Back in Nevada, investigators scoured local schools for an explanation: Who was responsible for the death of the Elder Scrolls Online, and why? “You’ll have a job to find just one reason,” said Allen Rigby, computers teacher at the South Valley Technical High School. “That game dug more holes for itself than Shia LaBeouf in that movie I can’t remember.” When pressed for details, Mr. Rigby leaned in, “I hear it all the time. The kids wanted Skyrim online and instead they just got a Skyrim skin ported onto a generic MMO. There’s only so many fetch quests a kid can do before homework starts to look fun.”
Investigators next spoke with Rebecca Daniels, president of the school’s video game club. “I played Elder Scrolls Online because I wanted to spend time with my out of state friends,” Rebecca said, “The game was fine until we realized it didn’t animate other players’ spells or abilities. What’s the point of raising an ice wall to protect your party if they can’t see it? Am I just supposed to say, ‘Trust me, it’s there. No, there. God dammit, you died. We’re all dead now! Good $@*$ing job, Janet!” Rebecca’s story repeated itself in some form or another among every ESO player investigators interviewed, until it became clear the list of possible suspects would only expand the longer they looked.
Days, weeks, then months passed, and not a single person came forward to claim responsibility for the death of the online game. In that time, reports surfaced that Bethesda was pouring millions of dollars into a misinformation campaign to convince the world the Elder Scrolls Online was still alive and fun. Phrases such as “Thriving community of online players,” or “Regular updates,” became common, while critics of the game mysteriously vanished or stopped caring. As a result, almost all of the game’s sixteen players are unaware it ever died at all. They carry on to this day, logging in to harvest their wolf pelts and cast their imaginary spells, logging out, and wondering why such a big world feels so empty.