Elder Scrolls Online possesses a distinct flavor. I can honestly say that there is no other MMORPG like it. In fact, the whole Elder Scrolls series is unique. The only thing that probably comes close to matching it is the Fallout series, and since that’s made by the same developer, does that really count at all?
But I still know there are people who will still not like the new chapter for Elder Scrolls Online, Morrowind. Opinions abound, and I welcome them. But I also understand that you can be critical of something without pouring blind hate all over it. I appreciate it when people can have an honest, thought-filled discussion about why something doesn’t work for them. It’s kind of a journey of self-discovery, to be honest.
And that’s why I would like to talk about why some people are not going to like Morrowind. Specifically, I would like to talk about some of the more absurd reasons that people have been blowing up the hate on the forums about class changes. Although there might be a little bit of substance to what is being said, many of the underlying reasons are without merit.
The greatest city on Morrowind’s island of Vvardenfell is Vivec — and in The Elder Scrolls Online’s expansion timeline, Vivec is still being built by the god-poet who gave the town its name.
The city is the subject of a new video from ZeniMax out today, narrated in-character by Morag Tong assassin Naryu Virian and featuring plenty of swoopy fly-throughs of interiors and exteriors of the town. “But did he have to build it under that big, ugly rock?” Virian snarls. Unfortunately for us, he did! Check it out below, and if you’re digging Elder Scrolls videos, make sure to check out Larry’s lore piece from earlier today.
In the ultimate battle for your dollar in the MMO industry, two MMOs with rabid fan bases duke it out by serving you a deep and engaging narrative. Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Elder Scrolls Online both want to draw you in with the worlds they have to offer, but each does so in a unique fashion: One gives you interesting characters build up your ego by making you the most power being in the galaxy, while the other tempts you in with a wondrous world to discover.
In Massively OP’s latest video, we’ll examine these two games and ask which is more appropriate for an MMORPG: story or lore. It’s a tough question — there might not be a satisfying answer!
Yesterday’s Elder Scrolls Online press embargo drop allowed us to talk a bit more about the overpowered state of the Morrowind Warden class — in fact, Larry flat-out called it a Mary Sue. What surprised me about the ensuing discussion was how incredibly cynical our readers were in response to that (and to the general community uproar over the class). Quite a lot of you (and other highly engaged gamers) seem to believe that ZeniMax is releasing the Warden totally overpowered intentionally as part of its marketing strategy, and to some extent, it makes sense — you want to create hype for your game and get people to buy it, so make sure to pack in a badass, solo-friendly class that encourages fence-sitters to make that leap.
On the other hand, you risk ticking off a couple million existing players who don’t want their characters falling to the bottom of the heap or who don’t want to feel as if they have to reroll.
Do you believe studios like ZeniMax, Blizzard, and ArenaNet intentionally release overpowered new classes, planning to nerf and balance them later? And if so, is it the smart call?
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.
Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind has a lot of casual players, former players, and future players excited for its launch in June. But what about existing hardcores? And in particular, what about people who’ve taken a peek into the beta and believe the existing classes, especially the Templar, will be totally overshadowed by the brand-new Warden class? The outcry has grown fierce. YouTuber Deltia even has a video where he straddles the line between funny and serious by hauling a shovel out to his yard to dig a grave and conduct a mock funeral for his Templar.
ZeniMax addressed the concerns in a forum post last night.
“[O]ne of the main concerns we want to address is the worry that we’re nerfing Templars in order to make the Warden a stronger healing class, particularly by nerfing Major Mending and giving it to Wardens. We’ve made it so all classes have to meet conditional requirements to gain Major Mending. DK’s need to have their damage shields up, Wardens have to heal low health targets, and Resto Staff users have to complete a fully charged heavy attack. It’s also worth noting that we’re planning on adjusting the Warden passive, Accelerated Growth, because it’s currently too easy to keep it active for long periods of time.
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.
Ah, trailer season is almost upon us, and The Elder Scrolls Online is inching closer today with its video of the Warden, the new class landing in the game when the Morrowind not-an-expansion expansion launches on June 6th.
“Revealing themselves to the world for the first time, Wardens possess a wide assortment of abilities to help defend the wilds and people of Tamriel. With the versatility to act as a damage dealer, a healer, or protector (or any combination in between) the Warden’s powerful and unique nature-based magic brings an entirely new element to ESO. The Warden can be fully customized based on your choices and your playstyle — summon the fearsome War Bear, encase yourself in rock-solid ice, or conjure healing plants from the soil.”
We’ve previously covered the Warden’s support, summon, and attack skills, and the closed beta began yesterday with all the expected fanfare of an expansion test locked behind an NDA. You’ll be rolling up on Seyda Neen in just seven weeks! Check out that gameplay trailer down below, then tell us: Are you creating a Warden in Morrowind? (I am!)
Get your “It’s happening!!!” gifs ready: ZeniMax announced this morning that the invites for The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind beta are riding out on carrier pigeon today. When I tried to type “morning” just now, I typed “Morrowind” instead, complete with capitalization, if that tells you anything about the hype-o-meter for the expansion as we roll along toward June.
“This time we’re doing things a bit differently, and we will be holding a closed beta for ESO: Morrowind,” the studio told fans earlier this month. “While everyone will be able to help test the base game content on the PTS, any content included in ESO: Morrowind will be invite-only. In addition, everyone logging onto the PTS will be required to agree to a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) upon login.” Likewise, “participation in previous PTS cycles is a major factor” in whether you’re invited.
So hey, you probably won’t get in, but people who will leak everything on day one will because life is cruel and unfair that way. Not that there’s probably much left to leak, given how much the studio has put out already! Go sit by your inboxes and start refreshing for your invites.
Obviously due to column width limitations, we have a fixed pixel size for screenshots here at Massively OP. But that doesn’t stop some of you from playing a game called “Let’s see if we can crash Justin’s photo editor by sending in the largest file size ever.” Today’s headliner is from Melissa, who sent me a “small” high-res capture of ARK at 12K x 7K resolution. The five-year-old laptop I was working on thanks her for this.
“Great picture I think, the Spinosaurus posed perfectly before noticing me and eating me!” she wrote. “If you guys like this and want to see one I can take a truly massive (several GB) ANSEL shot for you from ARK. Only a few games support it. The detail when you zoom in can be unbelievable.”
Yes. Please. Send them bigger. I will phone up the local university to schedule time on their supercomputer for it.
If you liked Tuesday’s quickie video of The Elder Scrolls Online’s Warden healing plant spell, you’re going to like today’s dev blog too. The new-with-Morrowind, bear-toting hybrid class is featured again with a complete list of its abilities and spells, including the Green Balance line (nature-based heals and boons) and the Winter’s Embrace set (cold-based shields and storms). The best is surely the Animal Companion skill line, however; it allows you to summon everything from falcons and fetcherfly swarms to netches — they’re the floating jellyfish critters.
Just put my name on this class already, ZeniMax! We’ve tucked the two new demo videos down below.
Every so often, a man needs to have a conversation with some anthropomorphized concepts. I do that every few years. In the past, I’ve usually focused on more philosophical concepts. I had a great conversation with Insight and really learned a lot about myself in the process, for example, and I can’t stop thinking about my talk with Contemplation. My dinner with Indulgence was fun, too, even if I would up spending far too much money on it; I feel like scheduling a chat with Regret the morning after was a bad idea.
Most recently, though, I decided to have some conversations with studios. Not their representatives, but with the actual studios themselves. Some of those conversations went better than others, though. You don’t need to take my word for it, though; I included the most interesting ones just past the break. I double-checked with Honesty first, so we’re good, it’s all fair.
Elder Scrolls Online and I have had an on-again-off-again relationship for the last several years. A lot of that relationship stemmed from my being steeped in another online community in another game, and the other part comes from the game just not being what I had hoped it would be. Despite my low-key participation in the community for the last couple of years, ESO‘s community has thrived, and the game itself has received a lot of praise after adding some much-needed features.
However, some of my friends, who have been playing consistently, are complaining that there isn’t anything left to do in the game. That doesn’t mean that they have done everything. I don’t see them walking around with the Dro-m’Athra skin or the Emperor title. However, I do understand what they mean: Anything else they can do in game would be boring or unachievable.