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MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/04/14)  | Pub:Bethesda Softworks
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Columns: Dark Brotherhood Second Impressions

By Ryan Getchell on May 11, 2016

Dark Brotherhood Second Impressions

I never played the single player Elder Scrolls games (I know its blasphemy).  So I’m not incredibly knowledgeable about the history of the Dark Brotherhood. I knew what they were, a guild of assassins, killing those who were marked for death. After going through this new DLC for The Elder Scrolls: Tamriel Unlimited I have a much deeper understanding for what they do and what they are. They’re called Dark Brotherhood for a reason, this DLC is fantastically dark. The TLDR version of this article is Best DLC thus far.

When this DLC finally launches on the live servers, blood will flow. So many unsuspecting citizens are going to fall victim to players just wanting to see the assassination camera. Yeah, Zenimax finally implemented kill cameras. When you use the Blood of Woe to kill someone, the camera rotates to give you an epic view of your kill.


These new kill cameras are probably one of the best additions to the game. Currently there is only a few different kill screens you can get based on your positioning, however these types of things are ones that can get added in with incremental updates. Zenimax doesn’t even have to inform us that they added them.  They could become Easter eggs for us to find. The potential for kill cameras are endless. They could even open up a forum or a monthly contest where a member of the community could have their idea turned into a kill camera. Zenimax is all about getting the community involved.  Did you know that the name of the dye for the Imperial City Vanquisher achievement came from a community member? I believe you can even see that person’s character within the Imperial City as a dead corpse.

One of biggest issues I had with this DLC is not even anything to do with the actual DLC itself, it’s more of a lack of an ability that I feel should be a necessity with this type of content. The missions you’re sent out on are ones where you have to quietly, covertly, kill people in Tamriel or within an instance area. However, doing so can be extremely difficult, especially when some require you to do it under a set time limit. You can’t control the path the NPCs take, at times those paths keep them in spots you can’t successfully do your task, so you’re forced to wait in the shadows for an opportune time. What I kept getting frustrated with was, why isn’t there a distract option? Throw a rock, make a noise, have that NPC look or move elsewhere. Allow you a bit more control over the situation. Something like this wouldn’t be easy to do. With ESO being a MMORPG you’d have a lot of griefers just distracting NPCs so other people would have a hard time trying to carry about their missions.  But it would make the experience seem more authentic.

This brings me to the next issue, an issue that I never experienced on PTS but one I suspect is going to become a large one when it goes live. The jobs you’re sent out to perform are typically NPCs that roam throughout the cities or areas. Either you kill a specific person or a set number of citizens.  These areas aren’t instanced and neither are the NPCs (at least not from what I can tell). The PTS isn’t very busy even at peak times.  It was rare to see anyone else doing the same thing I was doing.  But on the live servers, that’s a completely different story. You’ll have a lot of people doing the same tasks as you, trying to find the person or people you need for your contract is going to become very troublesome, especially when you throw in griefers.

I have no idea how ZOS will try and elevate this potential problem or if it will be one.  But I do suspect that at the very least, the first couple of weeks it will be hard to find your targets.

As for the story in this DLC, Lawrence Schick and his team of incredibly writers have out done themselves. This story was, for me, a lot better than the Thieves Guild. I found the Thieves Guild story to be slow and drawn out while this one was encapsulating. It kept my attention and the final kill, let me just say I hope Zenimax does those types of options more frequently.

The zone itself is small, just like Thieves Guild. There were very few side quests, at least from what I found. You do however get to catch up with an old friend and her sister.  That was an interesting quest.  I am still waiting for ZOS to release something that isn’t combat or story driven. Where’s our relaxation gameplay options?

With this DLC comes with it an option for ESO Plus members, unlimited Crafter Bags. Finally an actual benefit to spending $15 a month. This feature really does add value to the ESO Plus membership.  It’s amazing to have and the bank storage you save is huge. If you’re anything like me I have multiple banks filled with crafting supplies from low level to high level.  You just never know when you might need something. While I was on the PTS I became an ESO plus member so I could test this out and it is beautiful. This new feature doesn’t take anything away from the overall gameplay, it doesn’t make anything pay to win, and it’s just a quality of life feature. For that I’m thinking I’ll most likely pay the monthly fee. To some people it might not be worth it, especially if you’re not a hoarder like myself. Hopefully ZOS will add in some additional features that are quality of life to the ESO Plus membership so all types of players will get a benefit.

Another new feature is the insanely powerful poisons. You can craft your own poisons and apply them to your weapons. This is all done via the Alchemy crafting skill and you use much of the same reagents you’re used to, with the addition of a few things like oils. The new items are found off monsters throughout the world. Of course there is probably already a guide online that shows where and how to obtain them but where is the fun in that? Go out there and explore. When you apply these poisons they will disable whatever effect is currently on the item. The poisons act like a proc and will only go off when RNG says so, because of this you have the ability to infect players multiple times but the effect is weakened when applied multiple times, they don’t stack.

The biggest issue with these poisons is there is no way to counter act them. Ideally what I would like to see happen is for ZOS to revamp the Snake Blood passive. No one uses this passive anyways, who is actually drinking negative effect potions? Rename it to Toxicology. This passive will grant a 5/10/15% damage reduction to player crafted poisons.

Like I said earlier, best DLC yet. Thieves Guild was okay, and barely worth the price of admission. The Dark Brotherhood they could charge more and I’d still recommend it. I can’t give enough praise to ZOS for this DLC and if they continue to release this scale of content a lot more often, TESO is going to be unstoppable. 

Ryan Getchell / Ryan is our resident Elder Scrolls nerd, and columnist for Zenimax's MMO. When he's not out killing things in Tamriel, he's working in IT professionally.