ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: GREYMOOR REVIEW

Our resident Elder Scrolls fanatic, Grant Von Berg aka K4ISER, was entrusted a task too great for mere mortals. A task he whole-heartedly attacked and conquered with a mighty battle cry*.

Read on and see what Grant has found in the lands of Tamriel.

*Not sure if true, I have yet to hear his Battle Cry

Now, if like me you’re an absolute Elder Scrolls fangirl, then Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is something that you should definitely think about sinking your teeth into.

If you’ve lived under a rock and don’t know what an Elder Scroll is or who Bethesda are but you like bows and arrows, swords and shields, helmets with horns on them and lots of magic and fantastical creatures then this game may just be up your alley too.

ABOUT ESO

The ESO franchise was first released to PC and Mac in 2014, and then to Xbox One and PS4 the following year. The initial release of the game was met with its fair share of problems and, much like other big MMOs on the market, needed a subscription to play. In 2015, ESO was rereleased with the Tamriel Unlimited Edition and a subscription was no longer needed to play.

Since then, the game has released expansions for Morrowind, Summerset, Eleswyr and, most recently, Greymoor, as well as other DLCs.
These expansions and DLCs come with huge amounts of additional in-game content and quests to make sure that you have hours upon hours of stuff to keep you busy with.

So why ESO over other Elder Scrolls games?
Unlike other Elder Scrolls games, like Oblivion and Skyrim where you are limited to one province of Tamriel at a time, ESO allows you to explore all the breathtaking beauty that Tamriel has to offer. The world is so diverse and everchanging as you travel from the tundras of Skyrim to the ancient forests of Valenwood with everything in between. ESO allows you to see all the familiar places from previous Elder Scrolls games (with a twist) as well as explore new ones that the other games have not yet gotten to.
And you get to explore, delve, rescue and conquer with friends.

We were lucky enough to be given the ESO: Greymoor Collector’s Edition (CE) so we’re going to focus in on that one.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

While we didn’t actually get a hardcopy of this version, which I’m sure comes with a whole bunch of other goodies, the digital version of the Greymoor CE definitely wasn’t lacking in the goodies department.

This edition gives you the base game as well as all, that’s right – ALL, of the previous expansion’s CE versions too. Know that does make up for the heavy dent it’ll leave on your bank account with it weighing in at a whopping R1 339 on the Xbox Store at the time of writing.

Some of you may be asking what exactly you get for the price of 34 medium Big Mac meals? And right you are for doing so.
You get;
– ESO Tamriel Unlimited
– ESO Morrowind CE which includes Grey War Bear, Armored War Horse mount, Dwarven Spider pet, Morag Tag Outfit Style conversion, Exclusive Character emote pack.
– ESO Summerset CE which includes Bloodshadow Wraith Steed mount, Fledgling Gryphon pet, House of Reveries emote pack, Divine Prosecution outfit style and Psijic Scrying Talisman memento.
– ESO Eleswyr CE which includes Senche-Raht mount, Ashen Scar Jerboa pet, Khajiiti Cultural Pack emote pack, Dragonbone Outfit Style conversion and Archaic Lore Tablets memento.
– ESO Greymoor CE which includes Crypt Warden Death Hound mount, Death Hound pet, Exclusive Skyrim emote pack, Sword Thane Outfit Style and Orb of Magnus memento.

That’s a lot of goodies.

The whole package will take just over 100gb on your Xbox storage, but it’s the same size as own just the base game or any number of other ESO games. So, an upgrade to Greymoor will only take a few seconds if you already have a previous version installed.

What’s it about

With ESO Greymoor, players get to explore the Western regions of Skyrim, which include the holds of Falkreath, Haarfingar, Hjaalmarch, The Reach and Whiterun, as well as Skyrim’s most mysterious and breathtaking region – Blackreach.

Now, if you’re new to ESO then there is one bit of information that you need to know out of the gate as you start to see how familiar locations from other Elder Scrolls games look a little different to how we know them – especially the city of Windhelm, which in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is gloomy, run-down and poverty-stricken but is lively and prosperous in ESO (or at least more so).

The game kicks off with you being approached and warned of a new cult, known as the Icereach Coven that is summoning Harrowstorms and turning people into Harrowfiends, or just outright killing them.

Without giving away too much of the lore and story that happens in Greymoor, you go on a series of quests with a familiar face in ESO in the form of the half-giant, Lyris Titanborn. Your task as you play and pull in more essential NPCs to your team is to find out what the Icereach Coven is up to and, inevitably, put a stop to it.

The plot thickens substantially when you uncover that the Icereach Coven is working alongside Vampires, Werewolves and other creatures of the dark to bring back the almost mythical Grey Host.

The quest line for Greymoor is interesting and has its fair share of stealth, intrigue, betrayals and all-out massacre fights as it takes you far and wide across Western Skyrim and into the depths of Blackreach.

MY EXPERIENCE

Being a huge Elder Scrolls fan (I may have already said that), I was overly eager to jump right in and may have rushed through the options to get right into it.

The character customization makes you make one incredibly important decision very early on – which faction will you play. Now players of WoW will know this quite well but ESO gives you a choice of 3. Aldmeri Dominion, Daggerfall Covenant and the Ebonheart Pact. The playable races you can play depend on the faction you choose. Now usually I’d go for something like the Ebonheart Pact, but I had it in my head that I’d play a character similar to my Dungeons and Dragons ranger character – so I went Aldmeri Dominion (inner Skyrim player cringing) so that I could play as a Wood Elf Warden.

Once I had settled on a particular look for my Bosmer (that’s a wood elf for the muggles in the world) and made him relatively tall (since I am relatively tall in real life) I jumped in and started my slow grind to level 810.

-enter Napoleon Complex-

I’m not sure if wood elves are a naturally shorter species but even after making my character the maximum height that I could, it still felt like I was a Jack Russel amongst Great Danes everywhere I went. But there was no turning back now as I’d already advanced too far to start again.

Getting over myself (which was quite easy since my character was so short), I started to really get into the feel of the game. With my severe ADHD however, the mass of quests available was really hard for me to streamline and focus in on and that took a lot of self-discipline. I did still accept every quest I came across with the oath to come back to it once I had played through more of the main quests – I was quite happy doing this until probably the most annoying thing in my gaming experience happened, I filled my quest journal and couldn’t accept any more until I either completed some or abandoned them. Now completing them was the most obvious approach for me but turned out to be a lot harder than expected with follow on quests starting immediately after completing one (for more main quests at least) and abandoning quests go against everything I believe but I eventually did abandon some to help complete the main quests.

For an MMO, other people running around in the game were very unwilling to group up and complete quests together, at least on Xbox – might be a different experience on PC and PS4, but I found this all very odd given my experience in other MMOs where players were more than willing to group up and take on some bigger bosses together. This might change in higher levels where dungeons and bosses are harder to solo.

With that in mind though, it’s still very cool to see other players running around Tamriel doing their things and going about their business in all the cool outfits and armour sets that they worked so hard to get.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you’re looking for a game to throw hours and hours at, this is something you should be considering. Although it’s an MMO, if you aren’t into playing with others, you can solo most of the quests, if not all of them.

The game is highly rewarding with its loot system and there are many options in levelling to really tailor your character to exactly what you’re looking for.

The PvE aspect is challenging yet doable and the PvP sections give an awesome Elder Scrolls twist to your conventional multiplayer games like Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Control with swords, bows and magic.

All PvP games are played with members from all three factions present so all games are a three-way battle to the top.
If you’re looking for a more battle map type gameplay then you can head over into the ever ongoing battle for Cyrodiil with all three factions battling it out for the territory.

Elder Scrolls Online have really come a long way since the early days after its initial release and ZeniMax Studios and Bethesda have done very well in keeping the game fresh and loaded with content and reasons to keep logging on.

I give this game a big 8 out of 10 stars and will definitely be returning to Tamriel often to continue my grind to 810.

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