Stepping out into the various provinces of the world of Tamriel always fills me with excitement. Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim were all joys to behold. Rich, lore-filled worlds with fantastic stories that just shout out to be explored. The Elder Scrolls will always hold a very special place in my heart. So, it was with trepidation that I took my 'second' first steps in Morrowind as a newbie to The Elder Scrolls Online.
But first, it's time to spend far too long in the character creator. I have a love-hate relationship with character creators, often set in dark environments which ensure that your beautiful three-hour long creation looks like a monster in the real-world. It's not as insanely powerful as Black Desert Online but it offers plenty of options to create unique characters.
As the game loads, I'm immediately hit with a healthy dose of nostalgia. For this isn't an unfamiliar world to me, I've explored Morrowind in a future life (TESO: Morrowind takes place 700 years prior to the original). The familiar rock of the ship kicks in as I read a welcome letter laid out in front of me, shortly afterwards a drunken passenger enters, seemingly very excited to reach Vvardenfell. I soon find myself, again familiarly, in prison. Soon after, you find yourself in Seyda Neen - one of the first locations in the original game. It's at this point that you see the kind of care and detail that's gone into the game world. When games revisit past locations, it's often a different part or just overhauled and different and you can see why, you don't want to bore gamers by offering the same play space (I'm looking at you, Crackdown 2). At the same time, Morrowind is 15 years old and it shows. Seyda Need shares the same general layout as in the original, it's very familiar for those of you who have played Morrowind, but it looks good. Really good. Dynamic lighting, plenty of detail and extra props laying around set the scene, giving Seyda Need more life than ever before. The good news is that this stretches outside of Seyda Neen too. Nostalgia done right, then.
A short, seamless tutorials takes place which highlights an important feature for me as a new player. Although this is an expansion pack, you don't need to be a veteran to play it. There's a familiar scalable levelling system that allows you to venture out and not worry too much about being completely overpowered. Like it's offline equivalent, you're free to explore and do as you wish. Due to this, players who have played any The Elder Scrolls game will feel right at home. It's entirely possible to play Morrowind as single player. Whilst that quite obviously contradicts the point of an MMO, it's especially good for new players, and people with no friends (not me, obviously). The whole game felt, to me, just like playing Morrowind again.
The Elder Scrolls has never had the most compelling combat and the same can be said here, it's a little clunky but that's unlikely to put off hardened fans. The game really does play a lot like the offline titles but with the benefit of multi-player. As mentioned earlier, the vast majority of the content can be done as a solo-player but there is plenty of content for multi-player too. It can and often does feel out-of-whack because you play as 'the hero', and so does everyone else. Some of the script refers to you as such, as if you're the only one but then you see a bunch of other people stood around talking, being given the same lines. It hardly ruins the game but it feels as though it may be better to have present you as part of a greater solution.
Multi-player continues in 'Battlegrounds', 4v4v4 PvP matches which take place on well-designed maps. They can be done with randoms or you can form a party with friends. Typically, they are hectic close quarters combat - you can stay back but no one is so far away that they can't pull you in and perform the kill. Battlegrounds take place as either team deathmatch, capture the flag, and domination (in which you hold locations on the map for points).
Something that I love about these games are the stories, much more than just kill and fetch quests, you're often sent on charming quests, sometimes mundane, sometimes forming into something much grander. These quests that start out small and simple are still present, the first that really gripped me saw me tracking down a rich family's daughter - what I thought would be a short throw away quest had me refusing to put the pad down. And yes, controller support is present, adding extra accessibility to new gamers. Controller support is still in beta but worked flawlessly during my playthrough.
A worthy return to Morrowind for gamers who were there in 2002, ESO: Morrowind provides an enjoyable online experience for both multiplayer fans and solo players alike. Clunky combat, which fans will already be used to, features once again but serves and purpose, certainly not enough to ruin everything else.
- A fantastic nostalgic return to Morrowind
- Typically interesting quest lines
- Plays like an offline The Elder Scrolls game
- Feels like a single-player game
- Clunky combat
- PvP is present but not enough to keep you coming back for more
- Feels like a single-player game