With Elsweyr, The Elders Cross Online has received its next major expansion. What does it add to the game, which just went into the sixth year since its original release? Time for a few quick impressions.
In all the pre-release assets, the big draw for Elsweyr was the inclusion of massive dragons. The new expansion does indeed feature impressive looking dragons, but the Elsweyr story campaign also has big roles reserved for necromancers and the Khajiit, the cat people. There’s a lengthy new campaign that will last for 20 hours or more, and will show you the gorgeous new environments in which the Khajiit live.
I briefly checked out ESO when it first came out and then left it alone until now, and I couldn’t help but notice how visually appealing the game has gotten with the Elsweyr expansion. I gravitated back to Skyrim after the initial ESO release in 2014, but the 2019 version of the game now feels like a visually mature role playing game that can stand toe to toe with Skyrim – and thus makes my wait for The Elder Scrolls 6 a little easier.
Although the game world is populated with plenty of other players, you can engage with the world of ESO and Elsweyr as though you’re playing a single player adventure as well. In the new story, the Khajiit are being attacked by hordes of undead – led by a necromancer and supported by a bunch of dragons. When you play with the new necromancer class yourself it feels a little like “no no, I’m not with that dude” and people might treat you differently, but otherwise it’s essentially the same story.
While the narrative delivery (though some excellent voice acting) is great, the story itself is somewhat disappointing – especially if you, like me, are more used to the classic single player tales in the Elder Scrolls universe. If story’s your focus, then Elsweyr might feel disappointing. There are plenty of fun side quests to enjoy though – they add to the lore and are also delivered very well from an audiovisual perspective instead of feeling like they were tacked on as filler content. But… they don’t make up for the so-so main story.
On the other hand, the new character class (the necromancer) is one that gets better and better as you keep playing. Starting off you’re not all that powerful, but once you start raising the dead it’s a class that instills dread in those you encounter. And even though it’s been five years since ESO launched – and almost five years since I played, everything in Elsweyr – including the necromancers – feels seamlessly integrated.
So, although the main Elsweyr story is not a terrible thrilling one, my interest in ESO has been reignited by its content and the quality of the delivery. I can’t wait to go back and explore the stories and areas that came with the previous expansions now.