PAX East 2017 - Hands On with the Warden and Battlegrounds
The Warden is TESO first new class, a sort of druid-y type caster with access to Ice magic (protective), Nature magic (healing) and Animal Companions (for DPS). These can be mixed and matched to suit any prospective player style, not to mention the many available other skill lines. See Bill’s preview here for a good in-depth look at the class.
We didn’t get to play any of the new questing content in Morrowind, as the show was all about testing and teasing the new 4v4v4 Battlegrounds. When Morrowind launches in June, to partake you’ll just need to take any level 10 or above character and open the Group Finder. You can queue solo or as a member of a party, and you can specify a desired level range (10-49 or 10-50) with the game type randomly determined.
Based on the lore of Elder Scrolls: Arena, this is more of a “sport” than any faction-specific affair. You’re not fighting for your king (or queen) and country, but rather one of the three Arena-based teams (Pit Daemons are Green, Fire Drakes are Orange, and the Storm Lords are Purple). Fans of that now ancient TES game will be delighted I’m sure. You can level in the Battlegrounds, get appropriate gear, cosmetic items, and more, and compete in the leaderboards.
There are multiple maps and three different game types spread across Morrowind at the game’s launch: Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, and Domination. I took part in a bit of each during our demo. For taking part in a match, you earn points as you capture, defend, and kill, depending on the game mode. In addition, you can earn medals for unique goals that are related to the specific game type, including:
- Dealing damage
- Making killing blows
- Earning kill streaks
- Capturing or defending flags
- Taking damage
- Healing flag carriers or defenders
I got to play the Warden in action in one of the new arena-style battlefields, this one filled with scattered lava streams and pits. I had access to lots of spells, but I choose to stick to a few basics, so as not to get too confused during the battle. It’s not like it was my character, after all. My main attack was an Ice Bolt that I used to strike opponents from a distance. Then I had a couple of creature summons I would throw in for good measure, my pet war bear would watch my back and keep pesky melee classes off me. Finally, I would use a healing spell to keep me going during the ten or fifteen-minute skirmish.
I quickly learned to support my teammates attacks with my own, particularly melee teammate who would generally get the attention of the enemies more surely than I would. When successful this allowed me to keep moving from encounter to encounter, but I did occasionally find myself alone, surrounded and soon after that, dead.
The Warden felt like a nice mixture of offense, defense, healing and support skills, and with more time and more familiarity I am sure that more effective tactics would be a matter of trial and error. While battling a myriad of opponents, I felt that the Warden would be able and more than able to handle them, once I got a little dedicated game time.