“Now is the time to return to Morrowind.”
Bethesda has released a new trailer for its massively multiplayer online role-playing game The Elder Scrolls Online today, giving players its first good look at Morrowind, an expansion coming out on June 6 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC title. You can watch it above. While Bethesda does not often share player numbers for ESO, it did note last June that ESO had over 7 million players. Last year, research group SuperData predicted that the MMO market would be worth $19.8 billion in 2016 (although it included multiplayer online battle arenas, MOBAs, in the same category). This expansion could bring in a flux of new and returning players to ESO.
Morrowind was the setting of The Elder Scrolls III, which came out in 2002 for Xbox and PC. It was a more accessible game than its PC exclusive predecessors, marking an entry point for many who are fans of the franchise today. People still hold Morrowind in high regard because of its unique setting. Most of the locations in the Elder Scrolls take their inspiration from more typical sources. The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim for example, has a clear viking influence, while Cyrodiil (the setting of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) has a Roman feel to it. Morrowind, with its giant mushrooms and magical marshes, is a much more unique and alien setting.
Bethesda is taking advantage of the nostalgia that players have for Morrowind with this expansion. ESO does not have a paid subscription, but you do need to buy the game in order to play it. The Morrowind expansion will cost $40, or you can buy a version that comes with Morrowind and the base game for $60. This could be the version of choice for fans who have resisted trying ESO before but now want to check out a modern take on one of their favorite fantasy settings.
The Elder Scrolls Online came out in 2014 and drew criticism for its monthly subscription and restrictions on group play, since players could only engage in level-appropriate content that their friends might not be eligible for. Bethesda has released multiple updates to the game addressing criticisms, ditching the subscription model and introducing level-scaling, letting players explore the world freely and group up with any of their friends.
Along with the new setting, Morrowind will introduce a new class, the Warden, and a new player-vs.-player mode, Battlegrounds, which pits three teams of four players against each other.