It’s hard to return to a game like The Elder Scrolls Online. You learn a bunch of information, create an armor/build based off the current standards and then return with everything being different, yet still largely the same. But, above all, it’s great to see how much has changed. Gone is the small, largely single player, adventure and now there is a spanning adventure that takes us to the latest location, Elsweyr. Given the up and down nature of MMOs, is this worth returning to or are they so desperate they’re using dragons to draw people in?
To truly appreciate Elsweyr, you have to take a step back and look at The Elder Scrolls franchise. Part of what makes these expansions or experiences fascinating, is how they fit into the larger narrative. With more than a handful of races and various cultures, Elsweyr takes us to the Khajiit homeland.
For this adventure you need to assist the Khajiit Defense Force deal with the looming threat of dragons, following their attempt to liberate Rimmen. Naturally, even if the story has a fairly straightforward direction, it is filled with a variety of side tasks and busy work to extend the adventure. This isn’t a criticism, as much as the nature of the beast.
I bring this up, since there is a certain amount of routine in these expansions. It goes without saying there will be people to help, some kind of problem to solve, new must have gear, the return of Sir Cadwell, collectibles, world bosses and even a trial for players to overcome.
Much to The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr’s credit, it does a good job keeping a number of things fresh. Similar to the last couple world bosses, they feature a nice unique location and their own gimmicks and mechanics players need to overcome. Even the story does a good job of setting up a climatic adventure and tease twists, to the point where more astute players will know what to expect and be all the more excited for it.
Another exciting note is the design of Elsweyr itself. There is no denying there is a general theme to how things look in The Elder Scrolls Online and while Elsweyr doesn’t break it, it manages to avoid a number of problems. Instead of relying on dark visuals or desolate landscapes, Elsweyr is a sunny location with plenty of life and pretty things to look at. This alone makes the exploration a lot more interesting, even if the core experience remains unaltered.
Despite repeated mentions to things being the same, the new Necromancer class is certainly interesting. The class itself is similar to Sorcerer, in that it largely revolves around summoning undead or using cryptic powers to bolster yourself or team. So, you can summon zombies to deal damage or take lifeforce to heal or defend yourself, giving it a fair amount of versatility. What makes Necromancer rather interesting, at least in terms of the meta, is the Living Death ultimate, Reanimate.
This skill lets you bring back three allies in a given area, making it a strong ultimate for a last second dungeon save or a way to assist healers in a trial. How much practical application it will have will vary, especially given a lot of players don’t need that crutch, but it’s nice to see it have a defined role in trials. Over time we will get a better idea of where the class stands, as right now most are just trying it out and there will be builds and what have you but it is enough to change the experience enough to keep things interesting.
There is a lot to like about The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr. Returning players have a myriad of things to do, with existing players having just as much and a trial to look forward to. Even if the Necromancer class is not the straight pet class some players were hoping, it’s fun in its own way and offers further variety during set up or push a more offensive line up. Toss in a fresh location and dragons to overcome and it’s a nice step forward.
[Editor’s Note: The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]