ESO: Morrowind First Impressions

I’ve never been a huge Elder Scrolls fan. I like in theory–huge, open world RPG, deep customization, great story, and an incredible soundtrack–but its setting is just such generic fantasy (Nordic people running around mountains shouting and slaying dragons… how original) with uninteresting combat, and perhaps a bit too much freedom to the point where you can really mess your character up if you don’t know what you’re doing. I thought Elder Scrolls Online was going to finally be my gateway to Nirn, but, while the gameplay was more to my liking, a few things never quite clicked for me.

Morrowind was marketed as a chance at a fresh start for the game; a new tutorial experience, a new class, and a new part of the world to explore. Any normal MMO would have called that an expansion, but apparently that’s not cool enough, so they’re calling this a new “chapter.” Whatever, everyone’s still going to think of it as an expansion, myself included. Anyways, a fresh start sounded like exactly what I needed in ESO, so I jumped in.

I really like the new warden class. The classes in ESO have never quite clicked for me, but the warden has a lot going for it. The bear pet has gotten a lot of attention, and that’s a great addition. The game sort of had a pet class in the sorcerer, but their pets were kind of underpowered, and, given the tiny hotbar ESO gives you, you were better off putting points into something else. The warden does pets much better, with the bear summon skill being slotted to the Ultimate slot, with a free, no cooldown, short cast time summon skill, which turns into a nice execute command for the bear once your ultimate meter is full. I also have access to a nice mix of DoTs, direct damage, heals, and crowd control, even from a low level. The warden is truly the jack-of-all-trades class they promised.

The story of Morrowind has really impressed me as well. Not that the base game’s story was bad by any means, but the expansion story has been more engaging so far. I’m usually not a big fan of elves, especially in the Elder Scrolls-verse, but the contrast of the Dark Elves’ Ashlander outcasts and various noble houses (I was super confused for a second when one of the Ashlanders referred to “House Elves” and my mind went instantly to Harry Potter) and their very different, but equally complex cultures. There was a quest in/around Balmora (the town in Morrowind, not that awful planet in SWTOR) that was quite the rollercoaster: family drama, betrayal, noble house strife, politics, and a lot of exposition of the Morag Tong, a group of honorable assassins (because nothing says “honorable” like a license to legally break in and murder someone without trial because somebody told you they were bad). I was half way through the quest line before I realized that this isn’t the main quest, it’s a random sidequest line. It has actually made leveling really slow, because I’ve spent so much time reading/listening to all of the quest text, and I’m totally ok with that.

I’ve always known that The Elder Scrolls Online would one day click with me, and finally, thanks to Morrowind, I think it finally is. I’m not sure it’s ever going to be my main MMO, but it certainly has me more excited to play than anything else I’ve done in the game up to this point. Next I’d really like to find a good guild and give some dungeon healing a shot, so if you know of any, let me know!