Posted in Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online: Lapping up the plague like there’s no tomorrow

And just like that, I’m back in Elder Scrolls Online for the first time since last spring. It truly did feel like coming home in a way, with my virtual house, character, and cranky bear waiting for me to visit. Since I had finished up Blackwood last time I played, I started down the path of a new zone — Deshaan — with my Warden.

Right away, I was plunged into a plague-ridden zone. And no masks, can you believe it? Ah well, that’s how you get zombies. And it turns out that the nominally altruistic people claiming to help cure the plague were the ones actually spreading it. Least surprising twist ever.

Even though it was basic, it was perfect to get my feet wet with the game again. I enjoyed a time of soaking up the story, getting used to my faceroll combat rotation again, and romped around a mini-tomb for some time.

I’ve long come to realize that if you aren’t willing to immerse yourself into the story and worldbuilding of ESO, you might as well get out of there. This title emphasizes the experience more than some other MMOs, and so I do try to slow down and soak it all in.

To push back against the Maulborn and their use of the plague to decimate the region, I smash up some wards protecting them of said plague and then help archers ambush a plague-carrying convoy to unleash the stuff on the bad guys. Pro: This works wonderfully. Con: This works terribly, and the plague starts to get out of control. Bio warfare is trickier than it looks!

Happily, we quickly corner the creator of the plague and take him down — netting the formula notes to the plague itself. Hopefully this gives the good guys a helpful boost in ending this threat in the region.

For a break from plague clean-up, I conned an invitation to Elder Scrolls Hogwarts — a semi-exclusive magic school waiting for the likes of me. I’m just counting down the minutes until it’s revealed that this place is a cannibal den or a Pinocchio slave dealer. Or, as I found out, some sort of mysterious threat that I’ve got to root out to keep the students safe.

I take my snark back — this actually turned out to be one of the finer quest chains I’ve encountered in ESO. I first am tasked with helping out three somewhat hapless students succeed in their studies. Then, when the school is taken over Die Hard-style, I’m conked out by the bad guy, thrown in jail, busted out of jail, and then have to reunite with these three kids — the only ones left unaffected by a mind-controlling spell — to use the same skills from earlier to overthrow the baddies.

The end of the quest where the students — my newfound virtual friends — say goodbye was genuinely bittersweet. I wouldn’t have minded staying there longer.

ESO is pretty. That is all.


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