Recently at PAX East, Bethesda previewed some content from their Morrowind expansion to The Elder Scrolls Online. We got a chance to take a test drive of the new Warden class as well as beat on fellow players in the Foyada Quarry battleground where, yes, some of the floor is lava. For those unfamiliar with ESO, it’s an MMO with a rich fantasy setting and has spawned single/multiplayer smash successes over the past twenty-plus years, most recently with Skyrim as the most engrossing of the previous non-MMO titles in the franchise.

This next addition to the MMO revisits the Morrowind name and setting and adds some pretty serious features to the game. The new battleground system seemed pretty intuitive even for a non-PVPer like me. In Foyada Quarry, I was playing as a Warden. Whether it was a testament to the class or the gear specs all the demo machines had, I think I was doing pretty well. The interface handled smoothly and I had no trouble getting in there and wrecking a few faces. Sure, I died a few times myself when the other players realized I was attacking them from range and they focused fire on me, and we won’t talk about that time I discovered that the lava pits aren’t friendly, but in all, it was very easy to just get in there and mix it up. I felt the length of the actual battleground seemed a little bit too long, but there was that moment of disappointment when the demo ended before I could see the final score.

As for the Warden itself, it had three specs via traits and skills that felt very different from one another. Sure, there was the same overall general feel you get for similar classes in other games, but I was really enjoying the variation between the pet-class spec, the nature-based spec, and finally the ice spec. Each one provided unique playstyles while simultaneously making sense for what one might expect from a Warden. When I was in the battleground, I tended to stay in ice spec, and the visuals on the spell effects were gorgeous.

I also got to speak briefly with Rich Lambert, ESO‘s Creative Director, about the new DLC and how it fits in. He said that this game, as it’s set approximately 700 years from the previous games in the franchise, lets them backdate the construction of certain areas and features players will remember from having played the previous games. I asked him what makes ESO different from other MMOs, and he replied that their open-world exploration allowed for players to go where they wanted. He also cited how their classes weren’t restricted in weapons or armor types, which allows for a greater customization experience. The team was also able to tell more story and add more questing to the land of Tamriel, filling in the gaps of its already-rich history. Lambert added that the base game was truly massive with approximately 450 hours of content to play through, with 5 DLCs so far.

As we continued discussing the game, he noted that they just added furniture to their already in-depth crafting options to go along with their new housing update from February. ESO‘s housing is a robust system that allows for flexibility to fit nearly every playstyle and already includes designs for every playable race. Speaking of playstyles, Lambert briefly addressed the core story character of the new Morrowind expansion, the living god known as Vivec (one of the triumvirate known as the Tribunal) whose powers are going a bit strange, and he described it as Vivec ‘losing his mojo’ and needing players to help him recover. The story has drawn some criticism from the fan community as this was meant to be something of a golden age for the Tribunal, but Lambert was confident that it would all work out.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind will be available on June 6th.

So, are you an ESO fan? What are your thoughts on this new update and the battlegrounds?

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