While we wait for The Elder Scrolls 6 to emerge from the bowels of Bethesda’s development monster, the developers over at Zenimax have given us a brand new look at the Argonian’s home: the Black Marsh. Murkmire is more than just a simple DLC; from what they tell me, the new overland region will be similar in size to the Clockwork city DLC released earlier this year, so we’re in for a heck of a ride here. Players can expect eight to ten hours of story along with two delves and two group bosses. If you’re looking to complete dailies, there are three of those as well, and don’t forget the new armor and weapons sets.
Jump into Murkmire
Those who have played the previous entries to the series know that the Argonians live in the Black Marsh, which is toxic to nearly all beings but Argonians. For that reason we thought that perhaps we would never see it, but The Elder Scrolls Online has clearly proven us wrong in that regard. Murkmire brings you to the heart of the Argonian homeland, allowing you to see them in ways never previously imagined in the series. As the developers explained it, whenever you encountered an Argonian in Tamriel they were either enslaved or were combatants – it’s not really a good measure of a society and as such we’ve never really gotten to know them. In Murkmire you’re not only going to get to meet them, you’ll learn more about their way of life.
Throughout Murkmire you’re going to see some rather amazing examples of Argonian architecture, which is nested alongside a range of imperial architecture. As the developers explained it to me, the empire attempted to occupy the land once and as they built their structures, they began to sink into the mud. As a result, you’re going to see a lot of half-sunken buildings, some of which can be explored and others that cannot. Additionally, you will see how the Argonians have adapted to the changing conditions in the swamp and how they have worked their own architecture around it. In my opinion, the Argonian architecture is a lot more interesting.
Lots to Explore
To start, you’re going to end up on a treasure hunt for a fabled Argonian relic, and you will find that no one knows exactly what it is – that’s something I’m looking forward to. Apart from the quests, however, you’re going to be entering a marsh lined with dense foliage and a plethora of dangerous creatures unlike anything you’ve seen in other parts of Tamriel. While I’m not going to go into every single mob that might attack you, I will note that plants are no longer just plants. If you’ve ever wanted to be surprised by a bush with legs and a natural flamethrower, then you’ve come to the right place. Bring a weed wacker.
Welcome to Lilmoth
You’re going to visit a lot of locations in Murkmire but Lilmoth is one of the first that you will come across. Located on the southern coast of the Black Marsh, this is the capitol of Murkmire and it is where you will come across a lot of the quests that will lead you through the DLC. A bit outside of Lilmoth will find you at an encampment housing a subrace of Argonians never before seen in the Elder Scrolls series – that’s something to get excited about.
Something I mentioned earlier was world bosses and one of the first that you will run into while exploring the area around Lilmoth is the Fen Necromancer. A little backstory here: when Argonians die they are promised reincarnation but only if they use grave stakes (similar in aesthetic to totem poles in Native American culture). If the grave stakes are not used, then they may return as an abomination. The Fen Necromancer is taking advantage of that and you will see him surrounded by risen Argonian abominations. One important piece of advice that the developers gave me, was ‘don’t die in this area.’ Fortunately none of us died but it does leave me to wonder exactly what would happen. Maybe you can go find out!
A Quick Look at Blackrose Prison
While we didn’t get to walk inside Blackrose, the devs did tell me that it features five arenas, two difficulties, and a new set of Arena weapons. Now that we have the obvious parts aside, do you want to know what’s really cool? Its leaderboard enabled. That’s right, you’ve been asking for it and they finally did it. A group-based leaderboard within a dungeon; it’s like we’re getting Christmas early.
Lakemire Xanmeer Manor
As always, we can expect a new house in Murkmire, and this time it’s the Lakemire Xanmeer Manor. While it’s a relatively small house on the inside, it does feature a massive courtyard instance and the house interior is underwater. No, sorry folks, we can’t swim yet, so all you can do is gaze out the windows of your underwater home and wish that you could explore the ruins.
Don’t worry, to make up for the distinct lack of swimming, the Zenimax devs have given us music boxes for our houses! That’s right, these unique music box fixtures can be placed within your home and they play standard ESO music that has been retooled to resemble typical mechanical music box sounds.
New Features for ESO Plus Users
ESO Plus users are going to get a whole host of benefits, but for right now they can expect to receive free items and discounts on specialty items through a brand new section in the crown store. In addition to free items, ESO Plus users will enjoy a stipend increase bringing them to 1,650 crowns per month. This is just in time for you to start saving your crowns for the next DLC.
Bringing PVP to the Next Level
Murkmire isn’t the only thing that’s changing with the new DLC – there are quality of life changes and even massive changes to the PVP system. If you are a frequent visitor to Cyrodiil, your life is about to be turned upside down as the developers have seen fit to allow for destructible bridges and gates that will need to be repaired or completely rebuilt. This adds new objectives and new reasons to defend these points on the map. Finally, we’re going to be seeing a re-balancing of outposts to ensure a better experience for everyone involved.
Quality of Life Changes
There is only one major qualify of life change to be expected for this DLC, which is character reordering. If your main character is third on the list but you would rather that they be first, then you can reorder your characters and put them in the order that you’ve always wanted.
Murkmire is going to bring a lot of welcome changes including many surprises that we didn’t cover in this preview. Look forward to it on PC on October 22, 2018 and Console November 6.
Related: Bethesda, MMORPG, Preview, The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax