The Elder Scrolls Online has always been pretty good about putting out consistent DLC to make sure its players are engaged. Got to avoid that content drought! Last year gave us Horns of the Reach and Clockwork City, which were already on top of the Morrowind expansion that dropped a few months before. In 2018 we have seen the Summerset expansion, launched back in May, and the very recent Wolfhunter DLC which launched as I’m writing this. However, we here at MMORPG.com are always looking towards the future, and Wolfhunter launched hours ago. It’s in the past now! So, this weekend I attended QuakeCon and spoke with Rich Lambert, Creative Director at Zenimax Online Studios, about the next DLC, Murkmire.
In my meeting I got to see about 20 minutes of gameplay from Murkmire, and if you’re a fan of the Argonian race then it’s time to get excited, because Murkmire is going to be full of those looney little lizards. Players will be heading to a new zone approximately the same size at last year’s Clockwork City. Personally, I found the zone of Clockwork City to be a be drab. It’s full of sand, and I don’t like sand. It’s coarse, and rough, and irritating, and it gets everywhere. Memes are fun.
Murkmire is a swamp area consisting of three biomes. There’re the flatlands, as well as a rocky, forested area, and a terrain that acts as a transition between the two. It is oddly beautiful. Remnants of broken down Imperial buildings, towns, and walls litter the landscape, showing a subtle visual story of a poorly planned colonization effort. The most haunting visual is when the player comes across a nearly intact ship stuck on top of a tree. Apparently, some poor saps thought they could sail through this marsh. Now they’ve got a really cool treehouse… ship… Treeship! Screenshots of this will be numerous.
Amongst the ruins are homes, wisely built on stilts to account for the swamp-like conditions that a swamp would obviously have. This is very clearly Argonian territory, as anyone who has visited the zone of Shadowfen can tell you. Speaking of which, Mr. Lambert stressed that their team learned a lot from player feedback regarding Shadowfen, and they incorporated this into their design of Murkmire. From personal experience, I can tell you that traveling through Shadowfen is a chore, as you’ll constantly find yourself being dismounted by sudden waist deep water. Murkmire will not have this issue. I was told that unless the water you see is very clearly a river or pond, it won’t cause you to be dismounted while running through.
Much like Clockwork City, Murkmire is a story focused DLC with several quests and side objectives. The one quest I saw in this presentation found the player helping a group of humans that are attempting to build a museum in Murkmire devoted to the Argonians. Their culture, history, philosophy, religion, etc. This involved the player and curator of the museum delving into a dungeon to retrieve an ancient Argonian relic. I was told by Mr. Lambert that one of their goals with Murkmire was to have the player pay attention to the environment and surroundings rather than only the monsters in front of them. The dungeon reflected this effort, as it was full of visual cues for the numerous traps contained within. If the player doesn’t pay attention, they’re going to die quickly to these.
This was about it for our presentation. While short, we got to see a lot. The visuals were some of the most stunning I’ve seen in The Elder Scrolls Online. I’d put them on par with Summerset, which I found to be dazzling. Murkmire was dazzling in a muddy sort of way. On top of the 15 to 20 hours of new story, there will also be dailies and side objectives to complete. Once again, it seems The Elder Scrolls Online is going to put out another strong DLC to keep their players entertained until whatever they have planned for 2019. I, for one, am looking forward to it.