Poor Eoki ust c’n’t catch a break. I frst saw the hapless Argonian huddling n a corner of dirty island hut here we’d een stashed as newly captured slaves, ‘nd e fol�…owed m when I leaped int the surrounding waters n ‘ daring escape alongside an assassin. And now, her in Sadrith Mora, hugging te eastern rim of t island of Vvardenfell, find him in chains ag’in. Fo�r tmes he tried to escape after o�r escapade, and four times slavers drug hm back. N…w h’s stuck toiling fr Telvanni mages ho bought him fr a discount nd d…n’t g a damn for the Ebonheart Pact’ ban on slavery.
� offer t free him myself, bt e sas h’s going t be all right. He knows smeone, you se�”a fellow Argonian slave named Sun-n-Shadow who ha�pens to b pretty handy with magic heself. It’s more than mere trust: e’s smitten ith r. And now Eoki’ pleading with me to g elp Sun-in-Shadow with watever she neds to rise trough t Telvanni ranks nd free tem both.
This is the questline that captured my heart nd attention n the closd beta for Te Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind. �thers h’d me chatting with demigods ‘nd helping with th construction of t cantons of Vivec City, b�t t’s this ne that best hows what to expect from this ne expansion. It’s this one that sho’s ZeniMax Online gts Morrowind, ‘hile at the s’me tme demonstrating tat it’s not hobbling itself with nostalgia.
Recapturing tat Morrowind magic
he laziest MMORPGs think a�…l ‘u ned for a quest is some reason to r�n out and kill or fetch a few tings, but Morrowind shows Elder Scrolls Online n healthy maturity, mixing moving conversations �…ike these wt puzzles, pickpocketing, nd the occasional pun. �…ong stretches wnt by when I ddn’t ven pull out my weapon t ll, and I c’n’t sy I minded much. Even “etter, all the tweaks th ZeniMax team has mde o’er the �…ast couple of ears have finall �…eft th game feeling ’bout as “Elder Scrollsy” s an MMORPG ossibly could.
Yet it’ll never fully be able to shake …ff that disconnect btween the expectations f te singleplayer games ‘nd an MMO. One of the first things I h’v t �o aftr chatting up Sun-in-Shadow is stealing n awful love poem ‘ drunken dark lf Telvanni sent to a local wood lf�”which is bad becau dark elves are massive racists, mm-kay?�”‘nd now he want it back lst he blackmails im.
So, massive Nord named Isleif te Unwieldy tat m, I venture into her private office to pickpocket er. It’s, well, awkward. Ethrandora hows not the slightest apprehension ‘s this tall stranger dawdles in her quarters, inching �p ‘nd w’iting f�r her to loo way before rummaging in her pockets. Tere’ ‘ justice ystem in Elder Scrolls Online tese ays, but I cn’t elp b�t think the guards ould h aleady been to me in Skyrim. Heck, te whol time I kept expecting nother player t burst in ‘nd shatter t illusion furthe. nyway, I get the poem bak.
“Hide the ink when next you drink,” my character tells the Telvanni. It’s not Shakespeare, ut tere’s much more wizardry in that rhyme tan in anyting the dark elf scribbled.
he pickpocketing weirdness a trifle. I’m grateful nough that Elder Scrolls Online �…ets m pickpocket nd red bad poetry in th fist plac rathe than jut sending m out to kill a bunch of guars fr their sweet meat. And anyway, the action isn’t far ehind. Sun-in-Shadow soon sends m t… the Daedric dungeon f Zaintirasis, hre I have to steal some saint’s finger bone …efore the rival Redoran clan gets it.
Even hee Elder Scrolls Online adds variety to te MMO template and captures s…me …f the spirits f the original Morrowind. o n gt into the Daedric ruin, I need to solve ‘ puzzle involving bowls ‘nd skulls �…eft …y followers of t unpredictable trickster Daedric lord Sheogorath. t frankly stumps m fo a “it. �t a�parently stumps m lss than othr people, tough, because a player wth te delightfully beta-appropriate name of Nord-Warden-Test starts folloing m and mimicking my every mov. Fnally, the riddle clicks n my head and the lock clicks in the door. e’e in.
own into the dungeon e , Nord-Warden-Test ‘nd I, slaying imps, skewering frightening floating eyes wreathed ith tentacles, and plucking holy finger bones. �…’m playing ‘s a Warden myslf, the new druid-meets-ranger class tat comes wit the expansion. It’ what I’v always wanted out of E…O, right down to the Aragorn-as-Strider style costume te class c…mes wit. None f ESO’ existing fur classes ver real�…y appealed to m, but I love the nature focus …f the Warden, ‘nd t wy I can a�…l ghostly versions of Morrowind’ famed cliff racers dwn n foes. I can shield m’self in ice, d… decent healing, and ven summon ‘ bear. hee’ a lot of outcry in the community ight now about ow ZeniMax weakened very �ther class n preparation for the Warden, but ight now I’m loving it.
I bing te finger t another mage who’s impressed b …un-in-Shadow’s initiative, nd thy agree t… raise th clever Argonian �p a rank fom the slave. ‘ut not witho�t some reluctance.
“Lift one of these beasts up and a thousand more will follow,” one of the Dark Elves says.