Nostalgia is a powerful thing. When used right, nostalgia can inspire us to spend over the odds in the hope of experiencing some of our greatest memories all over again. Depending on how well a product may be doing, nostalgia can often be the thing people look to in order to bring a fresh look or a bigger audience to what it is they are trying to sell. In the gaming industry, nostalgia is used a lot. This generation has become known as the generation of remasters after many old classics were revisited and given a fresh lick of paint. That is nostalgia in its mildest form.
Sometimes though nostalgia can bring back an experience from the ages that was near perfect and mix it with a modern take on a franchise in the hope to bring a better overall experience to both new gamers and old school fans. Elder Scrolls is a series with many titles that can make an RPG fan nostalgic, but the one title that bested them all was Morrowind. With The Elder Scrolls Online currently not quite matching the same heights, Bethesda have decided to call upon nostalgia and return fans to the beloved land of Morrowind once more in The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind expansion.
Before I tell you my thoughts about the return to the beloved land of Vvardenfell, it’s worth mentioning that when TESO first came out, I never really got on with it. I, like many, jumped at the idea of an online Elder Scrolls experience when it was first mentioned, but by the time the game finally rolled around, I’d realised that being ‘the chosen one’ along with countless others onscreen at the same didn’t quite have the same magic feel to it that the single player adventures have brought us. So my adventure into The Elder Scrolls Morrowind comes after only a short amount of time with the main game.
Fortunately, thanks to the One Tamriel update that was brought into TESO, players new and old are able to jump straight into The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind content regardless of character level. So with the all new Warden class coming as part of the Morrowind package, I decided to get started on a new character, before heading out for my adventure.
As with most expansions for the various MMORPG’s on the market, including TESO’s own Orsinium DLC, the Morrowind expansion isn’t something players will simply find themselves wandering into. Instead, to access the new content players are required to head on a boat trip across the water to start up the newest chapter. And by god do you feel it when you arrive.
TESO: Morrowind is set some 700 years before the events of Morrowind as we know it, but the same magical feeling is still there all the same – even if there are a few things different for the timeframe. From the moment you step off the boat in the quaint area of Seyda Neen, the iconic mushroom filled land is quickly overpowering and unlike anything else you’re likely to find in the overall TESO experience.
There are many things you’ll recognise if you’re a returning player from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Most notable is the dormant Red Mountain Volcano that towers over Vvardenfell, or maybe the evergreen luscious overgrow of nature on every footpath. Of course, as previously mentioned, the land is still littered with exotic mushrooms looking down from above, but something to truly marvel at is the labyrinthine ziggurat city of Vivec that is still under construction. Whilst this may not sound like something remarkable, it’s a sure sight better looking than anything I passed on my way through the rest of Tamriel.
Of course being an MMORPG, The Elder Scrolls: Online has always had plenty of content to keep the vast number of players busy over the months, and you’ll be happy to know the Morrowind expansion will only be adding to that unfinished quest list we all have. My time with the game wasn’t spent flushing out every quest I could possibly find, but even in passing conversation I noticed my quest log was filling up quicker than I could cope with. In a game in which players will be hoping to sink many hours into, that will of course only be a good thing. These weren’t those rubbish missions that repeat themselves either. In fact, if anything I dare say the writers behind the quests found in The Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind may just have some of the best humour you’ll ever see in a fantasy MMORPG game. One mission I went on for example saw me helping out a bunch of magicians who had an issue due to cat allergies. Things like this are what the Morrowind quest system is full of, and you can’t help but notice the creative freedom behind some of them.
Apart from the simple side quests, you’ll obviously find main objectives which bring a new plotline to get fully involved in – if you’re going at the whole thing solo, then expect to be busy for some time. But if quests aren’t enough to quench your thirst on your return to Morrowind, then you may need to ask the question of what you should be looking for an MMORPG. You see, whilst the storytelling certainly puts on an impressive showing in TESO: Morrowind, the PVP and new found PVE trial isn’t even remotely as enjoyable.
The entire game can be played in a group, but due to the One Tamriel update scaling characters levels with the enemies in a given area, it’s not exactly something you’ll need to do. That said there is the PVP Battlegrounds mode for players to join together, but even with some new maps, the combat feels incredibly poor when playing against another player. Sure the same technique and actions go into fighting another player as they do an enemy of the land, but the magic feels terribly underpowered and melee combat doesn’t ever seem to be as effective as it should. Honestly, the PVP is something you’re probably going to want to avoid. Even with the new Warden class that is available as part of the Morrowind expansion, magic abilities feel completely dull when duelling another player online… and that’s even with the new pet bear ploughing away at enemies beside you.
The only other reason you may find yourself wanting to group up would be for the Trials that have made their way to TESO. Trials are a 12-player PvE mode that pit players together in a team to battle it out – much like the Raids found in Destiny. But much like the Trials that are already in the game, the new Halls of Fabrication Trial offers nothing new or inventive that makes the solo experience worth divulging from.
The return of Morrowind will certainly be hitting the right notes with many fans of the series, but it also adds to a growing list of reasons as to why The Elder Scrolls series is better as a solo experience. That said, if you’re looking to go it alone then the Morrowind expansion will not disappoint. With plenty of content to keep players occupied there is certainly plenty of reason to get involved in the latest adventure, even if the price is on the high side. But if the exciting thought of taking on other players in an Elder Scrolls adventure keeps you contemplating this as your next purchase, I have to advise you to put those dreams to bed.