Morrowind was an amazing part in The Elder Scrolls series. It only seems natural that Bethesda would want to bring that surreal world to ESO, the MMO version of their RPG series. Since ESO launched back in 2014, it has undergone a number of major changes, including level scaling and completely opening up the world to explorers in the One Tamriel update.
Even though ESO offered a ton of content, as an MMORPG it always felt average at best. That is, until Morrowind, the game’s first additional “Chapter” (not expansion, as the devs like to call it). You’re introduced to the city of Vvardenfall, which has been very faithfully recreated after the original game. Maybe a little too faithfully, because it’s likely that old Morrowind fans may not feel the same sense of amazement in discovering the wonders of Vvardenfall. That said, ESO Morrowind is set about 700 years before the events of the single-player game, and that does add a bit of a flavour. The Red Mountain lies dormant, and Vivec City is still under construction. Even Vivec, the warrior poet god king is different from what you might remember, albeit still familiar.
ESO: Morrowind introduces a new class in the form of the Warden. A highly versatile choice, the Warden can take up any role, whether it’s tank, damage or healing. He can also summon a powerful bear companion to travel and aid in combat. It’s a well-balanced class, one that encourages you to make effective use of all three skill trees. Not to mention, it’s incredibly fun to play. There are some issues, though. As you don’t have any control over the bear’s actions, it just goes about doing what it wants to and sometimes feel more problematic than useful. Nevertheless, the Warden’s skills and abilities make it worthy of a playthrough, whether you plan to go through the game solo or with friends.
The story and the setting that Vvardenfall offers is quite fascinating. And I’m not just talking about quests where you have to go to battle against formidable enemies. One of the most amusing things I had to do was to help an alchemist take revenge on a magician (who was severely allergic to cats) because he didn’t believe in herbs. Can you guess how it was accomplished? By brewing a potion that would attract cats to the magician’s house. And then waving a cure in his face till he decided to apologize. Even in times of distress and urgency, ESO: Morrowind finds a time for humour.
As much fun and engaging the game is, it still struggles a bit when it comes to offering a solid MMO experience. Compared to the single-player titles, the dialogues here sometimes fall flat, and the game in general doesn’t live up to the strong Elder Scrolls expectations. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find anything to do in multiplayer though. ESO: Morrowind also adds Battlegrounds, a PvP arena that pits three teams of four players against each other in different game modes. These can either be deathmatch, capture the flag or domination.
Sadly, Battlegrounds has its own set own problems. There are major balancing issues with matchmaking and team setup, as players with low level can find themselves fighting very high level players. And though Champion Points are disabled during this PvP mode, bonuses from weapon sets are still in effect, meaning that even if you don’t have enough skill, if you have the right armour with a decent boost, you can still win wit relative ease. However, if you do managed to get placed in a well-matched game, it can be rather fun. The multiple game modes keep things interesting, and it is much better than Cyrodil.
All in all, The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is a pretty neat expansion pack. It gives you the ability to create a new character and jump directly into the expansion, and adds an impressive new class in the form of the Warden. ESO in general has improved a lot since its launch. The gameplay and everyday little things feel much better and smoother, and though it still needs some polishing, it’s great to see such great content being added to the MMORPG.