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Hands On with the Clockwork City DLC

William Murphy Posted:
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The Clockwork City launches next week on October 23rd, and right now the massive DLC is on the public test server hosted by Zenimax. It’s also where I sat down with Creative Director Rich Lambert and Greg Roth of ZOS to talk about Sotha Sil’s famous creation and how the ESO team is rebuilding that which one of the Tribunal built himself.

For the folks who are curious about what the big deal is with The Clockwork City, go play The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal expansion. It deals directly with Vivec, Almalexia, and of course Sotha Sil. It also takes you to the Clockwork City itself. Only, in TESIII, that was hundreds of years after what we’re to experience here in Elder Scrolls Online.

In our story, Sotha Sil has been missing for decades already, his Clockwork City is all but a legend. But when a new Daedric threat arises in Tamriel, when mages start getting murdered by their own shadows, the trail leads directly to the famous divine inventor’s playground and a Daedric plot to overthrow Sotha Sil.

Aside from the large new zone to play in, the Clockwork City itself, there are a solid 10 or more hours of story content, plus 2 new delves, a new 12-man Trial (The Asylum Sanctorium), a new scavenger hunt quest, and a new Battleground game mode for those that own Morrowind. Tons of new gear, items sets, collections and all of that are part and parcel to the experience too.

Rich and Greg started by touring me around some of the more impressive sites. Everything in CWC is unique to the area - even the bookshelves are mechanical in nature. The skybox has the rings rotating around the city itself, which is a sight to behold. I’m a big fan of the Dwemer stylings, and that’s what this rings true too - the attention to detail in the City and its outlying perimeter is fantastic.

We didn’t touch too much on the story, as I told Rich and Greg that I didn’t want to be spoiled. But there’s a prologue quest right now in-game that builds the story leading into The Clockwork City. Simply go to your home city’s Mages Guild and look for a note on a table to begin. Not only is the story decent, but it’s a good way to tease people and get them prepared to either sub or drop Crowns on the DLC itself. Sneaky, ZOS, very sneaky. The only downer about this quest is that it’s a LOT of running around, and if you’re on a relatively new character, it can be a chore because the waypoints aren’t unlocked yet.

There are a load of new mobs in Sotha Sil’s domain. Some of which are variations on what we’ve seen in the previous trial, but others are brand new to the game - including humanoid mechanisms that are on guard and will try to take you out simply for being there in the CWC. The new delves are following in the footsteps of what we’ve seen in Morrowind too - massive new mini dungeons with tons of content, mobs, and one-time as well as daily quests tied to them. A far cry from the tiny corridor-based delves of the base game, it’s clear that ZOS has been working hard to make these more of an interesting experience.

I was playing on the PTS with the Warden and its changes. I can’t report too much on how it feels as its CP was at 690 (the new cap), and I had tons of veteran reward gear. But Rich and Greg were keen to point out that the class received some buffs with this patch, and that overall Warden fans should be pleased.

I’m anxious to see Clockwork City released next week, as not only will it add a ton of new PVE content to the game, but it’ll also prove to liven up the Battleground PVP. What’s more is that performance overall has been drastically improved with the CWC base patch, meaning that most folks should see an FPS increase of 30% or more in all areas of the game, including Cyrodiil and crowded city hubs.

But what comes after Clockwork City? That’s the big question. There’s bound to be another DLC and a new Chapter in 2018, but ZOS is mum on what those could be. For now, I’ll just be happy to see Sotha Sil with my own eyes for the first time in 15 years. The Clockwork City launches on October 23rd for PC, and will cost 2000 Crowns and be free for ESO Plus members. The console versions will follow in early November.


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.