Parents' Guide to

The Elder Scrolls Online

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Online fantasy game is rooted heavily in bloody violence.

Game Mac , PlayStation 4 , Windows , Xbox One 2014
The Elder Scrolls Online Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 11+

Exciting and fun MMO adventure game.

First of all, the rating of M17+ is overrated. It's a very fun game for myself and my 13-year-old daughter. It's just another fantasy MMO where you create your character and go on long adventures in a massive world with a big player base. The violence is violence, rarely any blood, and a lot of the time it's magic based. Practically no swearing whatsoever, sometimes "damn" and "shit" is used but that's about all. And lastly, the sex isn't even that present. No sex scenes or anything sexual whatsoever. The closest to "nudity" is just people in their underwear. But that is literally it. Overall, this game is really fun and age-appropriate for even a 10-year-old. It has to be rated M17+ because of obvious legal reasons, but the actual content inside the game barely meets that rating, but when it does, it's extremely mild. I would honestly give it a Teen rating for violence and language. But otherwise, this game will be a lot of fun. And you don't have to worry about any mature and really bad content. You just go on adventures and do quests amongst other players, that's all.

This title has:

Educational value
Easy to play/use
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+

Good game, aside from the bugs, but not for kids.

This game is quite good (if very buggy) as a whole, but as an avid player of it myself, I know it has an 18+ rating for a reason. There is a lot of violence (obviously), but also more hidden adult themes. I think the fact that the children rating it, here, have given it a higher average age rating than the adults have (until me, anyway!) says it all. As they have played the game, for more than an hour, or so and therefore, actually know what they are talking about. ...and will have no hidden agendas. Whereas, clearly, most of the adults here either haven't played it, or have barely played it, so don't really know at all. Or, perhaps, some have other undisclosed reasons for promoting it to children? Even leaving aside the created ingame content, online multiplayer games are a risk to let your children play unsupervised, anyway. As there can quite often be some very unsavoury things said in chat, some of which are not hidden by the profanity filter. Also, quite often, sexual and/or anger-related interactions can take place, that no child should be expected to endure. Some of which may lead to even worse real life issues, if the child in question isn't extremely careful regarding both stranger danger and their online privacy (as most children simply aren't). Leaving the latter aside, though, even normally nice adults can sometimes lose their tempers in games and they are even more likely to think it's OK to do so, openly, in what is supposed to be an adult-only environment. Can be disturbing enough as an adult, playing games like this, let alone as a child. For these reasons, I wouldn't knowingly let my children play any online multiplayer game, unsupervised, until the age of 16. Plus, ESO has quite expensive (real money via Crowns) gambling crates, which are not an ideal thing for children to be around, either. I'm not going to mark it as having "too much sex", as I don't personally object to the themes covered, but some people may do, especially where child players are concerned. So, please be aware.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much consumerism
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12 ):
Kids say (15 ):

The Elder Scrolls Online is generally a good game, but be aware a massive, open-ended MMORPG like this must be played for many weeks (or even months) before knowing if it's a worthwhile investment. As a result, consider this review a "first look" at this ambitious game rather than a deep dive. Still, so far, it's a lot of fun. It doesn't veer too far from other popular MMORPGs, such as World of Warcraft, but still offers a few new twists in a universe familiar to fans. For example, it features a smart real-time combat system that fuses strategy with action and is tailored to your individual character's class, abilities, and weapon loadout. It takes a bit getting used to, but targeting, attacking, and blocking become quite intuitive over a short time during which you'll likely encounter only low-level threats. While the game's huge world can be a bit daunting, a handy compass will guide you to areas of interest, including mission objectives, characters, events, and landmarks. The world has a look consistent with previous The Elder Scrolls games, complete with very impressive graphics, animation, and special effects. The voice acting and music is also superb.​

Just keep in mind that you are now expected (but not necessarily required) to venture out and potentially chat with groups of friends in order to complete missions -- a clear departure from the single-player games in this 20 year-old franchise. There is also a PvP (player versus player) option for those who want to play more competitively than cooperatively. As with many other MMORPGs, especially when they first launch, there are some technical glitches, including characters that get stuck in or walk through objects (like walls), frozen screens, and even the occasional crash to desktop. But knowing the talented folks at Bethesda Softworks are behind the game, these issues will likely get smoothed out sooner than later. The Elder Scrolls Online might not reinvent the MMORPG genre, but the developers have added some nice new touches, along with an intriguing story, comfortable controls, and awesome graphics. After two decades of single-player-only adventures, this online game in The Elder Scrolls universe was well worth the wait.

Game Details

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