Originally launching for PC in 2014, The Elder Scrolls Online did reasonably well to start with. However, with a subscription model and an RPG experience that leant too far in the direction of grinding, it wasn’t too surprising that players got exhausted and started to drift away from the MMO. The game’s console launch a year later saw the game shift, dropping the subscription in favour of a one off purchase, and brought with it numerous improvements, many of which were aimed at newcomers to entice many more people to join the world of Elder Scrolls.
Of course, the game hasn’t stood still since then, and in many ways, it’s taken off once expansions started rolling out soon after. The Tamriel expansion was ZeniMax’ biggest success as it added new solo adventures and multiplayer duelling, bridging the gap between each mode and being able to use the loot that players had acquired, as well as adding guilds and more content overall. They even broke down the barriers between differently levelled players, letting any player group together with anyone else.
It’s all set up the world of Elder Scrolls Online to be better prepared for this year’s first expansion, Morrowind.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind will, of course, be set in the Island of Vvardenfell from Elder Scrolls III, but set 700 years before the events of that game. It promises to hold many easter eggs and surprises in familiar areas for players revisiting the region, but tells a new story of a wizard by the name of Vivex losing his energy, becoming weaker and striving to find out why. The game is very nostalgic from the very beginning, with Naryu Virian returning from Elder Scrolls III as the narrator.
Being 40% larger than the region of Orsinum, which was released in the last expansion, Vvardenfell is volcanic, but features everything from lush coastal areas, to ash lands and jagged highlands, which are all home to a number of insect-inspired animals which are unlike any of the animals in the previously released expansions. It’s the Dark Elves lord over Vvardenfell, and they aren’t particularly fond of outsiders such as those players who choose to play this expansion. That won’t stop you from being able to buy a house, as was recently added to the game, or join two new guilds in the area, though.
However, simply being set 700 years prior to the events of Elder Scrolls III means that, while many of the areas from that game will return, they can be quite significantly different. The area of Baar Dau is not a slave colony yet and is almost entirely unpopulated, while the volcano on the island has yet to erupt, meaning things are lush, peaceful and can offer players an opportunity to explore areas not seen before.
You’ll be able to explore all of this as the brand new Warden class, which takes inspiration from nature. Wardens can improve themselves through three skill trees, with Winter’s Embrace focussing on self-buffing and ice-based defensive moves, Green Balance is more support and healing focussed, while Animal Companion lets you call upon and control a big ferocious bear that slaughters enemies on your behalf. That’s obviously the best skill tree.
You could have a Warden that focuses on healing, dual wielding and bear abilities as opposed to the default Warden skill trees I mentioned. This makes the Warden the best tank and healer for any group that a player may find themselves in. As this class offers such a well-balanced skillset, it’ll enable players to adapt to different types of battles within the game, whether that’s in PvE or PvP.
The two new trial events that players can take part in are effectively raids that allow player to attain higher level loot. In addition to this there will be two public dungeons and a new scavenger quest. ZeniMax has promised that there will be at least 30 hours of content for players to get through, not including the PvP.
The PvP in Morrowind looks to be exciting with this mode offering 4 types of multiplayer gameplay. The first is Battleground, a fast paced, time limited 4v4v4 mode that rewards you for quick kills. It’s a good mode to buddy up in with three other friends, that’s for sure. In addition to this, there will also be capture the flag, domination and team deathmatch, but ZeniMax promises that more will be added over time.
All of this makes use of three new maps for PvP, each of which have different cultural references to the races of the world. One’s a little more unusual than the others, aiming to change the way it plays to suit the game mode, thanks to the inclusion of teleporters.
With eight years of development under ZeniMax’ belt, it’s clear that they’re still committed to The Elder Scrolls Online and expanding it to include more and more of the series’ most famous locales. Morrowind is just the first step for the game this year, with four major content updates and expansions to be added this year and every year for the foreseeable future. Given the difficulties in the earlier development cycle of Elder Scrolls online, they’ve been incredibly hard on themselves and pushed to get things right with this nostalgic release of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind in June.