Regarded as a true milestone in the genre, the third game in the Elder Scrolls series brought the franchise to home consoles and worked to revolutionise the fantasy RPG genre. 15 years to the day of its release, Zenimax Online Studios has enabled players to venture back to the beloved land of Vvardenfell, this time through the next chapter of the Elder Scrolls Online. The Morrowind expansion features a wealth of new content including a new PvP mode, a new warden character class, and the largest new explorable region since the MMORPG's launch in 2014.
On your voyage to the shores of Vvardenfell your ship is torn apart by crashing waves and you awaken to find yourself behind bars, held captive by slavers. You soon become acquainted with Naryu Virian, a skilled assassin, who teaches you the basics of combat and devises a plan to lead you and your fellow slaves to safety. The tutorial centres around your escape, introducing you to the basics of inventory management, combat, and quest objectives, whilst also giving you a clear goal to strive towards. After dealing with Captain Svadstar and firebombing his ship down into the depths of the ocean, you're then free to venture out into Vvardenfell at your own pace, exploring dungeons, joining guilds, and delving deeper into its rich lore.
The expansion is set roughly 700 years prior to The Elder Scrolls III, long before volcanic ash had begun to spill across the land of Vvardenfell. The main quest line involves aiding Lord Vivec, one of the land's three gods, who has been drained of his powers by a mysterious illness. Simultaneously, you must work to prevent Barr Dau, a giant asteroid, from colliding with the world. Without spilling too many revealing details, the narrative evokes a sense of curiosity throughout and there's an admirable amount of detail given to the player through optional dialogue with characters. Voice acting, especially with some of the minor NPCs, does feel a little sketchy at times, but the dialogue is consistently well scripted.
Vvardenfell is the largest region to be introduced to TESO and its personality shines brightly through its mushroom covered planes, mystical wildlife, and molten ruins. The map feels like it has been torn directly from the original Morrowind, and returning veterans will feel completely at home regardless of the divide of several centuries. That being said, there are noticeable differences, as the Red Mountain has still yet to erupt and areas of Vivec City remain under construction. Even for those who won't feel the same nostalgic rush, there's still much to enjoy as the expansion provides the perfect introduction to Vvardenfell, free of the clunky combat and masses of scrolling text that plagued the original.