An Open Letter: Why I’m Playing ESO

Dear Listeners, Viewers, Fans, Friends

I honestly didn’t think I’d have to do this. But due to constant accusations, badgering, questioning, and in some rare cases, genuine innocent curiosity, I feel that I obligated to pen such a letter.

In the past weeks, I have been absolutely bombarded with questions regarding how I’ll be playing ESO, and more importantly, why I’ll be playing it that way. I’m here to set forth a few things.

But first, I wish to address the reason for the existence of this letter. It genuinely astonishes me – and not in a good way – just how many people want to convince me that my playstyle for ESO is somehow “wrong”.

I find this odd for two reasons:

First, I always prefer the solo playstyle regardless of game. I find it the most exciting and find genuine solace in the serenity of it all.

Secondly, and most importantly, ESO is an Elder Scrolls game. Part of what makes Elder Scrolls games so brilliant is that they allow all playstyles. All playstyles. Just because ESO has a multiplayer component to it does not mean that I absolutely must take part in that in order to “play the game correctly”.

I plan on playing ESO exactly like I play my beloved Elder Scrolls titles – completely solo. I will not group. I will not PVP. I will not participate in chat.

If you think that my decision to play ESO the same way I play Elder Scrolls games is somehow “wrong”, then nothing I say can possibly convince you otherwise.

I am not playing ESO for the group content. I am not playing it because it’s finally “Elder Scrolls with your friends”. I am not playing it for PVP. I genuinely have no interest in those things.

I am playing ESO simply because it’s another Elder Scrolls game, one where I can go forth and explore new lands and have a great time in Tamriel – the exact same reason why I played Skyrim when it was released.

For those of you who claim that I will “miss out” on content due to my solo playstyle, that may be true for you. Meaning, because you like to group, you will do the group content and no doubt have fun. In your eyes, of course I’ll miss out because I’m not doing that group content.

However, in my eyes, I am not missing out on anything. I am playing this game exactly the way I want to play it and as such, will play the content I choose to play. I don’t see this as “missing out” by any means.

And to be brutally frank, the only experience I care about is my own. I don’t care if I don’t PVP. I’m not interested in it. I don’t care about the group dungeons. I’m not interested in those.

What I am interested in – what I absolutely can’t wait for – is to adventure across Tamriel by myself, take in the scenery, the beauty, the amazing quests completely solo and share that experience with you all through ESOTR, editorials, screenshots, livestreams, and videos.

That’s the “multiplayer” aspect for me – sharing my experience by those means.

I realize a lot of you wish to play with me. However, I will make no apologies for my playstyle. I will not compromise my beloved Elder Scrolls experience to do something I genuinely don’t want to do because you know what? I wouldn’t have fun doing it because that’s simply not my playstyle.

However, by no means should you take this a slight. I merely wish that you respect my playstyle, just as I respect your playstyle – whatever it may be.

I know you will have fun. And I genuinely wish that you do. Just know that I won’t be adventuring with you.

And that’s perfectly ok.

Elder Scrolls is about freedom, and part of this freedom is the ability to play exactly how you want – not how others want you to play.

We can each enjoy this game in our own way. No one is wrong. No one is right. Elder Scrolls and ESO mean different things to each and every one of us. So, please. I simply ask that you respect my decision and hope that you understand why I’m playing ESO.



  • Thank you for this Shank, really. It’s about time that people, both within the QGN community and without, stop criticizing the way other people want to play and enjoy the game.

    If you want to play solo only, never join up with others or do pvp, that’s fine. If you only want to pvp and never leave cyrodiil, what right does anyone have to tell you you’re playing incorrectly. If you want to get to maximum level in 3 days and only play endgame content, how is it anyone else’s place to tell you that you aren’t really playing the game.

    This is it people, play the game how you want to, and let other’s play the way they want to, without mockery, and without vitriol. This game is more than big enough, not just for the both of us, but for all of us.

  • I’m 100% with you – however i’m keen to know how much of TESO can be soloed and whether there is a point where it becomes difficult or impossible.

    • Yoi can solo it all, with the exseption of the 4 group dungeons per zone and people stand around and ask to group up so you can group for that dungeon wih three others and then just leave is over. Even pvp can be soloed check out my youtube i solo and group up wij 4 or so of my freinds but i have alot of solo pvp vids all in first person

  • Great article/letter.. I find myself doing a combination. I like to quest alone, but I like the multiplayer aspect of the dungeons / …

    I also quite enjoy the social option, I’m constantly in a group with friends for chitchat, but not always doing everything together. Just easier to chit-chat and stuff :p

  • Dude, it’s Elder Scrolls. Play how you like. Hope you have a blast!

  • Great way to sum things up.

    While not a solo only player, I too have run into a few attacks for my style of play in some threads on a couple different sites forums. I am a casual player with a busy life and can only play a few hours a week. When posting such it was surprising how quickly some people would jump on that and say that my opinion didn’t count because I was in a tiny minority of MMO players.

    In what way or how often I play a game does not negate my opinion of the game. It does color it, and that is why I mention in in my posts, but it does not make it irrelevant. Particularly when a game such as ESO is trying to appeal to a fairly broad market.

    As long as you are not harassing or griefing other players your play style should no one else concern, except for those players with similar play styles that are actually interested in your opinion.

    Unfortunately there are too many boisterous folk out there that have nothing better to do than to attack others that do not agree with them 100%.

    So Shank, and everyone else, play the game the way you want to play the game and let the haters stew in their own juices while we have fun.

  • Agreed, the whole point is freedom. I play a two handed heavy armor sorc with my status set to offline so that people I feel obliged to friend don’t actually bother me. I still group for some stuff but mainly solo questing and exploring. Anyway you do you shank

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and approach to playing ESO. I dearly love Elder Scrolls and prefer to play alone, even if I have to spend more time increasing skill and leveling abilities in order to progress through harder quests. I played that way when I was active on WOW, and will do so with ESO. Your article just helped me to decide if ESO is a game for me, and it sounds like it is. I feel like I can now look forward to playing, when I was previously doubtful. Some people just don’t understand that I play video games for the solitary experience. Thank you!

  • Well said. I am almost in the same boat with you because I like playing the elder scrolls game because it’s an amazing journey that I go on by myself. I will probably try some questing with other people just for fun but I will probably fall back on why I like playing elder scrolls in the first place. Solo questing through an amazing story and amazing environments.

  • First Well said Shank!

    I am usually a group-oriented player. I do enjoy dungeons and a wee bit of pvp but in ESO, I find myself wishing for more solo time.

    The reason for this, is that when I quest I look everywhere. Nooks and crannies, listening to the voice acting in the quest, taking the time to look around and bask in the beautiful details of the world… while my friends are running ahead killing monsters and returning the quest. Nothing wrong with them, they are playing like me, but I am in that slow motion savoring the moment thing.

    That said, while I was not understanding before why some players prefer a solo experience, I now do! I’m evolving toward a solo leveler experience, keeping my socializing for when I participate in role play events.

  • I feel the same. While I do occasionally group with close friends, I much prefer to solo the content. I can spend hours looting towns over and over again, wandering aimlessly until I know the terrain as if I truly live in it, or collecting resources. I enjoy finding quests organically, and this allowed me to achieve 100% quest and skyshard completion in Auridon.

    I, too, get a lot of commentary. I choose not to look for a “perfect” build. I don’t “grind” mats or monsters. I don’t race to level. Death is part of exploring and a natural consequence of stumbling into an unknown area. It allows me to determine how tough the quests or enemies are. It’s something to use for information – not to be avoided.

    I also choose not to over-monetize the game. I don’t worry about making lots of money. I don’t worry about the highest value of items. I cram my bank full of everything I might potentially need for any character, and deconstruct or research everything.

    I spend my skill points in what others consider to be “odd” or outright offensive ways. I split among combat, passive and crafting skills. I wear set items that are “for” certain classes, because I love playing a Templar that can breathe fire. lol

    I’m here for the joy of the game. When I first heard they were making an Elder Scrolls MMO I was horrified. I got an early beta invite which I ignored, because I didn’t want to see my beloved Elder Scrolls turned into a WoW clone. Luckily, nothing could be further from the truth. I love the game and everything about it. I love that it’s still full of more choices than I could ever combine in a lifetime, and that the fun is figuring out a new and different combination of skills.

    Thanks for understanding!

  • I agree with Shank, even though ESO is mostly made for multiplayer, I too love solo playing in all all the ES games. The solo experience can just as fun as the multiplayer experience. I will do both in ESO however.

  • If you are playing a game and having fun doing so then you are doing so correctly.

  • I mostly agree with you, Shank; the majority of ESO is, thank the gods, made for solo. However, there are still bosses that are difficult, if not impossible, to solo without being over-leveled, and you may occasionally need to ask for help with other things; being part of a guild is at the very least useful in this respect. I have yet to “group up”, will probably go to Cyrodiil to see the sights and get shards, but I’m unlikely to do PVP, and I only joined a guild last night because sometimes I could use the help.

Leave a Reply