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ESO: Necrom Hands-Off Preview

The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom is the major chapter update for 2023 for the nine-year running fantasy MMORPG. As announced back in January, this year’s adventure, Shadow Over Morrowind, takes us back to the eastern edge of Tamriel near Vvardenfell that we first saw in 2017’s Morrowind Chapter. Now with the Necrom chapter releasing on PC and consoles in June, we will explore the Telvanni Peninsula and Apocrypha zones with varied environment biomes as we deal with the Daedric Prince, Hermaeus Mora.

If you have had a chance to play through the two new dungeons introduced with the Scribes of Fate DLC – Bal Sunnar and Scrivener’s Hall – you will have had just a taste of what to expect from the Necrom storyline. With over 30 hours of story content, this seventh major chapter update to Elder Scrolls Online will also be adding a brand-new class to the game, the Arcanist, as well as two new companions, a new 12-player trial and a heap of side activities and new loot sets to collect.

The Telvanni Peninsula, as described by Rich Lambert, Creative Director at Zenimax Online Studios, has a cosmic vibe balancing the overland areas that look similar to Vvardenfell with the towering mushrooms, but much less volcanoes. There is also the area of Apocrypha that has an eerie feel that players of Elder Scrolls: Skyrim will be familiar with. There will be new monsters and layouts that we haven’t seen in ESO before. Lambert also explained that rather than the new lands having the same landscape across the entire new zones which players have had in the past, it will be split into three distinct biomes – Southern Peninsula, Vvardenfell’s Edge and Ebonheart Apart.

This is music to the ears of my wife and I. Cold Harbour is a scary dark blue place that is the same aesthetic for the entire time we spend in there. The same as the Alik’r Desert is just barren desert across the entire zone. As we were levelling our characters through zones like this, by about halfway through we were both done with the landscape and just wanted some different scenery to play in, so would change to a zone on the other side of the map with a completely different feel. We are excited that the zone will have different biomes for us to explore as we progress the story.

Companions were first introduced with the Blackwood chapter in 2021, and two more were added with High Isle. Now with Necrom, we will have two more companions we can recruit to our cause. Azandar, a Redguard Arcanist, and Sharp-As-Night, an Argonian mercenary. Both will have story quests that unlock as you gain rapport with them, and you can outfit them with companion gear that you find as loot in the wild or you can purchase from guild auction houses.

The new 12-player Trial added with Necrom is called Sanity’s Edge and is similar to last year’s Dreadsail Reef added with High Isle. Trials is one part of ESO that my wife and I have hardly touched. There is no group finder for trials, and we wonder if it would be good or bad to have such a thing as there’s a lot of toxic players who rage if you don’t play perfectly with them. I can see why there may not be a group finder, and also the fact that if you’re in a large guild, it should be easy to form a group. We’ve had a couple of runs with public groups thrown together while standing at a trial entrance, but they were rough. Regardless though, it’s great to have this harder content to strive for.

Finally, the biggest addition with Necrom is the new Arcanist class which I am excited for. The Arcanist is ESO’s seventh class and as a mystical magic-based class, you can harness powerful runes, tomes of ancient knowledge, and the energy of Apocrypha itself to unleash destructive, defensive, or restorative magics in three new skill lines. There is Herald of the Tome (damage), Soldier of Apocrypha (tank) and Curative Runeforms (heals).

The Arcanist class also introduces a new combat mechanic called crux. Your Arcanist abilities can be cast without building up crux, kind of like combo points but they will become empowered stronger as you generate more (up to a maximum of three). Some abilities will generate crux while others will spend it. There will also be abilities that have morphs that can turn them into crux generators or spenders.

Overall, I am excited for The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom and while it’s always fun to explore a new zone, it’s going to be a lot more fun when you are levelling and learning the brand new Arcanist class. If you want to dive in to test out everything Necrom has to offer, you can do so on the ESO Public Test Server from April 17, 2023. For me though, I like to save the experience for full release.

Thanks to Bethesda ANZ for access to the press preview and The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom will release on June 5, 2023, for PC and MAC, then later on Xbox and PlayStation on June 20, 2023. For more information, head over to the game’s official website.


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