Fivefold Venerations, everyone! Greetings!
Starting with today’s post, we’ll be starting a new category for our map content, Map Stuff.
This will be a rather broadly defined category, where we’ll be sharing some theory-crafting and thoughts on ESO’s and other Elder Scrolls game Maps. With that being said, let’s get started with the topic of this post.
Craglorn’s Border Problem
We all know ESO’s (in)famous map problem with Eastmarch, the Rift and a missing Blacklight. Though this post is less about that certain area of the map, but rather Craglorn’s misleading shape (since it can be fixed rather easily).
If we align Craglorns actual worldspace with its worldmap shape, we’ll get the following result:
As we can see, Craglorns worldspace only covers roundabout 50% of its worldmap counterpart. Which wouldn’t be a big problem, if it was aligned to its southern worldborder.
Why you ask? Because parts of Craglorn is at the moment is where the Reach and Falkreath Holds should be.
Using state of the art technology… *cough* overlaying another map *cough* we can determine a more appropriate position of Craglorn.
Moving Craglorn’s worldspace a little further west and aligning it with its southern border would fix several problems:
- Both Dragonstar and Elinhir would reach the positions they have been given in maps prior to ESO.
- ESOs Skyrim would be refit to Skyrims actual border – giving back parts the Reach and Falkreath Hold. This would also give proper space for the upcoming Q4 Reach DLC, Darkstorm, as well as later potential Whiterun or Falkreath Chapter/DLCs.
Craglorns new, fixed shape on the worldmap could look a little like this:
This shape is less a creation of mine, but virtually a trace of Craglorn’s former world map borders – the ones it had on an official pre-release map.
Alternatively, Craglorn’s world map shape could remain as it is. However its worldspace would still have to be moved further west. This would place Falkreath’s locations inside Craglorn’s world map borders. As Falkreath is a DLC Dungeon that can be entered/accessed via Craglorn’s worldspace, it would be fitting for it to be placed inside Craglorns world map borders.
Skyrim’s Eastern Border
Fixing the dilemma of Blacklight (and its surrounding area) not appearing on ESOs Map is somewhat more difficult however. No wonder former Loremaster Lawrence Schick rather cleverly turned this little error into an in-universe one:
Phrastus of Elinhir says, “Our latter-day Nords are not well known for the scholarly attainments, and cartography is not one of their strongpoints. On their maps, sites of great importance—to Nords, that is—are often distorted and exaggerated. So it is with the eerie aerie of Skuldafn, which holds great significance for our superstitious northern brethren. They have never been comfortable with the fact that the Dark Elves hold the west coast of the Inner Sea all the way up to Blacklight; in some cases their maps elide that fact entirely. But it is there nonetheless.”Eastmarch and Skuldafn appear to be wrong, geographically, in Elder Scrolls Online. (06/19/15) (See: https://www.imperial-library.info/content/posts-schick-2015 )
As stated in the Question and “Phrastus'” answer, there seems to be a problem with Eastmarche’s location. Once again overlaying TES’s Map with ESO’s presents us with the following dilemma:
Before I start criticising more: They did a superb job with fitting Western Skyrim onto ESO’s Map. As we can see, ESOs map has a little problem with the area around Blacklight. Though they even expanded that coastline further east, giving more space for a potential zone, they also used said space to move Eastmarch and the Rift even further east.
This time, to determine the Rift’s and Eastmarch’s proper location on ESO’s map, I’ll compare it to the one coherent Skyrim worldspace we know (and love): TES5’s Skyrim.
As I already said: they did a fantastic job with ESOs Western Skyrim’s worldspace. Such a good job, that Solitude, Morthal, Labyrinthian and other places of interest align perfectly to their locations in TES5’s Skyrim thus allowing me to overlay said worldspace over ESOs map.
Now that we’ve zoomed in, we can actually see how the proportion of ESO’s Rift still fits – but it has been moved over to the east. By tracing ESO’s borders and also setting a marker for Riften, Ivarstead, Windhelm and Kynesgrove, we still have some problems perfectly aligning ESO’s Eastmarch and Rift with TES5’s Version. This is mostly due to different scaling. By rescaling ESO’s world map traces a little smaller, it fits almost perfectly.
This sadly still leaves us with the big protruding landmass where Skuldafn is located. In Skyrim, this Temple is located in its own worldspace and as such, doesn’t appear on our trace, leading us to creating a workaround.
By overlaying ESO’s worldspace of the two holds over TES5’s worldspace…
…and creating some rough traces for zoneborders. Reapplying those over the Skyrim-ESO overlay, we get the following result:
We have corrected their world map positions to fit their actual worldspace positions (compared to TES5’s Skyrim worldspace). Now we still have the problem of Skuldafn being deep into Morrowind, but that might be fixed with drawing that part of it a little smaller – just to fix the waypoint.
So we’ve almost reached the end. Let’s summarize:
- Moving Craglorn’s Worldspace further west and leaving the world map-border as it is would place Falkreath within said border. This would be rather logical, as the Falkreath DLC Dungeon can be accessed via Craglorn.
- By moving Eastmarches and Rifts worldspaces further west and adapting the world map-border to their new locations, we might fix those both Holds odd positions.
- we also gain space for Blacklight (and a potential Blacklight zone, should the developers ever wish to create one)
- there remains one major problem: The Rift’s physical connection to the Stonefalls zone.
The two Zones of the Rift and Stonefalls have been made to align with each other. Not only that, but they also share a little of the others terrain so walking from one to another blends better.
Remodeling this terrain in both Zones would probably be, I can only guess, quite the effort. As such I would deem it highly unlikely for ZOS to do so. But the Rift-Stonefalls Route would still work with my proposed positions – again, with a little workaround.
This red marked bit of the map could be added to the Rifts World Map borders/zone. Or it could be divided between Stonefalls and the Rift to even out the gap. Either way: fixing this gap on the world map and just leaving the worldspace as-is might work.
The End | TL;DR
After all this work fixing the borders/zones I was only able to work with pictures of said zones/worldspaces. I wasn’t able to compare their worldspaces in-engine nor do I know how ZOS saves/generates the zones in-engine. This whole thing basically was a theoretical essay on how it may be fixed – not knowing if the practical aspect (the engine) could handle it.
Yet I hope someone at ZOS sees this – or enough players and fans see and share it, so ESOs map can finally be fixed, before it stays broke forever when adding a conflicting DLC zone.
So: if Craglorns Wayshrine positions get „fixed“, I wouldn‘t see the need to fix its world map border. Eastmarch and Rifts borders would have to be redrawn if the Wayshrine positions were fixed – and the Rift-Stonefalls connection could be „ignored“ by just filling the world map gap by dividing it between the Rift and Stonefalls.
Neither my opinion nor proposal is finite. I’d be glad to discuss my findings with you!