Grab your eyeliner and blackest hoodie, because Elder Scrolls Online is going super goth for its next chapter, Greymoor. We're talking vampire lords, monsters, and supernatural storms, plus the chance to go all Antiques Roadshow – but goth – with a new Antiquities system. Greymoor doesn't launch until May for PC and June for consoles, but we got a sneak preview of the new chapter in action.
This is the latest installment in the "Dark Heart of Skyrim" questline that will run over the course of the year, and takes place on the Nord turf, around 1000 years or so before the events of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. The trial has sea giants, the whole vampire species has been reconsidered and – sorry – revamped, and the new systems in terms of "playable landmass" it's the biggest chapter ESO has seen.
Fifty shades of Greymoor
"Without spoiling too much," says ESO's creative director Rich Lambert, "this year's story and chapter centers around vampires and witches and werewolves in Skyrim. People are disappearing, these weird storms – Harrowstorms – are ravaging the countryside, and if you get caught in one of these storms one of two things happens. Either you get turned into a Harrowed, which is essentially a mindless zombie where you just kind of stand there and do nothing and don't react to the world, or you get turned into a Bloodfiend." If you skipped your last Defence Against the Dark Arts class, a Bloodfiend is a vampire that has gone insane from bloodlust. So, neither are great options, and obviously it's up to you to figure what in the name of Caldwell's beard is going on.
You'll have some old friends to help see you through the spooky shenanigans though, like lovable buffoon Rigurt the Brash, Dunmer adventurer and author Narsis Dren, and Lyris Titanborn. ESO OGs will remember the badass half-Nord, half-giant warrior from the base game, and the developers have brought her back for Greymoor. "You meet up with her again in Icereach – which is one of the dungeons in the Harrowstorm – and then she's kind of your guide and mentor throughout the entire year," says Lambert. "She's there in the prologue quest and in the chapter and then in the DLC in the fourth quarter."
Lambert also hints that some members of the Ravenwatch – a faction of vampires – will play a prominent role in the main story this year.
Just because the lands of Tamriel are suddenly riddled with zombies and weather that makes September in the Lake District look inviting doesn't mean there isn't time to learn a new skill. Greymoor introduces a new Antiquities system to the whole of The Elder Scrolls Online, not just Greymoor, which means – fellow ESO addicts feel free to start creepily rubbing your hands together now – a whole new type of gameplay to get sidetracked with when you should be focused on saving the kingdom. As Lambert points out, it's the first big system that's been added to the MMO since Housing, and it's focused on exploration and lore. "The best way to think about it is Indiana Jones meets Tamriel."
There are relics scattered around Tamriel, and you'll need to research them and then excavate them. You'll first need to join a guild called the Antiquarian Circle, which will give you a handful of leads on a few relics to get you started. You'll find other leads from killing bosses, looting thieves guild troves, shopping at vendors and all your usual adventuring activities. You'll then need to use a new device called the Antiquarian's Eye to do some scrying, which opens up a new shape matching mini-game. Completing these will narrow down your search area and dig site for the relic. Depending on the rarity of the relic you're looking for, the mini-game difficulty will change. Just like real archeology. Probably.
The next step in securing your relic, and fame and fortune, is to head to a dig site to complete another mini-game – Excavation. There's less glamor here, just a brush, a couple of types of shovel and a special Radar Sense. Lambert calls this game a cross between Battleship and Minesweeper.
The reward for this hard work? All kinds of goodies. Lambert says right now the list includes over 50 types of furnishings, new motifs, music boxes, emotes, two new jewelry enchants, a new siege weapon, mythic items, and even a mount.
It might still be a work in progress, but Greymoor looks to be another massive add-on for ESO, the MMO that just keeps on growing. Whether you're a nerd for the lore, the trials, or brand new gameplay systems to master and conquer, there's something in Greymoor to get excited about.
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