Tamriel Infinium: An alternative approach to playing Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind
When MMOs and I were young, I hopped into Ultima Online not having a clue how to play the game. I saw miners running around naked supposedly because ore was heavy (and the threat of ganks was real). I saw people standing just outside the city carefully poking each other with low-level knives to help them gain experience. I also saw people standing around the bank barking, attempting to sell their wares. None of this was actually questing, but all of it was a legitimate way to play the game.
Elder Scrolls Online is a unique game, far apart from your standard themepark-style MMO. I would still call it a themepark, but it veers from the standard World-of-Warcraft-style themepark in many ways, chiefly in that you don’t have to follow a singular path to get a lot out of the game. In fact, have come up with some alternative ways to enjoy the content of Morrowind without following the main questline.
Since the beginning of MMORPGs, exploration has been a cornerstone to playing in the genre. However, more recent games, especially the WoW clones, have stepped away from what I consider this integral part of the MMORPG experience. Thankfully, ESO Morrowind actually pulls this playstyle back to the forefront.
In you watched the livestream on Monday, you’ll see that MJ and I just picked a direction and followed it. Most of the time we were off the beaten path. In fact, Vvardenfell’s paths are twisted and windy; staying on the path could offer more trouble than just following the shortest distance from point A to B.
There are, of course, already people who have made addons that take away a lot of the exploration fun by marking everything on the map for you, but I would suggest disabling those addons before jumping to Vvardenfell. Look for things like Azura’s shrine, Skar, and many, many Dwemer ruins. I’d love to hear about some of the things you find just wandering around.
Thievery and murder
Regular readers of this column will know that the Thieves Guild was my favorite DLC for the game, and they might also know that it was the introduction of the Justice System that made me reconsider the game after originally dismissing it as just another themepark game. Although thieving and murdering your way through the game isn’t exactly the fastest way to level up, it does earn you skill levels and can be a lot of fun because nearly every single NPC can be killed or stolen from.
When compared to the mainland, the island of Vvardenfell is more heavily populated with NPCs per capita. This makes finding someone to rob that much easier. However, in my initial search for Outlaw’s Dens only turned up one: the one in Vivec City. It’s possible that I missed others. Maybe there is one in Sadrith Mora or Balmora, but I missed them. Regardless, that means there might be a lot of trips back to the main cities after going on a spree.
Start questing in Vos
Just as in the original Morrowind, questing in ESO Morrowind starts in Seyda Neen. But that also means that everyone else will be there, too. I like to quest with people, but having a crowd of 20 characters all gathered around the same NPC attempting to grab the same quest is the opposite of fun. That’s why I suggest an alternative starting location for your questing.
The primary questline will encourage players to travel up the Bitter Coast on the southwestern side of the island. So if you’re looking for a way to avoid a lot of people, I would recommend that you start on the exact opposite side of the island. The settlement of Vos sits on the northeastern side of the island. Character level means nothing as far as the enemies are concerned, and ever since the introduction of One Tamriel, you can travel wherever you like on the island.
Of course, you might be thinking that getting to the northeastern side of the island will be extremely time-consuming. The truth is that it won’t take long at all thanks to the silt striders. The wayshrines will not be open to you until you actually arrive, but if you walk to the silt strider tower, you can ask to be transported to a farther away location. When you do that, ask to be taken to Tel Mora. You’ll be taken to the station between Vos and Tel Mora. Head south from there and you’ll run directly into the wayshrine and a quest giver that will start the Vos questlines.
From there I suggest traveling south along the Azura Coast. You’ll eventually run into more and more people, but with an expansion as popular as Morrowind, you’re bound to run into some overcrowding, but at least you can try to avoid it for a little while.
Lastly, if you really like dungeon crawling but want to mix it up instead of just queuing for a public dungeon, I would suggest looking for the delves. These dungeons are open to the public to dive in whenever they want. Sometimes, these caves will have other people floating around in them, so you can join them in killing the random monsters or just strike out on your own. If you want to find delves yourself, I’d suggest looking around the base of Red Mountain on the eastern side.
Morrowind has really been a lot of fun for me as I was testing it, and now that it’s live, I’m excited to share my experience. If you can think of other alternative ways to enjoy this ESO chapter, let me know them in the comments. And I will see you next time.
Traverse the troubled land of Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls Online. Larry Everett will be your guide here in Tamriel Infinium every other week as you explore together the land created by ZeniMax and Bethesda. If you have any burning questions, send them his way via email or via Twitter.