The Hero’s Guide to The Elder Scrolls Online (review)


When Elder Scrolls Online came about, many people anticipated that it would play much like Skyrim. While the game possessed mixed reactions, those that stayed with the game loved it for its rich material, signature voice acting, and visceral storylines. For me, some of the consistent material that I personally enjoyed in the Elder Scrolls series is the writing found in the quests and the tomes found strewn across the land.

ESOHG-01Whether you’re a current subscriber of Elder Scrolls Online or a fan of the lore, The Hero’s Guide to The Elder Scrolls Online is a must-have! Upon opening the gigantic leather-bound tome-like case, a high-quality parchment print of Tamriel is pasted under the cover, this map’s regions are central to the events of the Elder Scrolls series and ESO. Framed within two halves of the faux-tome are the various books and booklets encased with the same leather material. While these elements are snugly fit inside the encasing, a silky brown ribbon reminiscent of those found at a Godiva chocolatier store helps you lift these books out of their slots, the use of ribbons is a surprisingly clever and simple solution while allowing you to keep things organized.

ESOHG-02The first item that comes to notice is a hardcover folder, tied closed with ribbon, emblazoned with the gold icon symbolizing the three warring factions of the Age of Heroes. Untying this ribbon and opening the folder, I am greeted to a beautiful image of the three faction heroes seen in ESO’s cinematics and a hand-written numbered label listing (only 10,000 limited edition copies are available).

ESOHG-04Underneath the certificate is a thick, cushioned, leather-bound book with gold-tipped pages. This book, Kyne’s Challenge, is dedicated to the creatures across all of Tamriel. While the book focuses on each of the creatures that are signature to each major nation, it is told through the chronicles of Grundvik Cold-Fist, a Nordic Guildmaster of the Fighters Guild that is based in the Skyrim city of Sentinel. Grundvik and a group of fellow guildmates (all of whom have a short biography in the book) share a journey that travels through all the lands and showcase illustrations and notes of everything they encounter. Each section of the book is split per nation, from Morrowind all the way to the Summerset Isles. One of the immersive parts about this chronicle is that the Challenge these warriors endured goes through a plot, they suffer difficulties, losses, and triumphs, as though they were going through the difficulties of someone playing The Oregon Trail. While they cover all the nations, their hunt takes them against the forces of Molag Bal, a Daedric Prince and main antagonist in ESO. The quality of the semi-gloss pages and how crisp the pages were reminiscent of a book that has not been opened in ages, lending itself to the craftsmanship in this book’s creation. And if you wanted to keep track of anything, a silk bookmark is also a part of the books’ binding.

ESOHG-05There is a booklet wound up in crafter’s rope. It isn’t tied, just wrapped to ensure it does not unravel accidentally. Undoing this wrapping, the cloth textile cover of this booklet opens to the Agents and Reagents: The Bounty of Mundus, which serves as an apprentice’s journal to all the ingredients known for alchemy and enchanting in Tamriel. Like the journey of Grundvik, this journal by an apprentice from High Rock has a narrative amid the illustrations and notes which serves as a reference guide. The fun part about the information regarding these various elements is that they provide a practical purpose in the Elder Scrolls series of games. While the lore is explored, there is consistency for those who pay attention to the elemental qualities of these alchemical components in their usage.

If you’re devoted to Elder Scrolls enough to roleplay, this booklet would be an amazing asset to enriching your character. The page’s edges are cut in a stylized form to imitate a loose construction of a workshop’s notebook. A side note, on the cover of this booklet is the embossed symbol of an eye, one which you can find in the ESO game that is associated with Enchantment and may as well be associated with Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge and Memory.

Lastly, underneath the alchemy/enchantment journal is one dedicated to the designs of weapons and armor for all the factions and races. Written under the persona of Hall Steward – Longinus Attius of the Fighter’s Guild in Rimmen, Longinus explains the nuances that embodies each race’s clothing and armor designs while providing illustrations of their weapons and armor. Having once worked in fashion, I held a great appreciation that this kind of compilation was created with a cultural understanding and furthering the living and breathing ideas set forth by the folks who bring Elder Scrolls to life. For instance, Longinus goes into how the factors of a swamp society has towards the Argonian designs which are more primitive and tribal, contrasting to the Dunmer designs inclined towards molten glass mixed with animal hides based on their society around the super-volcano in Morrowind. Longinus goes further and steps into the designs for the Fighter’s Guild and stretches all the way to the armor designs for the Worm Cultists. For those who are familiar with the clothing and armor designs from various cultures here on Earth, you can see the correlating inspirations, like the mix of Siamese and Japanese for the Khajiit, the Greco-Roman designs which make the Imperial, or even the Turkish and Mongolian blend which influences the Orcs.

ESOHG-06I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my journey through the Hero’s Guide and reiterate my emphasis on acquiring a copy of this collector’s item. If you love the lore, the cultures, the history, and how dire things can be in this lush world, you will NOT be disappointed with this. This is an investment to keep, as there has not been retcons to the elements in the Elder Scrolls universe which would invalidate anything in this compendium, which is why I personally value the Elder Scrolls franchise.

The Hero’s Guide to the Elder Scrolls Online was created in collaboration with Dark Horse Comics exclusively for the Bethesda Softworks Store, check out the store link here, to check out other releases from Dark Horse, and for Elder Scrolls Online itself

Facebook Comments

About author

Jaynesis Ong
Jaynesis Ong 162 posts

He is currently a graphics designer by trade, illustrator for indie games, fashionisto, film production assistant, socialite, sampler of fine music, and taster of various new MMO games. JB likes destructive walks on the beach, visceral plot points, maniacal villains, and collapsing galactic empires.