The Elder Scrolls Online content update adds Craglorn zone, 12-man trials

Omri Petitte at

The Elder Scrolls Online Craglorn

Reaching the peak of your power in The Elder Scrolls Online is a tale of heroism worthy of a bard's song, but less gallant are the rather abbreviated set of end-game activities for the month-old MMO. The sprawling PvP zone of Cyrodiil has been the go-to destination for some Emperor roulette, but outside of the Imperial heartland, there wasn't much to do beyond running through the same dungeons and boss camps. Thankfully, ZeniMax wants content releases quick and regular, and we're getting the first new chunk of Tamriel today with a huge patch opening up the lands of Craglorn with group- and raid-sized challenges for max-level players.

Craglorn is the new rocky playground for Veteran-ranked heroes to adventure for beefier loot and more structured boss encounters. That includes two 12-man raid challenges layered with a time-trial mechanic that ranks the speediness of each group on server-wide leaderboards.

Nabbing the top positions on the boards bestows higher-quality gear payouts for the victors, but throwing another Wabbajack into the works is a limited number of resurrections on death. Used up all your reserve revives? Back to the beginning you go with all monsters and bosses reset. The whole system is an interesting take on prolonging the freshness of raiding by fostering competitiveness among teams, but I'm concerned the steepening penalty for repeatedly dying will make learning boss fights exceedingly punishing.

Accompanying Craglorn is a small army of bug fixes, quest adjustments, and ability tweaks gathered from weeks of player feedback and reports. Generally, combat and animations took a bump in responsiveness, and it's slightly easier to amass the tons of experience needed to increase Veteran levels via boosted monster and quest rewards. Nearly every aspect of the game got touched up in some way, and the full patch notes has all the details.

In Chris' review for The Elder Scrolls Online, he considered the game "an MMORPG of moderate scope" hampered by a sense of lifelessness. Craglorn probably won't address the entirety of the perceived shortcomings of ZeniMax's jump into the demanding MMO genre, but I'd like to think it's a good start and a step in the right direction for furnishing more excitement for players.