When it comes to guilds, the Elder Scrolls universe has it covered. Playable guilds are a plenty, over the course of the franchise. But within the lore there are tonnes of factions which rear their heads. But out of the playable guilds, which is the best? I shan’t list them all, but figured I’d take a look at a few before giving you my final verdict.
The Morag Tong is pretty much a state sanctioned assassins’ club. Their main goal is to maintain balance within society through selective killings. The Morag Tong is a recognised guild, with playable quests in Morrowind – so it’s basically a route to commit legal murder. When I play a character in video-games with choices, I always end up being the good-guy. So a guild like the Morag Tong is perfect for me, really. It means that I can get my fill of killing without breaking the law and whilst maintaining a clean conscience. Win.
The Dark Brotherhood
A group split from Morag Tong pretty early on, forming The Dark Brotherhood. Unlike the Morag Tong, The Dark Brotherhood isn’t state sanctioned and is far more seedy. In Oblivion, The Dark Brotherhood are a pretty big deal. But in Skyrim, they’ve pretty much been swept to the wayside. As far as playable missions go, you can’t beat The Dark Brotherhood of Oblivion – in Skyrim, it just feels a little sad.
One of my favourite guilds in Oblivion was the Fighters Guild. It made me feel like a right goody-two-shoes. The pinnacle of ‘good-guy’. But the best thing for me was the way that you moved up the ranks of the organisation. It was well structured, and it made you feel like you were really achieving something.
The Companions is the Fighters Guild of Skyrim. But the quests for The Companions in Skyrim were pretty shocking. They were pretty boring, and there was no real structure for the way that you moved through the organisation. The only good thing was their necessity to turn members of the guild into Werewolves – though I do prefer Vampirism.
Once again, the Thieves Guild of Oblivion was far more exciting than the guild of Skyrim. In Skyrim, the guild is down on its luck. It’s on the brink of collapse. In Oblivion, they’re notorious – and their leader, the Gray Fox, was renowned throughout Cyrodill. The quests were better in Oblivion, too. Stealing the Arch Mage’s staff, was one of my favourites. Plus you get the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal, which is a powerful daedric item – AND it means everyone recognises you as the Gray Fox, which is pretty cool.
College of Winterhold
You might see a theme occurring here, but in general I felt that the guilds and factions of Skyrim weren’t overly well done. That’s without even mentioning the Civil War factions, which Bethesda didn’t properly finish. But the College of Winterhold’s missions were pretty solid. It’s pretty much the Mages Guild of Skyrim, but the Nords are rather distrustful of mages, so they’re a tad more secretive. The loot from quests is fair, particularly the Arch Mage’s robes. But, once again, the guild just isn’t as good as the Mages Guild in Oblivion.
The best thing about the guilds of Oblivion was that there were Guild Halls spread across the world. These were hubs where you could sell, buy and train. Because things are a little sketchier in Skyrim, there’s only really one place for each guild. For me, it took away from the whole feel and want for joining a guild – the interconnected nature of the world and its people. In the Mages Guild quests of Oblivion, you can even create your own staff. But much like with the Fighters Guild, I like the way that you move through the ranks of the guild – as if you’re actually a part of the structure. From Associate, all the way to Master-Wizard and, eventually, Arch-Mage.
So there are a list of the best guilds and factions in the Elder Scrolls universe. Obviously, I missed off a fair few. So let me know your favorites in the comments below!