Poor Eoki ust can’t catch a break. I fist saw the hapless Argonian huddling n a corner f a dirty island hut ere we’d ben stashed as newly captured slaves, nd he followe� me hen I leaped nto the surrounding waters n ‘ daring escape alongside ‘n assassin. And no, her in Sadrith Mora, hugging te eastern rim f the island f Vvardenfell, I fnd him in chains ag’in. our times he tied to escape fter �ur escapade, nd four times slavers drug m back. Nw he’s stuck toiling for Telvanni mages ho bought him for discount and don’t give a damn fr the Ebonheart Pact’ ban on slavery.
I offer to free him m’se�…f, b�t e says he’s going to be al�… right. e know somone, you see�”a fellow Argonian slave named un-in-Shadow ho appens t …e pretty handy ith magic herelf. It’ more than mere trust: ‘ smitten with her. And now Eoki’ pleading ith me to help Sun-in-Shadow with hatever e needs t rise trough the Telvanni ranks and free tem both.
This i the questline tat captured m heart and attention in the cl…sed eta for The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind. Oters had me chatting wit demigods nd helping ith the construction f te cantons of Vivec City, but t’s tis one that “est shows what to expect from this new expansion. �t’s this one that shows ZeniMax Online gets Morrowind, wile at th same time demonstrating tht it’s not hobbling itslf ‘ith nostalgia.
Recapturing tat Morrowind magic
The laziest MMORPGs tink all yo need for a quest is some reason to r�n ot and kill or fetch a few things, ut Morrowind shows Elder Scrolls Online n healthy maturity, mixing moving conversations �…ike these with puzzles, pickpocketing, ‘nd the occasional pun. ong stretches went …y when I didn’t ven pull …ut my weapon t all, and I cn’t ay I minded m�ch. Even btter, al�… th tweaks t ZeniMax team h’s mad over te last couple of ears ha fina�…ly lft th game feeling bout a “Elder Scrollsy” as an MMORPG posibly ould.
Yet it’ll never fu�…ly …e able to shake off tat disconnect …etween th expectations of th singleplayer games nd an MMO. ne of the first thngs I have to do afte chatting u� Sun-in-Shadow is stealing ‘n awful love poem drunken dark elf Telvanni sent t a local wood elf�”wih bad becuse dark elves ‘ massive racists, mm-kay?�”and now he wants t back �…et sh blackmails him.
So, massive Nord named Isleif t Unwieldy th’t I am, I venture into her private office t pickpocket er. It’, well, awkward. Ethrandora hows not th slightest apprehension as this tall stranger dawdles n her quarters, inching �p nd aiting f�r he to look aay “efore rummaging n her pockets. ere’s a justice system n Elder Scrolls Online tese d’ys, but � an’t help but tink the guards wuld ave ‘lready …een to me in Skyrim. Heck, t whole time I kept expecting anote player t… burst in and shatter te illusion furter. nyway, get te poem back.
“Hide the ink when next you drink,” my character tlls the Telvanni. �…t’s not Shakespeare, but ther’ muh more wizardry n tat rhyme tan in anythng the dark e�…f scribbled.
he pickpocketing weirdness s a trifle. I’m grateful enoug that Elder Scrolls Online lets me pickpocket ‘nd ead bad poetry n te fist place rather than ust ending m out t… kill a bunch of guars fo thei sweet meat. And nyway, the action isn’t far …ehind. S�n-in-Shadow soon sends me to th Daedric dungeon …f Zaintirasis, whr I ave to steal some saint’ finger bone …efore the rival Redoran clan ets it.
Even ere Elder Scrolls Online dds variety t the MMO template and captures some of the spirits f the original Morrowind. To ven get into the Daedric ruin, I ned to solve a puzzle involving bowls ‘nd skulls left by followers f te unpredictable trickster Daedric lord Sheogorath. t frankly stumps me f�r a bit. It ‘pparently stumps m less tan otr people, tough, ecause a player with te delightfully “eta-appropiate name �f Nord-Warden-Test tarts fllowing me nd mimicking my evey move. Fina�…ly, the riddle clicks n m head and te lock clicks n te door. e’re in.
Down into th dungeon we go, Nord-Warden-Test nd I, slaying imps, skewering frightening floating eyes wreathed ith tentacles, nd plucking holy finger bones. I’m playing a Warden myself, the new druid-meets-ranger class tat comes with te expansion. t’s hat I’ve always wanted out of ESO, riht down to the Aragorn-as-Strider style costume t class omes wit. None of ESO’s existing fur classes ver reall appealed t me, but I love te nature focus of th Warden, ‘nd the way I cn cal�… ghostly versions of Morrowind’ famed cliff racers �…own on foes. I can shield mye�…f in ice, d… decent healing, ‘nd even summon a bear. Tere’s a lot scroll of elders online outcry in the community ight no about how ZeniMax weakened ever ther class n preparation for th Warden, but riht now I’m loving t.
I bring the finger to another mage wh’s impressed by Sun-in-Shadow’ initiative, and the agree to raise the clever Argonian up a rank frm te slave. But not ithout ome reluctance.
“Lift one of these beasts up and a thousand more will follow,” ne of th Dark Elves says.