Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by Faiza Murtaza
Elder Scrolls Online is one of those games that have gone through several radical transformations throughout the years since its release. The beginning of MMO was rather rocky and had mixed reception at first. Called out as a World of Warcraft clone using the same shtick where revamps itself as a free-to-play title to a premium subscription that players have to pay to play every month, Elder Scrolls Online has evolved into an MMORPG that has become a mainstay in the ever-growing genre. One of the many things great about ESO is how it can appeal to single-player enthusiasts. A player can do everything by themselves, whether it be to farm ESO gold by doing quests or going on dungeons to see out a Mythic ESO item. The magic and the charm of it all enables players to at least try out the game to see for themselves if it’s worth a shot. A minute can turn into five minutes, and before they know it, it’s already the wee hours of the night. Elder Scrolls Online manages to capture its audience with its fascinating lore and expansions that offer vast content. The newest expansion. Blackwood continues the job of the expansions before it by adding even more rich lore by giving a nod to Elder Scrolls VI: Oblivion which was released back in 2006. Oblivion is arguably one of the more underrated titles in the single-player Elder Scrolls games thanks to Skyrim outshining everything about it, but it was the time where the series took off. But will Blackwood manage to do the same where it’ll be able to capture the hearts and minds of the players? Or would players who are looking to play the expansion for the very first time ought to just find another MMORPG to sink their time in instead?
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Elder Scrolls Online Had a Rocky Start
Contrary to popular belief where ESO was welcomed by many, the game wasn’t super well-regarded during launch. It was a mixed bag when it came to reviews – there were highs and lows. It was going okay but not nearly what the initial projections of ZeniMax Media, the company behind the reigns of ESO. According to Matt Firor, the current president of ZeniMax Online Studio, it was difficult to waddle through the noise of the harsh reviews that critics and reviewers were giving the game flack for such as not having enough interesting ESO items to farm ESO gold for, plus there were a whole bunch of technical problems that needed to be addressed ASAP. Launching an MMO wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be. They were in a rut. Thankfully, they managed to climb out of the hole and Elder Scrolls Online had its biggest year after six years after its initial launch.
General Overview of Blackwood
Blackwood is set in the Dremora invasion and Oblivion Portals which are sort of like multi-level public events for players. These portals randomly spawn throughout Blackwood and are fairly accessible for players of all level types. Since Blackwood is part of the Gates of Oblivion which is a year-long event, players are tasked with slowly uncovering the schemes that Mehrunes Dagon is plotting by doing battle in the deadlands. The dungeon raids consist of nine Islands that players must finish and completing at least two of them will lead to the players gaining access to Havocrel’s Tower to fight the dungeon boss. Players can also do a bunch of Oblivion Portal Challenges if they want to pick up a bunch of rewards. This is similar to the Abysmal Geysers in the Summerset expansion. There are a couple of noteworthy items that players can get from the challenges such as the Warm Asymmetrical Ruby which is a Mythic item that is part of another item called Death Dealers Fete. Overall, the setting of Blackwood is unique but for the most part, remains to be the same ESO that fans have grown accustomed to.
One of the main features that Blackwood has up its sleeve is its companions. Players have the option to team up with either Bastian Hallix or Mirri Elendis. The requirement is fairly easy as all the players have the do is complete their quests. Players can build up their friendship meter with these NPCs which results in the companions becoming more effective in battle and being able to unlock bonus quests. It’s quite a chore trying to grind for the friendship meter, but it’s worth it for the stat boosts that the players will be getting, especially for the ones that prefer playing ESO single-player.
There are some downsides that players need to know about these companions though. One is that they are not meant to substitute for a real player. While they’re handy for specific actions such as doing looting sessions and providing an extra layer of customization that players can really take their time on, they can only be summoned during normal gameplay. Other sorts of gameplay such as PvP, solo areas, and dungeons are out of the question. Make no mistake, the addition of companions for the Blackwood expansion is a great addition and makes a nifty mechanic with plenty of room for growth through the duration of the Gates of Oblivion event, but that doesn’t mean that they can be used anywhere.
Despite the change in the setting, Blackwood is still the same Elder Scrolls Online game that they know and love. The formulaic design that ZeniMax Studios has been doing for the last several years since the time of Morrowind in 2017 indicates that Blackwood barely breaks away from this. Players can have the same number of world bosses, quests to farm ESO gold and ESO items for, and a new trial – consistent with the standard configuration that players get in every single expansion each year. At the very least, the addition of companions makes things more interesting within the repetitive journey. Since Blackwood is a throwback to Oblivion, it is the perfect expansion for players who have a love for gorgeous landscapes that bring nostalgia back to when they first played Oblivion. What do you think about the Blackwood expansion? Is it worth it for new players of the ESO series to dive into? Let us know down below.