Review: The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is a great expansion that delivers on storytelling
A world filled with lots to love.
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC
Developer: Zenimax Online Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
MSRP: $39.99 (upgrade), $59.99 (with base ESO game)
The world of Bethesda’s massive RPG series, Elder Scrolls, is so rich. It has such a long history filled with legendary stories, breathtaking locations, and so much more. It’s a universe like no other. While I only really began to fall in love with the series with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I had gotten a glimpse at the world when watching someone play Morrowind a few years prior. It blew me away. I hadn’t seen anything so incredible put into a video game, it changed my whole perspective on the medium.
The Morrowind expansion for Elder Scrolls Online manages to evoke a sense of nostalgia and capture those feelings and moments that left me in awe but in a whole new way. Before we dig deep into this review, let me just say I’m not an ESO veteran or a big MMO player. I’ve dabbled in MMOs like World of Warcraft and I played ESO at launch for a week or so but I’m by no means an expert on any of this. With all of that said, the Morrowind expansion (which I will refer to as simply Morrowind in this review) is simply fascinating. It has its issues but man, they did a bang up job with this expansion.
A rich world to get lost in:
When I first stepped foot in Morrowind in this game, I was blown away by how authentic it was to the actual original game. It all lined up to how I remembered it and all these feelings of excitement came rushing back to me again. It was truly magical. When I was downloading the expansion, I was thinking about how I wished I could experience some games like the Elder Scrolls titles for the first time again. That feeling of being let out into a massive world and told that there are no rules, I can go where I please and do whatever my heart desires. Morrowind made me feel that again despite already being familiar with it. It’s very rare that a remaster or a game that revisits a world like this can capture that feeling ever again.
Given the fact that I never dove super deep into Morrowind due to the fact I was watching someone play it for hours on end, it felt invigorating to be able to go into this place I had seen before but never gotten to truly explore. I was vicariously living in this world through someone else but now I could do whatever I wanted. It felt familiar but new at the same time.
Familiar territory with quests:
Now that I’ve gushed about how exciting it was to really go into Morrowind myself for the first time, let’s talk about the story. I won’t go too deep into it for the sake of spoilers but of you must help a very powerful lord named Vivec investigate some… peculiar matters. Each quest strings you along and makes you do the same by the numbers quest, “go here, do this, go back to the quest giver and receive your reward!” It’s why I’m not a big fan of MMOs but I get why some people like it, it’s the grind and they enjoy the world, the lore, and so on.If you’ve played an Elder Scrolls game through thoroughly, you’ll know what to expect as well. It doesn’t offer too much variety from what I played but those who enjoy this kind of stuff, they’ll have a ball.
An engaging story worth playing:
It’s by no means bad or boring, it just doesn’t offer anything super fresh or new to me which might bother some other players who have been playing this game for several years. One thing that is fresh is storytelling. As with all Elder Scrolls titles, the world is rich with characters and stories. It’s one of the best parts of the series and is what keeps people coming back, no one can tell stories better than the writers behind Elder Scrolls. Even if the general plot may feel formulaic, they manage to keep you engaged by how they tell it. I’m trying hard not to give anything away because I get annoyed when even the smallest thing gets spoiled in a game or movie and with Elder Scrolls, every little thing is something that manages to pull you in and give you a feeling of wonder.
There’s nothing quite like walking up the seemingly endless staircase to Vivec’s Palace. Walking past beautiful waterfalls that trickle down into the large body of water that surrounds the place, anxiously awaiting to talk to the mystical Vivec who will set you off on your next adventure which will surely create even more unique stories for you to tell.
As previously mentioned, the quests themselves may feel formulaic to perform but it all pays off in the writing and story. There are numerous cases where you’re given choices that made me feel like I was playing a legitimate narrative driven game, not just an MMO. When I think MMO, I think raids and slashing monsters to get new gear and XP. Morrowind excels beyond that and creates a legit story filled with phenomenal writing and moments, despite having quests that I felt I had completed in other Elder Scrolls games and MMOs.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind expansion is a solid piece of content that I think both MMO and Elder Scrolls fans alike will enjoy. It can feel a bit formulaic at times but the lush world and the writing really hold it together, making it feel like a fantastic experience that transcends its genre. If you’re an ESO player who has been holding off on this expansion, you’re going to want to pick this one up.