Posted in Elder Scrolls Online

ESO: Nightmares and dreamscapes

Despite having my aspirations of werewolfdom dashed, my fun continued apace as I adventured more through The Rift in Elder Scrolls Online. My meandering, lackadaisical pace has meant that this zone’s taken longer than I anticipated (tilting my head toward LOTRO to take the blame for this), but it’s about come to an end.

Playing ESO always feels like I’m reading a book of short stories. You never quite know what you’re in for when you accept certain quest arcs, and I enjoy being pleasantly surprised when I make one assumption and the quest goes a different direction.

For example, I thought I was in for a trip through a haunted island when I encountered some strange weather and roaming skeletons (which would’ve been fine, for the record). But this turned into a tale about a bardic song that put everyone here to sleep and woke up a whole bunch of nightmares. The small quest arc concerns itself with finding and performing the song to undo the enchantment. Neat.

Probably one of the most nail-biting moments I’ve had in ESO lately was in a different quest, where, to progress, we had to unlock a door. And to unlock it, a living person had to touch a stone and die. The quest gives you a choice between a female soldier who’s the last of her squad or a captive villager who had fought for the bad guys. I thought, no contest — I’m going to trick the traitor into touching the stone on the pretext that I’m busting him out of there.

But as you escort him to the stone, he starts talking about how he regrets getting wrapped up in all of this and can’t wait to go back home to his daughters. The quest lays this on thick, as the guy keeps going on and on about his kids. By the time he gets near the stone, this is no longer an easy choice, eh? And the quest gives you another chance to change your mind.

I mean, these are NPCs I’ll never see again after this quest and the choice doesn’t ultimately matter in terms of gameplay, but by humanizing both characters and making the player select the sacrifice, it turns into a gut-wrenching decision.

I’ve found that a lot of the world bosses in this zone can be soloed, albeit slowly, which I appreciate when a group can’t be found. Here I am tackling a angry spirit who really needs to simmer down.

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