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Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel & the Temple of the Lizard People

By William Murphy on October 23, 2018 | Columns | 0

Murkmire, the latest big story DLC pack from Elder Scrolls Online, is finally shining a light on one of the series’ greatest enigmas – the Argonians. By traveling to the lizard-folk’s racial homeland, the story of ESO is definitely headed in a new direction from past events in Morrowind, Clockwork City, and Summerset. But what new danger will be uncovered?

I’ve only just started my journey into Murkmire, the swampy jungle Mayan-influenced region of the Argonians. The ancestral homeland of the Hist-praisers, it’s a nice change of pace from the admitted ashen lands of Morrowind, or the beautiful forests of Summerset. Clearly, Zenimax values shaking up our vistas as much as I appreciate the alternation. I’ve never been one to fall in love with the “This One” people of Nirn, but I’ll admit it – Murkmire is quickly making me a fan.

The general vibe of Murkmire is clear – this is an Indiana Jones like tale of you and some adventurers setting off to recover valuable artifacts only to find that there are far greater evils at play. It’s totally nostalgic and I am here for it. The story setting is wildly different than what we’ve had before, and I’m glad to see ZoS keeps trying to make things different with the narrative.

I’ve got some ways to go to see if this one pays off, and I’m really excited to try the 4 man arena, Blackrose Prison, as well. I may even have to dust off my PVP shoes and get into the Cyrodiil game again as destructible bridges and the like are being added with the main game update. There are 12 new items sets with their own perks and effects, tons of new housing items, and styles. It’s a loaded DLC, for sure.

But if there’s any one criticism I can make of ZoS’ work on ESO, which has been my favorite MMORPG for a few years now, it’s that they seem hesitant to try new things since they last added the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves’ Guild systems to the game in those respective DLCs. Morrowind was a fantastic chapter expansion, with a new class. Summerset was some of the best storytelling in an MMO to date. But since the new class, and the addition of PVP Battlegrounds in Morrowind, it feels like ESO has been doing little to introduce new toys to play with in the grand Tamriel theme park.

I’ll be curious to see what the next big DLC will be in Q1 of 2019, and I hope it’s not just another dungeon set (though I do love those). If it’s story-based, I hope it includes some significant game-wide features that keep people entertained. ESO’s a great game with arguably more questing and dungeon content than an MMO out there. But I’d love to see additional ancillary systems added – farming, animal husbandry, new weapons, new skill lines, and yes – even the abandoned idea of spellcrafting.

That’s not to say ESO is getting stale. They churn out more interesting content than just about anyone. But the update cycle can feel a little unsurprising, and that’s something they should be aware of.

Now, criticism aside, Murkmire feels like another excellent DLC so far. I’ve got another dozen or more hours to play through the story to come, as well as countless new pieces of gear to unlock. Hopefully in time, I’ll even brave Cyrodiil and its many new changes. Are you diving into the new DLC this week, or waiting for the console version? Curious to hear what you’re thinking so far. 


BillMurphy

William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.