Last week, I had the opportunity to fly out to ZeniMax Online Studios and discuss The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind with game director Matt Firor, creative director Rich Lambert, and lead PvP designer Brian Wheeler. Essentially, the Morrowind expansion for ESO is going to take place 700 years before The Elder Scrolls III, but it intends to deliver a unique experience for new and old players alike.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind will include the first new class, the Warden, since the launch of ESO. It will also introduce PvP battlegrounds and a completely new story with more than 30 hours of quest content. Incidentally, the expansion will also release on the 15th anniversary of The Elder Scrolls III. Morrowind will utilize the same scaling technology that’s found in the base game, which means that it will be both an expansion for high-level players and a starting point for newcomers.
For those unfamiliar with the single-player Elder Scrolls titles, Morrowind helped set the tone for massive sandbox RPGs. As one of the first open-world RPGs on consoles in 2002, Morrowind received critical acclaim and was considered the ‘Game of the Year’ by a number of publications. Unlike most other games released at the time, a significant portion of the content was based on the player exploring on their own rather than following the main quest. Now, enthusiasts of the original game, along with new fans of The Elder Scrolls Online, can relive their experiences and once again explore Vvardenfell.
While Morrowind will be an expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online, it’s being treated like the next chapter of the story. Molag Bal will not be involved this time around, and new players will receive an entirely different tutorial. Additionally, the story is supposed to be taking place concurrently with the original, which means players can switch between the two plot lines at any time.
Even though The Elder Scrolls III came out 15 years, the world of Morrowind in The Elder Scrolls Online will take place 700 years in the past. Therefore, players can expect to find a lot of events and stories that will lead into what took place during the original game. Geographically, the zone will look very similar; many of the towns already exist or are being constructed, and players will encounter ancestors of NPCs from The Elder Scrolls III.
The overall environment for Morrowind is an island with a giant volcano situated in the middle. It’s still relatively dormant in its present state, which has allowed for lush coastal areas, but the areas immediately surrounding the volcano consist of the Ashlands. Overall, the zone feels a lot more alien than the rest of Tamriel with giant mushrooms, insects, and other creatures that aren’t found on the mainland.
During this time period, there is a lot of political turmoil in Morrowind. The main race on the island is the Dunmer, which is separated into five Great Houses: House Redoran, House Telvanni, House Hlaalu, House Indoril, and House Dres. The main quest will focus on the three houses interested in Vvardenfell (Redoran, Hlaalu, and Telvanni) and the emergence of the Sixth House. There will also be conflicts involving the Ashlanders and the Morag Tong, which acts as a ‘peacekeeping’ entity between the Great Houses. Essentially, the Morag Tong is a religiously accepted group of assassins that is sanctioned by the ruling council. Players will interact with the Morag Tong through Naryu Virian, who was featured in the Morrowind trailer.
Another main focus will be the Tribunal, which are the three main gods that rule Morrowind: Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec. These are mortal gods that can die, and there is a prophecy that Morrowind will be destroyed if all three are killed. In this timeline, Vivec is suffering from an ailment that is causing him to lose power. Throughout the story, Vivec continues to lose his power and the Baar Dau falls closer and closer to the city. It’s up to the players to figure out what is causing the god’s illness and to help prevent the destruction of Vivec City.
One of the most anticipated aspects of the Morrowind expansion is going to be the introduction of the first new class ever in The Elder Scrolls Online. The Warden will fill the role of a high-fantasy druid with an emphasis on nature magic. The three skill lines will be: Winter’s Embrace, Green Balance, and Animal Companion, which focus on ice magic, nature magic, and summoning Tamriel’s creatures.
The Warden is an incredibly balanced class that will be able to fill nearly any role in the game. The Winter’s Embrace skill tree is excellent for absorbing damage and survivability, Green Balance focuses on skill-based healing, and the Animal Companion skills focus on DPS. Creative director Rich Lambert suggested that many Warden skills will synergize with a bow, which would make it the first true bow DPS class.
Here is a breakdown of what we know so far about the Warden skills. Keep in mind that both the names and effects could change before the official release.
- Polar Wind – Provides a heal while damaging enemies.
- Ice Fortress – Grants a shield made of ice that buffs the Warden’s armor and provides Major Protection.
- Impaling Shards – Damage and snare your enemies with ice spikes from the ground.
- Crystallized Shield – A shield that increases survivability and absorbs projectiles.
- Frozen Device – Place a rune on the ground that warps enemies to the tank. This is especially helpful for keeping dangerous foes away from your backline.
- Ultimate: Sleet Storm – An AoE protective shield that moves with the Warden providing a mobile defensive buff.
- Fungal Growth – A frontal cone heal.
- Healing Seed – Place on the ground for a delayed heal or allies can active it right away.
- Living Vines – Heal your ally with the lowest amount of health.
- Green Lotus – Provides the Warden with a buff that grants group healing based on damage done to enemies.
- Nature’s Grasp – Pull yourself to an ally and provide them with a quick heal.
- Ultimate: Secluded Grove – Spawns a forest that provides a large amount of AoE healing.
- Screaming Cliff Racer – Summon a cliff racer from the sky that swoops down and damages enemies.
- Subterranean Assault – A Haj Mota will strike your enemies from below. It does AoE damage and stuns the first enemy it hits.
- Growing Swarm – Engulfs the target in a swarm of insects that does damage over time.
- Bull Netch – Summon a Bull Netch to recover stamina or a Betty Netch to regenerate Magicka.
- Bird of Prey – Grants the Warden a temporary damage and speed buff.
- Ultimate: Wild Guardian – A permanent War Bear ally that players can summon and control. Morphing this ability will either automatically re-summon the bear on death or provide a powerful attack on activation that can execute enemies.
Morrowind will launch with three separate PvP modes and have three unique maps that each game type can be played on. Battlegrounds will be 4v4v4, however, factions will not play a role in team compositions. The game types include: Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Domination. The initial three maps will have a Dwemer, Daedric, and quarry theme.
After the expansion is released, there will be more maps and game modes added. In order to access the Battlegrounds, players will need to own the expansion, however, the environments will be not limited to Morrowind. As players complete matches, they will earn experience, AP, and unique PvP equipment sets based on team score and personal achievements. This means that players can level strictly through PvP if they choose, however, it will be restricted until level 10, just like Cyrodiil.
Trials and Dungeons
The Halls of Fabrication will be the fifth 12-player trial in The Elder Scrolls Online and will be set inside of the Clockwork City. This is the first new trial since the introduction of the Thieves Guild. Sotha Sil created a miniature version of Tamriel inside of a sphere that is built on Dwemer technology. This is called the Clockwork City and will have players face off against the massive Dwemer Colossus, which was featured in the announcement trailer.
Additionally, there will be two new public dungeons. One will also be focused on Dwemer ruins while the other will be based on the formation of the Sixth House.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind will be available on June 6, 2017, retailing at $59.99. Players who already own the base game can purchase the expansion at a discounted rate of $39.99. Additionally, there is a digital collector’s edition for $79.99 and a physical collector’s edition priced at $99.99, which comes with a Dwemer Colossus statue.
Excited for The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind? Let us know what you’re looking forward to the most, in the comments section!Related: Expansion, MMORPG, Morrowind, Preview, The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax