Tamriel Infinium: The Orcs in The Elder Scrolls Online

Tamriel Infinium A strange sort of Elf, the Orcs in The Elder Scrolls Online
It takes a special person to play a character who's considered ugly by our human standards. But people have been playing "ugly" player races since EverQuest with its Ogres and Trolls, for instance. Sometimes the avatars we "normal" people find strange actually end up being some of the most interesting characters to play. Such is the case with the Orcs in the Elder Scrolls Online.

Admittedly, I never played an Orc in an Elder Scrolls game, but the more I study them, the more I'm intrigued by the race. To the larger world of Tamriel, the Orcs are considered barbaric, fierce, and bestial not only because of their appearance but also because of their tribal nature. Despite this, Orcs remain extraordinary loyal and actually very progressive regarding gender rank and respect. But where did this Pariah Folk come from and why do many other races look down on them?

Tamriel Infinium A strange sort of Elf, the Orcs in The Elder Scrolls Online
Before the time period of ESO, an Aldmeri (Elf) hero named Trinimac attempted to thwart the Chimer ancestors of the Dark Elves. Trinimac was then confronted by the Daedric Prince Boethiah. Although the details are sketchy, we know that Boethiah tricked Trinimac into entering his mouth, where he was consumed -- body and soul -- by the Daedric Prince. However, the remains of Trinimac were transformed while inside Boethiah. The Aldmeri hero respawned as the Daedric Prince Malacath. During this transformation, Trinimac's elven followers morphed into the Orsimer, or Orcs, and worshiped Malacath as their god, which is something right out of Greco-Roman mythology.

Quickly, many of the other races cast out the Orsimer. The Orcs became tribal and nomadic, spreading themselves throughout Tamriel with the highest tribal concentration appearing in the mountains of Skyrim and High Rock.

Then early in the First Era, Orc chieftain Torug gro-Igron founded the city of Orsinium, although it was little more than a collection of huts at the time. The word spread among the Orcish tribes that a city was being established in the Wrothgarian Mountains, and Orsinium quickly grew from huts to more permanent structures. Unfortunately, the Bretons and other races in the mountains became frightened of the settlement. Although the Orcs claimed to only want to farm and trade, Orsinium was destroyed at the end of the first millennium of the First Era.

Orsinium became the primary motivation for the Orcs to join the Daggerfall Covenant during the time of Elder Scrolls Online. According to the game devs, the Orcs trust the new High King of the Bretons, Emeric, even if they don't trust the people as a whole. Emeric promised the restoration of Orsinium, and "once the Covenant re-established the Empire, Orsinium would once again be an Imperial province." The truth of this remains to be seen.

Tamriel Infinium A strange sort of Elf, the Orcs in The Elder Scrolls Online
My question for this week stems from this agreement between the Orcs and King Emeric. Other races in Tamriel have agreements similar to these. The Argonians and Dunmer have an uneasy peace in the Ebonheart Pact. The Khajiit don't exactly fit with the other two Elf races. Why don't these "lesser" races just band together? Do these kinds of agreements seem a bit forced to fit the game, or do they make complete sense to you? Why do you think that, and what evidence do you have either in lore or other places to back up that claim?

Tamriel Infinium A strange sort of Elf, the Orcs in The Elder Scrolls Online
Last week, the community here had a lot to say about the hybrid penalty (or hybrid tax) that pops up so often in MMOs when they attempt to balance the opposing goals of PvE and PvP. Just before I wrote this article, DarrellOEastcott made his opinion abundantly clear when he wrote:
"All races and classes are not created equal. And rightly so. There is no reason to cry and fuss that some combinations create powerful characters. You want to beat them. Up your strategy. Sometimes life is just not fair."
And to his point, I would completely agree with that sentiment if the Elder Scrolls Online was a life-simulator. Some games simulate life well and make fun gameplay for some, but unfortunately, because of the mechanics and what I perceive as the intended purpose of ESO, I don't think the game will attempt to simulate life. I would venture to say that the vast majority of players want an escape from life, and finding a game unbalanced would end up being frustrating and unfun. And in order to keep its playerbase, ESO will have to remain balanced.

I had to laugh when I read SallyBowls comment. "The important take-away remains: PvP is why we can't have nice things." She also mentioned an interesting compromise to the idea of either separate trees or separate abilities. She suggested that abilities could have the same effect but the duration or the damage could be different between PvE and PvP "so the nerf bats don't hit the innocents." By her suggestion, the developers would only have to make one set of abilities. But for instance, if one ability becomes too powerful in PvP, then the devs only have to adjust its performance in PvP, leaving the PvE version of that ability unchanged. That is certainly an idea I can stand behind.

Although I would like to agree with CoreyMJ78 when he said, "While cooldowns and global 'timers' will be less important, what will be very important is player timing, aiming, and real time combat skill," I still think that there will be classes that will be preferred for different tasks in a dungeon group or PvP scenario. Unfortunately, I believe there will be some classes or perfectly viable builds that will be left out just because it's not optimal for a specific role. Maybe I'm wrong, and I certainly welcome that.

Unfortunately, I couldn't quote everyone's comments this week, but I absolutely enjoyed hearing your thoughts. If you have more you'd like to share on the hybrid penalty, if you have an answer to my question this week, or if you have questions yourself, drop them in the comments below and I will endeavor to address them there or in next week's article.

Tamriel Infinium Stepping into the world of The Elder Scrolls OnlineEach week, traverse the treacherous terrain of Tamriel with Larry Everett as he records his journey through The Elder Scrolls Online, an MMORPG from ZeniMax. Comments are welcome below, or send a message to larry@massively.com. He promises to keep the arrow-to-the-knee jokes to a minimum.
This article was originally published on Massively.