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Elder Tale Timeline Game Lore

Elder Tale's open Beta log-in screen

Elder Tale (エルダー・テイル, also spelled Elder Tales) is a fictional massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that is the setting of the Log Horizon series. It is described as the world's largest and most popular MMORPG in history that has earned a dedicated following of millions of players over the course of its 20-year history.[1] On the Japanese server alone, there are about 100,000 active players who have created some 1,200,000 unique characters.[2]

The alternate world in Elder Tale is known as the world of Theldesia (セルデシア, also translated as Celdesia or Serdesea).


Elder Tale was originally an American MMORPG created by Atharva Inc., a Los Angeles-based company. Over time, as Elder Tale's popularity grew, the number of servers expanded up to 13, when Elder Tale became a fully-global MMO with a server on every continent. Each server has its own company running the game, coming up with their own special events, classes, and subclasses. However, transferring to another server is as simple as taking a Teleport Gate or a Fairy Ring to another server, having no restrictions. Furthermore, to allow better communication between players, there is a highly-accurate automatic translator that works even for voice chat.

The Japanese version of Elder Tale costs 7800 yen (~$65 USD) for the all-in-one pack, which includes the basic pack plus all the expansions. Each expansion costs anywhere from 5400 to 6200 yen (~$45–52), and the monthly fee is 1600 yen (~$13).[3]

Environment and Setting

The world of Elder Tale is based on the Half GAIA Project (ハーフガイア・プロジェクト), a half-scale model of planet Earth.[4] As a result, the geography of Theldesia is very similar to that of Earth, although the major continents have different names and many real-life locations have different names (some based on the real-world locations' past names or monikers).

Theldesia is based on a post-apocalyptic world long past our present time; according to lore, after a rogue AI named Shiva caused the apocalypse, the gods remade the world into half its size and gave the world's inhabitants magic. However, some of the remnants from the old world remained, which now appear as ruins of skyscrapers, cars, and other modern-day sights overgrown with vegetation.

Some time after the Catastrophe, it became possible for adventurers to renovate the ruins into habitable builds, although many of the amenities of the electrical age are no longer present. Electricity, for example, does not exist in this world, and everything is run on magic.


The game operates like most MMORPGs with a level system and eventual skill mastery of character classes and subclasses.

Initiation and Character Creation

Logging into Elder Tale is similar to all MMORPGS by registering one's username and email address. Then after registering, the gamer begins to create their character. They can adjust their characters' appearance of their own choosing if they want to be of an opposite gender, a character similar to their real life bodies or an entirely different one.


Main article: Races

The gamer can choose one of eight playable races in Elder Tale, each with their special attributes and skills.


Main article: Classes

After selecting a race, the player can choose a class of his/her choosing. Once a class is being selected, it is permanent. Each class has unique strengths and weakness. Several classes are unique to their servers, and have a different version in other servers. However, these class variations tend to have similar skillsets and purposes.


Main article: Subclasses

There are numerous subclasses in Elder Tale: roleplaying, production, and special titles. Unlike classes, they can be changeable as long as the gamer is willing to start over from scratch once choosing another subclass.


In Elder Tale, players can use their skills outside safe zones when fighting monsters or PKing victims. All fights are not allowed within safe zones as the Royal Guard will intervene and kill the attacker without mercy.

Interaction with other Players

Elder Tale features two methods of communication with other players, voice chat and regular typed-up messages, although voice chat is the more popular form, with typing reserved mostly for roleplayers like Akatsuki prior to the Catastrophe. The event, however, naturally cut off the option of typed messages.

Because it was possible to travel to other servers and thus meet players who spoke different languages, Elder Tale featured an automatic translator that translated everything aside from puns (which probably wouldn't make sense in different languages where, in Leonardo's case, phrases such as "my god" or "Cowabunga" are not translated) accurately after a slight delay.

Homesteading the Noosphere

Main article: Homesteading the Noosphere

Since its original release, Elder Tale received numerous updates that vastly improved the game's content and graphic engine,[5] but during the release of its twelfth expansion pack, Homesteading the Noosphere, 30,000 Japanese players and several hundred thousand players worldwide who were logged-on at the time of the update became trapped in the game. Players call this event the Catastrophe. It is currently unknown whether the people from the real world know about it or not.

Alternate World

Before the Catastrophe, players logged onto Elder Tale and played online via PC. However, after the players became trapped inside of the game, they experienced the world literally and interact with their surroundings as though they are physically there. 

One of the main difficulties that players encountered was the use of in-game menus during combat — specifically that accessing these menus is impractical while in the heat of battle.  Instead of using the menus, Shiroe realized that he could create voice shortcuts for all of his spells.[2]

In addition, Naotsugu quickly realized that fighting in-person would be quite different from combat as viewed from behind the computer monitor. While it was easy to rotate the camera on the computer screen to quickly scan the entire battlefield, vision during real on-the-ground combat has physical limitations and, especially when fighting large enemies, blind spots would be significant.[2] Furthermore, they no longer had access to mini-maps and thus had to use hand-drawn maps if they wanted to navigate through a dungeon.

When the players' avatars receive damage, they feel pain. Even in the game world, there was blood, which gave the game an Ages 15+ rating. (The anime censored out most of the blood, replacing injuries with bruises and scratches, and death with instantaneous dissolution into bubbles.)

Although the first arc of the series goes with the idea that the alternate world of Theldesia is simply one that resembles the game's, Elias' side-plot in volumes 9 and 11 points to them being within the game itself; Papus calls the Earthlings "spawns of nothingness" and Elias himself believes that he isn't actually real.


  1. Log Horizon Light Novel: Volume 1, Chapter 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Log Horizon Light Novel: Volume 1, Chapter 2
  3. http://www26.atwiki.jp/loghorizon/pages/14.html#id_b6d0c978
  4. NHK's Official Log Horizon website (nhk.or.jp)
  5. 「内容やゲームの描写エンジンは度重なるバージョンアップで最新の物と何度も交換されていたが...」 Log Horizon Light Novel: Volume 1, Chapter 1