One of my favorite things about Elder Scrolls Online as an MMORPG is the richness of its universe. The developers managed to take this huge existing setting from the previous Elder Scrolls games and give us this powerful connection to it, all through a combination of dialog with random non-player characters, excerpts of books we read in-game, and of course via the many quests. One of my favorite details of the game is epitomized in the new zone added in the game’s latest DLC, regarding Vivec City and the giant rocks floating directly above it.
Much of the lore maintains this element of the unknown, especially to its mythology. Most people in its world don’t actually know what is true and what is just a rumor, especially when it comes to things outside their daily lives. This theme of people spreading rumors and trying to understand this bizarre world they live in is an aspect that feels really striking in Elder Scrolls Online. As we explore Vivec City and its surrounding areas, we find a number of books and people who theorize why Vivec, the glowing mayor of his own city, chose to begin construction underneath Baar Dau, a mysterious meteor suspended in the air above the city.
My favorite interaction in Vvardenfell regarding Baar Dau was actually reading an ingame thesis paper written by some scholar attempting to discern meaning in Vivec’s intentional recklessness with the location of his new city. The writer briefly described a rumor that Baar Dau was a bigass rock thrown by Sheogorath, a Daedric Prince that represents madness and “mental weakness” to the native dark elves. The scholar then went on to describe how the meteor was a physical representation of their peoples’ faith in Vivec and his fellow Tribunal members. The paper’s author even made an assumption that if the people of Morrowind were to cease their devotion to the Warrior Poet, he would simply allow Baar Dau to crush them all.
There are plenty of other instances of the writers of Elder Scrolls playing with the citizens of Tamriel having multiple versions of mythologies. As in real life, the further back we go into history, the more obscure or diverse myths become. It’s a world building technique that does an excellent job giving each of the many cultures in Tamriel their own little personalities.