Tamriel Infinium: A hitchhiker’s guide to The Elder Scrolls Online
I believe we can all agree that The Elder Scrolls Online is not a sandbox in the MMORPG sense. However, the game starts to branch out as your level increases. Although it will never be an MMO sandbox, it does start to resemble the single-player sandbox, except there are tons of other people playing at the same time.
Just like those single-player sandboxes, ESO allows us to do pretty much whatever we want when we want to. It’s an explorer’s dream, if you ask me. Of course, we might be able to find some of those explorable items on the in-game map, but many of them remain hidden until we just land on them. Today, I’d like to talk about a few of the items that I think every ESO explorer should be aware of.
Mundus stones appeared in some fashion in every Elder Scrolls game that I’ve played. However, they didn’t really serve any in-game purpose until Morrowind, where they gave gave players buffs to certain attributes. You might remember them as Birthsigns inMorrowind and Oblivion. They were called Standing Stones inSkyrim, but the effect was essentially the same as in ESO.
When you first step out of the first town on the mainland of each faction, you can find the first of 13 different Mundus stones. The intrepid explorers at Tamriel Foundry tracked down all these stones and informed us of their different attributes:
- The Lover: Reduces damage taken from spells
- The Thief: Increases critical chance
- The Mage: Increases maximum magicka
- The Warrior: Increases power
- The Serpent: Increases non-combat health regeneration
- The Apprentice: Increases spell penetration
- The Atronach: Increases magicka regeneration
- The Lady: Increases armor
- The Ritual: Increases healing effectiveness
- The Shadow: Increases critical strike damage
- The Steed: Increases run speed
- The Lord: Increases maximum health
- The Tower: Increases maximum stamina
It’s hard to miss the lorebooks if you’re looking for them because they are shiny and sparkly. However, if you zip over the landscape without taking a moment to look around, you still might miss these little gems. Many lorebooks will grant you an increase to attributes, so min-maxers will have to find all of them. And lore-junkies will want to know the tales hidden in their pages. Dulfy, who is known for her Guild Wars 2 andStar Wars: The Old Republic guides, has jumped into ESO, too. She and her team have spotted every lorebook imaginable and created a guide to help you find them, like this Khajiit and Bosmer etiquette guide found in Greenwater Cove:
“Loyal citizen of the Isles, heed the statement of the Thalmor. Bear witness to these words about our new allies, the Khajiit and the Wood Elves.
“Integration with out new Wood Elf and Khajiit allies continues apace. To promote Alliance harmony, loyal Thalmor agents have drawn together this short list of helpful notices. Follow this mandatory guidance with cheer, and our new allies will look on you with favor.
“– Don’t refer to Khajiit as ‘cats,’ ‘kitties,’ ‘fuzzies,’ or any other derogatory feline-based term.
“– Khajiit delicacies are often very sweet or spiced with the exoctic substance known as moon-sugar. Diners beware.
“– Don’t touch a Khajiit’s tail without permission.
“– Our Khajiit allies have a unique dialect. Mocking their speech, or imitating it, is considered quite rude and non-Aldmeri.
“– When inviting a Wood Elf to dine, know that the resources of the forest are sacred to them. Serve venison, but no salads.
“– Do not refer to Wood Elves as ‘shorties,’ ‘runties,’ or any other derogatory height-based terms.
“– Have a care when imbibing Wood Elf brews, as their beverages are very different than our own.
“– Do not imply to Wood Elves that they are cannibals, or ask them about how they dispose of their dead.
Maybe one of the reasons I like the Aldmeri Dominion so much is its lighthouses, although Daggerfall and Cyrodiil have them, too. Why the Ebonheart Pact doesn’t have any, I don’t know. Maybe the Nords don’t figure out that ships crash into the shore until a few centuries later.
Two lighthouses sit on Auridon shores; the northern most houses a skyshard. But obviously that’s not why I like them. Climb to the top of one sometime. There is one in the southeast of Cyrodiil if you happen to be a part of a faction that doesn’t care about its sailors. You can see quite a distance from the top of the tower. The best thing about the draw distance in ESO is that if you see it, you can likely get to it somehow. Not many themepark MMOs can live up to that desire.
Skyrim didn’t have fishing unless you modded the game. But Elder Scrolls Online makes it a reality. In early beta, you would have to find a fishing pole as well as the bait, but now everyone owns one at the start of the game. Apparently, such poles are the Coldharbour parting gift. Bait can be found while you’re digging up plants, killing random small creatures, or buying it from a vendor. Every zone with water has its fishing holes, so they aren’t hard to find. However, guides to fishing are hard to find.
It’s not that difficult really. Go to one of the several places on the map marked as a fishing spot. ESOHead shows them on its maps. Click on the splashing water to choose your bait. The rest is up to you. In the long-run, I’m not sure how important fishing will be to the overall game, but we’re talking about exploring today. And I’ve not met an explorer who doesn’t like to fish in an MMO.
I’m might be stating the obvious when I say that you should find the Daedric Anchors. These portals to Oblivion are central to the overarching plot for Elder Scrolls Online. Each one offers not only amazing visuals but also a fun group fight. And if you watched my livestream on Sunday, then you heard the Prophet explain the history of these passages to Coldharbour.
Obviously, the Anchors were created by Molag Bal and his Daedric agents in Oblivion, but in Nirn, Mannimarco and his Worm Cult call on these anchors by performing a ritual sacrifice and possibly sacrificing their own lives. If you stumble on cultists performing the ritual, you can fight them or possibly the Daedra jumping through the bridge. Whichever the case, it’s kind of your job to stop Molag Bal from merging the two planes.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive. Let me know about your favorite lesser-known parts of ESO in the comments. I’m a socializer first, but I’m an explorer second. I would love to hear about any tiny tidbits you might find as you wander around Tamriel. I’ll see you in game; my handle’s @shaddoe if you want to drop me a line. Maybe we can go fishing together.