It’s spring. The birds are chirping, the pollen is flying, and a young man’s mind turns to another great chapter to be published for The Elder Scrolls Online. The annual ZeniMax release has become as stable and predictable as a clockwork city.
Um, I said, “a clockwork city.” *taps microphone* Is that thing on?
When I spoke to ZeniMax about the release of Greymoor a few years ago, the studio reps mentioned the fact that they like to mix up geographic areas for each subsequent chapter so that one chapter doesn’t feel too much like the immediately preceding one. They’ve stayed true to that pattern by contrasting last year’s hellish Deadlands scenery this time with a more familiar medieval temperate setting: the High Isle chapter focuses on the Breton race and takes place in the Systres Islands, their climate and Landscapes are reminiscent of Europe or Great Britain with hilly, rocky foothills and patchy to dense forest areas. The landscape of the High Isle has never appeared in an Elder Scrolls game, so ZeniMax is breaking new ground for the franchise.
Although traditionally a Breton territory, High Isle is also quite a vacation spot for those in Tamriel who can travel. The mild climate and sea views ensure a relaxing holiday for the rich and noble. For the purposes of our story, it’s also a neutral venue for representatives of the three alliances to meet to discuss how to put an end to the longstanding (well, a year if you go by the officials). IT Timeline) Three Banner War in Cyrodiil. Peace talks are said to be brokered by The Steadfast, a group the player isn’t immediately familiar with. Opposed to the peace talks is the Ascended Quarter, a group that advocates scrapping all alliances altogether. With this in mind, it is evident that this year’s chapter eschews the apocalyptic nature of the previous chapters in favor of more mundane political circumstances.
The landscape of the new chapter is divided into three different regions. The port city of Gonfalon, where the peace talks are to take place, is our landing site. Gonfalon Harbor is a natural entry point. The northwest side of High Isle is more densely wooded and a little wilder than the scenic views of the southern port town. A Germanic flair accompanies some older Breton and Druidic ruins as well as actual Druid settlements. The druids of High Isle split from the more well-known Wyrd faction at some point in the past and have an interesting relationship with the magmatic phenomena that appear throughout the map. Eventually, a wild jungle region covers the entire prison landmass of Amenos, an island to which Tamriel’s worst criminals are exiled. After being sentenced to Amenos, the prisoners must be left to their own devices or join forces with other dissenters to survive.
Aside from the new scenery and story, an important new system has been added to the chapter: the trading card game, Tales of Tribute. It is described by ZeniMax as a “competitive, turn-based, two-person resource deck-building game”. Tales of Tribute was designed to emulate a tavern game befitting the lore and feel of IT. Cards and decks can be collected by completing various quests and achievements, as well as by completing Overland content. Players can participate in PvE Tales of Tribute campaigns or compete with others IT Players in PvP. Those interested in this game within the game can speak to Brahgas, the NPC voiced by none other than Billy Boyd from Lord of the Rings.
But the chapter isn’t just about solo content; After all, ESO is a massively multiplayer game! Players wandering through High Isle’s Overland content will discover two public dungeons designed for two to four players. Public dungeons offer the opportunity to randomly meet other players striving to achieve the same goals, bring a group of friends or try to clear difficult bosses and rooms alone. The new Dark Anchor-style dynamic events are lava vents, the core of Tamriel, seeping to the surface and bringing with them all sorts of strange creatures. Lava Vents are designed for groups of four to eight players. At the forefront of PvE group content is a new 12-player Trial, Dread Sail Reef.
Oddly enough, of all the things ZeniMax has been touting for the High Isle chapter, I’m most interested in some of the smaller details that don’t typically make it into the sales brochure. For example, two new companions can be unlocked through certain mission chains. This is good news for those of us who thoroughly enjoy the companion system but are ready for a face change. Many of the smaller changes will be available to all players regardless of whether they have purchased the chapter – such as accessed with a few clicks.
I spent very little time on High Isle during this pre-launch period, but I’ve played enough IT to be able to recognize patterns and distinguishing features in my time. Right from the start of Greymoor, I found that much of the content felt similar to previous releases, making it difficult to get overly excited about. I’m not the only MOP employee who noticed this. And for better or for worse, that trend continues with High Isle.
While I welcome a departure from the doomsday storyline and enjoy many of the new visuals like NPC knights on horses and ships sailing off into the distance, there is a level of sameness that permeates the chapter. For those who love IT, that can be good. Certainly I don’t blame ZeniMax for sticking to a formula that works. Tales of Tribute is certainly a departure from the standard content, but I have to believe it’s a very specific niche of gamers that you’ll be logging into IT to play a collectible deck mini-grind.
Nonetheless, I’m ready for my annual tour of Tamriel. I have pre-ordered the chapter and am looking forward to some Breton storylines, jousting tournaments and new companions. I’m one of the few on the team who really thinks IT is one of the best looking fantasy MMOs out there and I’m really enjoying the time I spend there. At this point it’s like comfort food. i will eat it I will even enjoy it. But I’m not expecting anything too new or exciting.
The Elder Scrolls Online The High Isle Chapter will be available on June 6th for PC, Mac and Stadia and June 21st on Xbox and PlayStation platforms.
https://massivelyop.com/2022/06/01/tamriel-infinium-the-elder-scroll-onlines-high-isle-brings-new-story-new-lands-and-a-new-card-game-to-tamriel/ Tamriel Infinium: High Isle from The Elder Scroll Online brings a new story, new lands, and a new card game to Tamriel