How Did I End Up In An Elder Scrolls Online Parkour Contest

How Did I End Up In An Elder Scrolls Online Parkour Contest


Screenshot: Bethesda

Kotaku Game JournalKotaku Game JournalFinal thoughts from a Kotaku staff member on a game we’re playing.

When I launched The Elder Scrolls Online last week, I didn’t expect to enter a large-scale, player-created parkour competition, but life can be weird that way. This is how I ended up running and jumping like a mad orc in the Vivec City Commercial Market in The Elder Scrolls Online.

You know how some people only floss and brush their teeth right before and shortly after a dentist appointment and then gradually revert to their terrible hygiene routine? This is how I play The Elder Scrolls Online. I commit to it for a few days, then gradually stop playing until the next time I see a cool Skyrim video or a funny Oblivion mod on Twitter. I never uninstall it, so it is always waiting for me to come back.

This ‘start-and-stop’ approach means that I haven’t made as much progress as others might have in the same amount of time. So when a player entered the open area chat and offered 30k gold to anyone who could win their “parkour challenge”, I was very interested. After all, I was broke and needed to increase my bank storage. To join the “Hardcore Parkour Challenge” I headed to the market near Vivec City in Morrowind and typed “X” in the chat. This earned me a group invite and the competition began.


Gravewalker high on his perch, waiting. Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku

Velas Gravewalker was the person running it all. They had climbed to a bizarre perch above the entrance to the market. To win, you just had to climb up to him. That’s it. The first would win gold at 30k, the second at 20k and the third at 10k. Easy, right? Wrong!

The Elder Scrolls Online is an MMORPG that was not designed for the platform at all. Getting around is great when moving around a field or clearing a large open dungeon. But using those same motion controls for “parkour” is a fucking nightmare. Jumping and running are both too heavy and too buoyant. When jumping, your character can get stuck on anything, including invisible walls and ledges. And guess what? ESO is full of this stuff. Normally, it doesn’t matter that all of the random decorations and crates are terrible platforms to climb on. But it gets extremely boring and frustrating when you’re trying to, uh, parkour.

When I started there were only two other players, but it quickly grew into a dozen or more people trying to climb up to Gravewalker. It was hard to count because I was too focused on winning and everyone was jumping like we were being attacked by invisible wasps.

About 10 minutes after the start of this contest, a model appeared. People would converge on an area, like a box near a table, and throw themselves into it until someone else made a little headway from a different starting point elsewhere. Then the herd would rush in there and try their luck against another random prop.


Parkour with horses. Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku

Eventually, two players made it to Gravewalker’s perch. In the chat, someone mentioned something about the usefulness of a horse mount, so of course that led to a dozen or so players trying to mount their horses on the walls, stalls, and market stalls. . It was a madhouse, and I was as wild as the rest. I wanted this gold. Even though I would only get 10 km for third place, I wanted it. No, I needed it!

I devised a strategy. I would wait for the crowd of jumping players to move to a new location, then I would test an area, trying to hide any progress I had made. Soon my horse and I found a seat near the working fabric table. That’s when Gravewalker raised the price for third place to 9 miles, as it looked like no one else had come close to the top. I guess they haven’t seen me!

After a few unsuccessful attempts to jump off a scaffolding on the wall that connected to the door where Gravewalker was standing, I was successful. I was closed. I could taste this gold. (It tasted weird, like the smell of your fingers after holding coins.) I slowly, cautiously dismounted my horse and started to make my way through the top of the thin wall. .

I was so close at this point.

I was so close at this point. Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku

Gravewalker finally noticed me, as did the two previous winners, who were now emotional from above. They encouraged me. They also told me not to screw up while I was so close. I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the cheers, but I didn’t need to remind myself that I was so close and could still lose everything. And behind me I saw other players on their horses ride the same way I did. The secret was out. And now if I fell here I wouldn’t win anything and some asshole elf would take my deserved prize.

After what felt like a 10 minute slow walk to Gravewalker, I reached the top of the door. Success! I jumped! I danced a little dance. And I even thought of jumping to run to the bank and wait for my prize. Luckily I didn’t, because after a minute of partying like an asshole, Gravewalker reminded me that I hadn’t won yet: to win, I had to touch him. My body is locked in fear. I walked a few feet closer, crossing my character model with his, which is as close to touching as it gets in an MMO.


Victory! Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku

Success, once again! I had won. Moments later 15k gold landed in my account and the group disbanded. I jumped out the door and ran to the bank, upgraded my storage, and now sit on the remaining gold. Maybe I’ll help a campaign for eradicate the Silt Striders.

This weird episode was a big moment for me and a reminder that the best part about MMOs isn’t necessarily the massive raids or weird quests, but the people you meet. Even though, like me, you spend most of your time doing single-player quests, you still meet other players. Inhabiting a world full of random people you can hang out with is a good thing anytime. But in 2021, as the pandemic continues, it takes on additional resonance, and I feel happy that I was able to stumble upon this random and weird “parkour” challenge.


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