Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind Closed Beta Impressions
It has been far too long since I took an adventure around the island district of Vvardenfel, but this time there are some notable differences. In the newest addition to The Elder Scrolls Online, players can finally return (or embark for the first time) to the isolated region in the Morrowind province. Since ESO takes place several hundred years prior to TES III, the cities and geography are a bit different than what veterans will remember. Still, there’s lots of lore and new gameplay to satiate those hungry to venture out to Vvardenfel.
The inhabitants of Vvardenfel don’t seem to concerned about the war raging on the mainland, they hardly consider themselves part of the empire if at all. However, they are not without their own problems. Vivec, a member of The Tribunal, is afflicted with a detrimental illness. It’s up to you to discover the cure and put an end to it, gaining the favour of the living-god. This holy charge is central to the main quest line of the Morrowind expansion, most of which is to be completed solo. I can’t spoil too much, but I can say that the instanced battles are some of the most fun I’ve seen in ESO. They aren’t just a push over and can be quite difficult to tank all the damage; some require a bit of fancy footwork to just stay alive while others have specific mechanics that need to be exploited. As with the base game’s main quest, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole questing experience, from the story to the battles.
“As with the base game’s main quest, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole questing experience, from the story to the battles.”
In fact, I really enjoyed questing around Vvardenfel in general. Traversing the island is much easier in ESO than in Morrowind, and much more scenic. Many of the major landmarks are there, but the demography and geography are different in past. For example, the ashlanders maintain more of a foothold across the north side of the island and many of the old ruins from TES: III aren’t ruins yet. Also, the city of Vivec is still under construction and not quite the mass of ziggurats players might be used to; however, it’s still a big hub full of life and quests to be completed. It really does feel like a great return to island district.
While the new zone is great addition to the game on its own, it certainly isn’t the big news in terms of gameplay. The Warden, the first new class since launch, is introduced with the expansion. The skill lines were already revealed, but trying them out for myself certainly helped me put into context what roles the Warden fills. It really is the all-around class, borrowing elements of Sorcerers and Templars. I started a fresh Warden to see for myself what the leveling experience feel like and so far I’ve been mildly impressed. The Animal Companions skill line is centered around dealing the most damage possible by calling on the aid of the animal kingdom. The ultimate for this line is a persistent summoned bear who fights at your side. The Green Balance skill line is centered on healing large groups, fairly straightforward. Lastly, is the Winter’s Embrace skill line which focuses on damage over time, damage mitigation, and crowd control. This skill line is probably my favorite because I love DoT and CC abilities, leaving my damage to be done by weapon skills. The Warden class has been very effective for PvE, but it will be interesting to see how it handles in Cyrodil PvP. Many of the high damage abilities are single target skills, so small scale PvP seems like a good choice for Animal Companion players; but if you want to participate in large scale battles, Green Balance or Winter’s Embrace would likely be better choices for a large scale support.
As I spend more time in Vvardenfel, I hope to be able to share more impressions. I spent most of my time in wanderlust, taking in the sights to feed my nostalgia while testing out the Warden class. I plan on spending a lot more time combing the island for delves and ancestral tombs, working my way up to the new trial. Oh, and cliffracers are in fact in the zone, but definitely how you might remember them.