Playing some Elder Scrolls Online this weekend I’ve been delighted by environmental sounds in very different ways. Beyond any music, having strong environmental sounds as a background to your gaming can be a major addition to any feeling of being immersed in the game – if I want to actively listen to the game while playing I’m more likely to be fully focused on the experience.
While persuing a quest near a lake I was involved in a moving battle with some cultists when I heard a very familiar sound. I played earlier Elder Scrolls Online games and the herb Nirnroot, with it’s distinct droning chime-like sound suddenly filled my speakers. It’s an unusual addition to a MMORPG, a singing herb effectively.
Another aspect that I greatly appreciate more widely in the game is the timed references to my character’s adventures or deeds – NPCs will mention that “oh someone has taken out the evil daedra..” or, “the prince has been rescued..”. Having others recognise my own character’s achievements is a really nice detail, in Elder Scrolls Online that is through voiced lines spoken by the characters rather than the chat bubbles used in older games.
Dark Anchor drop
My favourite background sound, and one that has a very practical purpose, is the distinct and far-travelling combo of the unearthly horn blasts followed by clanking of giant chains. This can only mean your character is near a Dark Anchor site (a k a Dolmen) as the link Coldharbour is activating.
I love this content, it’s simple enough and not so very varied, but it’s fun to do as a side activity and the fact that the environmental sounds (and flashy lightning portal in the sky) give a clear indication when a nearby one is starting makes it always a temptation to ride over for ‘just one more’.