When The Elder Scrolls Online launched back in April 2014, I think it’s safe to say the reception to the game was fairly negative. Zenimax Online Studios felt they slowly addressed their initial problems, primarily by making the game feel more like an Elder Scrolls game by adding more open world systems. The developers also released the console versions of the game a year later and removed the mandatory subscription requirement. With ESO being more assessable to all players, Zenimax saw the player base continue to soar. Just over three years later, The Elder Scrolls Online is receiving its next big update: Morrowind.
Unlike most MMOs, Zenimax are not calling Morrowind an expansion, they see it more as a new chapter into the game. Expansions to most MMO players specifically means it is only for the hardcore/experienced players (raised level cap, new area only for experienced players). This is a new entry point into ESO. You can play as a brand new character and experience the new tutorial. It also includes the original base game, so you can buy the Morrowind expansi- I mean, chapter, and play through both the new content and the rest of the game. Experienced players can bring their old characters over to the new expansion and play it that way too.
The land of Vvardenfell is coming to ESO, along with a brand new player class (The Warden), a load of quests lasting around thirty hours, and a 4v4v4 PvP mode named Battlegrounds. Vvardenfell will feature all of the landmarks from TES III: Morrowind, though they won’t be exactly the same as you probably remember. ESO takes place seven hundred years before the events of TES III, though that doesn’t mean Vvardenfell will be any smaller than it used to be. The developers have confirmed that Vvardenfell will occupy the same geographic footprint as the original game, becoming the biggest zone in the game since ESO launched (twenty percent larger than Orsinium). Unlike some of the other zones in the game, this time insect creatures will inhabit the land. Fans of TES III should expect some nostalgic moments and quite a few surprises, including sections of Vvardenfell that you’ve never seen before as Red Mountain hasn’t yet destroyed these areas. The people of Vvardenfell have not changed since TES III despite the seven-hundred-year difference. There are five Dunmer houses, but only three of them are on Vvardenfell, the other two are on the mainland of Morrowind. You’ve also got the Ashlanders and the Morag Tong; these are the main factions that you’ll run across in ESO: Morrowind.
Speaking of nostalgic moments, players should be prepared to see a few familiar faces in Morrowind. Most notably, we’ll be meeting Dunmer Assassin, Naryu Virian, early on as she will feature as the tutorial guide at the beginning of the game. She appears later on in the story too, although ZeniMax have been very careful not to give too much away. Players may also recognise the surnames of a few of the characters in the new chapter, as they have been taken directly from TESIII: Morrowind and there’s bound to be tonnes more Easter eggs for players to uncover. From what we’ve heard so far, fans of TESIII will definitely appreciate the opening sequence of the new chapter, as it follows a very similar structure to that of the original Morrowind, so there’s that to look forward to.
Ever wanted a pet bear in ESO? You are in luck! With the new Warden class, players can become one with nature (similar to a typical Druid/Ranger architype). The big features of this new class include a permanent bear combat ally and healing abilities. Zenimax have stated The Warden is very different to the other classes in the game. There are three new skill lines, all themed around various roles (nature, ice and animal companion). One of the skill lines is more protective themed, based on ice and water magic. One of the abilities in this skill line is called Polar Wind, which heals and does some damage. There’s also Ice Fortress, an ice shield that protects you and your party (similar the what The Warden uses in the trailer of ESO: Morrowind). Your pet bear can be taken anywhere in the world of ESO, including Cyrodiil, where it acts as the player’s Ultimate.
Yet another addition in ZeniMax’s new chapter is the ‘Halls of Fabrication’ Trial. This new twelve-man trial will be set in Soltha Sil’s Clockwork City where players will encounter the fearsome Dwemer Colossus - which you probably already spotted in the Morrowind trailer. We can expect a new bundle of achievements and loot with this Trial but unfortunately, ZeniMax haven’t revealed what will be included yet.
Battlegrounds serve as the first small scale PvP mode that players will encounter in ESO. Structured as 4v4v4, this mode should theoretically be a great place for new players to jump in, as each match is only fifteen minutes long and encouraging players to fight. This will certainly appeal to the current player base too as it’s a drastic change from what currently exists in Cyrodiil. Basically, if you want to jump in for a short period of time, level your character and then leave, this is the mode for you. Much like Cyrodiil, Battlegrounds will award you Alliance points which can be spent on gear, siege weapons and other items and these points will be awarded at the end of each match to prevent people leaving early. Players also have three new modes to look forward to, consisting of Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Domination, which can be played across three different maps. ZeniMax have also assured us that we can look forward to more of these at some point in the future.
There has never been a better time to jump into Elder Scrolls Online. The player base has never been bigger, and now with the latest chapter (plus ESO: One Tamriel) it allows anyone to experience the full game with these existing players.