The world of Elder Scrolls Online has recently took a strange but wonderful turn. When ever an RPG based MMO graces us I mainly look at the RPG elements. I’m not talking about skill trees and levelling up but real role playing. Elder Scrolls Online already is beginning to step away from the usual levelling up addicts who want nothing more to be at maximum level and armed with the most powerful equipment the game has ever seen.
Don’t get me wrong some of what I’m about to tell you is a blatant hunger for power, but the manner in which it is done is interesting. In Elder Scrolls online you can become either one of the coveted Werewolf’s or Vampire’s and I MEAN coveted.
Whilst it is possible to turn into either Vampire or Werewolf in game, some people are trying to leapfrog the process. Players are literally begging to be bitten in the hopes of being turned into one of these powerful creatures. Whilst the lower level players swarm around the market places pleading with these high level players for a chance to become one of them, the middle class players are offering all of their wealth.
Leif Johnson of IGN documents several scenarios, one of which a player offers him 35,000 gold pieces to be turned into a werewolf. The reason the price is so high is that Vampires and Werewolfs can only turn one person per week, so players might not be so willing to give up their single bite without a good price in mind. As there aren’t server wide auction houses we are getting a glimpse into what players are willing to trade for, even if Bethedsa didn’t intend for this to happen.
However, players take a risk in this kind of transfer of funds as many would be vampires are duped out of their money. Players often promise to bite the other player provided the funds are paid up front. This can often result in the vampire running away with your money and you didn’t even get to see their pearly whites. Whilst this may appear cruel it is all part of the role playing process which I applaud.
All of this in turn has caused groups of players to join the self named ‘Dawnguard.’ Named after the Skyrim DLC, this band of gamers are roaming the world hunting down and killing any non-playable characters who are infected with the disease to help prevent others from becoming infected with vampire blood and the like. All of this may appear very noble but can lead to some contention between anyone hoping to be turned, as the Dawnguard may turn their swords on you. Interestingly, if you become infected by a NPC you still need a real world player to trigger the infection. This all feels like some kind of seedy black market economy but you’ve got to love it.
Whilst this little fad may soon dissipate it goes to show that all great MMO’s and RPG’s are shaped by the inventiveness and entrepreneurship of other players. Here’s hoping the the millions playing Elder Scrolls Online find new ways to shape its future.