What I would like to see from the next Elder Scrolls...
- Location -
It's probably just a matter of time before TES expands across the seas to other lands of Nirn but I think Tamriel still has room for at least one more game. I don't care if The Elder Scrolls Online will cover all of Tamriel cause I'm not going to play it.
I honestly don't see the appeal of the next game taking place in Black Marsh, Elswyr, or the Summerset Isles. I know a lot of people are wanting Elswyr or Summerset Isles, but why? Having only played Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, each of these games is set is a specific province of Tamriel. This has a tendency to make players want to create a character that is native to the province they are playing in (Morrowind - Dunmer, Oblivion - Imperial, Skyrim - Nord). Maybe you do that maybe you don't. Either way the games react to your race and it makes it that much more believable. Personally, I don't want to play as an Argonian (unless they look more like Raptors in the next game), a Khajiit, or Altmer. I understand that I would have a multitude of races to choose from but I don't even find those regions to be that interesting.
Valenwood certainly sounds interesting, with massive moving trees, etc. And I certainly think there is plenty of room for creativity from the developers as far as creating environments/crafting story. But in all honesty I really want to see Hammerfell. It has the potential to be very familiar yet very fresh at the same time. Skyrim was a great environment and harbored an aesthetic that was heavily reminiscent of old-school dungeon games, very archaic, very legendary. Furthermore, Skyrim was a rigid, harsh landscape, an inhospitable entity, in a way. That's what made the Nords that much more hardcore. From what we know Hammerfell is a vast desert region sprinkled with mountains. Skyrim's opposite and twin at the same time: Hammerfell's hot and sandy, Skyrim is cold and snowing, but both are inhabited by a hearty race that endures and makes a living regardless. This could make for an extremely new aesthetic in the series. The closest any previous game has come to deserts is Morrowind, but that's a whole different beast in itself. Just say the name, "Hammerfell." For those who said it, you know it has an epic ring to it.
And I know a lot of people will say Hammerfell is smaller than Skyrim so they would need to add in High Rock in order to succeed Skyrim. Have you seen the map? Hammerfell is at least equal in area to, if not larger than, Skyrim. Furthermore, Skyrim's province is considerably smaller than its predecessor game's province (Cyrodiil). But I'm not opposed to having a game cover 2 provinces.
- Races -
Personally, I don't want any new races added to the lineup. I think there is a good amount of diversity already in that area. Unless of course the game ends up taking place somewhere other than Tamriel, then sure, it's up in the air.
- Prisoner -
Saying that the next Elder Scrolls game should not start off with your character being held as a prisoner (in some form or another) is like saying the next Zelda game's playable character should be someone besides Link. Starting out as a prisoner is part of your identity, it's the Elder Scrolls trademark. There are so many possibilities that come with this to serve as the game's grand opening and our introduction to the new land and story.
- Immersion/Variety (Believability) -
I know this is highly unlikely for multiple reasons but what I've been craving in the games is to see a realistic city in terms of size and diversity. Think about how large Whiterun is, population...50? Maybe? A truly developed civilization equipped with encompassing walls, a city guard, etc. should have more than 50 or so people living there. Not just for the sake of having more people, but because there is a need for all the different merchants/services/etc. Carpenters, architects, millers, fletchers, thatchers, masons, multiple smiths (blacksmith, bladesmith, armorer, locksmith, goldsmith, etc.), weavers, winesellers, so on and so forth. Realistically there should be hundreds of citizens per city if it is major city for varying reasons (located on a major trade route, port city, capital, etc.). Again, I know it's a high hope, but it's still my hope.
Another reason why a larger population great is large-scale battles. My favorite part of Skyrim was playing as a Stormcloak, driving out the Imperials one fort at a time. I'm all for being the lone hero, the one person who can save the world...but being a part of a battle where you're surrounded by enemies and comrades, everyone's moving, everyone's shouting, soldiers falling left and right, it's so energizing. My bloodlust level skyrockets and I wish the game had more big battle sequences.
A variety of different body types would also aid in this area. Surely not every dude in Tamriel has a 6-pack. Surely not every chick in Tamriel has D-Cups and an hourglass figure. Furthermore, surely not every child is the exact same age. Keep the kids, but add diversity. Add diversity to all the people.
Another aspect that increases immersion for me is variety in terms of weapons and armor. Remember in Skyrim how sometimes you'd find a set of Steel armor with pauldrons (shoulder plates), then you'd find a set withOUT pauldrons? That tiny bit of variation is excellent. But it can be taken a step further. No two smiths from different cities (or even the same city) are going to make an identical suit of armor. Little variations, modifications, etc. gives our characters more customization. Say you had four different versions of the same armor set. They can all have the same stats, but appearance-wise there is something unique about each and players can search for their favorite variation. Then apply the same concept to weapons. So many choices, so many treasures to find!
While on the subject of weapons, first and foremost...bring spears back. Spears, halberds, lances, flails/chain maces, throwing axes, etc. More weapon variety gives players so much to explore.
- Capes/Cloaks -
We have hoods in Oblivion/Skyrim, but who wears just a hood? The Nightingale armor has a sweet half cape. This can be expanded on. And it doesn't need to be attached to armor. Make them a standalone piece of apparel. Talking about variations earlier, you could have a cape, or a hooded cape, or a half-cape, a hooded half-cape, with/without a mask (also like in the Nightingale armor). Invent new garments of clothing native to the province.
- Pets/Mounts -
I've personally never been a fan of pets/mounts in TES, not even followers. But the option to have them is cool. It all ties into the immersion factor. The horses were too clunky for me to use them, but I loved how it fit the aesthetic of the game. If they had a smoother mechanic (similar to horses in Assassin's Creed) I think it would fit wonderfully - Even more so if the game takes place in Hammerfell/High Rock. Imagine the elegant desert steeds striding across the baron wasteland! Perhaps add a new beast to mount, like a Dewback (Star Wars), or a desert version of a Taun Taun!
- Gold -
It would be nice to have some mega expensive things to save up for other than training/houses. That's all I can say on that subject. Surpise me.
- Dragons -
Supposedly a lot of people think the dragons in Skyrim was the best thing that happened to them ever. I don't understand the hype but I don't want dragons to play such a major role in the story again. It would be neat to meet Paarthurnax again maybe, or hunt down a notorious dragon that's been terrorizing a specific region as a part of a miscellaneous quest, but not as part of full fledged theme in the game.
- Dwemer -
I understand that I am probably well in the minority here but I could do without any more Dwemer. I've read that some people want the race to make a comeback and play as a Dwemer, but I don't really see that happening, nor the appeal of it. I understand that according to lore Dwemer were established all over Tamriel but maybe we can tone down the amount of ruins and make way for more Ayleids...
- Story -
I'm not going to say what I want the story to be because Bethesda has done a pretty fine job on their own thus far, and I want to be surprised when I play through it. But I will say what I don't want.
Skyrim was an excellent execution of a game. Lots to do, lots to explore, learn, etc. As I said earlier though, my favorite part was the civil war quest line. Not slaying dragons and being the dragonborn. Dragons are cool but it seems like every other fantasy franchise has dragons in some form or another. Granted Bethesda put its own unique twist on the scaly fiends, but they were still dragons. Fire-breathing, winged beasts that are virtually invincible. My character just so happens to be the first dragonborn in ages, right when dragons just so happen to reappear in Tamriel? That's convenient, okay I'll go eliminate that threat for you but I REALLY want to kick some Imperial butt instead. Why? Maybe because the empire is a joke, being puppeted by the ever-so-hateable Thalmor, who are trying to tell me that I can't worship my patron deity Talos. Why is this an awesome set up? My first experience in the game is nearly being executed by Imperials based on no charges whatsoever. That gives me a distaste of the Empire right off the bat. This struggle for power between a native people and a religiously/politically oppressive Aldmeri Dominion is beautiful. I can be a part of something so much larger than myself, yet I can have a massive influence of the direction the war takes. It's so much more motivating to me.
What was even cooler about the civil war is that you could pick sides. Sides that are neither 100% good or 100% evil. Each is doing what's right in its own eyes, but both have obvious flaws. Moral gray areas have so much potential.
I'm not saying that TES:6 should be a continuation of Skyrim's civil war because each game should be independent story-wise. There are plenty of scenarios that the writers can come up with, and if they take place in Hammerfell there's tons of room for fresh ideas. The story doesn't always have to be a giant world-breaking magical catastrophe (Skyrim, Oblivion, and Morrowind). Some of the best stories unfold between political corruption and an underdog's thirst for justice. As is characteristic of TES you can still involve a prophecy in a story like that.
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