Bethesda needs to be given credit, creating a distinctive world complete with extensive history is no easy task. And with seven going on eight games, one could easily forgive them for having some minor contradictions in the lore (such as the observed phenomena of Bosmer not devouring everything they kill).
The problem is that, while The Elder Scrolls Online looks awesome gameplay-wise, its setting makes a lore situation which would be the in-universe equivalent of World War II happening and then no one writing or speaking of it ever again. Not only that, but other than the Aldmeri Dominion the factions tend to go against both the history and character of The Elder Scrolls races, and Bethesda seems to be fully aware of this fact. I acknowledge that many things will be explained in-game once it’s released, but some of the decisions made are so precarious that Bethesda’s loremaster is going to have one hell of a task cut out for him on making it all fit. Turns out one handy trick for making this work is placing a game firmly within a speck history from which few written records exist…go figure.
To begin with the positive, the Aldmeri Dominion gets a pass since they’ve been in the lore since Redguard, and their composition makes complete sense. The wood elves are allied with the high elves because the high elves stopped a civil war in Valenwood, and the Khajiit would fit in nicely with the two since the only thing separating Khajiit from elf is a furry pelt and the legend that a god called Yiffer Y’ffer separated Khajiit and Bosmer (if you think the name resemblance is a coincidence, then you don’t know nearly enough about early Bethesda writing). The only problem is that the lore originally had the Aldmeri Dominion forming roughly 200 years after The Elder Scrolls Online takes place, but who cares about dates right?
The Daggerfall Covenant however does not get by so easily. It has a massive flaw in its composition due to Bethesda writing that the Orcs team up with the races that annihilated their country, waged genocide on their people, and ensured that they would not have a homeland of their own for three thousand years. The justification according to Bethesda for this move? To help restore the Second Empire which had Orsinium as an Imperial province.The Second Empire, for the record, wasn’t controlled by the Bretons or Redguard to begin with, but rather Akaviri, who aren’t even from the same continent, so the Orcs want to hand over power over the continent to the races that have kicked them into the balls repeatedly to reclaim a privilege that was granted to them by a third-party unrelated race.
The Bretons and Redguard allying could work, as they had allied before… to beat up on the Orcs, which just shows how much the Orcs are out of their character by being in this alliance. What is known of The Elder Scrolls Online lore is that apparently Orcs are in the Daggerfall Compact because they helped the Bretons in a fight on some mysterious conditions and having those mysterious conditions fulfilled was enough to ally wholeheartedly with their millenia-old rivals, but if that condition is solely reclaiming the kingdom they once had, a kingdom destroyed previously by the very people they’re allying with, then the only explanation for the Orcs assisting the Bretons instead of letting them die is that Orcs are honorable but terribly, terribly stupid (and if this ends up acknowledged in the The Elder Scrolls Online lore, props to Bethesda).
As I said though, Bethesda seems to be aware of how unlikely this alliance is, as the Ebonheart Pact seems to be as baffled as me on why the Orcs are in Daggerfall Covenant, but the Ebonheart Pact has a slew of problems of its own, which I will be covering in Part Two.