Welcome ESO watchers, it’s time to dig into another hearty helping of screenshot goodness. Each week I trek through the treacherous jungle of ESO media in search of an elusive prize, the screenshot of the week! This time around, it’s an environmental screenshot that was one of my absolute favorites from the E3 media roll. This one depicts a series of rope bridges and wooden platforms precariously spanning a gorge.
The flora of this ecosystem are very tropical, suggesting to me that we are dealing with one of the exotic southern provinces. My gut tells me this may be a Valenwood area. A pitfall for my theory concerns the use of wood in the construction of these bridges. The Green Pact forbids any Bosmer from harming plant life that grows in Valenwood, therefore the elves would be reliant on imported timber for the construction of these platforms. Under normal circumstances, the Bosmer themselves might rely on subtle paths known only to themselves, but in this time of political centralization with Altmer and Khajiiti forces joining their ranks, more accessible thoroughfares are likely required. Perhaps a justification for the usage of wooden buildings and bridges within Valenwood is that they are created by the allied races out of necessity in traversing the forests of Valenwood.
I personally love the feel of this area, and can’t wait to explore it in game. A mighty waterfall cascades down into the gorge below, and leaning cliff faces fence the canyon. It looks like there might be a cave entrance in the cliff wall on the left-central platform. In my opinion, this is a great demonstration of how ZOS can design an MMO appropriate area without the “climb any mountain” philosophy of the single player games that doesn’t feel artificially constrained by imaginary barriers. As such, we may see more frequent usage of rugged cliffs or impassible terrain in ESO to subtly and naturally constrain the player to pre-defined areas of interest. During my experience playing ESO at PAX East, it seemed like the zones they showed felt very naturally bordered and able to avoid situations where the game outright tells the player “you can’t go that way”.
What do you think about this scene, do you agree this is likely Valenwood? How important do you think the terms of the Green Pact will be for Bosmeri culture in ESO, do you think the Bosmer inclusion in the Aldmeri Dominion will justify ZOS in more visible use of timber in Bosmer environments? Are there any aspects of this environment that jump out at you as noteworthy? Let us know in the comments section below!