The Elder Scrolls series has gained fame for its awe-inspiring and boundless realms that captivate players. Whether it be battling majestic dragons in Skyrim or venturing into the otherworldly terrain of Morrowind, every installment in this game series focuses on providing an unparalleled immersive experience within the realm of RPGs. The enchantment of this franchise lies in the unique and mesmerizing landscapes that serve as the backdrop for each game.
The realms of Skyrim, Vvardenfell, Cyrodil, and numerous other enchanting landscapes possess an unrivaled aura of grandeur and distinctiveness. Yet, the expansion of these realms does not occur with each subsequent game. Surprisingly, certain earlier Elder Scrolls creations crafted by Bethesda boast expansive dimensions surpassing those of their latest counterparts, while others offer limited or non-existent areas available for exploration.
Erik Petrovich, in his update on June 4, 2022, sheds light on the vast differences in map sizes across the Elder Scrolls games. The Elder Scrolls Arena, with its remarkable random generation, boasts a map size that surpasses all other titles in the franchise. However, opinions may differ on whether this should be considered. Surprisingly, certain games offer expansive landscapes. Take Oblivion, for instance, which actually exceeds the map sizes of both Skyrim and Morrowind, despite Cyrodiil’s smaller or equivalent size to these provinces. On the other hand, some games tend to slip our minds, like Battlespire or the mobile game Blades. Although the specific map sizes remain unknown, one can make educated guesses based on the level of freedom for exploration. However, it is worth mentioning that certain games lack exploration entirely, along with any RPG elements.
In terms of its technical aspects, The Elder Scrolls Legends can be considered as a game within the Elder Scrolls universe. However, due to its nature as a card game, it lacks the extensive exploration found in the mainline RPGs. In truth, there is no exploration at all, unless one considers delving into the captivating world of flavor text.
If one were to indulge in a hypothetical endeavor of arranging each distinctive card from the realm of Elder Scrolls Legends in a neat lineup and calculating their combined surface area, the resulting expanse would prove disappointingly minuscule, rendering any meaningful exploration virtually impossible. While it may not possess the immersive qualities of a traditional RPG, Elder Scrolls Legends can, without a doubt, be classified as the Elder Scrolls game with the most compact and confined world to traverse. However, it is important to note that this diminutive scale does not equate to a complete lack of spatial dimensions, as even the tiniest expanse is still measurable, albeit not reaching the grandeur of 0 square miles.
Unquestionably, The Elder Scrolls: Blades boasts the tiniest realm among all Elder Scrolls games. While it encompasses dungeons, a vast world map, and captivating towns and settlements, the confined mobility and linear nature of Blades restricts the actual expanse of exploration to a minuscule scale.
The true dimensions of Blades’ map remain a mystery, as no one has bothered to take precise measurements. However, when juxtaposed with Battlespire and Redguard, both of which also suffer from ambiguous map sizes in the Elder Scrolls series, Blades appears remarkably restricted and minuscule.
The Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire, affectionately known as Battlespire among enthusiasts, is a captivating departure from Daggerfall, unfolding in a remarkably surprising setting: a celestial haven akin to a space station within the Elder Scrolls universe. Concealed within a secluded Oblivion realm, lies the Battlespire, an extraordinary enclave designed as an “exemplary institute” now teeming with Daedric invaders.
Input: Just like Blades and Redguard, the precise dimensions of Battlespire’s map remain a mystery. Nevertheless, Redguard boasted a vast outdoor realm brimming with opportunities for exploration, alongside dungeons, cities, and various locales that expanded its vastness. In contrast, Battlespire unfolds exclusively within the confines of this prestigious training facility, rendering it noticeably more compact in comparison to Redguard.
During the period between Daggerfall and Morrowind’s releases, Bethesda embarked on creating several spin-off titles within The Elder Scrolls realm. Among these ventures emerged The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, a captivating game set amidst the enchanting island of Stros M’Kai, gracefully positioned along Hammerfell’s sun-drenched southern shores. Diverging from the customary vast open-world experiences of its predecessors, this exceptional game enthralls players with meticulously structured level progression, presenting a unique gameplay approach.
Measuring the expanse of the map poses quite a challenge due to its compactness. Given the brevity of the game and the limited scale of the overworld, one can infer that this particular installment of the Elder Scrolls series is among the smallest, yet it still offers a hint of exploration. In comparison to the expansive realms of the main provinces featured in other games, this diminutive island pales in comparison. Nevertheless, it boasts a more intricate design than the linear levels found in Battlespire or Blades.
6 Morrowind (16 km)
Morrowind aficionados may find themselves taken aback by the fact that Morrowind, despite being part of the renowned open-world Bethesda franchise, is actually the tiniest installment. Vvardenfell, the main setting, encompasses approximately 16 kilometers of explorable terrain. What made it appear grander than its successors, such as Skyrim, was the absence of fast travel mechanics in this particular game.
In terms of convenience, fast travel was not readily available in the game. Players had two options: either pay a fee to utilize the silt striders scattered throughout the landscape for town-to-town transportation, or skilled individuals in the realm of magic could mark locations to teleport between. Alongside the sluggish movement speed within the game, the size of the Morrowind map creates an illusion of immense proportions. Additionally, players who possess the Bloodmoon expansion have the ability to journey to Solstheim either by boat or by showcasing their impressive Acrobatics skill to leap over the ocean.
5 Skyrim (37 km)
Within the gaming community, it has become a running joke that Bethesda has ingeniously managed to market Skyrim in various forms, delighting fans with the Special Edition, the Greymoor expansion for Elder Scrolls Online, and even an amusing adaptation for Alexa. Engrossing adventures await players at every turn, be it unexpected encounters or mysterious dungeons waiting to be discovered.
Skyrim, a realm of grandeur surpassing that of Morrowind, expands its horizons by more than double the magnitude, stretching across a vast expanse of 37 kilometers (excluding the awe-inspiring verticality within the realm of the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls saga). While a portion of this realm is composed of majestic bodies of water and towering mountains, virtually every inch of its terrain holds hidden treasures awaiting adventurous players. With its awe-inspiring panoramas and captivating quests, Skyrim continues to beckon fervent followers even after nearly a decade since its inception.
4 Oblivion (41 km)
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion presents a unique contrast to Morrowind. While some fans perceive this game as relatively diminutive compared to its counterparts, it defies expectations. Oblivion unfolds as a grander experience in comparison to the three most recent main installments, granting players the opportunity to venture into the vast expanse of Cyrodil.
Spanning a colossal 41 kilometers, this game boasts an expanse of boundless landscapes awaiting players’ exploration. In true Bethesda fashion, bustling towns and treacherous dungeons provide endless distractions for adventurers. However, the scale of this game expands exponentially with the inclusion of the awe-inspiring Shivering Isles—a distinctive realm spanning approximately 10 kilometers. When taking into account every facet of Oblivion’s content, it becomes abundantly clear that this game stands as one of Bethesda’s most monumental creations in recent times.
Placing an MMO alongside single-player RPGs may appear dubious, yet the vastness of The Elder Scrolls Online does not surpass that of the largest Elder Scrolls game. Regrettably, the true scale of ESO remains shrouded in mystery. Its immeasurability can be attributed not only to the intricacies of each instanced region but also to the continual influx of new zones introduced through grand expansions.
Prior to its release, the game developers shared their insights, stating that Cyrodil spans approximately 100 kilometers, while the other regions measure around 10 kilometers each. By summing up all the regions and estimating the major expansion zones to be around 100 kilometers, the grand map of ESO encompasses an impressive 400 kilometers. This vast expanse surpasses the combined size of the previous three Elder Scrolls games, making it the largest installment in the series to date without relying on procedural generation for its awe-inspiring landscapes.
2 Arena (9,656,064 km, but Unconfirmed)
Based solely on Bethesda’s marketing, The Elder Scrolls: Arena could easily be declared as the most expansive RPG ever crafted. According to Bethesda, the map size of Elder Scrolls: Arena stretches over a staggering 9 million kilometers. It is not only common practice for developers to exaggerate the scale of their games, but verifying such claims becomes an insurmountable task.
Adventurers have ventured on foot from one bustling city to another in an attempt to gauge the vastness of the land, only to find themselves trapped in an endless cycle of repetitive landscapes as they venture too far from civilization. Persisting in this endeavor eventually causes the very fabric of the game to unravel. Although each city boasts its own distinctive realm to explore, the combined sum of these realms falls short of surpassing the grand finale of our illustrious journey.
1 Daggerfall (161,600 km)
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, surpassing Arena, stands proud as the colossal gem in the crown of the Elder Scrolls franchise. The exact magnitude of its grandeur may spark lively deliberation, yet loyal enthusiasts find solace in the notion that the sprawling expanse of the Daggerfall map spans a staggering 161,600 kilometers. To put this into perspective, it is worth noting that Great Britain itself measures a mere 209,000 kilometers. The vastness of both Arena and Daggerfall owes its existence to the wondrous magic of procedural generation.
The environment and quests are subject to random generation, resulting in the creation of archaic dungeons and occasionally impossible quests. However, the expansive sandbox world created by Bethesda in Daggerfall is unparalleled. It truly embodies the essence of the Elder Scrolls’ philosophy of “living another life” more effectively than any other game in the series. Players have the freedom to purchase houses, join guilds, secure bank loans, own entire boats, and even resolve legal matters in court! While lacking the finesse and captivating storytelling of future games, its sandbox offers limitless possibilities.
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