The Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset expansion does not shy in the dark sides of elves

 

The first chap I meet in the Summerset Isles is definitely an elf having a Sean Penn face who gripes about how he’s missing out on a wine tasting simply because some nearby Wood Elves “offed” the vintner, mainly because naturally. This, following all, may be the closed beta for The Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset expansion ($40 on Amazon), which whisks us off towards the ancestral homes in the High Elves, a magical land crammed with haughty wizards, Neuschwanstein-like villas, and flora that probably would have already been at residence in Eden. Whatever. This dude just wants his wine, and I can appreciate that.

The Elder Scrolls Online excels at this sort of thing. ZeniMax Online’s game could be crawling with elves plus the occasional grumpy orc, but no other MMORPG feels really so human. That is not to say that other MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV and Star Wars: The Old Republic do not spin a good yarn, but they are much more concerned with high drama and the oh-so-important Fate with the World.

Ever given that Elder Scrolls Online did away with conventional MMO levels and embraced the conventional freeform Elder Scrolls design and style we uncover in games like Skyrim, though, it’s discovered itself totally free in the need to always have a significant climax to perform toward. Summerset’s significant story is on the market if you’d like it (despite the fact that the NDA keeps me from discussing it), but Elder Scrolls Online also allows you to just drop in and live your reside as a standard denizen of its surreal and wonderful globe and listen to elves griping about wine. That is one of the finest factors about it.

But I admit I worried about Summerset, and in some regards I nevertheless do. It is Elder Scrolls Online’s second “chapter” – a fancy word for expansion – but it follows around the heels of ESO’s marvelous Morrowind, which recreated the beloved volcanic island of Vvardenfell from 2002’s The Elder Scrolls 3 ash by ash and ember by ember.

The expansion was full of fascinating stories and memorable vistas, however the several comparison videos on YouTube that popped up have been adequate to prove that handful of forces pushed it to recognition fairly so strongly as nostalgia. That worked in the time, because it presented initial naysayers who otherwise loved to witness how thoroughly the game has changed since the initial crop of lukewarm critiques in 2014. Vvardenfell has always been one of fantasy’s standout landscapes, for that matter: a dreamscape exactly where mushrooms attain for the sky like redwoods along with a self-made god chitchats with the locals in his ziggurat. ZeniMax would have had to genuinely screw up for it to not be a hit.