A little while back, Bethesda made its presence felt during PAX East weekend in Boston. Granted, it wasn’t actually at the show, but it did host the Bethesda Game Days event. There, it gave fans the opportunity to go hands on with Rage 2, as well as check out the new Elder Scrolls Online content for Elsweyr. While the company’s first-person shooter had its fair share of popularity, fans flocked to see what the new expansion of ESO would offer, and it’s quite a bit.
Already available on the company’s PTS (and set for release this June), this new chapter has an abundant amount of content for fans to check out. Right off the bat, you’ll get to see the land of Elsweyr, a massive new zone that offers dangerous foes to take on, and new goodies to discover.
On top of that, there’s also a new main story quest within the game, along with the introduction of a whole new class – Necromancer. Whatever character you decide to use, however, you’ll find lots to do. There’s a new Trial, Sunspire; a series of new Dragon Hunt events; some new world bosses to tackle; public dungeons to explore; item sets to unlock for your character; and, of course, side quests to add to your adventure overall.
The big thing here, based on my gameplay time with the new expansion, is dragons. Granted, you’ve probably seen enough of these beasts in Skyrim, however, in Elsweyr, they have an imminent amount of presence, and players are going to like what they find with these creatures.
Elsweyr actually kicks off a whole year of content being planned for ESO, as part of a “Season of the Dragon” by the publisher. But this is obviously one hell of a start for it, based upon what we experienced from within the game.
While there’s a lot happening with the dragons, we dare not ignore what the Necromancer brings to the picture here. This class relies heavily on calling upon the undead to do bidding, including minions that run around on fire and skeletons that carry bows and arrows, serving as a secondary arsenal to take on enemies. That said, it’s not entirely about being an action-based class. In fact, if you think tactfully and set them up for victory from a defensive advantage, you could very well score some bonus points for your character.
Thus far, the spells that your Necromancer can cast are highly impressive. The team at Bethesda put a ton of work into the animations so that the dead really come to life like nothing you’ve seen in a game like this. The way they execute battles is also impressive and keep in mind this is coming from a person who doesn’t usually engage in such a role-playing adventure of this magnitude. This could be just the type of character to bring you in and keep you there.
Now, let’s get back to those dragons. We didn’t actually experience these within our game demo, but during a recent live-stream for the game, the team discussed how you can see them on the map and go after them. That said, you’ll need to continue your pursuit, and if you die, you’ll need to be back on the hunt. That said, they are pretty impressive to see, and it’ll be interesting to see what they have in store when the expansion comes around.
Oh, and one other great feature is being able to form your guild around improved rules. While Elder Scrolls Online is certainly not challenging when it comes to putting together your own group, there are limits in terms of how you can connect. However, once Elsweyr launches, players will be able to search in a directory and see who’s playing. You can actually change certain search terms for your character, such as what kind of guild you’re looking to be part of; teammates you might be on the hunt for; and more. It’s an interesting new tool that should make it easier to put a group together, and we know that’s something a lot of fans have been asking for. Alas, we didn’t see it in action during the demo, but it sounds very promising, to say the least.
While hunting down dragons and playing with the undead sounds all well and good, Elsweyr actually offers something deeper with its exploration. Within this new world, you can discover a stunning new culture, with its own abundant history to dig into. This includes visiting the city of Rimmen, though you may want to watch out for Imperial forces that will stop at nothing to keep you from taking over.
For that matter, you can also check out the forests within the Tenmar Borderlands, as well as the Two Moons Temple. Sure, you may be tempted to hunt down a dragon or two, but it never hurts to see what you can find in-between taking on the zone events.
Oh, and when you do get into a skirmish with a dragon, be prepared for the fight of your life. As I mentioned before, they can take a licking and finish you quickly, forcing you to begin your fight again. They’re more devastating than most enemies in the game – even the Abyssal Geysers, and anyone will tell you what a handful they are. Your best bet is to work with that guild feature and take them on with friends. Going on your own is not advised; you’ve been warned.
As for those side quests, they lend a hand when it comes to the story coming together. As you venture through the land, you’ll come across the Khajiit people, who will ask you favors and provide you some details on their history – some of which can be quite useful as you make your way on to your next adventure.
Those dungeons can be fun as well. You won’t just deal with the usual round of cretins. Instead, you’ll have to put up with all sorts of beings as you journey through the Tomb of the Serpents or the Delves. Just be careful – those Akaviri spirits mean serious business.
There’s a lot of ground to cover here, so your best bet is to just explore and check out the world of Elsweyr for yourself. It’s firmly stacked, and looks to be one of the most important expansions for ESO to date. And the good news is you won’t have to wait too long for it. As I mentioned, it’s already available on PTS if you’re playing on PC. Otherwise, it’ll release on June 4 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. We know you’re dying to check out the guild stuff, and honestly, we can’t blame you.
(Thanks to Bethesda for having us down to play the game!)
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