The Elder Scrolls Online: Orsinium Expansion

Winter is coming! This time to Tamriel! After battling in the streets of the Imperial City (click HERE for the Imperial City DLC Review and HERE for the ESO review) in the first DLC we now take to the West and lend a hand to the Orcs! As always, this DLC will come free to ESO plus subscribers or 3000 crowns (approx. £20) to others. Previously I was critical of the Imperial City expansion’s high level requirement to progress and I am overjoyed to see that a balance has been struck in the new Orsinium expansion that allows my level 20 bedwetter feel like a dragonborn warrior as I wreak havoc in this new area!

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This latest expansion includes many tasty treats for players at all levels to sink their teeth into. The new snowy region of Wrothgar offers around 20 hours of story content, spread across several key quests which are centred around the Orc renaissance as the once great city of Orsinium rises again! The phenomenally detailed area is PvE and includes a host of deadly new enemies as well as some natural traps which I fell victim to. Area of effect avalanches made some periods of play particularly interesting!

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The enemies appear to be exclusively veteran rank 16 but luckily, due to a hefty upscaling of attributes, I found these to be challenging and engaging rather than severe and infuriating. Lessons definitely appear to have been learnt from Imperial City which blended PvE and PvP in a way that meant the only winners were the highest levelled players and the further down the levels you went, the more shades of your blood there would be covering the capital’s streets. This time the appeal and emphasis is placed elsewhere, in skills. Your base stats are boosted in a way that creates the right desire within me as a low level player. When getting squashed constantly, I was simply aware that there was nothing I could do to improve the situation. Now, as I am not constantly being scraped of the boots of an enemy every 10 seconds my mind wanders into delightfully dangerous territory. “I wonder if I would have more fun if I had more skills to use against these nasty fellows”. That, ESO, is what you should hope I am thinking, and that is what is going to bring me back to the game. Well played!

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To expand beyond the simple argument of ‘it’s better because you will have fun’, let’s look at a few more features with which we are supposed to be engaged in order to have said fun.

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New enemy bosses are strewn about the world willy nilly and make for some good fun with others. I must say that I am jealous of anyone still playing as part of a group or guild. Mine is in drought, a scene replicated in many I believe, and so the few times in the expansion I did come across others, we banded together in that very unofficial yet utterly captivating way. I felt myself thinking, “Wait, I lost you and we’re working on this together” yet was far too busy being individual, rogue and cool to admit this via  issue of a group invite. Bringing random players together again would be a great victory for this expansion and I can see that occurring!

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There are also two new huge public dungeons to jump into with multiple dungeon bosses in each to bosh on the head with friends. From what I have seen, it is possible to solo these as well so the fin is there for lone wolves as well, though skills galore recommended before charging in alone. In usual fashion, there are weapons and armour sets exclusive to the expansion and these seem a real challenge to unlock, making their attainment a worthy goal! I’ve heard 40 to 50 hours as a prediction for the necessary time to grab the armour and whilst some will see that as excessive, I’m sure an envy waves over them upon seeing the sets on other players. I could only hope to get there at some point!

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The last and greatest feature I will come to, in sort of a full circle, is choice. Within the questing there is a much greater emphasis on subtle yet significant choices. Upon completing a quest which built up the priorities, backgrounds and struggles of a handful of characters I found that my decision shaped the ultimate resting place of a significant cultural artefact. This sense of grounded angst is rife in the expansion and as such qualifies your presence as a mediator, decider and, ultimately, responsible figure for changes in the region. It’s time to make your mark on Tamriel!

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