Stepping off the boat in Seyda Neen at the beginning of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind brought back a flood of memories from 2002’s The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Seeing the plain wooden dock extend out in front of me toward the small hamlet made me feel as though I were 15 years younger, ready to tackle the world laid out in front of me. In every pixel, The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind strives to create this feeling. And the centerpiece island of Vvardenfell, coupled with a new interesting class and stellar writing, make this a great new expansion.
If there is a downside, it’s the fact that Vvardenfell is so faithfully recreated here that it diminishes the sense of discovery and wonder for series veterans. I pretty much knew where everything is located, and that costs it some of the luster that ESO brought when it first launched. That said, while you can find familiar locations, the ESO: Morrowind takes place 700 years before the events of the single-player game, and that allows for some differences that make it worthy of exploration. The Red Mountain volcano dominating the heart of Vvardenfell lies dormant during this time, leaving greener landscapes around its northern slopers. The labyrinthine ziggurat city of the demigod Vivec is still under construction, and the Warrior-Poet himself is more inclined to receive visitors than Morrowind players will remember. The giant mushrooms that pepper your view serve as a reminder than this is a wilder and more exotic place than the comparatively cookie-cutter fantasy settings found on much of the Tamriel mainland.