It wasn’t too far off this time last year that I kicked off another run into The Elder Scrolls Online. That time around, I went out of my way to ditch the latest expansion that it plopped me into (Summerset) and found my way back to the old world, to start the adventure from the beginning.

This time around — I decided to stick with Elsweyr. And it hasn’t turned me off it like trying to start in Summerset has.

The main issue I found last time around, was that there were characters in Summerset you were clearly meant to know. They were supposed to have an existing relationship with your character in some form or another and of course — this just didn’t exist when you were rather unceremoniously dumped as a new character at their feet.

My impression with Elsweyr — and this might not even be correct, but that almost doesn’t even matter — is that the characters are new to you. You’re meeting them for the first time and being introduced to them over the course of the story. If they did exist in prior Elder Scrolls Online stories — this is no longer thrust in your face quite so much.

I have also stopped by Vvardenfell (Morrowind’s content) when friends weren’t on to further progress Elsweyr with.

Well no — there is actually one character definitely thrust back into the spot light from the old world. But if you’ve ever done the original tutorial you’ll be familiar with them. Although I do now have a great many questions on how they went from their situation in said original tutorial to where they are in Elsweyr.

But rather than frustrate, this feels more like a mystery to be solved at a later date. A backstory I can discover more of.

I’m not terribly far in from a character progression perspective, sitting at just level 20. But that’s further than I got with my old character. I’m playing a Warden this time around with a focus on Magicka abilities. Primarily Healing, really. But taking enough DPS skills to make leveling enjoyable. And at least in terms of leveling content — including the dungeons — I don’t feel underpowered with this approach at all.

The balance of power is actually quite satisfying.

I have little doubt that eventually, come level 50 and jumping on the Champion Point train I will want to respec to be more heavily healer orientated. Spec for it. Gear for it. All that carry on.

But for now, I’m just having a blast with the Zone story. The main story may not precisely go ahead and blow your socks off, but the side quests are without exception fantastic. Not something I would say about… Welll… Practically any other MMO to my knowledge.

In one of the early ‘Delves’ (soloable, but also public mini-dungeons) of Elsweyr.

ESO really jumps both feet into the fully voiced, fully fleshed out stories. They’re very akin to a ‘proper’ Elder Scrolls game questline in that respect.

Even Syp, who doesn’t quite gel with the combat finds the stories to be rather engaging and amusing. Both sides of which I can’t help but to agree with. On my first night back into ESO, I thought I had made a terrible mistake. Mostly down to the combat and how… Off it felt.

Although admittedly, as you begin to unlock additional skill morphs and discover the potential synergies, things to start clicking into place a little better. The healer skills in particular being largely area targeted feel good to play with in a hectic dungeon or public dungeon environment.

But without the story telling on offer — I’m not sure I would have stuck around long enough to even find this out.