Religion has always been a foundational part of the Elder Scrolls games, and ESO is no exception. However, while gods are central to many of ESO's main quest lines, our connections to them are universal. We all fight on behalf of Meridia, or Vivec, or Sotha Sil—whether we're Bosmer or Nords; stoic or whimsical; steadfastly righteous or maniacally evil. For a world where half the people and plot lines are driven by holy devotion, our characters themselves are surprisingly agnostic.
With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to flesh out the role of religion in ESO: specifically, by allowing characters to dedicate themselves to a deity, and experience unique perks and quests as a result. Other MMOs have tried this in the past, mainly for flavor, but I think it could be done in a way that adds depth and variety to gameplay, encouraging players to think more deeply about each character and their place in Tamriel—without complicating the endgame meta. Here are some musings on the subject, on this lovely Sunday.
The Deities: Each race could choose from a select group of gods, along with some additional daedric princes that are available to any race (for those who want to indulge their inner cultist). I took a pass at an initial list, giving each race a variety that would cater to different passions and personalities, while remaining true to the lore.
- Dunmer: The Tribunal, Azura, Boethiah
- Nord: Shor, Kyne, Orkay
- Argonian: Child of the Hist, Sithis
- Altmer: Auri-El, Trinimac, Magnus
- Bosmer: Y'ffre, Auri-El, Ius
- Khajiit: Alkosh, Azurah, Baan Dar
- Breton: Akatosh, Julianos, Stendarr, Mara
- Redguard: Ruptga, Morwha, Leki
- Orc: Malacath, Trinimac
- Imperial: Akatosh, Kynareth, Arkay, Dibella
- Any Race: Meridia, Mehrunes Dagon, Sheogorath, Nocturnal, Hircine
Picking a Deity: This step could be added to the character creation process (and offered to existing characters through a retroactive menu), or be unlocked when a character reaches a certain level. Alternatively, players could choose a deity at their leisure by traveling to a shrine—located somewhere in their alliance territory—and performing a ritual.
Unique Quest Lines: Once dedicated to a deity, each character could have the option of starting a unique quest line, which takes them across Tamriel in the service of their god. This would add some unique flavor to solo questing on different characters, but also serve as a way to level up a deity's passive skill line—with some skill points and a memento thrown in as added incentives.
Passive Skills: The main boon of each deity would be a unique passive skill line that provides more tangible benefits during questing and combat. To avoid complicating the meta, these passives could be situational: none of the perks would apply universally like racial passives—giving an edge in trials, PvP, or dummy parses—but all would have some real benefit that reflects the god's powers and purview. Here are a few examples (though each skill line would come with 2-3 total):
- Stendarr: You deal +2/4/6% damage against the undead
- Y'ffre: Stranglers and Spriggans are neutral (yellow) rather than hostile (red)
- Dibella: Allows you to charm NPC's in conversation (akin to "persuade" or "intimidate")
- The Tribunal: You take 1/2/3% less damage in Vvardenfell
- Julianos: Improves the chance of extracting crafting ingredients
- Sithis: You gain +2/4/6% experience from kills
- Baan Dar: Increases the chance of successfully Pickpocketing by 5/10/15%
- Nocturnal: Your sneak detection radius is reduced by 1/2/3 meters
- Arkay: Decreases the time it takes to resurrect an ally by 3/6/10%
- Hircine: Reduces the cost of your Werewolf transformation by 5/10/15 Ultimate
In any case, this update is far from an absolute necessity, but I think religion is a facet of ESO that could use some cultivation, and done right, it could add a welcome new layer of immersion and roleplaying to an already excellent game. At the very least, it was a fun exercise.
So, what do you think? Would you welcome this as part of an upcoming DLC? Which deity would you choose, and what passives do you think they should offer?
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