Tameriel Infinium: Four things you should know about Daedra in Elder Scrolls Online
Who are the scariest monsters in The Elder Scrolls Online? With Halloween being yesterday, it might be appropriate to talk about some of the quintessential spooky monsters found in ESO. The traditional fantasy monsters like dragons and orcs, obviously, found their way into the Elder Scrolls universe, but traditional scary-movie monsters find a home in Tamriel, too. We've seen vampires, and ZeniMax even did a write-up on werewolves. However, I want to talk about devils, or as they are called in ESO, Daedra.

You might argue that Daedra aren't devils. They have been compared to Greco-Roman gods and demigods. I'll accept that opinion, but they carry too many demon-like qualities for me to believe some of them aren't at least comparable to those evil creatures, especially when you consider the variety of creatures that fall under the category of demons.

Because Daedra are so essential to the world of Elder Scrolls, we should probably know as much about them as we can.


The Daedra aren't just the princes

The sixteen Daedric princes are the most widely known, and in fact, are probably what people mean when they speak about Daedra because they are the most important (or at very least the most dangerous). But in actuality, the term Daedra refers to any creature from the plane of Oblivion. For instance, ZeniMax released a video and developer blog about the Flame Atronach. This fiery creature is an example of a non-princely Daedra. However, their master, Molag Bal, is an example of a Daedric Prince.

All Daedra are from Oblivion

Oblivion can be compared to Hell or some versions of Hell. Not everyone believes that Hell is a place of fire and brimstone. Some believe that Hell is a place of ultimate suffering, and for mortals, Oblivion fits that description. However, Daedra call it home, as it were.

The planes of Oblivion are shaped by the Daedric Prince who controls it. Molag Bal's Oblivion plane, Coldharbour, is an exact replica of Tamriel, but it's in ruin with the sky burning and the air freezing. Still, not all planes of Oblivion are horrible. Azura's realm of Moonshadow, for example, is said to be beautiful beyond mortal comprehension.

Generally, Daedra cannot die

Of course, there are spells and even weapons that can completely rid the world of a Daedra, but for the most part, that cannot happen. Conventional weapons can usually destroy a Daedra's vessel, so don't worry that you have to carry a Sorcerer in your pocket all times. We will likely run into most Daedra on the mortal plane, and in order for Daedra to interact with us, they need to take on a corporeal form. When that body is destroyed by weapon or magic, the spirit of the Daedra is forced back to Oblivion, where he will wander, possibly for centuries, until he can form or find a new vessel.

Not all Daedra intend to harm mortals

The Daedra's perception of the mortal realm, Nirn, is obviously quite different from yours and mine, and frankly, most Daedra see mortal creatures as lesser beings. But that does not exactly make them automatically evil. Granted, because they cannot die and sometimes lack essential emotional empathy, they can be confused with being evil. Their moral compasses are skewed. There are some Daedra, like the aforementioned Azura, who actually are considered good. (Fun fact: Although she is depicted as female, she is still called a Prince.) Her "goodness" actually extends only to those who follow her.


Last week, I brought up the topic of PvP in the game, and although some readers took the article as a slam on PvP, I certainly didn't intend to sway one way or the other. Personally, I don't have an issue with ESO's revolving around PvP as long as it's done well, which I'm slowly gaining confidence in the studio's ability to pull off. However, it's clear that readers of this column have very divided opinions about PvP in ESO. In fact, because of mechanics like the lack of an auction house and stores being exclusively in the PvP zone, commenters have said that they'll refuse to play the game. Cheeseybites76 questions the whole idea behind Elder Scrolls and PvP:
"I'm just curious why there would be any push, be it from players or the developers, to turn this into what would be considered to be a 'PvP-centric' game. Up until now, the terms 'PvP' and 'The Elder Scrolls' were never even mentioned in the same breath. Sure, ESO is a new venture, but this series thus far has built its legacy on solid roleplaying, breadth of content, and immersion, not on engaging combat or on anything even remotely related to PvP."
Prolific commenter LotsOfSize does give a snappy retort saying that Elder Scrolls is not known for anything in particular in this genre because even the idea of multiplayer is new. "TES is just the lore behind the franchise; they can make any game they want with it." However, I find his comment about MMOs players interesting and very likely true:
"If you want a mass market MMO in today's market, you need to cater to both PvP and PvE. You can just cater to one audience, but most, I would guess, like to do both. Games like ESO and WildStar are catering to both audiences."
Although I'm not as quick to claim that ESO is doing PvP right, I think Definitlyarider has the most balanced reason as to why ESO might come off as a PvP game right now:
"I think that this tone of "pvp-centricity" is getting blown out of proportion, and here's why: Compared with its competition, ESO is doing PvP RIGHT! And so they are bragging about it, which well they should. But again, don't forget that this is The Elder Scrolls. Just because they are emphasizing how awesome their PvP systems will be does not mean that PvE will be left out in any way. It's just getting the most press right now."
So for this week's question, let's take a look at that balance. We know that Molag Bal has taken the Imperial City, so he will likely be the focus of the PvP portion of the greater, overarching story for ESO. But which other Daedric Princes would you like to see take a bigger role on the PvE side of the game? Could we possibly have dungeons where we have to fight and defeat a Daedric Prince? Let me know your ideas in the comments, and I'll see you next week.

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.