The Winking Owl Of The Elder Scrolls: Legends

Settling down to watch The Elder Scrolls: Legends [official site] bits of the Bethesda conference, I discovered a winking owl, some plot information for Bethesda’s card game and also that the banana bread I made last night makes a perfectly serviceable breakfast.

Thoughts on the advert:

1. There is an owl with a flaming eye which seems to contain a universe. I am not sure what that means. Is this owl winking at me?

2. Okay, I think the owl is winking at people around a campfire which must be kind of unsettling.

“Dude, can you ask your creepy owl to stop hitting on me?”

“Oh, he’s just got the universe in his eye.”


3. Then a Khajiit turns up. The only memorable Khajiit for me in an Elder Scrolls game was the one who dealt in stolen goods from Oblivion who would purr “are you loooooking forrr a feeeeence?”

4. Maybe he will eat the pervy owl.

6. Something something war with the high elves.

7. I guess you play as either the dude or the owl. I’m hoping for the owl. An owl can be a moth priest called Kellen, yes?

8. It’s kind of interesting that the only hint of cards in this advert for a card game is that the characters don’t move, they’re just still illustrations with the camera panning around.


There’s a two-lane battlefield format when it comes to the board. It looks like it splits the play area in half vertically. There’s also a health pool for your hero and the ability to place minions and play damage cards or spells or whatnot. If you’ve played Hearthstone you’ll get the basic idea.

Bethesda also mention playing against real people with arena and battle modes, versus the AI in various formats, and following a single player campaign.

I don’t think we’ve really written anything detailed about TES: Legends so I’ve had a look at some of the dev blogs and gameplay videos. It looks like the lanes end up dividing the board into quadrants. You have your side of the left lane, your side of the right lane, and then the enemy sides of each one. The lanes serve to divide up your resources, so minions in one lane can either attack enemy minions in that lane or the enemy hero.

As you might expect, the object of the game is to get your opponent’s hero health to zero. But as you inflict certain amounts of damage they’ll get to draw cards automatically (I guess it symbolises them rallying or instinctively defending) so they might end up with some useful resources after you batter them.

There’s deck building, but also the ability to train cards? I’m thinking this is perhaps about being able to upgrade stuff by playing with it a lot or meeting certain conditions?

I stopped playing Hearthstone ages back, but if I did feel the itch for digital cards again I must say I’m not really seeing much here that would tempt me to go to TES: Legends over returning to Hearthstone. There are some twists on the format and the lane idea might be interesting, but it also might just end up overcomplicating matters. I’m also just not attached to the Elder Scrolls universe in the way that would be particularly rewarded by this game. I adored Oblivion and enjoyed Skyrim but those experiences were about how I played those games rather than wanting to see the worlds remixed in other ways.

I’m not going to write it off without playing it, obviously, but the marketing – which presumably would be about bringing someone like me (who enjoyed previous Elder Scrolls games) in – really hasn’t made any of this stick out to me. Or maybe it’s more about picking up people who have fallen out of love with Hearthstone but still want wizard cards?

Here’s the recipe for the banana bread. I swap their icing suggestion for icing sugar, a bit of water to make a small amount of thick paste-like water icing and some chopped pecans. I mix the icing with the pecans and then make a kind of nut-based mohawk down the seam of the loaf.

We have oodles more E3 2016 previews, news and and other oddments for you to check out!


  1. razgon says:

    I am reminded of a review I read some years back, on the first Xfiles Movie. The review was prefaced by “Now, I haven’t really seen any X-files episodes, and don’t really like science fiction”, and then proceeded to kill the movie in the review.

    While that may sound unfair, we should be aware of our strengths and probably play to them. This review doens’t really sound like any kind of effort has gone into understanding either it, nor the gameworld, which is a bit of a shame.

    Anyways – I’m in the beta, and the game is decent already, but its particulary decent because of the enviroment in which the game takes place, i.e. Elder Scrolls universe.

    So, there is that, at least.

    • laiwm says:

      I get how this comes off as irreverent if you’re into Elder Scrolls and/or card battlers, but I much prefer this to a more enthusiast-oriented approach. As someone who’s played a bit of MTG and a bunch of Oblivion & Skyrim (but remains completely bored by Elder Scrolls lore) all I want to know is “is this interesting enough to be worth watching the embedded video”.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        I’m more interested in Pip’s banana bread, so I’m grateful that she linked the recipe.

        Then again, I’ve never been that interested in card games, but the bit about the banana bread (and also the winking owl) made me read on.

        • prostetnik says:

          Clicked for banana bread recipe, got banana bread recipe.
          Great article, that.

        • KinkyJohn says:

          Thank god .. thought I was the only one here for the banana bread recipe there.

          Looks a bit sweet – but I’m into the mods.

    • Bullfrog says:

      It’s also very obviously not a review.

    • Someoldguy says:

      It seems an appropriate bit of whimsy to cover a presentation that didn’t say much. I’ve enjoyed Elder Scrolls since it’s inception but I can’t say I feel any more inspired to play a card game based around it than I do the Runescape card game (Chronicle released a few weeks ago) or Gwent outside of Witcher 3. I scratched that itch with physical cards back when Magic was all the rage and have never found the experience as enjoyable in a digical medium without the banter between friends to accompany it.

    • shevek says:

      On the other hand, if I didn’t like SF and hadn’t seen the X-files then I might appreciate a review that said the movie wasn’t for me. It’s not something the movie studio would ever say, after all.

      It’s not quite the same with previews, of course, but I think we can apply something of the same principle. The publishers would like you to be excited and they’d like you to think of yourself as a discerning consumer of immaterial card games, carefully considering all the many features on offer. If you’re reporting on a preview and you’re not pushing back against what the publishers are saying then you’re not actually adding anything to the raw press release.

  2. Ross Angus says:

    Do we know what 2016 is the year of yet? Might it be the year of the owl? There was the COD-style bombing owl of Far Cry: Primal and of course The Crate and Crowbar’s ongoing obsession with owls. it just takes three for it to be a thing, right?

  3. SirBryghtside says:

    I’m in the alpha for this – it’s technically in NDA, so I won’t say too much, but I’m really enjoying it. The game initially feels kind of like a tavern brawl – a couple of strange, overcomplicated mechanics stuck on top of a Hearthstone board for seemingly no reason. But after playing it for a while, I really do feel like these mechanics make the game a lot more interesting, and actually fix a few key problems with Hearthstone – particularly with regards to making aggressive decks more interactive to play with and against.

    It’s a shame, because I feel like most players will have that initial reaction of the extra mechanics being too messy and jumbled (which is totally reasonable) and then bounce off, meaning the community will never really grow. But I really would recommend anyone who’s getting tired of Hearthstone to give it a fair go.

  4. Nevard says:

    I don’t get why so many of Hearthstone’s competitors are so dour and serious.
    I think probably a large part of what makes Hearthstone amusing even to people who have no idea what a Warcraft is, is that it doesn’t try to take itself at all seriously.

  5. Haldurson says:

    I came here because I thought this had something to do with a new ES rpg, not a CCG. I’ve not been a fan of collectable games ever. I have discovered though that deck builders can be fun (such as Marvel Legendary). When I saw the phrase ‘deck building’ I thought HEY… Maybe… But then I saw that it wasn’t a deck building game, actually, but a CCG.

  6. Vandelay says:

    The owls are not what they seem…

    link to