The name of Zenimax’s MMO, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited never quite fit with me. The word “unlimited” meant that there are no limitations on how you play, a hallmark of a traditional Elder Scrolls game. Yet, while you were no longer required to pay a monthly subscription to play ESO, it was still inherently limited. You were limited as to where you could go based on your level, not something seen in Elder Scrolls games past. You were limited based on an alliance you chose, or was chosen for you depending on the race of your character and whether or not you had the ability to freely pick your alliance regardless of the race. So when the “One Tamriel” update was announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this past June, it got myself and many other gamers excited for the possibilities.
One of the reasons Zenimax decided to go with the one server using their “megaserver” technology was so that friends wouldn’t be separated across different game shards, yet in a way they replaced that separation with the three alliances in the game. If you and your friends weren’t in the same alliance, you couldn’t group up together. It made sense, story-wise, as it would be weird for a member of the Daggerfall Covenant to be spotted helping the queen of the Aldmeri Dominion. However, this ended up happening anyway when you started to level through the “post-50” content in the game. One Tamriel has effectively shattered that alliance barrier. Members of each alliance, regardless of level, can go where they please. You can be a High Elf member of the Aldmeri Dominion trying to figure out the Werewolf problem in Glenumbra. Or you can follow the Brothers of Strife in Morrowind as a Breton sorcerer hailing from Daggerfall. The Elder Scrolls Online has started to feel like an actual Elder Scrolls title.
This has been made all the better with the removal of level requirements in the zones. While you still level and progress in the game, gathering skills and making your character stronger, you no longer need to worry about not being able to hold you own if you decide to do one of the hallmarks of the Elder Scrolls series and simply pick a direction and explore. Originally, The Elder Scrolls Online never intrinsically blocked you from going to different regions within your own areas. However, they were not scaled to you, so if you picked a fight with a level 45 Storm Atronach, yet you yourself were only level 18, chances are you weren’t walking away from that fight. Now, the game world scales to you, letting you truly go anywhere in the game world and forge your own destiny. There are still some limitations, such as zones that require story elements to be fulfilled before you can enter them, but it’s a lot more open than it was previously.
What this means is there are no longer limiting barriers blocking you and your friends from playing The Elder Scrolls Online together. It’s not longer a rock-paper-sicssors match to decide which faction you will play — that no longer matters. You can group up with anyone, anywhere, anytime. That is incredibly freeing, which is important for a game whose predecessors touted player freedom. While Elder Scrolls purists will decry this because it’s still not a true Elder Scrolls game when put up against the single-player entries, The Elder Scrolls Online does the best it can when combating the restraints a MMO brings to bear as well.
As a result, when logging on to both the PC and Xbox One versions of the game since the update has hit, the world has felt more alive. More and more people are jumping back in to experience what One Tamriel offers to ESO. And that is indicative of a game that has adapted and changed its direction and game to fit its players and they wants and needs. The Elder Scrolls Online is a better game thanks to One Tamriel. And for the player’s sake, let’s hope that trend continues.
[Featured Image via Zenimax Online Studios]