Originally launching in 2014, The Elder Scrolls Online is continuing to refine itself with each additional expansion. The most recent drop of new content finally takes us back to a fan-favourite locale on the continent of Tamriel. Return to Skyrim with The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor Details
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Developer: ZeniMax Online Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Massively multiplayer online role-playing
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Feels like coming home
Without a doubt, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of my favourite RPG’s of all time. I’ve put in countless hours in multiple play-throughs across numerous platforms. It’s to the point where I can maneuver most of the province without peeping at the map.
For that reason its exciting to see The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor return to those old haunting grounds. Sure enough, spawning in Solitude to begin the adventure brings instantly recognizable buildings and terrain. Perhaps even too similar to an extent. With these events taking place centuries earlier, it makes you wonder why almost nothing has changed—but who can say with certainty how time and progress run in Tamriel.
One of the most aesthetically pleasing areas in Skyrim is Blackreach. This cavernous expanse is full of ambient glowing mushrooms and eerie purple and blue hues. It’s nice to see that The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor takes players on a deeper exploration of this region of Skyrim than ever before.
Welcoming to players old and new
While I do profess myself to be quite a fan of mainline Elder Scrolls games, I’ve not put a ton of time into its online counterpart. I imagine there may be more than a few players in the same position. Those who have yet to dip their toes into the game, but are being drawn in at the prospect of a return to Skyrim.
That makes how The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor treats new players of great importance. Many MMORPG’s allow players who jump in with new expansions the ability to start right off the bat with the new content. It saves them the task of having to play through countless of hours of prior content just to catch up with the bulk of the community. Not all games handle this leap particularly well though.
I’m happy to say that The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor seems to be the exception however. I found its capacity for easing new players directly into the expansion as a starting point to be well done indeed. In fact, if I hadn’t known I was starting in a later expansion, I may have been fooled into thinking I really was starting at the very beginning.
Instead, The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor eases newbies in with quests that are easy to understand, and directions that are easy to follow. I wasn’t overwhelmed by dozens of baked-in mechanics with no clue on how anything operates. The game menus are easy to navigate with helpful hints and tutorials, and it’s simple to discover how to return to earlier content as well if the player does in fact want to jump back from this recent expansion.
A slouching storyline
Unfortunately the narrative storyline of The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor is fairly generic and subpar. This is particularly disappointing given that the bread and butter of Elder Scrolls is typically its interactive and engaging dialogue and characters. Here however these aspects tend to mostly fall flat.
Most of The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor revolves around vampires (much like the Dawnguard DLC in Skyrim). Darkness is consuming the lands and a Vampire Lord is in need of thwarting. It’s a nice premise, but it lacks much substance to back it up.
For the most part the overarching story is rife with average turns and cliche plot twists. The story portion isn’t particularly long either—which leaves little time to actually develop attachment to characters of build events of real consequence. In essence, it’s a fairly predictable affair with no real memorable or jaw-dropping moments.
This isn’t to say that there isn’t plenty of new things to do in The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor though. Included in this recent release is “Kyne’s Aegis”—a brand new 12 player PvE group challenge. Here you’ll face waves of enemies and 3 new bosses as you protect besieged villagers from invading Sea Giants.
In addition to new side quests, delves, and dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor also introduces new dynamic world events known as “Harrowstorms”. These public challenges come in the form of a spot of bad weather that turns those caught in their path to aggressive creatures and zombies. Joining in can deliver some additional XP and loot in exchange for your contribution.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing developments however is the introduction of the “Antiquities” system. This requires players to use scrying tactics to solve a puzzle that will identify possible loot locations on the map. This ultimately leads to a treasure hunt that can guide players to very decent rewards—everything from cosmetics to valuable mythic upgrades.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor returns to Skyrim with lots of content but an average story
I certainly enjoy how The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor returns to my favourite province on the continent of Tamriel. After so many great adventures and memories in Skyrim, it’s thrilling to return and create some new ones. A lot of the scenery is nostalgically familiar, and better yet it’s great to be able to explore even deeper into the atmospheric Blackreach.
The narrative campaign portion is a bit underwhelming, but luckily there are plenty of other activities to enjoy along the way as well as afterward. Harrowstorms serve as engaging environmental events, and the Antiquities system adds thrilling treasure hunts that actually provide rewards worth the investment. Finally, if you are new to The Elder Scrolls Online, you should have any problems jumping right in with the Greymoor expansion.
+ Familiar Skyrim locales
+ Easy to jump in without having played previous content
+ Antiquities system
– Lackluster story campaign
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: GREYMOOR
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5