Recently, Bethesda’s Zenimax Online Studios opened up the floodgates to allow players to check out Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr on their Public Test Server. The main story questline was sealed behind an NDA, so you won’t find spoilers for that here. However, they were given the opportunity to check out the new Necromancer class to their heart’s content, either starting from level 1 or creating a level cap character with a whole stock of goodies to trick it out to see how it performed with various endgame gearsets.

We were given the opportunity to join these folks and preview the new features in this upcoming Chapter of the five-year-old MMO. The arid land of Elsweyr immediately brought to mind the American Southwest, the Middle East, all those epic filming locations where the sun was to be treated with respect, else one would swiftly find themselves a desiccated husk somewhere amongst the sand and rocks. Home of the feline Khajiit, we readily discover that they have a little Dragon problem, thanks to the efforts of Abnur Tharn.

The Dragons are most definitely not creatures one just rolls up to on a max-level character and start a fight with. They require a group of players to tackle, much like world bosses in other games, and it felt like a real achievement to be able to take one down. The Dragon Hunt events will no doubt be popular with guilds and folks used to randomly grouping up with others to complete content, with some decent rewards for it.

Next, we explored some of the new game features, such as the guild finder. It operated similar to other such guild finders we’ve seen in other games in the past. A player can search the directory through many different kinds of filters to zero in on the kind of guild they’re looking for, and the entries included things like playstyle, what sort of content they liked doing, timezone they play in, what sort of players they’re looking for, how many members are already in it, things of that nature. A player can apply to a guild right from the interface, and the guilds’ representatives can reply to an application there as well. It pretty much did exactly as one might expect without any problems or difficulty using the interface.

Finally, we took a spin with the Necromancer class. What we found most intriguing is that some Necromancer abilities are flagged as Criminal Acts, which means if you use them in town, you will attract some rather negative attention from the city guards, so proceed with caution. Necromancy has been part of Elder Scrolls lore for a very long time, and over the years as new games came out, it solidified into something that was forbidden and officially outlawed. Zenimax has made a point to link it to their Justice system in-game, so it’s more than just the new cool class everyone is going to play. Because there is this sort of potential for negative reactions from certain NPCs, players will have to take a moment to think about the risk versus reward for certain actions.

At level cap with plenty of skill points to throw around, a Necromancer is a force to be reckoned with. Their three main skill branches are Grave Lord, Bone Tyrant, and Living Death. Grave Lord is much like a DPS-specific mage class with fire and ice abilities, but with raising the dead. Bone Tyrant leans into the whole raising the dead thing as a tanking spec. Finally, Living Death is the healer spec, although some abilities come with a cost. A player with enough skill points to divvy up can mix and match their skills between the three specs to get a build that meets their needs.

ESO is new-player friendly, and while it may seem daunting to join an MMO a few years in, Zenimax has taken steps to ensure that new players can join their veteran friends in the same zones and playing the same sorts of content. Whether you’re new to the game or have been there since the beginning, the Elsweyr Chapter is going to be a lot of fun to explore, and Tamriel awaits!

Elsweyr launches on June 4th, and PC/Mac players who have pre-ordered can enjoy early access starting May 20th. For more information on the tiers and what’s included with pre-purchase, go to elderscrollsonline.com.

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Jean "Druidsfire" Prior

Editor at MMO-Central
Jean got her start writing for a SWTOR fansite, then progressed to writing for an internationally known MMO press site. Her red pen has been far too idle, and thus she now accepts the responsibility for editing here. All your grammar and tone corrections are belong to her.
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