As I approached the entrance to the Imperial City, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited transported me to 2006 when I first booted up the fourth entry in the single-player franchise, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I was going back into the Imperial City the way I first left it so long ago: the Imperial Sewers.
This type of inclusion of moments from prior entries in the Elder Scrolls games helps to tie Zenimax’s massively multiplayer game to the single player franchise. However, upon entering the Imperial City, newly added to the console version of The Elder Scrolls Online, it was clear that this was not the same city I spent so much time in on my Xbox 360.
The Imperial City is situated in the heart of Cyrodiil, which has been used as the player-versus-player zone for The Elder Scrolls Online. The core story for ESO has the three factions vying for the chance to control the Imperial Throne, and by placing the battle in the streets of the Imperial City streets itself is a great way for the battle for the Imperial Throne to actually feel as though they are truly fighting for control over the city.
Plus, there is nothing more hectic than running through the Imperial Temple District and coming upon a group of players from the other factions in the street and start battling it out, only to have daedra appear and shift everyone’s focus from each other to the common threat.
While some fans of the series may be upset that there isn’t an unspoiled version of the Imperial City to explore fully in Elder Scrolls Online, I’m not too upset about that because this actually affords the first real backdrop I have cared about in ESO. Seeing the Imperial City in such disarray, counting the tents of soldiers garrisoning in the once beautiful Elven Gardens District has made me want to liberate the Imperial City and help it on the way to its glory we see in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This emotional connection makes me relish every time I run into a group of Daedra or Ebonheart/Daggerfall players — I feel as though I am helping restore the city for the citizens I interacted with in that previous title.
This rush of nostalgia has made me log into The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited more since I stopped playing after the console release in June. Every moment has been spent fighting on the streets of the Imperial City, helping to rid the walls of the shadow that Molag Bal’s troops have cast over them. I’ve yet to try the new dungeon, the White Gold Tower, but it’s only a matter of time before my fight in Elder Scrolls Online takes me to the pinnacle of the city.
Until then, Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited has my attention yet again, and this time it might hold it for quite a while.
[Image provided by Zenimax Online Studios]