Preview The Elder Scrolls Online – Morrowind | On June 6th the biggest expansion yet for The Elder Scrolls Online will launch. LifeisXbox scouted around in the closed beta test on PC to see what will be on offer when the full release hits all platforms.
For those of you unfamiliar with all or some of this, here’s a brief history. The Elder Scrolls have been a hugely popular RPG series. Originally starting out on the PC with “Elder Scrolls I: Arena” in 1994. Then came Daggerfall in 1996, Morrowind in 2002, Oblivion in 2006 and Skyrim in 2011. The MMORPG release, The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), was published in 2014 (2015 on Xbox One). Now the next ESO expansion is named after the 3rd instalment of Elder Scrolls game, the 15-year-old Morrowind. This third game has been a fan favourite as it was the first Elder Scrolls game for many players. It was also the first to be brought to consoles. What does that mean for ESO players? Let’s see what this exciting new expansion brings.
First off, the expansion brings the entire island of Vvardenfell to Elder Scrolls Online. The developers used the original height map, but it’s not an exact copy of the game environment in the original Morrowind game. This is because the Elder Scrolls Online take place hundreds of years earlier in the lore and the island hasn’t been laid to waste yet as it was in Morrowind. The environments are very lush. Don’t worry though; it still has the strange almost alien feel with the giant mushrooms littering the landscape, and if you have played the original, you will recognise quite a few sites and locations, especially some towns and villages like Vivec City and Balmorra. Even if you didn’t play the original, just realise that this expansion is the same area as the complete original game, so there is a lot to explore and discover. Vvardenfell also has its fair share of delves and dungeons for you to conquer with a group or possibly try to solo if you feel up to the task.
When you start a new character, you get to play through an entirely new tutorial that introduces the Morrowind storyline to you. After a couple of short quests, you’ll end up on the Vvardenfell mainland where you can begin the many quests in this region. Existing characters can travel to Vvardenfell, via a wayshrine as I did for example and then pick up from there. I guess if you are completely new to the Elder Scrolls Online and you buy the Morrowind bundle including the base game that you can still play through the original tutorial and main quest line. The Dunmer (Dark Elves) have an interesting cultural setting, and the story lines I played through felt like classic Elder Scrolls and are definitely something you should look forward to. As for the actual events, we’ll keep it spoiler free at this time. But expect to meet some well-known person you might have only read about in lore books before.
The above would already make for quite the expansion, but Morrowind also has a first for ESO in that it brings a whole new character class to the table. Enter the warden. This class comes with the following three skill lines
Animal Companions – known for its already iconic ultimate that lets you summon a bear companion to fight alongside you. You can even morph it into Eternal Guardian which makes the bear respawn upon its death, basically making it permanent, turning the warden into a pet class. The other skills in this line are also animals but act more like damage and buff spells and are very temporary.
Green Balance – the healing skill line. Every single skill in this line has a healing effect of some sort. Together with passive abilities that further enhance this; the warden is a solid choice for anyone looking for a new healer option.
Winter’s Embrace – the most versatile skill line of the three and the most like traditional magic. Damage, buff, heal and even a portal that will teleport enemies that run over it straight to you, most warden builds will likely have one or two skills from this line on their bars.
I’ve had fun with the warden and look forward to experimenting more with it as a pet class, but during the closed beta, I didn’t often use the bear ultimate, opting for the other two ultimate abilities instead.
Overall the class is fun and very flexible. It’s too soon to comment on balance versus other classes at this stage, but I am fully expecting to create a new Warden once the release hits and would be surprised if I didn’t keep playing it.
Another other new feature that will be introduced is Battlegrounds. This is a new PvP mode is quite unlike the current campaign based PvP in ESO. Battlegrounds are three teams of four players pitted against each other in an objective based clash. There is Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Domination game types. The battles are designed to typically take only about 15 minutes, which is great for PvP players with limited playing time. Unfortunately, during my play tests, I had to solo queue on the Test Server. For whatever reason, I never found a game I could join, so there is no first-hand report yet on this.
This preview only touched on the major new features that we experienced, but there is even more, such as new items and housing. Since this is all based on a beta test version and therefore not an actual review, I won’t score the game or its features at this time. Having said that, I think this expansion offers a rarely seen amount of content, and Vvardenfell looks just absolutely amazing and personally, I can’t wait to play the full release when it hits the Xbox One.