Elder Scrolls, Cut It Out With The Silt Striders

Elder Scrolls, Cut It Out With The Silt Striders
Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku

I don’t like bugs. Never have. Flys, bees, wasps, crickets, I hate ‘em all. The bigger they are the more I can’t stand them. So the giant insect-like Silt Striders, first seen in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, are my worst nightmare and I want them all to die. I mean, if no one minds.

Silt Striders first cursed the world in 2002, when they appeared in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Younger Zack wasn’t a fan of them. But the simpler visuals of Morrowind mostly made it easy to think of them as big weird alien things and not creepy, nasty bugs. Unless I got too close and noticed their long, thin legs and mandibles. I made it a point to avoid them unless I really needed to fast travel.

Since Morrowind, alas, Bethesda continues to find ways to bring back these tall, creepy arseholes. And with each new appearance, improving technology renders the Silt Striders with greater detail and higher-quality textures. I hate it.

I thought I was safe after Morrowind, but Bethesda was just biding its time. A full decade later, Silt Striders popped up in Skyrim’s Dragonborn DLC. Here their visual design only got a minor update, but their legs now look weirder and I hate it. Luckily only one Silt Strider appears in Skyrim. That’s one too many in my opinion. The good news is that it’s dying, and might be the last of its kind.

Stop looking at me like that.

The bad news is my nightmare wasn’t over, as not even five years later Bethesda decided to bring back the bugs in Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind zone. This time they got a whole new makeover and somehow became even nastier looking, with more buggish features. They now look like fleas with giant, spindly legs complete with nasty little spikes and hairs. Oh, and they also have a more noticeable face, complete with beady black eyes and nasty little…face-arms. Its whole body is more bug-like now and just…please, get rid of it. Someone grab a flamethrower. Or, I guess a fire spell. Something. Get rid of this awful creature.

A Silt Strider in ESO. (Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku) A Silt Strider in ESO. (Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku)

Even the Elder Scrolls card game, Legends, isn’t safe from Silt Striders. This version seems heavily inspired by the Elder Scrolls Online design, complete with a creepy flea body and those distinctly dead eyes. Not good. I’d trade that card away with zero hesitation.

Some games give players options to hide bug and spider content via arachnophobia modes. Open-world builder Satisfactory hides its spider-like enemies via cat sprites. Grounded lets you control how much the spiders in the game actually look like spiders via an in-game slider. I suggest Bethesda look into a similar feature for any game it chooses to desecrate with Silt Striders. In case it needs some help, here’s a quick mock-up I made of one way to make Silt Striders less awful and scary.

Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku Screenshot: Bethesda / Kotaku

It’s not perfect, but it’s better.

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