Score: 9.5/10 | MMORPG | NEW CHAPTER CONTENT | DRAGONS!
“The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr is yet another amazing chapter update for ESO containing new lands, a new class and new dragon hunt world events.”
The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is a fantasy massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) developed by Zenimax Studios Online and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released on April 4, 2014 and celebrated it’s 5th anniversary earlier this year. The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr (pronounced elsewhere) is the latest content update to be added on June 4, 2019, in a long list of amazing additions to the game over this five year period. Zenimax have kept busy producing a steady stream of outstanding content to keep existing players interested and to attract thousands of new ones each year.
ESO has introduced massive DLCs including Imperial City, Orsinium, Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Clockwork City and Murkmire, and added the Shadows of the Hist, Horns of the Reach, Dragon Bones, Wolfhunter, and Wrathstone DLC dungeon packs. On top of that came ESO chapters in the form of Morrowind (2017), Summerset (2018) and now Elsweyr. Morrowind added the lands of Vvardenfell and the first new class, the Warden. Last year’s Summerset chapter added the home of the High Elves to ESO as well as a new form of world events called Abyssal Geysers which are large-group world bosses. You can read Pete’s review of Summerset here. Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr adds new lands that are home to the Khajiit, a new Necromancer class as well as new world events called Dragon Hunts, amongst a tonne of other content.
Much like when we saw Summerset for the first time, the lands of Elsweyr are just breathtaking. The level of detail is amazing in many areas, and even the delves (mini dungeons) create a sense of grandeur as you overlook vistas and peer up at structures built on top of mountains. The towns of Riverhold and Rimmen are also highly detailed, and even better when you see heaps of players running around completing quests and crafting. We haven’t seen Elsweyr in an Elder Scrolls game since 1994’s original The Elder Scrolls: Arena. These lands certainly feel alive, but none so much as when you see your first dragon flying in the sky.
Why are there suddenly dragons now and not earlier? This is thanks in-part to a character called Abnur Tharn, a powerful battlemage and cunning politician, who found two halves of a mysterious Wrathstone tablet which unleashed dragons into Elsweyr. Through the story quests you’ll get to meet an old acquaintance, Sir Caldwell who players will remember from all the way back in the first days at Coldharbour. Fighting your first dragon is a thrill, especially when they yell “Fus-roh-dah!” in their gutteral voices, blasting you with fire. ESO takes place before Skyrim in the Elder Scrolls timeline, so you are not yet dragonborn. Therefore it takes many players to bring down one of these beasts, and so far each fight has been as fun as the last. It’s good to check the in-game map from time to time to see if any dragons have been spotted and their icon shows on the map. They are optional to take down but are good distractions from general questing and adventuring and there are new loot items to obtain. I hope their novelty doesn’t wear off too quickly, though the Season of the Dragon is a year-long event so I’m sure Zenimax have some cool tricks hidden up their sleeves. The new 12-player Sunspire trial will appeal to those more hardcore veteran players as well as the new delves and public dungeons.
The new Necromancer class is great fun to play. As is the case with all classes, there are three separate specialisation paths that players can choose – healer, dps or tank. Some do better than others at healing or tanking, but this gives players greater flexibility in choosing their playstyle through their favourite class. The Necromancer is no different with three unique skill lines:
- Grave Lord – Imbue the dead with frost, fire, and lightning to bring ruin upon your enemies. Raise relentless hordes of the undead and allow your fallen enemies to intensify your unyielding assault.
- Bone Tyrant – Bend and break the dead to your will and use their remains to create impenetrable barriers and extend your own life. Control the battlefield with the bones of the departed.
- Living Death – Draw from the power of life and death to replenish and restore your allies. Resurrect your defeated comrades and keep them in the fight.
I chose to focus on Bone Tyrant, utilising a couple of skills from the other two lines as well as one hand/shield and am going down the tank path. One thing to consider though when playing as a Necromancer, when using skills that summon undead, this is seen as a criminal act in the eyes of citizens and guards and they will react accordingly. If you’re well versed in the arts of the Dark Brotherhood then you will know ways around this, otherwise be mindful of using those particular skills near cities and towns.
New players to the game need not worry about having to grind for weeks to catch up to the level of their mates as Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr has been designed with new players in mind. There is a brand new tutorial and introduction to the game in a place called Star Haven, and players will start off in the Elsweyr zone. You have survived a dragon attack and a letter was found near where you were found, from Abnur Tharn calling for assistance against the dragons. I highly recommend doing this new player tutorial once as it gives you a great backstory behind the Khajiit and the sudden presence of dragons. Otherwise the story is easy to pick up if you skip the tutorial and pick up quests as you see them. My wife Heather came across a couple of bugged quests which she has reported, however I’m sure these will be patched very soon.
Overall I gave this chapter update a 9.5/10. The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr is yet another amazing addition to ESO containing new lands, a new class and new dragon hunt world events. Zenimax continues to impress with their consistently high quality major content updates each year and Elsweyr is a shining example. It’s always encouraging to see many new characters being created in an MMO that’s now 5 years old and still going as strong as ever.
This review utilised a game key provided by the publisher and The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr is now available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. For more information about ESO and other Bethesda products, be sure to watch Bethesda at E3 on Monday June 10 from 10:30am AEST. For more information on the Bethesda presentation, click here.