I’m going to come out and say it. I don’t like third person perspective in my Elder Scrolls. Read: I did not say that I don’t want that option in the game, only that I don’t like that perspective. Now, before I continue on what is surely a divisive subject, allow me to state a few things.
- This is my opinion.
- This is not meant to personally attack anyone who uses third person.
- If you disagree with me, and I’m sure a large majority of you will, please do so in the comments and be civil about it.
- Did I mention this is my opinion?
Ok, let’s begin. I have my reasons for playing first person in Elder Scrolls. In fact, it wasn’t until ZeniMax announced true first person perspective that I was completely sold on Elder Scrolls Online. Why? I am an MMO newb and a huge fan of the single player Elder Scrolls games. One of the biggest features of these games is full first person – a point which many of you fellow Elder Scrolls players should agree on. Therefore, in my opinion, the inclusion of true first person perspective was necessary in order to fully win over players like me. Major kudos to ZeniMax.
So…why? Why do I only play in first person? Why do I dislike third person so much?
In order for my explanation to make sense, I must first discuss the concept of agency. Basically, in a game like Tomb Raider, you, the player, are controlling Lara as she climbs cliffs, collects loot, etc. Now, I love this game so by no means is this meant as an insult. But when I was playing Tomb Raider, I never felt that I was climbing cliffs and collecting loot. No, I was merely the puppet master, controlling Lara as she did those things. I was controlling a character, and the fact that it was all in third person only perpetuated that feeling. Make sense?
I won’t be the one wading through Shantytown. That’s Lara’s job
But in Elder Scrolls games, I want to be the one looting, climbing cliffs, parkouring, etc. In first person, I no longer feel as though I’m some camera man following some Khajiit around as she parkours. No. I am the one doing the parkouring, I am the one talking to Methredel about the Grey Fox. The story I weave and the choices I make are truly my own. My actions determine if the Thieves Guild is ruined or if it experiences unparalleled success. And you know what? It feels amazing!
That’s right, the Grey Fox has a task for me, not my character
I am truly in the world in first person perspective. For example, just yesterday I was traipsing through the Valus Mountains of Cyrodiil for no other reason than the land is there and deserves to be explored. As I wandered far enough south into the Nibenay Basin, I turned to my right and was greeted by this achingly beautiful sight.
I was stunned. I stared across towards the Imperial City and Bravil in the distance, knowing full well that I could walk there if I wanted to. My mind began to race with all the amazing undiscovered things that lay between me and White Gold Tower. Cyrodiil beckoned.
Now, if you read that carefully, you’ll notice that I used the words ‘me’ and ‘I’, and not ‘my character’. Why? When I play in first person, I feel that the actions I make are truly my own, not those of a controlled character. When I look at the same view of the Nibenay Basin in third person, it feels like I am the cameraman, hovering over this Khajiit character as she walks around the wilderness. The immersion is instantly ruined and totally destroyed.
Yup, the illusion lies utterly smashed and broken at my feet
“Ok Shank,” you may be saying, “What about combat? Surely, you realize that in third person perspective, you have a much greater peripheral and can therefore respond to threats around you more easily, right?” Yes, dear reader, you are absolutely correct. But, even here, I will argue with you. True, in first person you lose perspective about what’s behind you, but that’s what makes it real, that’s what adds tension and a real sense of fear. If I swing a sword around in real life, I have absolutely no clue if anything is sneaking up behind me. And that’s the way it should be when I’m sneaking up on bandits in Tamriel.
Looks like you’re about to get pwned
Now, is this ideal for a raid situation? Nope. Do I care? Nope. “Gee Shank,” you exclaim, screaming at your monitor, “Then you shouldn’t go on raids at all because you’ll be the reason your party gets destroyed!” Again, you are unequivocally correct, dear reader. I have no interest in raiding, so may your fears rest easy. And I am perfectly ok with that. Why?
Elder Scrolls has never been about the combat for me. I am not saying that the combat isn’t fun. Quite the opposite really. The combat is fun for me only when I experience it through first person. I want to draw my bow, see my sword cleave that Argonian in two. I don’t want to see my character do it in third person like I’m some puppet master. Sorry, it kills my immersion.
. . .
At this point, many of you have either stopped reading or are angrily writing me comments below. And you know what? That’s completely ok. You may think I’m going too far, that I’m suggesting that the only way to be immersed in Elder Scrolls is through first person. And you’d be correct, with one small addendum: for me, the only way to be immersed in Elder Scrolls is through first person.
The beauty of Elder Scrolls is that it appeals to a huge audience. We all have very different play styles and enjoy these games in our own way. But for me, third person ruins that wondrous sense of immersion and purpose. But worst of all, third person utterly destroys that sense of self. And that, dear readers, is why I will only ever play in first person.
Shadow hide you.