Anyone reading this column regularly understands that I have a bit of a tiff with ZeniMax because of the way it’s handled the leveling process in Elder Scrolls Online. And I honestly don’t think the devs are going to really change anything. However, I would like to give credit where credit is due. With the Orsinium DLC, ZeniMax might have captured the essence of my ESO playstyle.
I will log on, do a few quests, mostly by myself, then log out. I’m not hunting for group content. I’m definitely not looking for PvP. Sometimes, I’ll log in with a friend, and we will knock around a public dungeon or two. But mostly, I play ESO because I like the quests and I like being a werewolf. It’s not a hardcore game for me. In fact, it’s barely an MMO based on how I play the game. But I don’t have a problem with that. Everyone else can run around doing all the great group content and RvR PvP. I am content doing what I do. And with the latest DLC, it’s almost like ZeniMax read my mind.
A short history lesson
Traditionally, Orsinium was a symbol of unity for the Orsimer (orcs). Throughout their history, they have been cast out of one place or another. This caused the Orsimer to be quite tribal, but in the First Era, Torug gro-Igron founded a gathering of huts that became a haven where Orsimer could live the way they wished. Eventually, word spread of Torug’s village, and more and more Orsimer traveled the Wrothgar mountains to find refuge in the city that would become Orsinium.
Unfortunately, the reputation of the Orsimer preceded them. The Bretons and other more “civilized” races in the area took issue with a large gathering of Orsimer within striking distance of their homes. Despite the Orsimer claiming that Orsinium was a peaceful place, the other races of Daggerfall laid siege to the city and eventually destroyed it in 1E 980.
For about 2,500 years, Orsinium lay in waste, a relic of a past era. Until Kurog gro-Orsinium’s desire to be a leader for his people lead him to rebuild the ancient city in an effort to unite the Orsimer clans. He even says in the Orsinium DLC trailer, “Whoever opposes the uniting of the Orc clans will feel my wrath.”
I had always questioned the merits of playing an MMO by yourself. By design, MMOs are multiplayer games. Even the simplest online game is usually multiplayer in some way or another. And I always found it weird that people would play a multiplayer game all by themselves, until I played the Elder Scrolls Online.
The little stories in the game could be played with a group, but they really seemed to be more fun to just do by myself. I would have fun discovering all the characters and some of the interconnections between characters that I feel I would not discover if I had been rushed through with a friend.
Orsinium caters to my particular playstyle.
It has an epic story about the proud Orc culture. ZeniMax says that it has over 20 hour of story content. That more than fits my rule of making sure there there is at least one hour of content per dollar that I spend on the game. It only takes one month of ESO Plus membership to get the DLC and that’s only $15. If there was nothing other than the story, it would be worth it, but there is a lot more.
I don’t want this to sound like an advertisement for the DLC pack, but I do want to list some of the major features that have caught my attention. For starters, the livestream last week gave us a taste of the public dungeons. I was surprised at how expansive they are, with Old Orsinium being the one I’m most looking forward to.
It should go without saying that Old Orsinium is set in the ruins of the original city founded by Torug. And for a game that mostly consists of shades of brown in its dungeons, Old Orsinium is more of the same with a bit more green and white, but the expanse of the dungeon and the surrounding lore more than make up for its drab interior.
Level-scaling in Orsinium means that as soon as the DLC pack comes out, you can play it no matter what level you are. I don’t do veteran ranks. I am not interested in playing through the other faction’s content on the same character that I just ran through the Daggerfall Covenant content. This means that I will never reach VR16, which is the content cap for Orsinium. But someone like me can still play the content as soon as it comes out because of level-scaling. Again, it’s like ZeniMax was actually listening to me.
I might gush just a little bit about this, and I apologize. In the MMO world there is a certain type of player who loves the competition that MMOs bring but believes that most MMOs get it all wrong. These types of players, even though they love pitting themselves against other players, find the PvP metagame all wrong. Usually they will turn to group content, like raids, to get the thrill of winning. Some like the individual challenges, so they will turn to duels. But very few games track your wins and losses with duels. What is this player to do? The answer is Maelstrom Arena.
Maelstrom Arena is a gauntlet or crucible type of arena where challenge after challenge is thrown at you and your job is to survive. The Maelstrom Arena has a total of nine rounds, with four to six stages each round. Each round offers its own set of challenges and its own set of bosses.
According to the livestream last week, the normal mode of the Maelstrom Arena is intended to be practice for the veteran mode. For those interested in not only challenging themselves in a man-vs.-environment sort of way but also in a man-vs.-man kind of way, the Maelstrom Arena veteran mode offers leaderboards. I have complained about other games not understanding the “killer” player-type that Richard Bartle describes, but I believe that this arena gets it. And for all the things that ESO might have gotten wrong, this one thing stands out to me as a major thing that ESO got right.
Unfortunately, there are still some classes that outperform the Maelstrom, and in a class system as diverse as ESO, that’s to be expected for now. Hopefully, we’ll see some tweaks with that. But overall, I am a fan.
Of course, I just glossed over many of the new features for Orsinium. I didn’t even talk about the bear mounts, which are a personal favorite. What about you, though? Which features and additions coming with the Orsinium DLC are your favorites? Is this enough to make you want to try out the DLC? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and I’ll talk to you again soon.
Look for the Orsinium DLC to officially hit the PC and Mac servers on November 2nd, Xbox One Servers on November 17th, and PlayStation 4 servers on November 18th.