The Elder Scrolls Online is going to Morrowind in June

When The Elder Scrolls Online [official site] first slunk into the world I was not impressed. At a preview event, I was reticent, and at release I was still unconvinced. The MMO shackles just didn’t fit with the Elder Scrolls I have always known. But Zenimax have been hacking away at the RPG’s extraneous limbs and replacing them with whole new ones, which has reportedly improved the beast. Morrowind is the next leg to be stitched on, the developers have announced, bringing with it the wide island of Vvardenfell, 30 hours of story quests, a new class and a new PvP mode.

This’ll be happy news for any oldy-worldy fans. Here’s some of the places you’ll be going and some of the jaunts you’ll be having, according to the devs.

Players will embark on a dangerous journey through legendary locales in Vvardenfell, 700 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls III, from the docks of Seyda Neen, to the volcanic Ashlands, to dense, mushroom-filled forests, and through the glory of Vivec City, still under construction in this time period

Morrowind is in dire peril and it’s up to player heroes to help Vivec, the legendary warrior-poet and Guardian of Vvardenfell, solve the mystery of his mysterious illness, regain his strength – and save the world from ultimate destruction

The new class is called the Warden, the first new class since launch. This mucker will have a skill called the War Bear, which summons a massive grizzly to fight alongside you. This is what they reckon that will feel like.

Which is probably not accurate. But it is pretty. The new PvP mode, meanwhile, is called Battlegrounds and it pits three groups against each other in “arena-like environments”. Stabby, magicky battles of 4v4v4 in the Ashlands. On top of that there’s a new 12-person Trial in the Clockwork City. The whole caboodle is scheduled for release on June 6.

Like I say, this isn’t the only update TESO has received since launch. The Dark Brotherhood were added, the subscription fee was thrown out and an update called “One Tamriel” scaled all the enemies of the world to your level and ditched class restrictions to your character. All solid efforts to bring the game closer to what people wanted. Before this you couldn’t go anywhere without grinding and being impeded by MMO gateiness. Now, you can prance about and steal things. Richard thought all this helped when he dipped back in for his Scrollbars column, though maybe not enough.

Whatever the case: if you’re still playing, they’re still making.

19 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    I shudder to think how many more dozens of gigs this adds to the download size!

  2. warkwark says:

    I’m surprised they’re (apparently) making enough cash from this thing to keep churning out expansions. MMOs usually require giant teams, and I didn’t think this one was successful enough to keep investing in. Maybe I was wrong.

    I still think the idea is dumb. Elder Scrolls are the original Massively Single-Player games… turning them into an MMO essentially removes the twist that makes them unique.

    • Someoldguy says:

      Once the MMO is running, you can prune the team back hard. It then becomes a question of whether it’s making enough money to cover maintenance, the inevitable need to refresh bits and tweak things and pay off some of that massive investment. If it’s making more than it’s costing then it makes sense to keep it running. Quite a lot of MMOs have managed to eke along on low maintenance mode with an expansion now and then.

      Turbine have recently shut the doors, calling time on Asheron’s Call after 17 years, but D&D Online and LotRO still rumble along quietly and add new content now and then, albeit under a new company banner. Lots of other MMOs are doing the same. I haven’t bothered with ESO since I don’t really have enough time for serious MMO gameplay any more, but I still dip into GW2, DDO and LotRO now and then.

      • brucethemoose says:

        Indeed. That massive up-front development cost is just a sunk cost, from then on covering the maintenance costs is the only thing that matters.

        Just look at the extreme example: SWTOR. One of the most expensive games in history, lightly populated these days, yet it’s still worth maintaining.

        • Boardwalker says:

          Actually, SWTOR is doing pretty well: link to massivelyop.com

          • brucethemoose says:

            Huh.

            I played at launch, and picked it back up just before TFA came out (to satisfy a wave of KOTOR nostalgia). I had a hard time finding groups for some areas that require them, but I guess it wasn’t desolate either.

    • SaintAn says:

      That’s what scams do, they make money. As long as there are people stupid enough to pay money for digital items or pay a monthly fee for a F2P game then they will be making a profit.
      This isn’t even an MMO on the PVE side, it’s the PVP side that’s MMO, PVE is just multiplayer.

      And Darkfall pulled off the Morrowind formula in an MMO and it was great. Shame a 5 person indie studio working out of a basement could do what a big AAA developer/publisher with a lot of funding couldn’t. Shows just how bad the industry is.

    • Boardwalker says:

      As someone who follows MMOs very closely, I can say that ESO is actually doing quite well. Quite well indeed.

      I never played the SP versions of the game, but I’ve been having a blast in ESO. Looking forward to this expansion.

  3. Lachlan1 says:

    Let it die so we can have ESO 6 already

    • heystreethawk says:

      The team that runs ESO, Zenimax Online Studios, does not share team members with the studio working on the single player games. I mean, they might share the lore guy, who looks like a wizard.

      • Lachlan1 says:

        Yeah I know. It’s owned by the same company that’ll want to milk eso dry before releasing es6 though. It’s already been longer between numbered installments than at least the last few games.

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          They’re wasting yet more time working on a presumably large and detailed game, you say? Quick! Someone send the CFO a memo that the Skyrim money is running out.

          Less sarcastically, I hope they’re using the bonus time and funds on a less clunky engine and user interface, alongside the more important things. As great as the earlier TES games were, ESO’s completely spoiled me in terms of what to expect interaction-wise from an Elder Scrolls game. This hope even has some tenuous basis in reality, as it happens.

  4. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Sweet!! I like ESO overall and for a lot of its parts quite a bit, and exploring without fear of racers/rats/wolves assaulting me at every turn was one of my favorite parts from the outset. (This required sneaking, being slow for very long periods of time, and staying out of dungeons, and those happen to be some of my cups of tea.)

    When I tried to swim to Vvardenfell pretty much right off the bat, I was of course greeted by a school of slaughterfish, so now I’m pretty psyched to come full circle and visit old stomping grounds from 10-15 years ago.

    Thanks for the news!

  5. Aitrus says:

    There are some screenshots here, two of which look like good old Balmora (couldn’t find an official source for them).

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Ooo, nice. There’s also that presumably Telvanni-oriented place, which reminds me that they’re supposed to be neutral in the war between alliances and all. I wonder if they’ll have some big or biggish role to play in the expansion, or if they’ll just kinda be there, growing houses and trying to enslave a quarter of the players…

  6. malkav11 says:

    I don’t really understand why they’re pitching it like they’re adding Morrowind when Morrowind is where one of the three factions starts. Yes, okay, the bit of the province we’re familiar with from the singleplayer games is getting added, but plenty of other bits are already in.

  7. meepmeep says:

    Yay! Cliff Racers!

  8. Vermintide says:

    Elder Scrolls Online is the first MMO that has ever managed to actually hook me. I’ve always wanted to like MMOs, but their PvE is always too much of an obvious skinner box and the PvP always far too steep of a learning curve for me to get into. This is the first one in over a decade that I’ve played without feeling like I’m wasting my time.

    It’s the little things really. The playerbase seems more inclined to get into the spirit of roleplaying (BLOOD FOR THE PACT!), the lore has depth and is deeply cosy for ES fans, finding ACTUAL LOOT CHESTS in the wild, being able to steal items, pick pockets, running away from guards… It feels like a real game instead of a fancy 3d spreadsheet.

    So it’s fair to say I’m pretty hype for Vvardenfell.