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Elder Scrolls Online: Scalebreaker Preview

Apologies if the video loses focus/blurs from time to time, I only had one take to get it and no real time to go back and do it again if it didn’t look perfect. 

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down and play some Elder Scrolls Online with some of the developers, and preview Scalebreaker. In this preview was Rich Lambert (Creative Director), Mike Finnigan (Lead Dungeon Designer), and Bobby Weir (Lead UI Designer). In the preview, we discuss some of the amazing updates that are coming with the update launching beside Scalebreaker, and I got to pick one of the two dungeons to travel through. It was a hard choice, but “Vampires capturing a dragon” had a lot of appeal to me, so we went to “Moongrave Fane”, where the Hollowfang Vampires have captured a dragon, and are going to use its blood for likely nefarious means. The dungeon does an excellent job of teaching the mechanics that will go along with the bosses, as is Elder Scrolls Online tradition. But before the dungeon, quality-of-life changes are on the way!

Update 23 comes with Scalebreaker a wealth of updates, such as “Prologue Quests”. These quests will introduce the content players can expect in Q4, with the next major part of the Year of the Dragon. Perhaps the biggest change coming to the game is “Multicraft”, and it will make life easier as a crafter. With Multicraft, you can say, make 50 of a potion at a time! This works with all facets of crafting, so you refine all your ore at once, potions, whatever! It’s a beautiful change, and as someone who is just getting into crafting in ESO, I love it. Boy did I pick the right time or what? “Undaunted Keys” are going to see a major change too. Before you did your Daily Pledge, you get a key, then you go open a chest to get a shot at getting the Shoulders you want. Now the Undaunted Keys are a currency (so less clutter in the inventory), but the Chests also change. Now there’s a Vendor that sells “DLC Bags”. The Scalebreaker bag will have Shoulders from both of the Scalebreaker dungeons, instead of risking getting something from the other 20+ dungeons. It makes the game less RNG reliant, and surely should make players happy.

Moongrave Fane is beautiful too. I sincerely love doing these dungeon previews, I always have a lot of fun talking ESO lore and game mechanics with the Zenimax team. In Moongrave Fane, we learn that the Hollowfang Cult has the brilliant idea that sucking the blood out of these dragons will make them super powerful. I mean, what could go wrong? Through this, they can kill more Dragons. Chevalier Renald doesn’t really agree with the plan, so he’s going to try and stop this, and we’re going to help him. We’re going to convince the cult that this is a bad idea the only way we know how: violence! One of the new things we learned about in this dungeon is the “Sliding Stones”. These are giant magical stones that are used to solve puzzles. You attack them to move them in a direction and slide them right where you want. It adds a little something new to the dungeon and winds up being a part of the major fights in this dungeon.

Another new feature you’ll see in this dungeon is the Sangin Sacrifices. These are brilliant orange sigils on the ground, so they certainly stand out. These require blood: Yours or an NPCs blood, it doesn’t matter. When activated by blood, it turns crimson and a Hemo Helit (a floating globe of blood) and that can be used for a variety of effects. It has a few different uses in this dungeon, so it’s not just a one-trick mechanic. I appreciate that you didn’t have to use your own blood for it, but in a pinch, it will definitely work. I was also reminded in this dungeon that I am very bad at math. The first boss was outdoors as a giant golem, but then we get to go inside and check out some gorgeous flora and fauna, as well as Khajit architecture. The second boss is Dro’zakar, and he has two of the Sangin Sacrifices. Dro’zakar uses them, so you have to break the Hemo Helot before his servants can activate them.

I just can’t get over how pretty this area is, just in general. It’s massive in scope, and you get a view of the outside world through some of the crumbled, broken pieces of the temple we’re exploring. The third boss I wanted to briefly discuss is Kujo Kethba, where they bring back the Sliding Stones. The angry fire gargoyle will stomp the ground, and you have to use the Sliding Stones to cover up geysers of lava. I actually got to play it before the fight was nerfed, but it was closer in scope to “Veteran” difficulty, minus some HP. It was a fun, challenging encounter, and that’s what I want in a dungeon! I want it to be challenging, but I don’t want it be frustrating. I won’t spoil the final boss, but it is in the embedded video, and I highly recommend taking a peek at it. Rest assured, it is definitely worthy of being the last boss. Scalebreaker is a great next step in ESO: Elsweyr and I genuinely enjoyed this trip into the future.

ESO: Scalebreaker goes live today on PC/Mac, and August 27th on Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

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