Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset First Look
“The land called Summerset is the birthplace of civilization and magic as we know it in Tamriel.”
Off the back of Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, ZeniMax Online Studios introduces the new chapter in the epic MMO saga: Summerset, made available with Update 18 on May 21 for PC/Mac and June 5 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. You'll explore the beautiful Summerset Isle, home to the High Elves and Queen Ayrenn, and discover the looming Daedric presence that threatens all of Tamriel.
Like much of Elder Scrolls Online, Summerset succeeds in enveloping players in a believable, rich setting that offers story, depth, and challenge. The vibrant saturation evokes a fantastical world inhabited by gryphons, wisps, imps, and imposing crustaceans that invite even the most battle-hardened adventurers for an extensive encounter.
I was impressed with the characteristically Elvish castles dominating the coastlines of Summerset, including the capital, Alinor. The winding pathways, ornamentations, sculptures, engravings, and fountains provided a subliminal security from the dangers lurking beyond the walls. More importantly, the architecture's fluidity and accompanied flora added welcoming qualities to what would have otherwise been boring strongholds.
Unfortunately, as I journeyed along the stone pathways breaking into the wilderness, I wondered if Summerset was wholly homogenous. The only true breaks from the conventional fantasy-based woodlands were the coral monoliths rising along the shorelines and the ethereal pirate havens nestled in the public dungeons and delves. Nevertheless, the design quality Summerset brings to the series bears all the hallmarks of an Elder Scrolls game.
An exciting new feature introduced with Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset is Abyssal Geysers, which hearken back to interplanar Dark Anchors used by Molag Bal. Upon defeating the lone Acolyte of Bedlam, I was thrust into several waves of crabs and other creatures from the deep employing plenty of AOE -- a common trend in Summerset. Many Abyssal Geysers take place near the water, naturally, offering a nice change of pace from the land-heavy quest chains.
Delves, Dungeons, and World Bosses
Summerset introduces six delves and two public dungeons to give players the opportunity to explore and defeat new challenging enemies, though the mechanics have remained largely the same.
With respect to world bosses, the first I encountered was Caanerin, an unassuming reindeer grazing in a meadow. When I initiated combat, however, I realized Caanerin set the tone for the remaining challenges on Summerset in what proved to be an AOE-intensive fight. Most, if not all, world bosses on Summerset are highly mobile and require players to dodge a series of debilitating attacks to survive. Still, I managed to down a few with the help of another player.
- Queen of the Reef
New Trial: Cloudrest
Cloudrest, a city besieged by the Sea Sload Z’Maja, underscores the importance of team coordination and reflects the tone of previous trials in Elder Scrolls -- dark and foreboding. The associated quest further complements the fantasy of Summerset, which makes the chapter feel complete without gaps in the overarching design.
Note: While the trial bosses can be defeated in any order, groups can skip to the final boss and take them all on at once.
Update 18 brings two new dwellings to the stronghold roster: the Alinor Crest Townhouse and the Colossal Aldmeri Grotto. The townhouse features nine rooms across three floors with an accompanying terrace. The architecture parallels the Elven castles on Summerset, offering a quiet, upscale retreat.
Conversely, players residing in the grotto can enjoy the comforts of a standard Aldmeri ship docked in a pool of water and flanked by shipwrecks and Elven ruins. The area provides more space with natural surroundings but fails to include the epic grotto environments featured in the new PvE areas.
Similar to the Fighters and Mages Guilds in Elder Scrolls, the Psijic Order introduces a new storyline, rank system, and skill tree (five active abilities, five passive abilities, and one ultimate ability) to influence time. The Psijic Order is located on the island of Artaeum and can be unlocked by completing the first story quest: The Queen’s Decree.
Existing players can visit the new chapter by using the Shimmerine Wayshrine, located left of Auridon. Those starting out can experience Summerset starting at level 1 and play through a new tutorial and game introduction with the benefit of One Tamriel’s level balancing. (Be sure to indicate your desired tutorial playthrough following character creation.) Completion of Summerset’s main storyline will lead directly back to the core content.
From world bosses and enemy NPCs to strongholds and the Crystal Tower, the design of Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset feels consistent. The new chapter can offer exciting opportunities for players new and old, but the homogenous landscape may lessen the emotional impact of the region’s questlines.
New features included with Update 18:
- PvP improvements and additions
- Crown store gifting
- Daily login rewards
- Assorted balance changes and performance improvements
- Battlegrounds moving to base game
- New jewelry-crafting skill line to make custom rings and necklaces
Be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more news on the official release of Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset!