Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind will not blow your mind, but it will tickle your nostalgia

Over the last week or so, ZeniMax Online Studios opened up parts of The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind test servers to the press and public, allowing us to hop in and take a long and unfettered look at the developing expansion. In fact, that’s why I shied away from saying anything about the Elder Scrolls Online patch notes controversy — I’ve been buried in the real thing all week. Although I can now talk about the negative, I can also finally talk about the positive bits Morrowind has to offer.

I want to be fair about my analysis of ZOS’ depiction of the island of Vvardenfell and the Dark Elf culture, so I will have to put aside some of my nostalgic feels and take the experience for what it is: a solid entertaining MMORPG with a handful of flaws. I’m not going to pull any punches, but I should let you know that I really like this next chapter for ESO.

I’m not going to give everything away, but there is an interesting story involving a god, a priest, and a giant crab.

A failing god

I’ve given my perspective on what I think the issue is with our poet-god on Vvardenfell in a previous Tamriel Infinium, but I can’t mention whether I was wrong or right without spoiling the story. However, I think that Elder Scrolls lore junkies will be not be disappointed. In the original Morrowind, there was a little bit of time before you actually ran into Vivec via the main questline, but in ESO Morrowind, it’s quite literally the second quest. In fact, deities abound in the tale of Morrowind, which is both wonderful and terrible.

I am a lore junkie. I like absorbing the setting that creates the land that the main story resides. So that you understand my perspective, I should tell you that when I read Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was a kid, I spent far more time in the indices than I did in the actual book. I found the backstory far more interesting than the tale of the fellowship.

This is probably why I enjoyed the story in ESO Morrowind.

Although my character did play a heavy part in the storyline, and I had to make some interesting choices, the storyline also seems to take place around my character rather than my character actually affecting it, but for me — and for MMO storytelling — I find that to be just great. However, if you are looking for the in-your-face kind of storytelling that you might find in Star Wars: The Old Republic or even Skyrim, you might be a little bit disappointed. But if you’re like me, you will eat up every word.

A Mary Sue class

Naturally, I had to test out the Warden, the new class, while I was on the test servers. And I liked it. And I know that ZOS is still tweaking bits and pieces of the class, so I don’t want to be totally hyperbolic about the class, but I can also see the concerns that people have over this class. It is extremely powerful.

Yes, this is a vvardvark

I don’t know whether it’s was my skill as a player, the low difficulty of the mobs, or if the Warden was just overpowered, but it just seemed that the Warden could do everything. Now, I played mostly by myself while roaming over the island of Vvardenfell, so I am sure that my perception is skewed because of that. It might also be that my main is a Night Blade, and the general survivability of a Night Blade is quite a bit lower than a more traditional tank-like class. Before the haters jump in, I know that Night Blades, or any other class for that matter, can be more survivable, but I play my Night Blade more traditionally. When comparing that to the Warden, the Warden seems to be more tanky-healy right out of the box.

I believe that the design of the Warden is a product of a solo-centric gameplay style. I think it’s a wonderful class. It’s interesting with both tank and healing abilities, and the Animal Companion abilities do exactly what they are supposed to do: make the class fun to play. In fact, the only abilities that I found uninteresting were the ice abilities. They weren’t bad and do have quality animations, but I played this kind of class way back in Champions Online. That part just isn’t new.

But when that jack-of-all-trades trend continues as you level a Warden, I can see how this could be problematic for team play. There was really nothing I couldn’t do. In fact, I accidentally ended up running a delve with another player who was also a Warden, and there was great synergy between his tank-like Warden and my heal-like Warden. But I could definitely foresee a Sorcerer or Dragonknight asking, “Where do I fit in?” in later levels. I’ll keep you posted.

Nostalgia

Let’s talk about the silt strider in the room: How does it compare to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind? Well, the truth is that I cannot tell you because I never got through all of TESIII. However, I can comment on the biggest pull for TESIII players: nostalgia. There is a lot of it. ESO Morrowind was clearly pulled from the same patch of member berries as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. From Azura to Chodala, there are nostalgic characters sprinkled throughout the storyline of Morrowind, and they are specifically intended to help you don your rose-tinted glasses.

I don’t specifically have an issue with nostalgia until it gets in the way of telling the actual story, and I can’t say that it does save for one aspect: You are a subject of prophecy. But with the rest of the lore and storytelling, I can forgive ZOS for this little trope.

Morrowind is still clearly still in closed beta, and I’ve just touched the surface of what the expansion has in store. Look for more coming this week, but until then, I’ll give you a small gallery of images I took while exploring the Bitter Coast.

Massively Overpowered skips scored reviews; they’re outdated in a genre whose games evolve daily. Instead, our veteran reporters immerse themselves in MMOs to present their experiences as hands-on articles, impressions pieces, and previews of games yet to come. First impressions matter, but MMOs change, so why shouldn’t our opinions?
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

67 Comments on "Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind will not blow your mind, but it will tickle your nostalgia"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
dixa
Reader
dixa

the warden doesn’t have what makes dk’s the best tanks, and what makes templars the best healers. not even in morowind.

but they will be good for people who dont want to feel like they have to have one of everything or want to do trials/vet trials.

just looking at the abilities they have yes, they have a lot of buffs .pretty much nearly every buff available. but it’s impossible to keep them all up and actually do anything worth a damn, they are all short duration.

their tanking abilities scaling on max health doesn’t actually make them better tanks, because you don’t block with your health, you block with stamina.

their first healing ability has a rather small and short cone.

their second one has a delay but gives an hot synergy if players use it. the morphs you activate it again to make the heal fire off now instead of later while healing for less either way, or the other morph applies a healing debuff while healing for more. meh.

the vines are great. it’s like earth shield. the leeching vines morph may be great for raid healing sustain but it’s hardly overpowered.

lotus blossom works great if you have a lot of time to HA with a lightning or resto staff. you however have to be close to your healing target and it only heals one target

the last one – the chain yank and hot – is pretty sick and has no cooldown. no more tanks running ahead.

they only have like…4?…actual damage abilities.

they will be a GREAT support class, but not usurp sorc’s for aoe dps or per Alcast stam dk’s for single target in morrowind.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

Got a closed beta invite today.
I’ll get on there this evening and look for Jiub.

Also I’m sure the Warden will be OP, it’s part of the marketing strategy.

Reader
Jokerchyld

I surprisingly got one today too. It was weird because it said I had “bought” something and this was the redeeming code, but after a short investigation it looks like it was just the way they handled the beta invite. Might be on tomorrow night as I have to download the PTS and need to move that installation to another drive (which I wish ZoS made easier).

Reader
Bannex

Of course it won’t blow your mind, there is already a sizable chunk of morrowind in the game and I can’t imagine they’ll switch up the whole questing formula that virtually every town in every zone follows.

Glad to see they are keeping up with the alpha quality spell effects for the new class…

Seriously, if ZoS really wants longevity they need to focus on expanding the non combat part of the game beyond housing. Thieves guild was a good start but it feels unfinished.

Reader
Jeff

ESO has had a odd lifespan first it was cool to hate it, then cool to like it….guess were back to cool to hate it again.

if cool to hate it makes some of the Tards that are currently playing go back to SWTOT or WoW…then bring on the hate.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

﴾͡๏̯͡๏﴿ O’RLY?

Reader
Bannex

You’re like that guy in the corner of the club looking for a fight but nobody is paying attention

Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
agemyth 😩

I may be sabotaging my potential enjoyment of ESO:M by playing TES3M again right now….

Reader
odin valhalla

You know its funny, I got a beta invite too and despite my many issues with ZOS it does look absolutely stunning.

I didnt expect anything else they certainly know how to make a beautiful game. For the poop storm that has emerged since the beta, thats more an indication of how bad a gaming company ZOS really is overall. They cant help it, they have been this way for a LONG time.

Its really a shame because I think they have a winner here. I wont be consuming it but for those who do, its going to be visually stunning PARTICULARLY if you played the original Morrowind.

django857
Reader
django857

I just got a beta invite in the mail and i don’t even have the game installed.

Reader
odin valhalla

Make sure its from Zenimax.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

Players will come for the content and leave for the mechanic changes.

Reader
Jarby Stark

First of all Morrowind will blow your Templar healer sadly.

Reader
Bannex

“Blow your templar healer sadly….”

The mental images made me lol

Reader
Godson69

While my main is a Templar healer, I’m going to wait until it comes out and compare it to the Warden. But, I agree some of the changes scare the crap out of me.

Reader
Alex Willis

It might also be that my main is a Night Blade, and the general survivability of a Night Blade is quite a bit lower than a more traditional tank-like class. Before the haters jump in, I know that Night Blades, or any other class for that matter, can be more survivable, but I play my Night Blade more traditionally.

nnnnnnggggggg

NB siphon tank was literally the most durable build in the entire game…until the recent patch changes coming up. With the nerfs to the Siphoning line and the general overall changes to sustain, pretty much the only thing that NBs could do well is going to die in a fire. (Literally, as my NB siphon tank is also a vampire, so…yeah, fire.)

But I could definitely foresee a Sorcerer or Dragonknight asking, “Where do I fit in?” in later levels.

Well, DKs need some love, but right now the game is polluted with Sorcs, so it wouldn’t be a terrible thing to see a class challenging their supremacy.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

My dual/wield/bow CP ~200 STAM DK feels weak as hell.
I can do reg delves ok but if I try to solo a group delve or public dungeon it’s basically practicing to see how often I can die. Then I see a Magicka Sorc or Templar run by me pulling huge groups and nuking them down in about 5 seconds. Seems legit.

Reader
Alex Willis

Having been MMOing for more than a decade I hate the seasonal class balance whining, but honestly, Patch 3.0.0 feels like a huge mistake. I mean, the fact that DKs and NBs got un-asked-for nerfs is beyond weird, given that they are by far the shittiest classes atm. Sorcs are facerolling through everything. I made a StamSorc with dual wield and bow and when you get lightning field for pulls and them spam your AOEs, you’re basically out-DPSing everything in PVE. Got it to 20 before I got bored. It was too easy. Like, one of the most obvious class imbalances I’ve ever seen.

But sure, yeah, let’s kick NBs in the groin and ignore DKs, that’s a good idea. I’m not saying Sorcs need to be shitty so everybody can be shitty and nobody can be happy, but c’mon, throw your melee classes a bone FFS.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

I think Larry is saying that his NB is a typical “sneaks around stabbing enemies” type of NB. Not a tank of any kind. Probably one of the squishiest builds in the game.

Reader
Alex Willis

Yeah I know, I’m just venting. Frustrated at the mechanics changes.

Reader
Godson69

I think Zenimax has over-hyped the crap out of this “expansionish chapter” thing. $60.00 for an expansion is not unheard of, but comes with some expectation. For $60.00, I could get a brand new game or get something the size of wow’s expansions or GW2’s.

So what am I getting for $60 from Zenimax, new class, new battle grounds, and the rough equivalent of a zone equal to Wrothgor (Orsinium) which could be bought for 5000 crowns if you were not a subscriber.

So the questing content is supposed to be worth $40/free if you subscribed.
I’m guessing that makes the class worth $10 and the battlegrounds the other $10.

Now compare that to other games. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of pissed people when they see the actual content size of this overhyped “whatever it is”.

I love ESO, but I’m really starting to feel the money grab priority that the game is shifting to.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

If the story content added is 10+ hours or more, 60 bucks easily matches that of most 60 dollar single player games released ont he market today.

Thats not counting any additional multiplayer gameplay you get out of having the expansion (new dungeons, battle grounds, trial, etc)

And for existing players, the expansion is only $40, not 60.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

I’ve seen the story content described as 30 hours, but don’t know how accurate that is. Then again that sort of thing is very subjective, depending on the extent to which you immerse yourself in the story, lore, voice-overs etc. Some people complain about the lack of content and then admit they don’t actually read the story or even do the quests, they just stand in one spot and complain about the grind while bemoaning the lack of content :)!

Reader
Godson69

I don’t play many single player games, that is why I was comparing it mostly to other MMO expansions.

Reader
Denice J. Cook

An OP class helps sell the expansion. That’s likely why most new classes are featured in new expansions to begin with, and then are OP to boot. ;)

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
squidgod2000

I can also see the concerns that people have over this class. It is extremely powerful.

New classes, post-release, will always be the most powerful class in the game. Also true of most freshly-revamped classes.

django857
Reader
django857

Nostalgia is not enough for me to get past the limited hotbar game play.

Reader
Nick Smith

Thats one reason i like it! Ive only got so many fingers!

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Funny. Screenshots look worse then my modded Morrowind

borghive
Reader
borghive

Did they polish the combat at all? I still think the combat animations are just cringe worthy at times.

Crow
Reader
Crow

I feel like ESO plays terribly for being an action-combat game. Not like TES every was smooth and easy, but it seems like there really was little effort made to make the combat less TES and more solid.

Reader
Targeter

I certainly hope this is a good expansion; so far, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

Cyclone Jack
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Cyclone Jack

I played ESO over the free week and found it to be entertaining enough to pick up. Got a character going that I’m having fun with, but not ideally what I wanted thematically. I start looking into the Warden and see that it has a cold tree. Now I have to shelve this char and remake them once Morrowind hits. Luckily, I have another character that I can play in the meantime.

Reader
Wanda Clamshuckr

Currently, I’m playing a pet sorc build so I will be practiced for when I manage the bear. Pets are finicky in ESO, but very doable.

Reader
Armsbend

Nothing in ESO “blows your mind”.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

I play the game, but I have to agree. It’s good but pretty mediocre overall.
Kinda sad that in 2017 mediocre is what I feel compelled to settle for.

nvidia
Reader
nvidia

And that’s it for the Opinion column. Here’s Bob with the weather.

Reader
Targeter

Ok.

Reader
Wolfyseyes

Huh, I rather found the Warden pretty underwhelming overall myself. But that’s the fun of individual perception, really. :3

Personally, I can’t wait to ship my Templar over to Vvardenfell.

Reader
Shaun Shaungbr

I played Morrowind many moons ago, it was my first real RPG so I have fond memories of it. I managed to get into ESO Morrowind beta I made a warden and you start in Morrowind. My first impression was getting off the boat and looking at the gatehouse just like the original. Zos have done a great job of creating Morrowind and the towns with upgraded graphics of course.

Reader
Wanda Clamshuckr

Do the silt striders make the same sound as the original Morrowwind?

I’m glad you didn’t get into the controversy over the patch notes. I think enough people are creating noise over it that the rough edges will be smoothed out. Wait and see, I guess. That’s why there is a PTS.

As for the Warden, I expected a bit of OPedness. It is a selling feature. I remember when EQ2 launched the Beastlord..same thing. Make people feel like epic heroes when playing it, and make those who didn’t buy in envious until they caved and purchased it as well.

Reader
Wolfyseyes

Yes. Yes they do. :D

Reader
Wanda Clamshuckr

Nice! I hope one shows up as a mount.

wpDiscuz