The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is a love letter to fans of TES III: Morrowind. The new chapter in ZeniMax Online and Bethesda Softworks’ MMORPG has been crafted with an astounding amount of detail representing the eponymous region. The result is a polished storytelling experience that, curiously, exposes the most successful aspects of TESO, as well as the areas in which the overall game is left wanting. This is our Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind review.
Branded as a “chapter,” Morrowind has more on offer than the game’s previous DLC, but perhaps not as much as what you’d expect from a full-blown expansion. Highlights include the giant explorable region of Vvardenfell with a new epic story to boot, a 12-player Trial, 4v4v4 battlegrounds, and of course, TESO’s first new player class, the Warden. You can start exploring Vvardenfell at any level, and battlegrounds unlock at level 10.
Your first exposure to Vvardenfell will have a varying degree of impact based on your experience with TES III. From the NPCs, to the locations, architecture, and lore, it’s exceedingly evident that the devs have taken care to make the island feel like an authentic reimagining of the iconic region. The environments are some of the best that TESO has to offer, and the landmarks (and music!) are bound to tap into your nostalgia for TES III. If you somehow haven’t played the original Morrowind, the story and locations may not do as much for you, but they’re nonetheless very well crafted.
Second only to the awesomeness of Vvardenfell itself, the main narrative of Morrowind is unquestionably one of the best components of the new chapter. It’s set 700 years before TES III, and revolves around aiding the deity-king Vivec in regaining his powers and diverting a major disaster from befalling Vivec City. The story is engaging and takes you to the different corners of the massive island, and there’s a heck of a lot more to do along the way. The entire region feels lived in, with a diversity of quests and other activities to tackle, and demonstrates the learning curve that ZeniMax and Bethesda have been through to arrive at this point. In a strange way, the expertness with which the story and quests are delivered in Morrowind reveal the mediocrity of a lot of the other regions in the vanilla campaign. Positioned against the crispness of the new chapter, the original content feels a bit ho-hum in comparison.
The new Warden class is likewise a fun addition to the overall game experience. Its three new skill lines include Animal Companions, Green Balance, and Winter’s Embrace, which allow you to employ beast-based skills, healing spells, and cold magic, respectively. The Warden adds a new dimension of variety to TESO’s class roster, and could easily be your new alt or main. If you want a totally new experience, roll a Warden and jump right into Morrowind – you won’t regret it!
If you don’t have any attachment to revisiting Morrowind or are some kind of monster and don’t like PvE, you can try your hand at the new PvP battlegrounds, which are a mixed bag. You can access them directly from the group finder, and randomly queue for one of three different scenarios: Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Domination. The action is fast as it is furious, and 4v4v4 is an interesting take on traditional PvP, but the incentivization to do anything more than dabble in battlegrounds is lacking. There are rewards and such, but the experience doesn’t feel as integrated as does Cyrodiil, or really, any other feature in TESO. Additionally, while I don’t pride myself in being a PvP virtuoso of any sort, I’ve found the difficulty curve in participating in battlegrounds to be exceptionally difficult. I’m not sure if that has to do with matchmaking issues, but battlegrounds don’t exactly feel accessible at this time.
Final Morrowind Review Thoughts
At the end of the day, if you’re coming to Morrowind for a new story experience or to discover a reimagined Vvardenfell, you’re in the right place. The new region is lovingly crafted, and the Warden class is really fun to play. It’s also only $39.99 for a digital upgrade, and contains quite a bit more content than previous DLC packs. If, on the other hand, you’re expecting battlegrounds to be the meat and potatoes of your experience with the new chapter, you may want to hold out until they’ve been fleshed out a bit more. Furthermore, as I mentioned in my review in progress, Morrowind is undeniably cut from the same cloth as the rest of TESO. If you don’t like the look or feel of the vanilla game, there’s probably not much here – with the exception of nostalgia for TES III – that will sway you.
Still, that nostalgia is a powerful motivator, and ZeniMax and Bethesda have delivered on it almost perfectly. If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to return to Morrowind, take a ship from one of TESO’s capital cities and get ready to ride a silt strider down memory lane. You won’t be disappointed.
We reviewed ESO: Morrowind with a code provided by Bethesda PR on the PC.