The Elder Scrolls Online – Greymoor is the fourth major expansion to the game and it very well may be the worst of all of them. That’s not to imply that it’s terrible or not worth anyone’s money, just that it does not live up to the high standard of the rest, especially it’s last excellent predecessor Elsweyr. In fact, compared to those which have gone before it, Greymoor feels formulaic and generic, lacking creative passion in many aspects. Everything from the new areas, to the enemies, to particularly the main quest, feel just a little phoned in and uninspired. However, in other ways it does at least build on an already excellent title and keeps its enduring quality.
Greymoor is set in the region of Western Skyrim, which was the big draw for this addition. Originally this worried me – how much more of Skyrim could I possibly want to see? In the end though it ended up being deeply nostalgic to see all these iconic locations from the series, and it was a pleasure to return to that world after so long. Anyone who’s played Elder Scrolls V will recognize many locations, as it’s basically the northwestern part of that map recreated in ESO. Revisiting Solitude, Dragonsreach, and many other locales has a certain amount of fun, however it does not change the fact that this is an area players have seen so much of before, and for that they may well now be tired of it. It seems strange that we’re given the opportunity to head here again, after all the exciting places explored previously. There has also been little change to these locations despite being 800 years in the past. For the sake of nostalgia, everything looks almost exactly the same.
Luckily there’s another area called Darkreach, a huge cave system under Tamriel, that ends up being much more visually interesting and exciting. Heading under there for the first time is a major highlight because of how gorgeous and huge it is. It refreshes an expansion that too often feels so standardized.
It’s in the new quests however that things start to feel really underwhelming in Greymoor; a lot of sidequests and particularly the main throughline seem to be filled with tired and cliche fantasy characters and storylines. Again, that’s not to say that it’s bad, just that it’s so much of what we’ve seen before that it feels like a step back just because the other expansions seemed to be filled with creative and unique ideas. You can’t shake the feeling that the writing seems a little rushed and pushed out here. This a major complaint for an MMO that prides itself on story and single player content.
That rushed feeling does not translate to the consistently high quality game loop which has only improved with the newest addition from Greymoor – the Antiquities system. This is a new non-combat activity involving using tools to find various artifacts around the world of ESO and digging them up. It’s a fun, puzzle-heavy, system that lets you look up and find ancient artifacts to sell as well as even rare equipment. Implemented to every area of the game, it is something I can see many players becoming deeply invested in, especially should they enjoy the lore of The Elder Scrolls.
Additionally another major savior for this expansion is the vampiric additions, many quests, dungeons, and enemies involving the creatures of the night that are interesting and engaging to fight. It’s an aspect of the world not shown all too often and their spotlight in Greymoor is much welcomed and hugely entertaining. There is also a fairly hefty overhaul of the vampiric skillines from the base game, and that acts as a worthwhile replacement to having no new class this time around.
In the end I had a lot of fun with The Elder Scrolls Online – Greymoor on Xbox One. It has everything that a good expansion for ESO needs – public dungeons, plenty of new delves, world bosses, and even a new massive raid-like trial for twelve players. The world is gorgeous, if not a little bland, the quests are serviceable, and the gameplay is still as good as it ever was. While it’s disappointing to see Greymoor tread very old ground after three previously exceptional and creative expansions, it’s still worth a play for veteran players and may even still excite those new to the scene. It’s undeniably a slight step down, but with the bar set where it is, it’s still a pretty good addition.