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I've been tasked with writing an editorial piece for the excellent Tel Mora Independent Press on the history of TES fandom, and thought it best to gather opinions other than my own for it as well. Can you please tell me what your experience with the TES fandom has been, and how it has changed over time, if you think it has. In particular, can you include:

  • What year you become involved with the TES franchise
  • What your first TES game was
  • When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom
  • What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now
  • How you think the fans have reacted to new games
  • How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)

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For my part, I began playing TES with Morrowind in around 2003 or 2004, but didn't really get in involved with the fandom until around 2007-8 I think, where I needed some modding help. I started on the Bethsoft forums, and in addition to the very helpful tech support fans on those boards, I tended to catch the tail end of lore discussions and chip in with comments that I felt mostly got ignored, because everyone was in the US and interacting on a totally different time frame to me. So I drifted in and out.

The Bethsoft forums when I was around them seemed to do little apart from talk about Vivec, the Dwemer and CHIM. Other threads were mostly short, or about the Thalmor. As well as the general "what is it?/where are they?" questions, there were a handful of awesome discussions about concepts in the lore that made my jaw drop. Both types of post seemed to be populated by the same handful people, regardless of who started the posts; the regulars would have their perspectives and discussions they would always roll out, with particular hobby horses ("Apoptosis is not necrosis!"). When the Bethsoft forums started to get quiet, I migrated to /r/teslore around 2013, mostly because I realised that the people I was most interested in were posting their interesting stuff there instead, and I finally felt like I knew enough to take part in the discussions then. I missed the C0DA Bethesda forum chaos by a fluke, but saw the confusion around "why are some things in Community Creations now?", which people seemed mildly ticked off about. I also took a vague part in the Amaranth hunt, but regularly lost track because of the timezone difference. 

I remember that, in addition to the perennial "Cyrodiil isn't a forest!" stuff that was still around by the time I was becoming active again in 2008, people were still having some difficulty reconciling the Thu'um with the dragon language, although this may have been a vocal minority. I remember that when ESO dropped, there was much snark around the composition of the alliances, and several people swearing off the games altogether. That was the first time I'd see an exodus because of the lore, however; before, most people seemed to simply tough it out and carry on. Maybe something to do with it being an MMO? Attitudes among the old guard seem to have mellowed on this, however, and the fans who have the biggest chip on their shoulder seem to be the ones that came to the games following Skyrim's release.

I started posting on the TESWiki Discussions in 2016, because they had an app and I could easily read TES lore text in a format suited to mobiles (this was just before Google started doing a "make mobile friendly option", which I would have chosen on TIL if I could). I could answer most of the lore questions there quickly (unlike the discussions here, which require more thought and words than I can give through a smartphone), as they were mostly simple ones about how the Aedra and Daedra work, what the Khajiit think of the Dominion and similar. There was the occasional headscratcher, but those seem to be becoming rarer on that app now. I got asked to become a Discussions moderator on there a few months after joining, and still continue to serve in that capacity.

Both platforms seem to have moved away from sourced arguments and in-depth exploration of existing concepts to interesting hypotheticals and unsourced answers. This may be because, unlike when I started, there are quite a few more well-informed fans around, and so sourced debate isn't really necessary. I think this is a problem in the fandom, as people often forget where stuff comes from.

Discord is a platform I've recently started using (over the last 2 years or so, I think), and again, that's useful for short-form questions and debates. Some are more focused than others (Imperial Knowledge's Discord is mostly questions about Fourth Era politics, Deadite's and LadyofScrolls have focused deep dives into particular areas, while /r/ElderScrolls' Discord is a mixed bag that changes night by night, but always seems to be answered by the same people. I would hope I'm one of those, but I'm not sure. Like TESWiki, the format is suited to quick answers, with little attempt to source them. These debates seem to be resolved by appeals to authority (well-known posters, generally) more than in other places.

The C0DA/MK canoncity thing seems to be something that comes up every now and again in pretty much all the platforms I post in, mostly because people want to call it nonsense, or as part of canon arguments. Most of the posts seem to be negative, but there are some C0DA fans out there, mostly located in /r/teslore, from what I can tell. Depending on the topics discussed, it comes up with varying frequency. Generally, the more people talk metaphysics, the more it becomes an issue.

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That's mine, in brief. What are your perspectives? I would love to know! Be ready for follow-up questions.

PM me if you don't want something in particular discussed publicly.

This is NOT an invitation to dig up old grudges. You feel the way you feel, and that's fine. No one should be critiqued for their feelings in an exercise like this. However, trying to have the last word on something when someone may still be around to hear it is simply impolite.

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  • Like you my first experience with TES was Morrowind sometime in 2005. A friend of mine at the time had urged me to give it a try, and try as I might I just couldnt get into it. Fast forward to 2012 my wife bought me a copy of Skyrim for the PS3 and it was immediately the most engrossing and immersive game I had ever played at that time. It would be a long time before I became involved with any Skyrim community. Infact the very concept of a Skyrim build, something we do alot around here, was foreign to me. That is until I saw SEPHxxFORxxLIFE's Skyrim assassin build videos. 

    From then the wheels started turning and before long I had all of these build ideas but nowhere to share them. That was until I stumbled onto the The Skyrim Blog, which would later be known as the Tamrielvault. The Skyrim Blog was everything I wanted in a Skyrim community and more.  There was lore, roleplay, writing, and even art discussions, but more importantly there were skyrim builds. Literaly thousands upon thousands of builds to browse through. I was eager to share my build ideas, although I ended up scrapping alot of my more subpar ideas in order to meet the community's high standards.

    Not everyone can appreciate it but there's actually a lot of work that goes into a good Skyrim character build. Like any roleplay profile or story you're creating a character. Although not as complex as a story a build has to answer, among many things, how does the character fight? No other community out there understood that like the members of the Skyrim Blog did. 

    The community has always amazed me with their supportiveness and before long I was hosting its Skyrim Character Building group alongside a few friends of mine.  Up until 2016 The Tamriel Vault, formerly the Skyrim Blog had been essentially the only TES community I've ever been a part of. But the community hit a major rough patch. I dont want to go into details on the drama but lets just say the community had split on less than amicable terms. A number of us who left the Tamriel Vault ended up forming the Sky Forge. 

     

     

  • What year you become involved with the TES franchise

    I never touched a TES game until about 2015. My first experience with a TES  game was Ovlivion but I found it so boring I couldn’t finish. 

    • What your first TES game was

    Technically Oblivion as previous stated but it hardly counts if I barely played it. I consider Skyrim to be my first real TES game. At least the first one I really liked. 

    • When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom

    I was never really involved until The SkyForge. Before that  I just lurked on Skyrim calculator, Tamriel vault, r/Skyrim , and Skyrim nexus forums.

    • How you think the fans have reacted to new games

    If you’re talking about ESO and Skyrim I would say the fan reaction has been overall positive. But Bethesda has lost some favor in recent years so it’s anyones guess if elder scrolls 6 will live up to the hype.

  • - What year you become involved with the TES franchise?

    I want to say sometime in 2017 and on and off since then.

    -What your first TES game was?

    Im almost embarrassed to say it but Skyrim is the only TES game I’ve ever played. I know I’m a filthy casual.

    - When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom?

    Around the same time I started playing Skyrim. 2017. I first discovered Tamriel Vault while looking up character builds. I myself am not very imaginative with these build ideas.

    -What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now?

    I started on Tamriel Vault but just lurked. Between playing Skyrim on again and off again and my heavy work load I just never took the time to make friends. I recently got back on the horse so to speak and joined their discord. I had expected the community to be more active but was left disappointed. Around that same time I ran into the sky forge. I like the Tamriel vault but I’ve quickly gained a preference for the sky forge. It’s much easier on my shitty internet. 

    -How you think the fans have reacted to new games?

    Honestly I don’t interact with enough fans to know. 

     

    -How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)?

    Ive only ever been a part of the vault and the forge. They’re both pretty similar; friendly people, lots of great content. But again the forge loads more easily for me so here I am. 

     

     

     

     

  • I believe I first became involved with the TES franchise back in... 2012? 2013? I heard about it at school and I guess it grew off from there. As for what my first TES game was, I believe it was Oblivion (bit hazy on the details and dates), followed by Skyrim then Morrowind (I generally switch between the 3, even to this day, but Oblivion and Morrowind have that special place for me that Skyrim hasn't exactly touched in some areas).

    I started becoming involved in the TES fandom, around the same time (so about 2012 - 2013, give or take). Platforms I was on was the only one I knew of at the time, the Skyrim Blog (probably known by people but whether they were there or not is another thing). I dropped out for a few months due to reasons, found out that there had been a major change or two - complete site move - yada yada yada, and found myself coming well here. To the Sky Forge, reminds me a lot about the Skyrim Blog (even though I used to lurk and rarely talk). As for what platforms I use now, I really only use the Sky Forge here and it's Discord server (as well as the Skywind Discord server and the Sky Forge's RP server)

    New games wise, from what I've heard, Bethesda has kinda shot themselves in the foot with ESO but I can't say much about it as I haven't touched it myself. As for the change in the communities? Yeah there has been a few changes, new people coming, old people still hanging around (some being inactive).

    • What year you become involved with the TES franchise
    • Around 2008, after playing FO3. Despite having an original XBOX, I just had never heard of Morrowind.
    • What your first TES game was
    • Oblivion
    • When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom
    • Hmm, around 2013 when I found the Skyrim Blog
    • What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now
    • Tamriel Vault, Sky Forge, Discord, occasionally r/teslore
    • How you think the fans have reacted to new games
    • Some toxic as shit, others give it a chance
    • How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)
    • Not all that different
  • My first TEs experience was Oblivion back around 2009-10ish at a friends house. At that point in time I was just a kid entering the early years of middle school, and our family wasn't in a prime position to afford the more expensive and new consoles that had come up some years prior. I just had access to the original Xbox, a gameboy and a very old PC at the time. The Xbox however, was my step-siblings technically, and let's just say he wasn't fond of sharing things. So I was beginning to become more internet savvy as time went by, and at some point in that small period of time between there and the launch of Skyrim I started to play the then newly free Daggerfall. The PC I had could barely manage to even run that though, and after a few strokes of good fortune I finally got the new-gen Xbox 360 for Christmas of 2010. I pre-ordered Skyrim that next year, and the rest is history for the most part.

    I couldn't tell you when started getting involved with TES fandom, over the course of the early 2010s I played a lot of Skyrim just by myself. I'm from a small town community, so there wasn't too many people who were interested in the games that much. I guess part of the reason I ended up finding the Skyrim Blog back then was because I was a little bit more obsessed than my IRL friends, who were mostly still on the FPS kicks with stuff like CoD and Battlefield.

    I fell in with the old RP group after a bit of time spent making character builds. Eventually everyone in there was banned or left the site on their own terms, as one of the hosts had a habit of stirring up drama between everyone participating. Msot of us stuck together and made a proper Discord based RP from scratch, which has had it's own fair share of bumps and bruises through the years. I ended up returning to the Skyrim community in the form of this site here after getting a little too excited when TES6 was revealed. Despite having a rocky past that most of the older community members know about Curse was quite welcome to the idea of me returning. Ever since then I've been in and out. Ended up playing through Oblivion finally only this past year.

    I'm gonna refrain from commenting about any sort of newer games in either TES or Fallout, I don't think I've got any valuable or unique opinions on that matter.

  • I think my involvment in TES goes back to 2015 when I moved places. I needed something to occupy my downtime and Skyrim came heavily recommnded by a friend. I originally bought the game on the Xbox 360, and very quickly fell in love with the lore, story and characters. I'm something of a history guy, so the deep and intense lore of the Elder Scrolls Universe was very attractive to me. After my first go at Skyrim (I think I started off as an Altmeri mage, who didn't figure out how to use magick until like level 10 because I'm dumb) I binge-watched the Shoddycast lore series. IDK how many of remember that one. An oldie but a goodie. After Shoddycast's supply of lore went dry, I started to surf YouTube for some other content and pretty inevitably stumbled upon FudgeMuppet's channel. It was there that I was first introduced to Skyrim Builds. When I played my first build (who would also become my first "completed" character) I chose FudgeMuppet's Paladin. 

    Meanwhile, I'd been floating on and off the YouTube scene, uploading the odd Minecraft video here or there when the inspiration struck me. Skyrim seemed to have a wealth of inspiration for me to explore, so once I had acqired the game for Xbox One I tried by hand at character building and came up with my very first build video: The Stormlord. It was a modded building using Ordinator and a few of other EnaiSiaion mods (with which anyone who knows me will tell you I have fallen deeply in love). That first build was pretty backstory heavy and not super unique, but I was encouraged by the amount of views it raked in, so I made a few others and eventually was invited to a tiny community of Skyrim YouTubers called "Small Channels" by BrosisJK. It included several other channels ranging from tiny (such as mine) to medium sized (the likes of MasterQuestGaming and BADCompanySarge). After awhile that community sunk so Brosis abandoned ship and started Skyrim Guards, a Discord Server adaptation of a Facebook group he had been a part of. The server grew in popularity and we had a thriving little Skyrim community together. BrosisJK and I know co-host the server. It was on Skyrim Guards that Curse (chief admin of the Skyforge) first introduced himself, and we quickly formed a partnership between Skyrim Guards and the Skyforge. Some time later, the two communities have become essentially synonymous,.

    Around about the time I joined the Skyforge was when I picked up my build game. I think the very first build I read on here was Curse and Teccam's "The Dancer of Two Moons." I was blown away by the quality of the work, and I was inspired to see that there was so much beyond the borning backstories and basic gameplay builds I had been doing. My first build here on the Forge was a revamp of the one that kicked it all off: The Stormlord. From there, character building became a staple of my TES experience and I eventually bacame the host of the Character Building group here on the Forge.

    In addition to Skyrim I also play Elder Scrolls Online and its DLC stories as well as bits of Oblivion.

    That's pretty much a summary of me and TES.  Sorry, I'm not very good at being brief lol. 

  • I think it was either super late 2008 or early 2009 when I was introduced to Fallout 3 and it was my first experience with the open world rpg type game that Bethesda offers. At that time I would mostly be playing a ton of Diablo 2 and other rpgs on the PC. After lved with Fallout 3 heavily I learned about Oblivion and everything took off from there.

    Oblivion was my first Elder Scrolls game and I was completely obsessed with it. Making characters the way I wanted in a go wherever and do whatever kind of game within a fantasy realm? Hooked. I am talking thousands of hours and too many characters to count. My xbox 360 was rather newish then and it was basically the only game I ever played, sprinkling in some Fallout 3 and eventually New Vegas.

    Oblivion got me so hooked that I got involved in the fandom through my love of the lore and history of the Elder Scrolls series. I would of course discover Morrowind and play that to death as well but Oblivion was the king for me. The books in game and overall world the game took place made me start researching the lore and various timelines of the series. I think early on I would post online on various sites like gamefaqs to share character ideas and also just discuss the game.

    Gamefaqs was the only early one I remember interacting on. I know there were a ton of others but nothing I would keep track of really. When Skyrim hit I was even more involved with the lore and the gameplay. I would love making characters and detailing them out in drawings and stories. I have those giant plastic storage tubs filled with marble notebooks of stuff I would write down.

    Early in 2012 I would begin prowling around different sites and just post about the game and share characters, tips, and tricks and also read as much as I could. The old Skyrimblog was where I first really shared characters and it blew up from there. With the Skyrimblog gone, it changed into TamrielVault and I also joined here on the Skyforge. These are the two sites I usually jump on for Elder Scrolls stuff and not often anymore.

    I also love UESP. That site is everything and I took time to read basically every lore book available in all games. Discord is also another platform I have recently gotten into to interact about TES.

    New games are always tough in this series because of the time gaps and also different mechanics/stories. People get thrown in and most seem to accept it positively but a few are not willing to accept lore changes, mechanic alterations, or even just visuals. I think ESO has seemingly done well. I tried it for a little while and it just didn’t stick. I was even involved in TamrielFoundry for a bit for fun. Legends and Blades in mobile are good time wasters, but again not really what I hope for in an Elder Scrolls related game. I think people for the most part use these games as gap fillers before the next big single player version.

    The communities I have been involved in seem to have stayed mostly the same. Skyrimblog became the TamrielVault and the Skyforge is a new site stemming from people from that community. A lot of it has been the same thing that happened with Oblivion. Tons of activity and then slowly dwindles and mostly PC players with mods thrive on with new opportunities. Then the next game hits. And so the next Kalpa starts...

  • What year you become involved with the TES franchise?

    Id say around 2015 sometime. Skyrim was on sale on steam so I figured why not?

    What your first TES game was?

    Skyrim. One and only TES game I’ve ever played. 

    When you started becoming involved in the TES fandom?

    Around the same year I got Skyrim I started lurking around Fudgemuppet’s YouTube channel and Skyrim’s Steam page for mods. I would hardly call myself involved sine I never talked to anyone. 

    What platforms you started talking to the fandom on, and what ones you interact on now?

    First place I ever really interacted at all was theskyrimblog which became tamrielvault in like early 2016. They remodeled their site. A bunch of members split up and made this new site called Nukascrolls so I lurked there for a while and the nukascrolls became the SkyForge. 

    How you think the fans have reacted to new games?

    I don’t personally play ESO but I hear great things about it despite it’s rocky start. I think fans have every right to be worried. I mean let’s face it Bethesda has had some dimb ideas recently (lol fallout 76). Were all hoping and praying elder scrolls 6 doesn’t disappoint. 

    How the communities you are part of are different from the ones you started in (are they?)

    Different layout but the same people and same subjects. All n all not much has changed between where I started and where I am now.

    • My god I had completely forgotten about Nuka-Scrolls. Man, that site did not hold up well.

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