Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowid review
Encouraging players to venture back into an MMO is no mean feat, but the surest method is the ever anticipated “expansion release. It would be easy to dismiss the expansion path for Elder Scrolls Online with the many changes appearing in ESO since launch; removal of the subscription method, Wrothgar quest area, “one Tamriel” allowing players to easily group with friends, customisable player housing, and the introduction of the Thieves and Dark Brotherhood content. So it is unsurprising that the first major expansion, would concentrate on one of the most beloved titles in the Elder Scrolls series.
Morrowind is replicated in ‘almost’ all its glory, as the Vvardenfell of ESO is a decidedly brighter place than the dark, dank and foreboding world that TES3 presented. Many of the landmarks from TES3 are found within the ESO version, with a few exceptions that are easily explained by the ~800 years difference between events in ESO and those of its precursor. Stepping foot on the island at the centre of the tribunal power finds you instantly entwined in a plot to steal power from Vivec the warrior-poet, one of the three living gods of the Dunmer, travelling across Vvardenfell to unravel the mystery of his diminishing power and restoring him to his former glory. Along the way, you will encounter the Morag Tong, the rival to the Assassins Guild, who work in the shadows to remove opponents and obstacles to the Tribunal.
The myriad of flora and fauna from TES3 make an appearance once again with Cliffracers and Durzog always on the prowl as you venture into the inner areas of the island, and the iconic Silt Striders still dominant in the Vvardenfell landscape providing a convenient method of transport around the large map.
Combat remains the same as always, allowing you to make a selection of 5 active and one ultra abilities from the myriad of class, racial, weapon, armour and faction skills available, and a further 6 slots once you can switch weapons and action bars at level 15. These 10 core abilities form the focus of your combat abilities, and with the ability to morph skills into distinct variations, the flexibility to create a character that suits your play style is staggering. Each character also comes with their own self healing abilities, which allows the solo players to enjoy this title as much as the obligatory groups and guilds you find within MMO’s.
The land of Vvardenfell is not the only addition in the Morrowind expansion. Alongside the new zone, with 30+ hours of story and side quests, the new Warden class makes an appearance. The Warden focuses on animal, nature and frost based magic, with the ability to summon the spirits of creatures or razor sharp shards of ice to devastating effect, or craft areas of respite that can heal your parties, and your own, wounds. Uniquely of the classes in ESO, the Wardens Ultra in the Animal tree, summons a bear spirit to fight alongside you, although rather than this be a timed special like the rest of the classes your companion will stay at your side until defeated.
The final part of the Morrowind triumvirate, is the inclusion of a new battleground mode allowing teams of 5 to battle in small scale skirmishes. With the right co-ordinated group, entering these three way battles instantly reminded me of the old arena combat from WOW, but with the added menace of having to effectively face up against two opposing teams simultaneously. Players have admittedly been crying out for a more bite sized pvp experience and I personally believe that Zenimax have successfully crafted an enjoyable and scaled down proponent to the larger Cyrodiilic battles that have been a mainstay of the title since launch.
With a plethora of lore, skill books, collectibles and achievements, as well as new skill shards to locate, the Morrowind DLC has something for everyone that has previously ventured into Tamriel, and enough content to pull in new gamers to the fold. With ESO currently the only title where you can potentially travel from High Rock to Black Marsh or Morrowind to the Summerset Isle, and see everything in between, there is something that is thoroughly satisfying about watching this full and immersive world being recreated in one place for everyone to enjoy and with the inclusion of the base game with the standard edition, now is a good time to delve deeper into the world of The Elder Scrolls.