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TamrielVault, I need you... for a history of the TES fandom!

    • 2 posts
    August 8, 2019 4:17 PM EDT
    I've been tasked with writing an editorial piece for the excellent Tel Mora Independent Press on the history of TES fandom, and thought it best to gather opinions other than my own for it as well. Can you please tell me what your experience with the TES fandom has been, and how it has changed over time, if you think it has. In particular, can you include:
    • What year you become involved with the TES franchise
    • What your first TES game was
    • When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom
    • What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now
    • How you think the fans have reacted to new games
    • How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)
    For my part, I began playing TES with Morrowind in around 2003 or 2004, but didn't really get in involved with the fandom until around 2007-8 I think, where I needed some modding help. I started on the Bethsoft forums, and in addition to the very helpful tech support fans on those boards, I tended to catch the tail end of lore discussions and chip in with comments that I felt mostly got ignored, because everyone was in the US and interacting on a totally different time frame to me. So I drifted in and out.
    The Bethsoft forums when I was around them seemed to do little apart from talk about Vivec, the Dwemer and CHIM. Other threads were mostly short, or about the Thalmor. As well as the general "what is it?/where are they?" questions, there were a handful of awesome discussions about concepts in the lore that made my jaw drop. Both types of post seemed to be populated by the same handful people, regardless of who started the posts; the regulars would have their perspectives and discussions they would always roll out, with particular hobby horses ("Apoptosis is not necrosis!"). When the Bethsoft forums started to get quiet, I migrated to /r/teslore around 2013, mostly because I realised that the people I was most interested in were posting their interesting stuff there instead, and I finally felt like I knew enough to take part in the discussions then. I missed the C0DA Bethesda forum chaos by a fluke, but saw the confusion around "why are some things in Community Creations now?", which people seemed mildly ticked off about. I also took a vague part in the Amaranth hunt, but regularly lost track because of the timezone difference.
    I remember that, in addition to the perennial "Cyrodiil isn't a forest!" stuff that was still around by the time I was becoming active again in 2008, people were still having some difficulty reconciling the Thu'um with the dragon language, although this may have been a vocal minority. I remember that when ESO dropped, there was much snark around the composition of the alliances, and several people swearing off the games altogether. That was the first time I'd see an exodus because of the lore, however; before, most people seemed to simply tough it out and carry on. Maybe something to do with it being an MMO? Attitudes among the old guard seem to have mellowed on this, however, and the fans who have the biggest chip on their shoulder seem to be the ones that came to the games following Skyrim's release.
    I started posting on the TESWiki Discussions in 2016, because they had an app and I could easily read TES lore text in a format suited to mobiles (this was just before Google started doing a "make mobile friendly option", which I would have chosen on TIL if I could). I could answer most of the lore questions there quickly (unlike the discussions here, which require more thought and words than I can give through a smartphone), as they were mostly simple ones about how the Aedra and Daedra work, what the Khajiit think of the Dominion and similar. There was the occasional headscratcher, but those seem to be becoming rarer on that app now. I got asked to become a Discussions moderator on there a few months after joining, and still continue to serve in that capacity.
    Both platforms seem to have moved away from sourced arguments and in-depth exploration of existing concepts to interesting hypotheticals and unsourced answers. This may be because, unlike when I started, there are quite a few more well-informed fans around, and so sourced debate isn't really necessary. I think this is a problem in the fandom, as people often forget where stuff comes from.
    Discord is a platform I've recently started using (over the last 2 years or so, I think), and again, that's useful for short-form questions and debates. Some are more focused than others (Imperial Knowledge's Discord is mostly questions about Fourth Era politics, Deadite's and LadyofScrolls have focused deep dives into particular areas, while /r/ElderScrolls' Discord is a mixed bag that changes night by night, but always seems to be answered by the same people. I would hope I'm one of those, but I'm not sure. Like TESWiki, the format is suited to quick answers, with little attempt to source them. These debates seem to be resolved by appeals to authority (well-known posters, generally) more than in other places.
    That's mine, in brief. What are your perspectives? I would love to know! Be ready for follow-up questions.
    PM me if you don't want something in particular discussed publicly.
    This is NOT an invitation to dig up old grudges. You feel the way you feel, and that's fine. No one should be critiqued for their feelings in an exercise like this. However, trying to have the last word on something when someone may still be around to hear it is simply impolite.
    • 1595 posts
    August 8, 2019 4:57 PM EDT

    Wait... Is this Aramithius, author of Written in Uncertainty? I think it is! I'll make a proper reply when I have more time (damned Orsinium Celebration), but thanks for coming over and inviting us to help with this project. It looks excellent and great fun to be part of :)

    • 2 posts
    August 8, 2019 6:00 PM EDT
    Yup, that would be me.

    I'm after people 's impressions of the spaces they're part of as a whole, overall reactions, attitudes to various things in the TES fandom etc. Not sure how clear that actually is in my original post.
    • 1467 posts
    August 8, 2019 10:25 PM EDT

    Interesting stuf Aramithius, I'm going to take a pretty methodical stance on answering the questions because otherwise your going to be subjected to a terrifying, rambling post. Even what I'll end up with just answering the questions you provided is going to be a little long perhaps and almost certainly will go off on a tangent a few times. 

    • What year you become involved with the TES franchise and What your first TES game was

    That's a tough one because I've been playing since Morrowind and I was fairly young when I first started playing it...I'm going to say that I started in around 2003/2004, but that's a rough estimate at best because I remember playing Morrowind before Oblivion came out but probably not for very long. Realistically I'll say that Oblivion was my first true TES game, in that I'd probably spent about 10 hours in Morrowind (which mostly involved dying, resting, rage-quitting and not hitting anything because I 6 or something) so Oblivion was my first game that I started to seriously dedicate time to. 

    • When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom

    Again tricky question because it depends on the definition of 'involved'. I've just about always looked up walkthroughs, tips, tricks and whatnot, primarily through UESP and GameFAQ's, this was probably a bit before I was conceptually aware of reddit (and it wasn't the best place for a youngster back then as far as I know) and YouTube was just barely a thing at the time so neither of those were really options in the way they are today. 

    I'd probably say I wasn't truly involved in the Fandom until I started becoming active in communities which would be around 2012/2013 after the release of Skyrim.

    • What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now

    Ah, actually that'd be The Skyrim Blog/Tamriel Vault. For a long time it was the only place where I interacted with for a long time, mostly because I'm generally quite antisocial and being active in a new community is pretty tough for me, but I was also incredibly interested in building so this was a natural place for me. These days I'm also active on r/SkyrimBuilds and occasionally r/Skyrim and r/TESlore, oh and r/EnaiRim, though mostly just the former. Also spent far too much time watching Let's Plays for Skyrim and Oblivion, which is a bit strange considering the fact that I can just play it myself anytime but eh. 

    • How you think the fans have reacted to new games

    To be honest, my only real experience with the culture of game releases was with ESO and that, at the time felt like both the greatest thing since sliced bread and the worst thing literally ever. It was one of the strangest reactions to a game release that I've ever seen, especially in regards to the original Beta and pre-launch. Once the game launched I felt like there was a wide agreement that the game...sort of wasn't great, either as an MMO or TES game. Looking back on the original launch of the game it feels laughable to even compare it to the current day where ESO seems to be considered one of the best of both genres (for those that have played it) and it's sparker a love for Lore that I never really had.

    Oh, I guess there's the reaction to Blades and Legends, but those are still kind of strange and I don't have experience with them (damn incompatible phone) so I can't really comment on the quality and thus the reactions. Maybe people saying their solid mobile games are right, maybe the ones who hate them are right, got no idea. 

    • How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)

    Eh, we've changed the name and finally I'm of the age where I'm not one of the youngest people around. Other then that, honestly not much has changed in a major way. Different people for the most part but considering I still spend [far too much time] on the Tamriel Vault in some form or another I'd say that very little has really changed over the years. 

    What's changed the most has really just been my role int hese communities over the years. It's been incredibly interesting to start out as a bumbling kid who had an interest in Character Builds, to then really enjoy the mechanics of Skyrim and delve into them to the degree I was mildly capable of going in-depth and discussing the more complex mechanics behind Skyrim, to then delving more into stories and roleplaying and ending up incredibly interested in the Lore behind the game. In some ways, I probably wouldn't be able to call myself a master of any particular trade (other than maybe leaving stupidly long comments) but I'd say I'm capable of holding my own in just about any TES related topic on a broader scale. Doubly interesting when I consider the fact that I went from being a regular old member of one site to now being an Admin here, helping run the Tamriel Vault Discord and even moderating over on r/SkyrimBuilds

    • 1595 posts
    August 9, 2019 6:12 AM EDT
    What year and what game? When Oblivion came out, so ’07-’08. More specifically, KotN was what sucked me into the setting in a big way. I was obsessed with the Song of Pelinal and the amazing stuff the Prophet of Anvil was ranting about but didn’t understand a fraction of any of it. “That all the interplay is but one flea of assertion on a wolf of naught”…? Epic! Didn’t understand a word. So I had a lot of questions and turned to the most obvious place for answers, the official Bethesda forums. It was strange, everyone spoke in riddles about CHIM and Vivec, coming out with stuff that raised even more questions, most of which was without sources for me to read. It was kind of frustrating to be thirsty for knowledge and understanding but without pointers as to what books to read and where to find them.

    That was when I started getting involved in the fandom, and stayed there for a good long while. I remember one of my first ever questions was about the relationship between the Ritual and Mara due to TES IV’s gameplay and effects from that birthsign. I think that remains unanswered. I met a few good guys there who responded to that question, so joined in with discussions and asking questions as I learned more. It’s nice to see one or two are still active as librarians on TIL or editors of UESP. All that said, I don’t think I racked up any more than a couple of hundred posts over there. I was very attracted by the interpretive nature and unreliable narration of TES lore, but often felt like there was a lot of ego surrounding it which made it very hard to learn. As mentioned in the OP, lots of talk about CHIM, but I found little explaining of that concept. Like, people would be quick talk in riddles and say cool stuff, but a lot slower in actually explaining and saying “read this book, then read this book, then think of x, y and z.” Couple all of that with a typical INFJ personality type and I found myself never quite fitting in or always the one asking the awkward questions.

    At some point just before or after Skyrim’s release, there seemed to be a mass exodus to Reddit where the community picked up where they left off. I never quite got used to Reddit or felt comfortable there, although there were a good number of people who would explain stuff and source their knowledge, and I learned a lot from them. By then I was a lot more confident, having learned the lesson on the Besthesda forums that, with TES lore, reading the original sources and forming one’s own opinion was more valuable – and fun - than anything else. However, I was never very active apart from to thank people for a particularly good essay or insight, or to pick someone’s brains about a topic they were passionate about.

    It wasn’t until I found this site (back when it was called The Skyrim Blog) that I really felt at home. It could be the focus the guys here had on in-character stuff such as builds and profiles, with lore being presented as that character would see it, or it could have been the visual style, the mixture of images and text, that made it all the more compelling. Whatever, there was definitely a feeling that creativity and TES went together like a Frank Sinatra song. That appealed to me so I stayed.

    I haven’t really strayed too far from here since, to be honest. Occasionally I might post on the Zenimax ESO forums or say something in Tweet, but those things are few and far between. Discord is fairly new to me, but I’m not particularly comfortable there and days can pass before I realise I haven’t logged in. Just not a social person.

    Fan reaction to new games is something I could easily get on a soapbox about, though. I got into ESO in a big way when the Orsinium dlc landed and even did a bit of streaming in those days. I haven’t left ESO for any length of time since. Everything I struggled with before One Tamriel and Tamriel Unlimited has long since been swept away, and it just gets better and better. It’s also the cutting edge of new lore, and fan reaction to that has always disappointed me. I really liked Lawrence Schick’s oft-repeated message that lore is grass roots and not dictated from on-high, think that should be the rallying cry for everyone - newcomers and old-timers alike. Yet there seems to be a prevailing impression that ESO isn’t a “proper” TES game, despite the fact that in a few years all the stuff ESO has brought to the setting will inform the character people create for TES VI. These same detractors will be browsing UESP and reading about Khajiit, for example, and all the stuff we have yet to learn about Pellitine will be there as fact for them to incorporate into their character’s backstory. But yeah, ESO isn’t a proper game and the lore sucks is still something I occasionally stumble across when I do leave my hermit hut.

    I think the community has evolved in a big way since I came to it. The rise of YouTubers and Streamers have likely made info more accessible, and the lore that once was connected to ego is now disseminated and accessible to everyone. I really don’t want to name drop so it’s hard to navigate this section, but the likes of you guys on the Selectives Lorecast and other lore-focussed by other equally good content from other talented folks has really helped lore become more accessible to newcomers. There are even ESO guilds dedicated to seeking lore, and I just love that approach as everyone learns together.

    Outside of lore, the modern TES community and fandom is probably the best I’ve ever seen or been part of. Sites like this, sites like UESP and TIL, and loads more act as content libraries and endless inspiration for builders and writers, while ESO has sites and folks dedicated to guiding others and helping people make the choices that are right for them. I cannot praise the wider community enough for that.

    Ok, I think that checks the boxes and addresses the things you need for your project, Aramithius. Good luck with it and all your projects from Written in Uncertainty to your regular Lorecast spot!
    • 197 posts
    August 9, 2019 1:29 PM EDT

    I’m not sure if my input is what you’re looking for, since it’s not really about change; more like impressions. And that’s really because I haven’t been involved long enough to see any real change. My first TES game was Oblivion. I started playing in maybe 2007, honestly because my husband played a time-consuming online game and he wanted me to play something too so I’d stop bugging him. Well, the joke was on him, because I got quickly obsessed and started seeing Nirnroot everywhere we went from there on out. You know, like you do. So Oblivion wasn’t only my first TES game, but my first game since Space Invaders in 1983. Still, I only play Oblivion and Skyrim. Not quite sure what these games have that others don’t, but I’ve tried others—Dragon Age, Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, Fable—and I just can’t get into them at all. So as a fan, I am super invested in the next TES game. I mean, that goes without saying, really. But since it’s my only gaming outlet, I admit I’ll be disappointed if TES 6 doesn’t fit the profile of whatever these games have that makes them my games, if that makes sense. 


    The journey to fandom for me was just as brainless as why I picked up the games in the first place. I honestly didn’t know fandom existed. I didn’t know it was a thing, even after playing Oblivion for years and Skyrim for years and being obsessed with fantasy movies and books and TV. I just didn’t know, and I didn’t have friends who were fans of anything, really, so it didn’t dawn on me that anything like this existed. I was just playing Skyrim one day and thought to myself “I wonder if anyone writes stories about questline stories. But wow, if they did, wherever would I find such a thing?” If you’re laughing, don’t worry, I am too. 


    So, in the fall of 2016, I finally did a google search for Skyrim stories. And it’s been pretty consuming since. I mean, finding out there’s such a thing as fanfiction and discussion communities...pretty big rush. That led me to fic sites first (AO3 and FFN), and I read and started writing. And one day I was searching for picture for inspiration for a story I was writing, and came across an image attached to a build, here. That was in the winter of 2018. And I mean, that was another crazy discovery. People gather online and talk about the ways they play the game? Develop these amazing blueprints for their characters and tricks for using basic game mechanics to do just the coolest damn things. 


    So honestly, there it is. I love reading fanfic and builds here, and roleplay profiles. I‘m a little less into lore—if you’re talking about the weeds of it all—and more into characters and settings. The discussions we have here on TV and Discord are engrossing, but sometimes it goes a little over my head and I end up just reading and learning. Because I’m still in the “holy shit, you can do that??” stage, and I’m not sure when that’s going to end. 


    My impressions of fandom in general are limited, too, I suppose. I’m continually shocked by the enthusiasm, for one. I guess if I have one negative thing to say it’s about fandom in general, not here, but I’ve seen it in other places. And that’s really the entitlement I’m seeing. Some fans seem to feel entitled to have their view of what their fandom should be about—what it should encompass, what it should look like, how its stories should unfold—be the only viewpoint. And if it doesn’t unfold like they think it should, they’re going to take their ball and go. And on the surface that seems logical—if you don’t like it, leave. But when I’ve spoken to people who do things like this, it seems to be less about what they like and more of an “I’m right” standpoint. I’m right, and therefore my view is the one that counts, and if it’s not included, the fandom doesn’t deserve my presence. Even though they’re not the creators. I’ve delved a bit into r/teslore to find quick answers, and I’ve read so many discussions where something like this happens, and I understand it. But that’s another cool thing about TES in general. Like Paws said, lore is grass roots, and there’s always people around who will listen to different viewpoints and even get excited about them and how they could possibly work in the TES world. 


    So that’s my impression of fandom and TES fandom in particular. Good luck with your article! 

    • 321 posts
    August 11, 2019 7:40 AM EDT


    • What year did you become involve with the TES franchise, and what was your first TES game?

    I think it was somewhere around 2014-15 that I became involved in the TES franchise. Skyrim was my first TES game, and back then I only knew it as "that Skyrim game" and not "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim". It was amazing the first time playing it. Back then, first-person fantasy RPG wasn't something I've heard of, so it's fun just wandering around while viewing from the perspective of your character.

    • When did you start becoming involved in the TES fandom?

    I'd say it was somewhere during my first playthrough. At first, I wasn't actively involved, only using the TES wikia to search for tips, guides, and references. Then I heard about Skyrim character builds (builds were a new thing for me since I'm just fresh into the RPG genre), which led me to the TamrielVault, where made friends with some wonderful people and discovered equally wonderful builds, with some using exploits in the game which I didn't even know of.

    However, I soon discovered that my interest in Skyrim waned from builds, guides, and tips and tricks, to the in-game lore. And boy, oh boy, did I not realize what sort of rabbit-hole I would jump into. In Skyrim, I was always interest in the issue surrounding Talos, particularly why the Thalmor were banning the worship of him. I had a very simplistic mindset, and given Skyrim's portrayal of the Thalmor, I was pretty against their actions. Then I stumbled upon a few posts in TamrielVault discussing the Thalmor and the history of the Altmer (High Elves), which opened a new perspective for me.

    The posts led me to discover new information like Numidium, and the conquest of Summerset Isle. They also introduce me to a new word: "Mantling". Thus began my transition from the mundane lore of TES, to the esoteric and metaphysical aspects. It was there that I experienced my first "mind-fuck". I was bombarded with more weird words and concepts (Godhead, CHIM, Amaranth, Enantiomorph, Dreamsleeve, etc). It was like reading an encyclopedia, but full of scientific and abstract words that my poor 15-year old brain couldn't comprehend. (And don't get me started with the Lessons of Vivec.)

    In search of answers, I was directed to UESP and The Imperial Library by some of the resident lore enthusiasts of TamrielVault. I also somehow found my way in the TESlore Reddit community, which provided a simple, though sometimes apocryphal, explanation on certain metaphysical topics. My time reading about TES lore had also changed the way I view the world. It encouraged me to look at things from different perspectives and not always accept what is told as true, but instead make your own judgement.

    • What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now?

    Then and now, TamrielVault has always been my go-to place to talk about Elder Scrolls or just to simply interact with people. I do sometimes visit the TES lore subreddit, but I'm usually a passive lurker there. 

    • How do you think the fans have reacted to new games?

    Well, in terms of new TES games, the only one I'm somewhat familiar with is Elder Scrolls: Online. It had a rocky start, but so far its doing okay for itself. Lots of content and a good playerbase. I've heard fans are worried that TES VI might include microtransactions given Bethesda's recent history, and I share their concerns. Hopefully it won't turn out that way.

    • How the communities you are part of now are different from the ones you started in (are they?)

    Can't say. TamrielVault has been the only community I've ever been involved in. There has been a noticeable decline in productivity on the site these past few years, but the community itself is still friendly and happy to help. I do miss the good ol' days, but now that we have a Discord server, at least everyone chat together.


    Hopefully that answers your questions, Aramithius, or at least some of it did. :)

    Good luck on your article. The Tel Mora Independant Press looks like an interesting place. Might pay a visit there someday and read a few articles.


  • August 11, 2019 9:08 AM EDT

    Much like Pocky-han up there, I first become involved with the TES (waaaaait, doesn't that mean 'the The Elder Scrolls'...?) franchise through my first TES game, which was Skyrim. I loved it to bits and would stay up at night for hours to play it, sometimes deliberately waking up in the small hours of the morning to get a few hours in before school. I then proceeded to retroactively play Oblivion, Morrowind and Daggerfall, though to be honest I never finished Daggerfall.


    I only started becoming involved in the fandom a few years ago, looking for a responsive outlet to share my fanfiction works. It's been wonderful all the while, even though I'm not the most active participant. The vast majority of the time I stick to the story corner, lurking everywhere else. I do feel a little bad that I'm not more involved in lore discussions - the heart and soul of the TES fandom, really - but that doesn't mean I don't like to make good use of such discussions, taking and picking interpretations of information that best suit my narrative to craft, flesh out and, for lack of any better terms, pad out my stories with filling material. Everything from speculation on the Akaviri to the sheer amount of detailed Tamriellian historical events in the universe to Kirkbride's metaphysical mind torture can be drawn from and used, even though I do tend to shy away from the metaphysics. The vast amount of preexisting lore available to any half-decent internaut is incredible, and it trivialises the task of stringing together a living, breathing universe because, much like how writers also draw inspiration and direct material from history, the building blocks and blueprints are already there.


    I'm afraid I'm not quite sure how to answer your last two questions to your satisfaction. I don't feel as though I am involved enough in social media to get a full grasp of how fans of TES have reacted to the newest games set in the Elder Scrolls universe. I am aware that Bethesda has had a rough stretch of it lately with Fallout 76 and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, but those aren't Elder Scrolls games, and on the other hand I've largely been hearing good things about ESO Elsweyr.


    Finally, as a relatively recent addition to the community I really can't say how different the communities are from the ones I started in, because this is the community that I started in. The Discord server is nice, but I'm not the most active there either.


    Good luck with your article!

    This post was edited by The Sunflower Manual at August 11, 2019 9:14 AM EDT
    • 261 posts
    August 11, 2019 2:29 PM EDT

    -What year you become involved with the TES franchise-

    Hoo, boy. Defiitely way younger than I should have, in hindsight. Somewhere around 2011, I think? Skyrim was still the uber-popular talk of the gaming town, then.

    -What your first TES game was-

    I dabbled in Skyrim but the first one I really owned and got into was Oblivioin.

    -When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom-

    Whenever it was that I found this site. My memory is notoriously poor with this kind of thing.

    -What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now-

    I've only ever interacted with this site, really. I'm horrible at social interaction, let alone integration, so this is the only site where I can be an actual member of the community.

    -How you think the fans have reacted to new games-

    It's unfortunate how much flak the new games get. I could ramble about the people that go "ZOMG do not change anything ever" for aeons, but I won't. Suffice to say, it irks me.

    -How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)-


    • 70 posts
    August 11, 2019 8:03 PM EDT

    What year you become involved with the TES franchise and What your first TES game was.


    If i remember correctly i got Oblivion in my local PC store around 2009 - 2010, they had one of those “old cheap games” walls and i saw the Oblivion - Game of the Year edition on there for just 20 euros. Oblivion was the first game to really shackle me to my ps3. I used to just play Star Wars the force unleashed and such but i never really invested much into those games. But i easily invested at least a year into Oblivion. Making new builds (which to my 12 year old self was just “i’ll use a greatsword this time”) trying to break the game with custom spells and so on. I was ecstatic when i saw the Skyrim trailer. I got Skyrim at christmas 2011, and i played Oblivion all the way until i had Skyrim in my hands. And since then i have been playing Skyrim off and on till today.

    When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom


    I wasn't really involved with the community all that much. I watched a few german Skyrim let’s plays but that's it mostly. I read the occasional thread on gamefaqs when i was looking for something specific but i never wrote a single thing on there.

    What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now


    I have not been on any sites prior to the Tamriel Vault. I mostly just played Skyrim like everyone else, i knew nothing about actual character builds and such until around early 2016 a Let’s Player mentioned “Role Playing” and i was curious what that was, went to google and searched “Skyrim Roleplay”. That brought me to Dragons The Basics of Roleplaying. I made an account right after that and started reading up on everything on the site amazed that something like that existed :D. And i’ve been on Tamriel Vault ever since that day. I made a few discussions of my own and enjoyed the very friendly community in here.

    How you think the fans have reacted to new games


    I haven’t paid a lot of attention to those things, i know that ESO had a rough start but that's it.

    How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)



    • 694 posts
    August 11, 2019 8:36 PM EDT

    Thanks for dropping by, Aramithius, and inviting our community to be part of your research. Sounds like a really cool project and I hope you'll consider sharing the finished editorial with us here. :)

    Happy to share if it helps. 

    • 1) What year you become involved with the TES franchise?

    I was first introduced to TES when Morrowind was released. My brother picked up a copy of the game and I sat on the couch watching him play and sort of "co-piloted" the game with him. I was really impressed with how vast the world was, and it was completely unlike any game I'd known. 

    • 2) What your first TES game was.

    I'd say Morrowind, but I also didn't actually go back and play it myself right away, so I don't think that actually counts. xD I knew how it ended, I had enjoyed watching it, so I didn't feel the need to go do it on my own. That was my senior year of high school, and like lots of seniors, my mind was on SATs, college admissions, moving out, and so I sort of lost the thread of the series for a while after that. I didn't pick up another TES game until Skyrim. The funny thing is, I didn't even necessarily want to play Skyrim. I was more interested in ESO and going back to Morrowind and seeing it in a new way with new quests, but it almost felt like I needed to get Skyrim out of the way first. 

    • 3) When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom.

    It was 2015, and I wasn't even halfway through my first Skyrim playthrough when I realized I was utterly and hopelessly hooked on the world, the storytelling, the ability to create whatever I wanted. I remember Googling around for certain things in game and all the threads I had found were old, dead, people weren't replying to them anymore. It was sad to see these posts I would have loved to have participated with, except no one had replied in over a year or two. I was over the moon when I found The Skyrim Blog and an active community around the series, and Skyrim in particular.  

    • 4) What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now?

    I started on The Skyrim Blog, which is what this site used to be called years ago. I wasn't a content creator myself, but appreciated the active community and what others had done and were doing. I mostly just wanted to talk about the games and share in it with others. Content creation is cool, but I'm not necessarily one for the spotlight, so I mostly preferred to just chat others up more than anything else. :) I'm always interested in becoming a better player, so discussing with others how to better understand mechanics, or discussing moral implications of the way certain quest lines end, or wrapping my head around the depth of the lore are the types of things appeal to me most. These days I'm active here, occasionally on the ESO forums, and Twitter, mainly. I also tune in on Twitch to watch ESO gameplay and follow a handful of streamers. I also create graphic art for others when I can. I do community manangement, graphic design and video editing professionally, and when time allows I like to take on small projects to help out others or support things here.

    • 5) How you think the fans have reacted to new games.

    Despite the bugs, broken quests, and the long lead time up to TES VI, Skyrim was one of the most widely-loved games of all time. ESO was obviously a little bit more of a struggle for fans and was harder for folks to accept. In part it struggled for some of the same types of shortcomings Skyrim had, but the MMO format was totally new for the series, and I think it had a lot of hurdles to overcome with fans in that regard. It wasn't what they knew Elder Scrolls to be, and I think a lot of people were afraid it would fundamentally alter how they viewed the series, the universe, and maybe not for the better. Today that broader ESO community is so vibrant and the game is really deeply loved by its player base. The devs are always working to make the game better and I think it really shows. I had the pleasure of chatting with a few of the devs at QuakeCon this year and it's clear they really love what they do and pour a lot of themselves into the game. Looking ahead, I feel like the tide has turned the other way on TES VI a bit. I see that people are excited, can't wait for more information... but its still years off. This gap has gone on so long you can sense this little bit of discontent in the fan base. I think people feel like they haven't been brought along enough, and while it's sort of a joke that it's taking so long, I think a lot people wonder if they'll even be able to get to TES VI. Because who knows what sort of time commitments or priorities you might have in two years from now? So personally, I think there is some danger in letting it go too long. It builds some hype, but I think they also risk losing some fans along the way too to just... every day real life.

    • 6) How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)

    Like I mentioned above, the ESO community has really taken off the last few years, and seeing more people get involved has been awesome. I second what Paws said too about YouTube and Twitter. Outlets like that make the fan base feel more connected and far less siloed than it used to be. Its great to be able to keep up with devs, streamers, guilds, and other people in the community. On the other side of that coin though, in some ways that's been a bit of a struggle for smaller niche communities like these. We've really seen these changes happen more and more over the last few years. Video editing is pretty easy to learn now, and video content has become more popular than ever. I find fewer people are interested in long form content. If it's not tweet-length, many people seem to prefer to consume other forms of media. Almost everyone has a Twitter and Reddit is a sort of ubiquitous choice for fans of any game. Our community has changed in that time too. In the 8+ years since it was founded our community has changed its name, turned over ownership twice, switched hosting platforms and migrated all its content, and in that time we've seen thousands of new faces. Some transients, some stick around, but the folks that hang around are some of the friendliest and most caring you'll find.

    This post was edited by Edana at August 11, 2019 8:41 PM EDT
    • 700 posts
    August 12, 2019 12:57 AM EDT

    My first game was Oblivion somewhere in the latter half of 7th gen consoles. I didn’t like it, and I didn’t really pay any attention to TES before seeing the Skyrim trailer. Fallout with swords looked like
    it might actually work that time. And it did! Love Skyrim. It’s one of the few games I can say I’ve been obsessed with. This is the site that had all the answers to the questions I had, though I never asked them. I just watched the threads where other members asked those questions, and kept up with the newest posts. I lurked here for a year before joining. This is the one and only TES platform I’ve used. Before this site, I used Gamespot, and even then I only used it through google.

    By “new games” I assume you mean FO76 and the TES VI picture at E3. Duuude. They’re pissed. A lot of them. Are piiiiissed. That’s not even what I think; it’s just a fact. But if ESO counts, then as far I’m aware, it’s still going strong. ESO was a good comeback story, now only to be topped by Bethesda rocketing themselves out of this grave they’ve dug themselves into.

    • 627 posts
    August 13, 2019 6:50 PM EDT

    Before you read any further just know that I'm not that great at writing long responses to things, unless it's an essay question which I can bullshit my way through :D

    • What year you become involved with the TES franchise

    I can't actually remember when it was but my first exposure to TES would probably have been borrowing Oblivion from Video Ezy back before they died like every other video/dvd rental place.

    • What your first TES game was

    As I said above it would have been Oblivion, which I think I borrowed about a dozen times for the ps3 before talking my parents into buying me a copy of the Game of the Year edition. For awhile I was obsessed with the game, although not nearly to the same degree as I was with Skyrim. I did try going back to Morrowind but could never get passed the dice rolls in combat preventing my character from hitting the barn door they were touching.

    • When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom

    That would have been in 2014 when I found the previous version of this site and eventually joined.

    • What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now

    I've never been all that into "social media" or forums so the only real place that I've done that on has been here and in ESO.

    • How you think the fans have reacted to new games

    Since this is concerning TES and not all of Bethesda's output the "newest" game would have to be Skyrim. Like with every fanbase there are those who are upset or even furious at how it was different to previous games and even here we've had a few people join just to repeatedly tell us "Skyrim is shit, Morrowind was perfect". But even in the face of that Skyrim has done pretty well; massive understatement. As for TES6, whenever that happens it will have to be really impressive to overcome the apprehension that a lot of people have in the wake of recent Bethesda stuff ups or even just some people's unfounded hype for it.

    • How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)

    Since I haven't really moved from the website that I started on that at least hasn't changed, the community itself has due to people leaving for various reasons and new people coming in.

    • 50 posts
    August 24, 2019 9:00 AM EDT

    Here's my input on this. Been meaning to reply to this for a while so sorry for the late reply.

    What year you become involved with the TES franchise & what was your first TES game?

    Well that would be Oblivion back in 2007 when I purchased the game on the PS3 as my PC at the time was not up to running the game. It's the first open world RPG I'd played and put off playing it for a while as I found it a little overwhelming at first and thinking I would not have the time to play it. But glad I persevered with it and got the expansion packs too. It did take me about 3 years to fully "finish" the game as in I'd explored almost every part of the map and done every sidequest. I played as a Redguard in that game simply because of the starting statistics but I started a second playthrough as an Argonian but never finished that as my PS3 failed on me and I never replaced it buying a PS4 instead.

    When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom?

    Been a few years now with this site being the only fan site I participate on aside from the single post on the Bethesda forum. I've been here since the Ning days and partly came because of the fan fiction with Okan-Zeeus's Dragon of the East the first story I read and followed. Shame he never finished that story but with all things they take time to write and we all have other commitments that get in the way and sometimes maps, fan fiction etc are abandoned and unfinished. I've also been playing ESO and found the ESO community content on this site to be helpful in building a good character.

    What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now?

    The PC and it still is systems wise. Software wise it's internet community sites such as this, nexus mods and steam as I'd made a couple of mods for Skyrim based on two of my characters used in playthroughs. Now there is the Tamriel Vault Discord server that I lurk on.

    How do you think the fans have reacted to new games?

    Well given the feedback on Fallout76 which lets just say isn't Bethesda's most successful game it seems to be a bit 'meh'. The news that Bethesda is using the ageing creation engine for Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 didn't help any (if that really is true) and as Fallout76 was a disaster I think the fans are skeptical of the quality of the next two games. For me personally I'm looking forward to Elder Scrolls 6 and I'm waiting to see what Starfield is all about. I think the success of that game will be a make or break for Elder Scrolls 6 as if it's a flop then it isn't going to look good for Elder Scrolls 6. Bethesda are waiting for the next generation consoles to come out to make the games they really want but are currently limited by today's technology. But that will only delay their next games and they seem to be relying on the success of Fallout76 updates and DLC.

    How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)

    Yes they are different from what they were a few years ago. This site especially has seen a big drop of content and fans online at once which is why fans don't continue their fan fiction as there's not as many to appreciate it. The next Elder Scrolls game will revive the site for sure but that's going to be a while yet. I run a fan site for another game which has gone the same way but I'm reluctant to let it go. As for this site the Discord server seems to be the hang out area rather than this site simply because of convenience and for me this site is very slow sometimes.