The Elder Scrolls Oblivion History and Overview

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The Elder Scrolls series is one of the most special game series out there. As the flagship title for Bethesda, the Elder Scrolls games date back over 20 years now, and some of their titles own the spots of most played games in video game history.

While the Elder Scrolls games have always had a pretty solid fanbase, it wasn’t until The Elder Scrolls, IV: Oblivion that the game finally jumped into the mainstream. In 2006, Xbox 360 and PS3 were just beginning their lifespans, and the concept of an open-world RPG on the scale of Grand Theft Auto hadn’t fully been explored on a console yet.

At that point, The Elder Scrolls had seen 3 releases, with the most recent being Morrowind which hit consoles in 2002, but the ported version was not well received, and the clunky combat, ugly graphics, and complex systems were not embraced by a mainstream audience.

When Oblivion was released, RPGs changed forever. First, the graphics were absolutely mesmerizing for the time, and the first time you emerged outside the initial dungeon is one of the true watershed moments in gaming history. Never before could we look, left, right, north and south, and have the ability to go anywhere in that world. The whole map was available to explore at the get-go, and the content that inhabited it was all outstanding.

My first experience with the game came on release day 2006. I had never felt wonder in a game like I had with Oblivion. It was the first real feeling world that I’d gotten to explore in a game. I had played Morrowind, but the ugly graphics and boring combat turned me off of it completely. Comparatively, Oblivion was bright and gorgeous with some of the best weapon designs and combat I’d experienced to that point.

A big selling point to me was the fact that you could play in the third person. This made gathering all those awesome weapons and armor completely worth it, and although it had an understandable amount of jankiness, it felt weighty and brutal.

While the main quest was pretty cool, the part that absorbed me was the tons of sidequests that had multiple ways to complete them. I’d never felt respected as a player by a game before, and that was a big “Ah-Ha!” moment for me. All in all, I spent roughly 100 hours in Bethesda’s open-world masterpiece, and they gained a fan for life.

Bottom Line Up Front

  • Oblivion is the first Elder Scrolls Game to debut on a console.
  • It revolutionized and the open world RPG and many mechanics are used to this day
  • The amount of content is staggering
  • Combat is flexible and you can play anyway you want
  • Graphics were groundbreaking for 2006.

The Story

The main quest started 6 years after Morrowind, and after the intense beginning that sees Patrick Stewart’s Uriel Septim VII assassinated and from there, you become the Hero of Kvatch who the emperor saw in his dreams with the power to stop the world of Oblivion from taking over.

The plot was one of the longer ones that an RPG had seen in quite some time, and it took tons of twists in turns on its way to a thrilling finale that felt more like a movie than any game I had ever played up to that point.

The World

Image from Fandom

Oblivion takes place on one continent in the world of the Elder Scrolls. That continent is Tamriel, and specifically, you’ll be exploring the region of Cyrodiil.

Cyrodiil is one of the most amazing game worlds ever crafted. It’s got a range of environments to explore, from snow-covered mountains to lush forests and massive marshlands. Within each of these areas are tons and tons of caves to explore, ancient crypts to find, and all manner of sidequests to discover.

Cyrodiil is a massive area that’s made up of nine counties and nine regions. Anvil is located along the Gold Coast, Bravil is in the Nibenay Valley, Bruma is in the Jerall Mountains, Cheydinhal is in the Values Mountains, Chorrol is in the Colovian Highlands, The Imperial City is in the Heartlands, Kvatch is along the Gold Coast, Leyawiin is in Blackwood and Skingrad is in the West Weald.

Each area has a capital city as well, so you can expect to be seeing an awful lot of places on your travels while playing Oblivion. In addition to these areas of Cyrodiil, there are also areas added to the game via the DLC.

There are two major DLCs, The Shivering Isles and The Knights of The Nine. The Shivering Isles is the most popular of the two and introduced a brand new island into the game with one of the more interesting characters in the game’s history, Sheogorath.

While there is plenty to explore in the physical world of Cyrodiil, perhaps the most interesting places reside through the different Oblivion Gates you find.

The History of Oblivion

The history of Oblivion is long and bloody and covers multiple eras. Throughout the history of the world of Tamriel, there have been various wars, demonic invasions, and even direct intervention of the gods when it came to creating the races and cities that exist in the world of Oblivion. Each of the eras was marked by a major event.

The Dawn Era

This is the era where the time officially began, and the world was first created. It was a time when magic ruled the world and gods freely walked in the waking world. Elven history began first, which came after Magnus left the world of Nirn (mortal plane), and Lorkhan gets condemned for creating it in the first place. The big event taking place in this era was The Convention.

This event happened on Adamantine Tower, and the purpose of it was to determine what to do with the god Lorkhan for creating the mortal realm. The god Akatosh consorted with the Aedra about punishment, and it was deemed that Lorkhan would have his heart separated from him.

So it happened, and Lorkhan’s heart was tied to an arrow and launched into the sea. The red mountains then formed shortly after where the heart was located.

The Merethic Era

This era is when the first history of the world started to get recorded by King Harald’s scribes. This era was one of innovation and progress in terms of civilization as well as the exodus of the Aldmeri people from their ancestral homeland.

It was marked by conflicting ideologies as well, as the worship of gods began, and each race took one for their own. The era came to an end during the founding of the Camoran Dynasty in Valenwood. The Camoran Dynasty would go on to become one of the most powerful Tamriel had ever seen.

The First Era

The First Era was one of the longest recorded in Tamriel’s history, and it lasted a whopping 2,920 years. During this time, the power shift began between the Elven and human races, and this primarily took place during the Alessian Rebellion, which led shortly thereafter to the toppling of the Elven Ayleid Empire.

The major event that marked this era was the assassination of Reman Cyrodiil III and his heir Juliek, which destroyed the Reman line of Cyrodiili Emperors. It was during this time that the first kingdom of Skyrim was formed by the Nords in the northern lands.

The Second Era

The Second Era lasted a shorter time than the First Era, but it was every bit as eventful. Tiber Septim saw his rise to fame happen during this era, and he eventually united the kingdoms to bring peace during this time as well.

There was also a massive war called the Three Banners ware between the Ebonheart Pact, Daggerfall Covenant, and the First Aldmeri Dominion. This war was fought over the Ruby Throne. During this time, an Elven Necromancer ruled the throne and was heavily influenced by the Daedric Prine Molag Bal, who began the first plot by a Daedric entity to destroy the mortal plane.

The Third Era

The Third Era is the shortest on record spanning 443 years, and it was the era during which the first 4 Elder Scrolls games took place.

This era started when Tiber Septim’s dynasty began under a united Tamriel. During this time, the victory over the assumed god Dagoth Ur took place as well as the second recorded eruption of the red mountain. The major event that marked the end of this era was the assassination of Uriel Septim, paving the way for the events of the Oblivion Crisis to unfold.

Oblivion Barriers

Not just everyone can get to the planes of Oblivion. These worlds are far away, and in order to access them, you need to be able to access them through a portal. It is possible to access the realms in other ways as some are metaphysical and exist more in your mind than in reality.

It’s often a very difficult task to do so. The Daedra themselves are barred from entering the normal world of Nirn, which encapsulates Tamriel and Cyrodiil and the rest of the world. Despite this, they can travel between Daedric realms without much issue.

In order to cross over into Oblivion, you need to be able to pull off a few things. One way is to have a Mage summon a Daedra and, from there, bind it to its will. Most of the time, the Daedra will not be in Nirn in physical form, but rather become bound to an item, though some Daedra who are not princes are allowed to exist in physical form here.

Particularly gifted magicians have the ability to permanently bind Daedra to things and even transport themselves to Oblivion planes outright.

If you are a mortal with no magic, the only way into the world of Oblivion is through an Oblivion Gate, which has started opening across Cyrodiil at an alarming rate, and the story will have you visiting these worlds quite a few times on your mission to stop another Daedra invasion.

Throughout the history of Tamriel, Daedric Princes were actually allowed to roam freely on Nirn. They were not only present but pivotal in the development of mankind and the civilization they would create. They influenced the path certain races would take and even created some themselves.

Not only did they develop societies, but they also kept pacts with the people they would create to prevent Daedra from ever coming to Nirn. The Aedra, a subset of the Daedra, created the barriers that kept the Daedra at bay, as long as they weren’t summoned from someone in Nirn.

After the crisis in Oblivion, the blood of Martin Septim joined with the god Akatosh created an even stronger barrier, so now, not even the Dragonfires that held the barriers together for so long would ever need to be lit again.

The Gameplay

You have the ultimate freedom of how you’d like to play in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. As soon as you escape the initial dungeon, the lush greens and open fields of Cyrodiil open their arms to you, and from there, the world is really your oyster.

Before you get to explore, though, you need to create your character. Oblivion has a ton of choices here, and it’s one of the most comprehensive character creators ever. There are 10 different races to choose from, and you can customize age, appearance, eye color, and more. You will also choose your beginning class, and these include Warrior, Mage, Thief, or, if the player prefers, a mixture of all three of them.

Throughout the world, you’ll encounter many different creatures and people, both friendly and dangerous. There are tons of wild animals to hunt, terrifying beasts, and even bandits that you’ll encounter along your path. You might even encounter creatures of legend, such as a Minotaur, so always be on your guard when venturing out into this world.

During your travels, you will be finding brand new armor and weapons. Speaking of those weapons, there are both blade and blunt weapons available to you. You’ll also be able to learn magic or fight with a bow and arrow. The armor available to you comes in a variety of different types, and each one will have an effect on how much damage you’ll be protected from.

There is a location called Arcane University that can be accessed, and when that happens, you can gain access to enchanting your armor and weapons as well. There are several places in the game that may appear to be basic structures, but inside, mysteries and side quests await, so don’t ever be afraid to explore somewhere as you never know what interesting stories or rewards might be in store.

As you travel from location to location, you might come across some of the guilds of Cyrodiil. There are several to join, and each has a lengthy questline to go along with it. You’ve got the Fighters Guild, The Mages Guild, The Dark Brotherhood, and the Thieves Guild.

Neither of these Guilds is an automatic join, though, as you need to satisfy several conditions, and failure to adhere to these guidelines can actually get you either suspended or permanently expelled from them. You can also join the Arena, which is a fun gladiator-type area that has you competing against stronger and stronger foes for various kinds of rewards.

In addition to the main questline, which will take you a sizeable amount of time to complete, there are also a ton of side quests to take on and over 100+ dungeons to explore on your own in the game.

The best part of Oblivion is the freedom it gives you. If you want to save the world and embark on the main quest, that’s very doable, but if you want to steal potatoes from a farm and sell them in the capital city, you can do that too.

If you want to be the scourge of Cyrodiil and rob and attack anyone you come across, you’re able to do that as well. If you want to just ride your horse for hours while picking up various forest greens to collect for your various alchemy potions, the options are nearly limitless. This was one of the first mainstream games to ask you how you want to play and actually respect your choices on the matter.


Combat is pretty varied in Oblivion, and depending on your preference, you can play as a mage, a warrior, an archer, or a rogue. Melee combat involved the use of normal attacks, power attacks, and blocking as well.

The hitboxes for the enemies of the game are rather large, so as long as you’re close to them, your attacks have a decent chance of hitting. Arrows are far more trustworthy, but your aim and Archery skills need to be sufficient so that your accuracy holds up.

Magic-users can deal a ton of damage, but they must manage their Mana and keep a solid distance from enemies when firing off their spells. Rogues are incredibly deadly when they go unseen, but often, they are much weaker in melee combat and need to rely on super quick strikes with daggers in order to win their battles.

Throughout the game, you’ll improve your stats in all of these categories, and it will allow you to choose what kind of fighter you want to be.


Cyrodiil is a massive and daunting world to explore, and if you’re not wary of where you are, you can often find yourself completely lost in this game. To help us out, there are several methods for traveling in the game.

The map requires you to have been to a location of fast traveling, so at the start of the game, the best way to get around the map is on foot.

A couple things need to be noted while traveling. Towns are generally pretty safe to walk into, but Bandit hideouts are usually never safe. You will see random travelers as well, and while most mean you no harm, occasionally there will be some citizens who want to fight, so always be prepared.

You also will want to carry a torch when exploring any unknown caves or crypts. This will make these areas much brighter and allow you to see things you normally would miss, like treasure chests and other hidden items.

You can also get a horse in Oblivion, but the issue here is that it’s going to cost you a pretty penny in order to get such a thing. The other option, of course, is to steal one, but that will get you in pretty big trouble with the town guards, and if you get caught, you’ll be going to jail.


You’ll be facing off against a variety of enemies in the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and each one are identified under its own category.


The enemies that fall under this classification in the Bestiary are the following.

  • Bears
  • Boars
  • Deers
  • Dogs
  • Goblins
  • Horses
  • Imps
  • Land Dreugh
  • Minotaur
  • Mountain Lion
  • Mudcrab
  • Ogre
  • Rat
  • Sheep
  • Slaughterfish
  • Spriggan
  • Troll
  • Wolf
  • Will-O-The-Wisp

While some of these creatures are hostile instantly, some will be friendly until attacked. Most animals, for example, will treat you without worry until provoked.


Image from Fandom

You’re going to be encountering a lot of Daedra throughout Oblivion, and that’s especially true when traveling the Oblivion Worlds. Here’s what you’ll be going up against.

  • Clannfear
  • Daedroth
  • Flame Atronach
  • Frost Atronach
  • Scamp
  • Spider Daedra
  • Storm Atronach
  • Xivilai


The Daedra are fearsome enough, but the Dremora are a whole other class of demons. They are often not hostile, though, and might dole out quests to you or be commanding other creatures. They’re easy enough to kill, though some high-level ones exist in the game.


You’ll be exploring a lot of crypts and ancient ruins in Oblivion, and one of the things that come with the territory there is encountering the undead. Here’s what shambling monstrosities there are to find.

  • Ghost
  • Lich
  • Skeleton
  • Wraith
  • Zombie


The most intelligent of the enemies you’ll encounter in the game, you will find that many Vampires are either posing as normal people or even offering to give their gift to you at the cost of eternal life and suffering when the thirst or sun consumes you.

You will encounter tons of different vampires throughout your journey, and they’ll often be made up of different races that you come across.

When fighting them, you might get inflicted with a vampiric disease, and if you let this linger long enough without visiting a shrine to get it cured, you will find yourself becoming a citizen of the night in no time at all.


Question: Is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion a multiplayer game?

Answer: No, this game is purely a single-player experience. For those looking for a similar game, though, The Elder Scrolls: Online is a complete multiplayer experience that can be experienced on your own or with friends and offers much of the same gameplay that’s on display from Oblivion.

Question: Is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion playable in VR?

Answer: Right now, the only Elder Scrolls game playable in VR is Skyrim VR. However, there is a team working on a mod called Skyblivion that will take the entirety of Oblivion and put it into the world of Skyrim. When that happens, VR should be readily accessible.

Question:  How long does it take to beat The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion?

Answer: This depends on what kind of player you are. If you are going to just steamroll through the main story, you could beat the game in about 30 hours or so. It’s a long story and is definitely enough to get a great experience out of the game.
If you’re going to be exploring and joining different Factions and taking on side quests, though, expect to spend up to 90 hours in Cyrodiil and far more if you want to complete everything there is to do in the game.

The Elder Scrolls Oblivion: Conclusion

Although it’s been noticeably overshadowed by its more popular older brother Skyrim, Oblivion still is a magical experience that’s worth going back into to this day. It’s got great graphics, a solid combat system, and most importantly, an incredible world to explore with hours of content that just doesn’t get old.

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