Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind Review
Disclaimer: PC Aficionado was provided with a code for the purpose of this review. All thought and opinions expressed in the review are the writers own and are not influenced by the developer and/or publisher in anyway.
Elder Scrolls is a game series I joined during the third installment, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. So I was very keen to get my hands on the new expansion for Bethesda’s MMO.
Now MMO’s and I have not always got along, I’ve attempted to get into World of Warcraft on many many occasions, but for some reason, I was never pulled in, the max I played was just over a week but even then it was just an alright experience.When I began playing ESO I was pleasantly surprised. Finally, an MMO that agrees with me, while including all the features of a bog standard MMO what ESO does right is staying true to its heritage of the Elder Scrolls.
While the world did feel different and the game series that we’re so used to have been altered heavily; it was still there. All these different races and places I’ve grown to know and love were all here.
Many people started their magical elder scrolls journey with Morrowind, which was released back in 2002… which was 15 years ago (That one makes me feel a bit old)The Player, which we could create ourselves was thrust into a very alien world, giant mushrooms towering over the tallest buildings, strange creatures that howls would echo across the world and not to mention the diversity of environments in Morrowind kept it fresh and interesting to explore.
The latest expansion for the Elder Scrolls Online manages to capture these vital components of the original game. When I started exploring the starting town of Sedya Neen which is the start of both these adventures I had a stupid grin on my face. Practically everything was how I first saw it back in 2002. Obviously, it looked a hell of a lot better but back then those graphics were awesome, the experience felt practically the same. We get to meet a lot of old figures such as Vivec, it was nice to see some familiar faces but thankfully didn’t steal the spotlight too much for some of the new characters that Bethesda has introduced in the game.
The new expansion does a lot right, adding a huge amount of quests and activities. Ramping up ESO’s playtime, perfect for someone who wants to get lost in the fantasy world, however, I felt this was a bit of a downside for me. I mentioned not getting on with MMO’s much earlier, the main reason is my job does not leave me an awful lot of time for gaming a week. I feel overwhelmed with having so much to do that I’m afraid I’ll never get around to it. If you’re a gamer with a lot of time on your hand or one that doesn’t have a metric tonne of games to complete, this expansion is perfect. If you’re tight for gaming time I’d wait till your schedule is a bit clearer.
Something that has always made the province of Morrowind more interesting to me than Cyrodiil or Skyrim was the ancient tombs that dot Morrowind’s landscape. If you’re unaware the Dunmer (Or Dark Elves) are very much in touch with death, their culture revolves heavily around this and I feel their culture has been represented greatly in the game, very different to the Imperials of Nords we are so used to.
You get to visit many ancestral tombs throughout the game. While perhaps a bit off-putting to an outsider race this representation of the Ddunmer culture is a strong point in the game. We witness this races beliefs and customs first hand delving into tombs infested with Daedra or other pests. Worldbuilding has always been Bethesda’s strong suit, and the ability to tell a story just through the environment is fascinating to me. We get to experience this culture’s beliefs and traditions and it feels real, their ability to create a believable and interesting civilization is what makes this game so worth exploring.
In terms of Core Mechanics, I found they compliment the game nicely. The progression in the game is steady but doesn’t call for much tedious grinding. I found if I just took multiple quests and jobs it prepared me for the area I was moving onto next. While you aren’t leveling up constantly I feel that Bethesda has managed to tailor the world and the progression hand in hand, if you’re the kind of player who takes his time in each village, town, and city gathering missions and getting about the place you’ll have no problem with the enemies you encounter. However, if you rush head first, sprinting from location to location only playing the bare minimum you will have a hard time. I found myself exploring, or well more so walking in circles around some mountains. I came across a player about 6 levels lower than me and the local bandits were making his life a living hell, what was this guy doing here? He was horrifically unprepared. This is the key element here, preparation. If you take time and carefully plan out your routes, prioritize your quests and objectives you will have a great time discovering Morrowind for yourself. This is your warning right here, don’t rush into this!
Onto something all the greatest MMO’s have, raids. I managed to get a glimpse of one of them, and not a big one… I had trouble finding enough people to get through, so more or a less a traditional raid, it isn’t going to hold your hand. In the ESO raids are known as Trials, you pit your character and up to 12 others against the scum and villainy of Morrowind facing countless troublemakers, vicious creatures, and menacing mechanical soldiers. Teamwork is vital in these areas as one of the many bosses will make short work of you if you’re not careful.
These trials promote working together and communicating with a group of strangers, the more you work together the better your outcome. I feel this makes the experience a lot more warming, complete strangers coming together for that one thing we all crave in life… loot.
I didn’t have much negativity towards this game, and it wasn’t exactly the game itself but more so a feature of MMO’s, in general, that had been irritated while playing. The fact that you cannot enjoy a stroll through the countryside without being attacked by some bloodthirsty creature or overly confident low lives looking for someone to bother.
In the original Morrowind, this was not (always) a problem. You could enjoy the sights of the Gold Coast or avoid falling into lakes of lava in Red Mountain without the constant threat of attack. Certain creatures would go about their days’ grazing and just… living. However practically everywhere I went in the ESO world I was being stalked, stabbed, bit and insulted by anything with a heartbeat. I want to enjoy the world sometimes. It’s hard to take everything in when I’m constantly having to slash my way past a horde of enemies. I found myself wasting my money on fast travel a lot because not many friends of mine had the game yet, I had to make the journeys between towns on my own. And apparently, this was an open invitation to try and eat me for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Irritating? Oh yes.
- Huge world to explore
- Nostalgic for returning fans
- Lots of quests
- Interesting landscape
- MMO aspect can take away that Elder Scrolls feel
- Too many hostile NPC's at times.