Big Picture: The Story of the Elder Scrolls Online

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Tamriel has a problem. Some 800 years before the events of the first four Elder Scrolls games – and thus roughly a thousand years before The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – a Daedric prince by the name of Molag Bal gets himself an idea. With the help of nasty interdimensional anchors, he figures it’ll be fun to annex the Elder Scrolls universe to his own realm of Coldharbour.

This, as you might imagine, does not sit well with the inhabitants of said universe. And one inhabitant in particular decides to do something about it: The mysterious Prophet, imprisoned in Coldharbour as part of Molag Bal’s nefarious schemes. He picks a recently deceased hero to serve as the “Vestige,” to go out into the world and work against Molag Bal’s interests.

That hero is, of course, you.

This is the story behind the events of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. Along with thousands of other players, you can engage in a vast, epic, and challenging quest to prevent the end of… well, everything.

But that’s just part of the story. See, Molag Bal picked a particularly opportune time to kickstart his shenanigans: The whole of Tamriel is already pretty much at war, divided into three powerful Alliances that are more concerned about their own power than about the upcoming Molagocalypse.

The Daggerfall Covenant is made up of Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs. Occupying the Northwest of Tamriel, the Covenant was formed 20 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls Online, uniting previously warring races in an attempt to quell growing hardship in the area. The goal: Claim Imperial City and the Ruby Throne, and restore order to the land.

The Ebonheart Pact unites the Dark Elves, the lizard-like Argonians, and Nords of the Northeast. Just 10 years before the events of the game, these three different races joined forces in the wake of an invasion from the neighboring continent of Akavir. United by an independent spirit and fierce distrust, the Ebonheart Pact doesn’t want the throne… they just don’t want anyone else to have it, either.

The Aldmeri Dominion doesn’t particularly want the throne, either, but their motives are more pure – at least, on the surface. The Alliance was formed upon Molag Bal’s invasion, when his agents seized control of Imperial City and cut it off from the rest of Cyrodiil… which was seen as not a good thing. Made up of High Elves, Wood Elves, and the cat-like Khajiit, the Dominion controls most of Southwest Tamriel.

And what of Cyrodiil, the center of the continent? Well, that’s where the magic happens. Cyrodiil is where all three Alliances come together in an attempt to seize territory from each other – and ultimately regain control of Imperial City. It’s where players go head-to-head with one another in battles ranging from the intimate to the epic, laying siege to enemy fortifications and generally trying to advance the causes of their chosen Alliances.

But even this isn’t the whole story. This is an Elder Scrolls game, after all, chock-full of side-quests, roaming beasties, and fascinating new areas to discover. You’ll visit Ayleid ruins, Dwemer dungeons, and Khajiit plantations. You’ll rescue townsfolk, chat with Daedric princes, and facilitate political alliances. Basically, you’ll do pretty much whatever strikes your fancy.

And you can do it with friends – dozens, potentially hundreds of friends. Or you can do it alone, hacking your own way through a world made vibrant by thousands of other players. It’s your choice.

This is, after all, an Elder Scrolls game.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited is available now for Xbox One. Pick it up!