Let me just start things off by saying that I am a fan of the Elder Scrolls series as a whole, including the Elder Scrolls Online. I have played them all and I love the world. I have been anticipating the release of the Morrowind expansion since it was first announced. I will be staying away from any major spoilers during the course of this review but I will be discussing some minor plot points. You’ve been warned. Now, to get things started, let’s meet the character that brought me back to Morrowind.
Gretka Ice-Hands is a no-nonsense Nord woman. She loves long walks by the Abecean Sea, the feel of grass beneath her feet, and unleashing her monstrous bear companion on unsuspecting bandits. She is, as you probably guessed, a Warden – a class I swiftly fell in love with.
Gretka’s journey began as all Elder Scrolls adventures begin— as a prisoner. This delightful on-going gag is somewhat of an expectation for Elder Scroll fans by this point and I was excited to see that the Morrowind DLC kept with the tradition. I had so much fun sneaking around, killing stealthily, and stealing items to escape I almost forgot I was playing an MMORPG until another player character came out of nowhere and broke my immersion. A part of me wishes the initial tutorial area of the DLC was a solo instance.
Any sort of issue I might have had, though, was dismissed once I arrived on Seyda Neen soil. For anyone who played The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind back in 2002, this entire area is a nostalgia trip. In true Elder Scrolls fashion, the Morrowind DLC almost immediately releases the player to the world, allowing them the freedom to go where they please and do what they choose. So, Gretka picked up the first quest she could find and went to work.
This would eventually lead our intrepid adventurer to the main story—a mysterious illness, a Daedric Prince, and a Living God. Lord Vivec is one of three Living Gods that inhabit Morrowind. He is debatably the most powerful, the most well-known, and the centre of the Morrowind main quest line. He is being afflicted by an odd and mysterious sickness and worries that the appearing Daedra and awakening Red Mountain may be tied to his illness. Vivec enlisted the help of Gretka Ice-Hands to discover what truly ails him.
And Gretka did so. Now, I won’t spoil what all went on within these hours of play time, but I will tell you that I enjoyed them immensely. The sinister plots, the bloody battles, and the dealing with gods were woven into the world so expertly that I found myself, for the first time since loading up the Elder Scrolls Online in 2014, admiring how well the story was written.
The main plot is very much tied to the religion of the Dunmer, or Dark Elves, with a little bit of Daedric influence thrown in for good measure. Whether you are a lore nerd like I am or simply along for the ride, you will find yourself entranced by this story of gods. However, I do feel as though the politics of Morrowind could have been intertwined a bit more with the main story. The Great Houses are such a huge part of the island of Vvardenfell that I felt the content was a bit lacking without them.
With the Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind DLC, the developers have added many more instances of character interaction which was sorely lacking in the base game and even the other DLC. I witnessed one badass mage be surrounded by bandits before unleashing her fury, knocking one out on either side of her and then striking the one in front before he even had a chance to draw his weapon. She then turned, staff resting casually over one shoulder, and addressed me.
This was not a scene one typically sees in the base game and it immediately gave me an idea of who this new character was and how they were certainly not to be trifled with. I only wish there was more of this sort of thing in the Elder Scrolls Online as a whole. Cutscenes, perhaps, could add more immersion to a story. I am not asking for scenes as expertly crafted as the cinematics on Youtube, but rather something created from in-game assets. However, cinematic-level cutscenes would be nice, of course.
Though the island of Vvardenfell is… well… an island, the map is still quite large. I found myself walking great distances to get to the next point for the main questline and it truly felt as though I was on a journey. Along the way I found hidden treasure and a plethora of side quests which I promptly ignored since this review was on a tight deadline. Rushing the main quest line took approximately 6 hours, but your experience may differ. Add that to the wide array of side quests and dailies and you have yourselves a solid 30 hours of gameplay for a $39.99 upgrade to the base game, or so they claim.
The Morrowind expansion was a rather fun and balanced experience, but I did hit a snag or two, like one particularly difficult boss. Without going into details it is hard to describe, but I came across a boss halfway through a dungeon that I simply couldn’t get past. Every time I would die I would be teleported to the nearest “wayshrine” which was right outside the door to the boss. I had no potions or food left and I was still relatively low-level. I had to backtrack through the dungeon to get out, do one side quest for gold, purchase 10 health pots, and then return to the dungeon. This probably wouldn’t have happened if I was side-questing, but if you plan to just barrel through the story like I did, make sure you’re aware that there are challenging bosses in store for you. I would love for there to be a way to quickly teleport out of a dungeon upon death instead of having to backtrack as this really put a halt on my gameplay.
Overall, the Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind was an incredibly entertaining bit of DLC that I am happy to have paid for. Lore nerds and experienced Elder Scrolls players may have a slight advantage when it comes to knowing and understanding the characters and some vocabulary, but the game does a great job of introducing new players to the world as well. There were a lot of positive additions to the game in the expansion, like the new enemies, animations, and excellent story, and I found very few outright flaws.
My main issue is the price. If it were $10 less expensive I might say this is a near perfect addition to the base game. I do wish the main story dealt more with Morrowind politics and was lengthened, but most of my issues are with the game as a whole, not the expansion. A sense of drama could have been added with cutscenes, and some kind of fast travel system would be nice in dungeons, but I can say with the utmost confidence that I recommend the Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind. Purchase your copy now on the Elder Scrolls Online’s official website in order to get play the Early Access and get some fun bonuses.