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Tamriel Infinium: Our 2017 report card for Elder Scrolls Online

All in all, 2017 has been a fabulous year for the Elder Scrolls Online, and although I have been light on talking about the game recently, I have jumped in regularly to explore Vvardenfell and Clockwork City. This year ESO saw its first expansion and dare I say its greatest addition to the game: Morrowind. But that shouldn’t diminish the other great stories in the Horns of the Reach and Clockwork City DLCs. Also, ESO introduced one of the best player housing systems I’ve ever seen with Homestead earlier this year. I really don’t know how ESO is going to top 2017.

Let’s pull apart the accomplishments of ESO this year into my standard for grading MMORPGs: The Bartle Taxonomy. MMORPGs are wonderful because of the breadth of different activities that players can participate in. They draw together many different kinds of players, and Bartle’s Taxonomy breaks these players into four different categories: Socializers, Achievers, Killers, and Explorers.

Most people will be a blend of two or more of these categories. I’m going to measure the merits of the game based each category individually using a scale you’ll often find in American schools: A, B, C, D, and F.

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The Daily Grind: What was the best new zone added to an MMO in 2017?

Last year, MOP reader Agemyth suggested we debate the best new MMORPG zone added in 2016, so it seemed only fitting to bring the topic back for another go now that another year is mostly behind us. And it’s even harder to answer this year than then, thanks to the plethora of expansions the MMO genre saw this year.

My vote would be torn. I was inclined to grant it to Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind – Vivec, specifically – but then I remembered all the jaw-dropping moments my husband and I had wandering around the Crystal Desert in Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire. “Spectacular” doesn’t even begin to describe it, and that’s before you’ve even left Amnoon.

I’m sure you can think of others. What would you argue was the best new zone or area added to an MMORPG in 2017?

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Ask Mo: Counting the hits and misses of our 2017 predictions

As we do every year, today we’re going to peer back into the depths of last year’s staff predictions for the genre and the games within it to determine just how we fared. After all, what would be the fun of making predictions if we couldn’t have a laugh at how wrong we were a year later? So let’s dig in and find out whether we nailed it or failed it!

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Elder Scrolls Online is kicking off a free-play event on PC, PS4, and Mac starting tomorrow

Earlier this week, ZeniMax announced a new dungeon event for The Elder Scrolls Online with pretty nifty cash-shop related giveaways for everyone who queues up for dungeon LFG and can hang in there through a run. Today, the company has added to the fun by announcing a free-to-play week coinciding with that event, meaning you can take part in the whole event on any platform – except Xbox One – even if you’ve never paid a penny into the game.

“From November 30 to December 6, gamers will have seven full days to explore Tamriel for free, to build and grow their characters, run quests and dungeons with friends, and truly create their own story within the largest Elder Scrolls experience to date,” ZeniMax announced this morning, noting that the free-play week grants access to the base game (but not Morrowind). New players will pick up 500 free cash-shop currency and keep any progress from past free-play events. There’s a new trailer too!

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Perfect Ten: The biggest MMO stories of 2017

One thing you can say for the MMO industry: It never ceases to surprise all of us. No matter what predictions we may make at the beginning of a year, by December we will all be proven fools who lack vision and foresight.

Although 2017 isn’t quite over yet, we here at Massively Overpowered wanted to count down the biggest news stories that crossed over into our neck of the woods so far this year. We witnessed controversies and delights, shockers and sadness. We saw launches and shutdowns, expansions and bugs.

So before we move into 2018, let’s take a look at the year that was and remember the biggest stories that dominated headlines.

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One Shots: The rat race

At times, I feel like I must be the responsible adult in the MMORPG genre and sit down some of these artists and tell them that while I appreciate their ambition and imagination, not everything can be turned into a mount. Not everything should be turned into a mount. We need to have some sort of standard, some line that must not be crossed.

I feel like RIFT crossed that line with this mouse mount. It’s a little too on the nose with the whole notion of leveling in games being a rat race, eh?

“Here is my new Sinister Cappie mount telling a fishing story (it was this big!),” said Ironweakness. Frankly, I want to hear the story where someone captured a giant mouse and then trained it to provide transportation to battle-happy adventurers.

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PSA: Elder Scrolls Online gives away a free bug mount to all Morrowind owners

If you don’t mind saddling up on something that is straight out of an entomophobic’s worst nightmare, then boy is Elder Scrolls Online going to make your November extra special!

ZeniMax announced this past week that it is giving away a free Nix-Ox mount to all players who have purchased the Morrowind expansion. To claim the mount, you will need to log into the game by November 26th. And yes, this promotion is good for anyone who decides to purchase and play Morrowind over the next week as well!

This is the latest in a string of promotions and deals for Elder Scrolls Online around its anniversary. Recently, the game gave out a pair of clockwork pets and deeply discounted some of its DLC packs.

Source: Elder Scrolls Online. Thanks Ekl!

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC launches for Xbox One and Xbox One X – here’s the new trailer

Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC is live for Xbox One and Xbox One X players today! As we’ve previously covered, today’s rollout features a clockwork hub straight from Morrowind lore as players are tasked with investigating the daedric threat. It includes two world bosses, two new delves, and a new 12-man raid, Asylum Sanctorium. Even if you don’t buy the DLC, you can expect new stuff in update 16, including the new weapon and armor transmutation system, trait tracker, and new buyable houses. Do note that you do not need to own Morrowind to access Clockwork City, which you might have assumed otherwise. You do need Morrowind for the new Crazy King battleground, however. And you’ll need an Xbox One X to appreciate the improved graphics there!

Don’t miss our own Tamriel Infinium columnist Larry Everett’s first impressions of the update and the brand-new trailer down below!

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC launches today with new raid, houses, and transmutation

Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC is live for PC and Mac players today, assuming they’ve ponied up for a sub or bought the bundle outright.

As we’ve previously covered, today’s rollout features a clockwork hub straight from Morrowind lore as players are tasked with investigating the daedric threat. It includes two world bosses, two new delves, and a new 12-man raid, Asylum Sanctorium.

Don’t want to buy Clockwork City? There’s stuff for you in update 16; the new weapon and armor transmutation system is the highlight, but the new trait tracker and new buyable houses should be on your radar too. Do note that you do not need to own Morrowind to access Clockwork City, which you might have assumed otherwise. You do need Morrowind for the new Crazy King battleground, however.

Don’t miss our own Tamriel Infinium columnist Larry Everett’s first impressions of the update from when it dropped on the PTS, and get patching!

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Jukebox Heroes: Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind soundtrack

Lately I’ve felt the need to get into gear and cover a lot of the more recent MMO soundtracks that have released alongside their launches and expansions in 2017. If I’m going to get through these by the end of the year, I best start now!

And so our next soundtrack for examination is the rather excellent Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind OST by Brad Derrick. I haven’t hidden my disappointment in the base game’s soundtrack, as it didn’t quite live up to the expectations established by previous Elder Scrolls titles. Therefore, I’m happy to say that Morrowind really stepped up to deliver a much more memorable and moving soundtrack with plenty of nostalgic elements.

For more on the making of this score, read Derrick’s interview on the main site: “For The Elder Scrolls Online, the music has to bridge the gap between the familiar and the new, satisfying player expectations while still having a unique identity. This means making sure the music is ‘Elder Scrolls-y’ enough to sound like it’s from the same universe as the other games, but at the same time different enough so that it’s clearly ESO music, belonging to the time and spaces of our game.”

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC is aimed at explorers and mystery buffs

ZeniMax has a new dev blog up on The Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC today, teasing the update and explaining just why it was chosen as the narrative followup to this summer’s Morrowind expansion. The DLC, as we’ve preciously covered, takes players into the realm of Sotha Sil, one of the three living gods of Morrowind and a machine-obsessed genius whose motivations and sanity are constantly in question. What struck me is how the designers interviewed stress that the DLC is aimed at mystery fans and explorers; indeed, variants of the word “explore” are used seven times in the brief doc.

“The Clockwork City is the most mysterious zone we’ve ever done. […] This is partly because there wasn’t a tremendous amount of pre-existing lore to begin with, but it’s also by virtue of the fact that it’s Sotha Sil’s realm, and no one truly knows the intentions of his strange experiments, or what their results will be.”

Massively OP ESO columnist Larry Everett dived into the PTS last week to produce impressions on the in-testing DLC, declaring that while it wasn’t as personally compelling to him as as the Thieves Guild DLC or as complex as the Dark Brotherhood DLC, it tops the game’s core storyline all by itself.

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Tamriel Infinium: First impressions of Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC

It’s hard to know where to start with these impressions because the upcoming DLC for Elder Scrolls Online is significantly more complex, more extensive, and more fun than I originally anticipated. Clockwork City has surprised me on multiple levels. Those who were fans of the Tribunal expansion for Elder Scrolls III will find nostalgia everywhere, and those who are new to this part of the lore will find a world that is similar yet very different from the rest of ESO.

Over the last couple of days, I have been spending my time on the public test server for Elder Scrolls Online where ZeniMax Online Studios has dropped its latest DLC: Clockwork City. This isn’t the first time we’ve been to the Clockwork City, but this DLC will be the first time that we are allowed to freely explore this creation of the god Sotha Sil.

There is no way that I am going to be able to sum up the hours of gameplay that Clockwork City has to offer in just a few hundred words, but let me hit on a few things that were the most important to me: aesthetics, storytelling, exploration, and gameplay.

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Take a peek at Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC map and subzones

Now that Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC is live for testing on the PTS, the spoilers have changed over from a trickle to roar, even from ZeniMax itself. Today, the studio’s published an overview sort of guide to the six areas in the new zone, Sotha Sil’s creepy steampunk lair “filled with mysterious automatons, fantastic sights, and hidden dangers.” Those would be:

  • The Brass Fortress, the residential area where you can craft and gather in relative safety;
  • The Mechanical Fundament, a “dangerous labyrinth is crawling with fabricants and single-minded factotums that won’t hesitate to sanitize the area of organic infestation (read: people)”;
  • The Halls of Regulation, which ought to be a mundane water-and-air utility monitoring station but instead is a Delve for adventurers;
  • The Shadow Cleft, a shadowy Daedric realm to Nocturnal that happens to have a portal inside the city;
  • The Sanctuary of Verification, Sotha Sil’s lab and factory, which plays host to a world boss;
  • and the Asylum Sanctorium, the sanitarium where you’ll end up if you go mad, plus the DLC’s new group dungeon.

The DLC is slated for later this year; while you don’t technically need to have purchased Morrowind to buy and play this DLC, it’d probably make a lot of sense to do so, as the plots are linked.

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