Although the vast majority of my time in Elder Scrolls Online
is spent solo, running through the single-player storylines, I raid and have done a lot of group activities in other MMORPGs. So when I was invited to run the newest dungeons with some of the developers, specifically Creative Director Rich Lambert
and Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan
, I had to say yes. The actual run was livestreamed yesterday and since posted to YouTube
. (I’ll post the video below.) But during that time, I didn’t really get a chance to give my impressions of what was happening, so perhaps now would be a good time to let you know what I thought.
Most of us here are PC players, so you will be glad to know that this dungeon releases on August 14th with the Horns of the Reach DLC for PC, but for those playing it on consoles, you will have to wait another couple of weeks until August 29th to actually play the dungeons. As for the whole DLC itself, it’s much like the Shadows of the Hist DLC: There are new achievements and meta-changes to classes, but for the most part, it revolves around two four-man dungeons. The one I ran was called Falkreath’s Hold.
Fancy a trip to Tamriel, but don’t want to sit at your PC? The Elder Scrolls franchise TCG, Elder Scrolls Legends, has hit Android and Apple phones as of today, and it includes the Heroes of Skyrim expansion that hit on PC, Mac, and tablets earlier this summer.
“The Elder Scrolls: Legends, the strategy card game based on the award-winning Elder Scrolls series, is now available to download for free on iOS and Android phone devices via the App Store and Google Play store, respectively. Featuring a new streamlined interface designed to take advantage of smaller screen sizes, now is the perfect time to jump into the fray. For players just joining the action, the recently-launched Heroes of Skyrim expansion based on fan-favorite characters, lore, and abilities from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim added more than 150 new cards to collect, plus new mechanics, powerful abilities, and more. Easy to learn but difficult to master, The Elder Scrolls: Legends features a deep and flexible deck-building system and a variety of modes for both casual and competitive players, including a single-player Story Mode, Versus Mode, and Arena Mode against both human and AI opponents.”
I’m not even a TCG person and I’m gonna give it a go because yay, free things.
When the Horns of the Reach DLC launches for The Elder Scrolls Online
next month, one of the dungeons wrapped up in the bundle is located in Falkreath. If that’s sounding familiar, it’s probably because you toured the city in Skyrim
, only this is a millennium earlier.
“The Falkreath in The Elder Scrolls Online is much larger than you will recall, and it is well protected by giant stone walls,” ZeniMax says. “When you arrive, you’ll witness a city under siege. Of course, Falkreath is not without its protectors, as Jarl Skjoralmor’s daughter, Eerika, has mounted a spirited defense, but the city’s tall walls cannot hold back the invaders forever, and without help, it’ll soon fall.”
You, of course, are that help; you’ll be defending the city and diving into the Falkreath Hold dungeon specifically in exchange for ridiculous piles of gear upgrades and loot. In fact, once you’ve beaten the dungeon, you’re in for a special treat:
The Elder Scrolls Online
released its first expansion, Morrowind
, shortly before E3 2017
. MMOs rarely come up with mainstream media, but with Morrowind’s
nostalgia power, I heard the name mentioned a few times off
the showroom floor. While I’d heard of Morrowind
, of course, I didn’t personally get on the Elder Scrolls train until Skyrim
— it’s been one of those games making “best of” lists for as long as I could remember. However, some of the things I’d read about the upcoming expansion gave me pause, so I brought them up with ZeniMax
Game Director Matt Firor
during our conversation at E3.
E3 is drawing to a close, with its reveals over and done with — all that’s left is processing our interviews and hands-on pieces. But in the meantime, we decided to take this week’s Overthinking to consider the field. MMORPGs haven’t shined brightly at E3 in a long time, so our expectations are usually low — the con is interesting to us more for what’s happening on the multiplayer front.
So that’s what we asked our staff: What’s the most interesting or grabby-hands MMO or MMO-ish thing from E3 this year? Which game would get your best in show and why? There’s also an extra bonus section on the con itself courtesy of our writer on the floor.
Get comfy in The Elder Scrolls Online
, TES franchise fans: While there will eventually be another single-player game in the Elder Scrolls series, it’s not currently in development. That’s according to Bethsoft’s Pete Hines, who debunked rumors at E3 that TES:VI
is among the games currently in production, implying that other projects are taking priority before the teams return to Tamriel in a non-MMO capacity.
It’s not entirely new news; Hines has been repeating variations of this rebuttal for years, just as he did right up until The Elder Scrolls Online was formally announced, so as usual, take it all with a sackful of saltrice.
In other Elder Scrolls news, the internet is busy going ballistic over what appears to be Bethsoft’s second attempt at paid mods via what it’s calling the “Creation Club.” It looks like a variation of what companies like Digital Extremes and Studio Wildcard offer, a partnership with specific modders to create mods under the studio’s banner. The controversy, of course, revolves around the proposed storefront through which these modders will sell their stuff — and the “credits” system players will be using to buy those mods. So far the program appears to be limited to Skyrim and Fallout 4, so ESO fans needn’t worry just yet.
Do MMORPGs really have such an intimidating reputation in the gaming community these days that studios feel as though they need to mollycoddle prospects who might otherwise skip over their products? Elder Scrolls Online
apparently thinks so, as its created a solo player’s guide
to the upcoming Morrowind
“Most games of the genre are singularly, er, singular affairs, where it’s you against the world,” the team wrote in the guide. “And maybe you think those skills wouldn’t transfer to the massively multiplayer universe of Elder Scrolls Online. But nothing could be further from the truth. Elder Scrolls Online is, first and foremost, an Elder Scrolls game, and that means fans of previous games like Skyrim — and of RPGs in general — will find plenty that’s familiar.”
I have always found this part of the development cycle to be the worst part. Right now, we are sitting at the point in Elder Scrolls Online
when you really don’t want to move forward progressing your character because some of the endgame or character progression, in general, will change next week. However, you are very excited about what is to come in the next expansion, and you really want to play ESO
at the same time.
It’s a strange phenomenon, and one that is unique to MMOs. When Skyrim was about to release Dragonborn a few years back, it had been a little bit since we had visited Skyrim. For me personally, I had a little game called Star Wars: The Old Republic that I had been playing, so when Dragonborn came out, I replayed Skyrim to refresh my memory before jumping into that expansion. However, MMOs are meant to be played all the time, and well, we’ve been playing ESO this whole time leading up to Morrowind. How do we do to channel our excitement?
Well, I have some fun suggestions for every Elder Scrolls fan. These are my five suggestions for things to do while waiting for ESO: Morrowind to release.
Funcom is working its tush off on Conan Exiles’ combat, a new Q&A with Joel Bylos suggests, but make sure you understand the end goal. “We don’t ever expect combat in Exiles to be on par with an action game like Dark Souls,” he cautions players. “We want combat to be fun and interesting in its own right, but without years to invest in the combat system we are not going be creating something that competes with Chivalry. Our ambition for combat, clearly stated pre early access launch, was Dark Messiah/Skyrim (modded) levels of combat.” But he admits the team hasn’t “achieved [that] ambition” yet — and that means a heavy focus on eliminating “clunky” combat feel, weapon balance, and sorting out where the game should rely on action vs. roleplaying elements.
Bylos also says Funcom is working on map improvements, creature AI, expanding the dye system, respawn rates, drawbridges, NPC looting, container ownership, thrall rescue, and character customization.
That’s gotta be good news for fans of the game, who’ve seen its playtime popularity on Steam fall sharply since February (by comparison, ARK: Survival Evolved has held relatively even; its current monthly peak is 10 times Conan’s).
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.
When I took the trip
to ZeniMax Online Studios
to check out Morrowind
a couple of months back, I was sitting at a table with other games press and a handful of ZOS developers, including Creative Director Rich Lambert
and Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler
. The conversation wasn’t exactly off the record, but it wasn’t really an interview setting either. We were just talking, mostly about our lives: how Brian had to leave soon because he might get in trouble with his girlfriend and how Rich spent many overnights at the same hotel that the press had been staying in because he was at the office late and had to be there again early the next day.
During the course of the conversation, we ended up talking about how the press had originally received the Elder Scrolls Online and how it received it since the console launch. It’s not a big secret that I said some pretty critical things about ESO shortly after its PC launch. Rich pointed out during the conversation, possibly not knowing the outlet I was from, that he was surprised at how the opinions had turned around, especially Massively’s. And when he said “Massively,” I don’t think he realized that it was specifically my opinion that had that changed, drastically, since I’ve been the site’s ESO columnist since before the game’s launch.
It’s been a big spring so far for The Elder Scrolls Legends
, Bethsoft’s Elder Scrolls franchise online collectible card game. Just a month ago, the game ripped off the beta tag for its formal PC launch
. Then it launched for tablet iOS
. This week, the game has introduced players to the assassins guild with its first content injection
, dubbed Fall of the Dark Brotherhood
. It’s just shy of 20 bucks if you’re buying it for cash, although the studio says you can pick it up for in-game gold too.
“The Fall of The Dark Brotherhood is a new PvE Story that tosses players into the role of a double agent hired to infiltrate the ranks of the fabled Dark Brotherhood. Recruited by a sinister group to bring down the infamous Elder Scrolls guild of lethal assassins, players will need to make key choices that both impact which missions they will play and determine how the story unfolds. This massive new adventure takes place prior to the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and is broken into three sections, or maps, introducing more than 25 missions and 40 new cards to the game. By completing missions within the new Story, players will unlock new cards available only via The Fall of the Dark Brotherhood, including three new Legendary cards. Players will face a variety of new challenges, lane conditions, and scenarios as they play through the new Story. There’s a pig you have to keep alive, a fight that takes place during a ball where things keep moving around, a prison fight, a skooma den battle, and much more.”
So let’s assume that you’re a regular MMORPG player who’s never really been into Elder Scrolls series, wasn’t around for TES III: Morrowind
, never picked up Skyrim’s
Dragonborn DLC, or didn’t side with the Ebonheart Pact in The Elder Scrolls Online
. Or maybe you just have nothing but antipathy for dark elves in fantasy. If you’re in those groups but are still interested in The Elder Scrolls Online
as just a solid themepark MMORPG rather than fanservice, you might be wondering just why the heck everyone is freaking out in anticipation of the Morrowind expansion.
That’s exactly what ZeniMax’s new lore piece out today tries to explain, giving newbies some backstory on the island of Vvardenfell during the time period of the MMORPG, from the politics to the ecology of the region.