Best Of The Week: On Races And Equality

My fave game news this week was the new Elder Scrolls Online dev video that was released today. (Linked at bottom of post.) I also liked the news that Defiance (the TV show coming on the SciFi channel that is linked to Trion’s new MMO) will be sexy, like Battlestar Galactica, and also star Mia Kirshner, who was a major character in the L-Word.

Apparently the brothels in Defiance are women-empowered and feature equal-opportunity male studs. Lovely. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll see a lot of romance in Trion’s Defiance game since it’s mostly about blowing stuff up.

In other obliquely game-related news, BBC reported today on sexism on fantasy and sci-fi fiction covers. This was a good and interesting article, offering no concrete conclusions or solutions (of course) but much better reading and visuals than the average game forum debate.

The art of the week goes to Almalexia cosplay by Anhenrose. The living goddess Almalexia is a divine of the Tribunal in Morrowind, oh, glorious and lovely Morrowind, in the second age of Tamriel a member of the Ebonheart Pact. So. Which of the three factions are you going to play in the Elder Scrolls Online?

The video released today makes the decision even more intriguing.

The lore preview video was delivered fabulously by Lawrence Schick, “Lead Loremaster” for TESO, who riveted the kitty’s attention with his fire and brimstone voice. He wrote the old D&D module White Plume Mountain, so he knows something about fire and brimstone. White Plume wasn’t my most fave adventure module back in the day, compared to Gygax’s Giant and Drow modules, but it was fine and playable.

The three-faction setup in TESO may cause player vs. player conflict both in game and in real life. The races are highly divided, moreso than other MMOs. Rift and SWTOR both feature two sides with dedicated races that are defined more by ideologies that transcend their race identities, while WoW offers two sides with enough race choices for everyone to like.

A lot of RPG players have already played the single player Elder Scrolls, on the other hand, and have surely have developed favorites among the races that they might prefer to play. Since the factions are at war, apparently you can’t just go play whatever start zone, but at this point it’s unclear as to how guilds and friends will work in terms of factions.

Players are already speculating in online discussions that everyone is going to want to play Morrowind and Skyrim, which are the dominion of the Ebonheart Pact. I too would love to see Morrowind in updated beauty and without Imperial presence (because TESO will take the stage in the older second era time period.)

I loved the old religion in Morrowind. The factional conflict between the Tribunal vs. the Nine was a part of the lore depth that made Morrowind such a great game.

I also like the Aldmeri Dominion though, which features two of the three Elf races, plus a female Elf leader. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of how either the Bosmer or Altmer look in the Elder Scrolls, or their racials, and at least one poll suggests other players feel similarly. Aldmeri may be the weakest faction, but with Khajit added to the mix, it will be the definition of sexy.

Yes, the Aldmeri Dominion will be the place to be for making ERP under the moon-sugared stars, leaving the war to the Nords and the Orcs.

I’ve actually played a Breton instead of an Elf in every Elder Scrolls game that I’ve played (for the Mage-friendly stats and the looks) which would mean The Daggerfall Covenant, but I sort of loathe orcs. Redguard are alright, but I can’t imagine allying with orcs, nor does a merchant king sound very appealing.

I went Defiant in Rift partly for the female leaders, and that will play a part in my TESO decision for sure.

So will I play TESO at launch? I’m not a fan of the active block-and-dodge action combat. It does depend a little on the payment landscape. I still have a mindset that I want an MMO to be a long-term home and commitment. I know that while I shied away from Guild Wars 2, I’ll be 500% more likely to pay whatever ticket price to see Tamriel just as a tourist.

More Reading:

Ask the devs: Aldmeri Dominion
Ask the devs: Daggerfall Covenant
Ask the devs: Ebonheart Pact
MMORPG Article: Faction Balance in TESO
RPG Gamer TESO Hands On
2009 interview with Lawrence Schick.


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4 responses to “Best Of The Week: On Races And Equality

  • Adrian Tan

    Agreed, it was a great video. The bloke’s voice did make TESO lore more believable for me. So, still undecided on an Alliance? =) As much as I too love Morrowind and Skyrim, I cannot bring myself to like the Alliances and races associated with said places. I’ve almost always played human-ish characters in every ES game, except for Skyrim where I played an Orc for the Smithing bonus(Does that make me a racist? lol). Daggerfall Covenant seems the likely alliance for me =)

    • Jacquotte

      It’s funny you should mention the smithing bonus, Adrian, because did an article (I just noticed, and linked it in “further reading”) on possible faction imbalances due to players choosing one faction or another for the bonuses. So Aldmeri might have more rogues due to Bosmer and Khajit, while Daggerfall might have more heavy armor due to Redguard and Orc. Mages look well-balanced across the factions.

      That seems like another way TESO might cause divides among guilds and friends. I.e. the consensus is Daggerfall but the rogue player thinks “I don’t want to play a Orc/Redguard/Breton rogue!”

      I’m definitely torn. I like all three right now for different reasons. 🙂

  • The Dancing Hare

    I’ve never played a 3-faction game and I find the idea really interesting, I’m just worried because I’ve yet to play a game where they managed to balance two effectively. (I love you WoW, but you’ve really dropped the ball in this department.) One thing I’ve always loved about LOTRO — and you could say GW2 as well — is that all player characters are working on the same side, toward the same goal. I feel like it fosters cooperation rather than divisiveness, and is refreshing.

    I probably won’t get into the TESO beta so I’ll have to check back if you do!

    • Jacquotte

      The three faction thing seems to be a big concern of a lot of players, based on comments today on Massively. We’ll be sure to have some opinions if a beta invite is extended to us. 🙂 I don’t follow WoW development religiously, but from what I saw in my tour in Azeroth last year, you make a good point. Good luck getting into the TESO beta.

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