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What I Played This Week – The Elder Scrolls Online

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Anyone who’s ever played a fantasy game, has heard of Skyrim or The Elder Scrolls, but until recently I somehow hadn’t played anything within their world. To celebrate the release of the new Morrowind expansion, I checked out the game to see what all the hype was about.

The Elder Scrolls Online is an MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game), and is one of the biggest for that matter, bringing in 8.5 million players according to Matt Firor, TESO’s Game Director.

It is set in Tamriel, a fictional continent in which all of the Elder Scrolls incarnations have taken place, and the player can explore the world freely. There are main quests and some infamously distracting side-quests to keep you busy, though you can choose to ignore them if you’d rather just venture out into the great outdoors and live off the land.

I played the Morrowind expansion for my first foray into the Elder Scrolls series, which may or may not have been the best idea. I was thrown headfirst into exposition, and had to take on a lot of new information at once as the world’s lore was told to me through narration.

The opening scenes of escaping a slave ship and helping to liberate my fellow slaves were engaging enough, though at times it was hard to follow and I couldn’t tell what I was meant to be doing. The map tool took me a few hours to figure out, but once you’ve struggled your way through these introductory scenes then what follows isn’t impossible.  

If you’re a seasoned Elder Scrolls gamer then these issues probably wouldn’t be as tough for you, as you’ll have already figured the mechanics out and know most of the lore already, but if not then you might have to resort to walkthroughs and tutorials like I did.

Something else to point out, which may seem obvious to the regular gamer, is that MMORPGs like The Elder Scrolls Online have a lot of content, which uses a lot of processing power. Even on the lowest graphics settings and having no other programs open during gameplay, the game was very laggy and slow. My laptop isn’t exactly the highest spec, but it’s not particularly old either, so if you’re not a fan of 10 minute loading screens between areas of the game and having to wait for your character to resume running every now and again, then this probably isn’t the game for you.

The price is also a concern – whilst I was sent my copy of the game free for this review, I would never have been able to afford it otherwise. All of the content I was sent (including the Gold edition of the game and the Morrowind expansion) cost upwards of £100, which just isn’t something that can fit within a student budget.

If you’re a die-hard Elder Scrolls fan with a rig that would support it and are willing to splash out on the game then it’s worth it given how much content you’re given, but if you’re a newbie like me then I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re on a budget.

Whilst I’ve detailed my issues with the game, I did enjoy what I was able to play. The story was interesting, the characters were nuanced and detailed, and the world was beautiful. The character creation process was very flexible, with many fantasy race options and sliders for almost anything you could think of.

If I had a better laptop, I’m sure that I’d be hooked on the game and putting more hours into it than is reasonable, it’s just a shame that I couldn’t experience more of it.

The Morrowind expansion for Elder Scrolls Online was released June 2017 and is available on Steam.




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