given the nature of the game's appeal and the expectations that the franchise has.

    To be clear, I love ESO. I think the world builders do a fantastic job. For the sake of the discussion, I've argued as if what you're saying reflects what the developers are thinking, and I guess its not necessarily completely accurate. Maybe it is? I can't know. FTR, I think there's evidence that they *do* care about fitting the lore- there are lots of situations where there's obvious care and grasp of the nuance.

    The details and deep (to me) world-building of the series is what hooked me, and so its a priority to me. I also spend time in communities that are critical of ESO and often try to evaluate where they are coming from, too. I think feedback is important to put out there, but its in no way intended to just crap on what's been done.
    Edited by Supreme_Atromancer on July 21, 2023 5:39AM
  • Carlos93
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    I don't think that the developers are necessarily always thinking about fitting design decisions into the lore.

    I wonder to what degree that's true. If so, why would they not? Is it an absurd expectation? Is it a direction in which they could improve?

    Cohesion with the older games, with older ESO, interesting locations and other concerns are all very important, and I think they do an excellent job with these. Gorne is an excellent location. Fun to explore, very evocative. Similar could be said for probably all the locations in this chapter.

    But its interesting to me because the game's detractors are arguing using those same points you've used as evidence for it being "theme-parky". A recipe for a good veneer that's divorced from the innate meaning.
    The probable answer is that for the base game, the devs decided to crib Mournhold's architecture because it was both justifiably a "mainland" style and because it was less familiar. After all, you spend the vast majority of your time in Morrowind on Vvardenfell looking at the pale stone of Velothi architecture, so the gray-green of Mournhold is a breath of fresh air (almost literally, considering Vvardenfell’s frequent ash storms).

    Btw, that's a very sound decision!
    And insofar as racial styles and architecture, for the base game the devs were more concerned with making them distinct from each other rather than creating distinctions within those distinctions (for example, Crown vs. Forebear styles, or Daggerfall vs. Wayrest), which is perfectly understandable given limited development time and the large scope of Online—

    This part makes sense.
    after all, why would you belabor distinctions that were covered well enough in Morrowind when you could let people explore places in Tamriel that haven’t been seen since Arena?

    I think the main thrust of your argument is that "there are more important things", and the older games already did nuance, so there's no point. You've written a lot of very thoughtful (and thought-provoking) stuff, so if I have that wrong, forgive me!

    My stance is that the older games are the point. The nuance is the point. I think there's an impulse to reduce the demand for "nuance" into this nebulous whatever demand, without seeing the value behind what is looked for. Being able to read the world, to viscerally feel and experience the differences, to learn about them is a core experience. If there is an aspect of those games that people are explicitly saying are key, they bare consideration. I understand there are probably other production forces competing with what gets done, but if a sense that its "belabouring" is the reason, there might be a big disjunct in expectations. People clearly think that those things matter.

    From my limited perspective from my gaming chair, I also wonder why fitting design decisions into the lore can't be a major priority, given the nature of the game's appeal and the expectations that the franchise has.

    To be clear, I love ESO. I think the world builders do a fantastic job. For the sake of the discussion, I've argued as if what you're saying reflects what the developers are thinking, and I guess its not necessarily completely accurate. Maybe it is? I can't know. FTR, I think there's evidence that they *do* care about fitting the lore- there are lots of situations where there's obvious care and grasp of the nuance.

    The details and deep (to me) world-building of the series is what hooked me, and so its a priority to me. I also spend time in communities that are critical of ESO and often try to evaluate where they are coming from, too. I think feedback is important to put out there, but its in no way intended to just crap on what's been done.

    m3bxer2yo78d.jpg

    Take a look at the image and tell me what you think about how Tamriel's maps are set up.
  • Supreme_Atromancer
    Supreme_Atromancer
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Carlos93 wrote: »
    I don't think that the developers are necessarily always thinking about fitting design decisions into the lore.

    I wonder to what degree that's true. If so, why would they not? Is it an absurd expectation? Is it a direction in which they could improve?

    Cohesion with the older games, with older ESO, interesting locations and other concerns are all very important, and I think they do an excellent job with these. Gorne is an excellent location. Fun to explore, very evocative. Similar could be said for probably all the locations in this chapter.

    But its interesting to me because the game's detractors are arguing using those same points you've used as evidence for it being "theme-parky". A recipe for a good veneer that's divorced from the innate meaning.
    The probable answer is that for the base game, the devs decided to crib Mournhold's architecture because it was both justifiably a "mainland" style and because it was less familiar. After all, you spend the vast majority of your time in Morrowind on Vvardenfell looking at the pale stone of Velothi architecture, so the gray-green of Mournhold is a breath of fresh air (almost literally, considering Vvardenfell’s frequent ash storms).

    Btw, that's a very sound decision!
    And insofar as racial styles and architecture, for the base game the devs were more concerned with making them distinct from each other rather than creating distinctions within those distinctions (for example, Crown vs. Forebear styles, or Daggerfall vs. Wayrest), which is perfectly understandable given limited development time and the large scope of Online—

    This part makes sense.
    after all, why would you belabor distinctions that were covered well enough in Morrowind when you could let people explore places in Tamriel that haven’t been seen since Arena?

    I think the main thrust of your argument is that "there are more important things", and the older games already did nuance, so there's no point. You've written a lot of very thoughtful (and thought-provoking) stuff, so if I have that wrong, forgive me!

    My stance is that the older games are the point. The nuance is the point. I think there's an impulse to reduce the demand for "nuance" into this nebulous whatever demand, without seeing the value behind what is looked for. Being able to read the world, to viscerally feel and experience the differences, to learn about them is a core experience. If there is an aspect of those games that people are explicitly saying are key, they bare consideration. I understand there are probably other production forces competing with what gets done, but if a sense that its "belabouring" is the reason, there might be a big disjunct in expectations. People clearly think that those things matter.

    From my limited perspective from my gaming chair, I also wonder why fitting design decisions into the lore can't be a major priority, given the nature of the game's appeal and the expectations that the franchise has.

    To be clear, I love ESO. I think the world builders do a fantastic job. For the sake of the discussion, I've argued as if what you're saying reflects what the developers are thinking, and I guess its not necessarily completely accurate. Maybe it is? I can't know. FTR, I think there's evidence that they *do* care about fitting the lore- there are lots of situations where there's obvious care and grasp of the nuance.

    The details and deep (to me) world-building of the series is what hooked me, and so its a priority to me. I also spend time in communities that are critical of ESO and often try to evaluate where they are coming from, too. I think feedback is important to put out there, but its in no way intended to just crap on what's been done.

    m3bxer2yo78d.jpg

    Take a look at the image and tell me what you think about how Tamriel's maps are set up.

    haha not sure what you want me to see about this.
  • Carlos93
    Carlos93
    ✭✭✭
    Carlos93 wrote: »
    I don't think that the developers are necessarily always thinking about fitting design decisions into the lore.

    I wonder to what degree that's true. If so, why would they not? Is it an absurd expectation? Is it a direction in which they could improve?

    Cohesion with the older games, with older ESO, interesting locations and other concerns are all very important, and I think they do an excellent job with these. Gorne is an excellent location. Fun to explore, very evocative. Similar could be said for probably all the locations in this chapter.

    But its interesting to me because the game's detractors are arguing using those same points you've used as evidence for it being "theme-parky". A recipe for a good veneer that's divorced from the innate meaning.
    The probable answer is that for the base game, the devs decided to crib Mournhold's architecture because it was both justifiably a "mainland" style and because it was less familiar. After all, you spend the vast majority of your time in Morrowind on Vvardenfell looking at the pale stone of Velothi architecture, so the gray-green of Mournhold is a breath of fresh air (almost literally, considering Vvardenfell’s frequent ash storms).

    Btw, that's a very sound decision!
    And insofar as racial styles and architecture, for the base game the devs were more concerned with making them distinct from each other rather than creating distinctions within those distinctions (for example, Crown vs. Forebear styles, or Daggerfall vs. Wayrest), which is perfectly understandable given limited development time and the large scope of Online—

    This part makes sense.
    after all, why would you belabor distinctions that were covered well enough in Morrowind when you could let people explore places in Tamriel that haven’t been seen since Arena?

    I think the main thrust of your argument is that "there are more important things", and the older games already did nuance, so there's no point. You've written a lot of very thoughtful (and thought-provoking) stuff, so if I have that wrong, forgive me!

    My stance is that the older games are the point. The nuance is the point. I think there's an impulse to reduce the demand for "nuance" into this nebulous whatever demand, without seeing the value behind what is looked for. Being able to read the world, to viscerally feel and experience the differences, to learn about them is a core experience. If there is an aspect of those games that people are explicitly saying are key, they bare consideration. I understand there are probably other production forces competing with what gets done, but if a sense that its "belabouring" is the reason, there might be a big disjunct in expectations. People clearly think that those things matter.

    From my limited perspective from my gaming chair, I also wonder why fitting design decisions into the lore can't be a major priority, given the nature of the game's appeal and the expectations that the franchise has.

    To be clear, I love ESO. I think the world builders do a fantastic job. For the sake of the discussion, I've argued as if what you're saying reflects what the developers are thinking, and I guess its not necessarily completely accurate. Maybe it is? I can't know. FTR, I think there's evidence that they *do* care about fitting the lore- there are lots of situations where there's obvious care and grasp of the nuance.

    The details and deep (to me) world-building of the series is what hooked me, and so its a priority to me. I also spend time in communities that are critical of ESO and often try to evaluate where they are coming from, too. I think feedback is important to put out there, but its in no way intended to just crap on what's been done.

    m3bxer2yo78d.jpg

    Take a look at the image and tell me what you think about how Tamriel's maps are set up.

    haha not sure what you want me to see about this.

    One of the most important things for a game is its map.

    In The Elder Scrolls Online the map is in chaos.

    If you look at the map of the continent of Tamriel, you will see that many of its maps are not interconnected.

    An example:

    The Reach map with the Bangkorai map is not connected by any road.

    Tamriel map has geographic faults

    For example:

    Northern Cyrodiil is snowy, The Rift map has no snow and no snowy mountains on the southern part of the map.

    There should be a pass between the mountains to the Cyrodiil map connecting the two maps.

    Many of the maps do not have a logical continuity between zones.

    An example of this is the Claglorn map.
    Claglorn is attached to the Cyrodiil map to the north.
    Claglorn's map has no snowy mountains, northern Cyrodiil is snowy mountains.

    Another flaw in the Tamriel map is the excessive size of the maps on the continent.
    With each chapter they cut a large area for the continent of Tamriel.

    The great house Indoril has been erased in this last chapter.

    There is less and less Morrowind territory left to "explore".

    The stories are built on the maps, the maps are not built for the purpose of creating stories.
  • Supreme_Atromancer
    Supreme_Atromancer
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Carlos93 wrote: »
    Carlos93 wrote: »
    I don't think that the developers are necessarily always thinking about fitting design decisions into the lore.

    I wonder to what degree that's true. If so, why would they not? Is it an absurd expectation? Is it a direction in which they could improve?

    Cohesion with the older games, with older ESO, interesting locations and other concerns are all very important, and I think they do an excellent job with these. Gorne is an excellent location. Fun to explore, very evocative. Similar could be said for probably all the locations in this chapter.

    But its interesting to me because the game's detractors are arguing using those same points you've used as evidence for it being "theme-parky". A recipe for a good veneer that's divorced from the innate meaning.
    The probable answer is that for the base game, the devs decided to crib Mournhold's architecture because it was both justifiably a "mainland" style and because it was less familiar. After all, you spend the vast majority of your time in Morrowind on Vvardenfell looking at the pale stone of Velothi architecture, so the gray-green of Mournhold is a breath of fresh air (almost literally, considering Vvardenfell’s frequent ash storms).

    Btw, that's a very sound decision!
    And insofar as racial styles and architecture, for the base game the devs were more concerned with making them distinct from each other rather than creating distinctions within those distinctions (for example, Crown vs. Forebear styles, or Daggerfall vs. Wayrest), which is perfectly understandable given limited development time and the large scope of Online—

    This part makes sense.
    after all, why would you belabor distinctions that were covered well enough in Morrowind when you could let people explore places in Tamriel that haven’t been seen since Arena?

    I think the main thrust of your argument is that "there are more important things", and the older games already did nuance, so there's no point. You've written a lot of very thoughtful (and thought-provoking) stuff, so if I have that wrong, forgive me!

    My stance is that the older games are the point. The nuance is the point. I think there's an impulse to reduce the demand for "nuance" into this nebulous whatever demand, without seeing the value behind what is looked for. Being able to read the world, to viscerally feel and experience the differences, to learn about them is a core experience. If there is an aspect of those games that people are explicitly saying are key, they bare consideration. I understand there are probably other production forces competing with what gets done, but if a sense that its "belabouring" is the reason, there might be a big disjunct in expectations. People clearly think that those things matter.

    From my limited perspective from my gaming chair, I also wonder why fitting design decisions into the lore can't be a major priority, given the nature of the game's appeal and the expectations that the franchise has.

    To be clear, I love ESO. I think the world builders do a fantastic job. For the sake of the discussion, I've argued as if what you're saying reflects what the developers are thinking, and I guess its not necessarily completely accurate. Maybe it is? I can't know. FTR, I think there's evidence that they *do* care about fitting the lore- there are lots of situations where there's obvious care and grasp of the nuance.

    The details and deep (to me) world-building of the series is what hooked me, and so its a priority to me. I also spend time in communities that are critical of ESO and often try to evaluate where they are coming from, too. I think feedback is important to put out there, but its in no way intended to just crap on what's been done.

    m3bxer2yo78d.jpg

    Take a look at the image and tell me what you think about how Tamriel's maps are set up.

    haha not sure what you want me to see about this.

    One of the most important things for a game is its map.

    In The Elder Scrolls Online the map is in chaos.

    If you look at the map of the continent of Tamriel, you will see that many of its maps are not interconnected.

    An example:

    The Reach map with the Bangkorai map is not connected by any road.

    Tamriel map has geographic faults

    For example:

    Northern Cyrodiil is snowy, The Rift map has no snow and no snowy mountains on the southern part of the map.

    There should be a pass between the mountains to the Cyrodiil map connecting the two maps.

    Many of the maps do not have a logical continuity between zones.

    An example of this is the Claglorn map.
    Claglorn is attached to the Cyrodiil map to the north.
    Claglorn's map has no snowy mountains, northern Cyrodiil is snowy mountains.

    Another flaw in the Tamriel map is the excessive size of the maps on the continent.
    With each chapter they cut a large area for the continent of Tamriel.

    The great house Indoril has been erased in this last chapter.

    There is less and less Morrowind territory left to "explore".

    The stories are built on the maps, the maps are not built for the purpose of creating stories.
    Oh, yeah. Anything to make the world more immersive would be great. Coordinated seasons and mountain passes would be awesome. I've argued the same sort of things in the past, too!

    To be clear, my angle is to explain what I thought was done well, and what could be done better, not to just bash on it, but to try and make my case about why those things are important in case there's room to consider them in the future. I'll still be here, ofc. They do a lot of stuff right, too. And its apparent to me that they do respond to feedback. There's things I've requested that literally got addressed. Its hard to remain cynical seeing that. I guess its just about what's practical.
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