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Jun 21, 2023

The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $39.99
We Recommend: $31.99
  • Developer: ZeniMax Online Studios
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Massively Multiplayer, RPG
  • Released: Jun 06, 2023
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
  • Reviewed: Windows

The Necrom expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online kicks off the ninth year for the venerable MMORPG. The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom takes players to the new Telvanni Peninsula and Hermaeus Mora’s realm of Apocrypha for all characters to explore. This chapter also includes the seventh. The chapter also includes the seventh class, the Arcanist. While it doesn’t equal the price of admission, it is the first new class in several years that’s worth getting excited for, even if it feels a bit familiar. The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom takes players to new and foreign places that as a complete package make this expansion another solid entry that’s full of Lovecraftian horrors.

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Necrom can be started as easily as rolling a new character (such as the new Arcanist class) or something else entirely, and existing characters can begin the quest no matter where they are at. ZeniMax Online Studios is always smart about making easy for any player to get started on the new content with minimal friction. There’s a prologue quest that gets everyone started and back to Morrowind where they will kick things off. What’s interesting, is that you’ll be whisked away into a meeting with a Daedric Prince, which feels rather sudden as there wasn’t much of buildup to that. Though that kind of is the theme of this expansion, there’s no rails for how dark this goes. It’s also borderline funny, as an a floating eldritch NPC would only refer to me as “mortal” instead of my name. It’s not a very challenging or difficult expansion, but Necrom is a 30+ hours well-spent.

The Arcanist is the first new character class for ESO in four years. It does offer a new way to play the game, but it’s hard not to see the parallels with it and something like the Necromancer, which was the last new class back in 2019. It’s still a good and worthwhile addition, introducing another spellcaster into the mix. I played as a Dark Elf, and leaned into a Magicka-only build. There’s three skill trees: Herald of the Tome which are offense skills, Soldier of Apocrypha which is more defense-focused, and Curative Runeformers make up the healing and support roles. I ended up specializing in Herald of the Tomb and upgraded the early Fatecarver skill that I had, as well as Runeblades. Fatecarver feels supremely overpowered as it shoots a green lazer beam and works against multiple enemies, yet it feels balanced. There’s crux, a passive that has green triangles circling your character, that has utility but just looks cool, and from a distance, are able to tell exactly what class you are. The auto-targeting of these abilities works how you want and are satisfying to use, and that’s how I’d describe this whole class. It’s a class that’s definitely worth checking out, and fits in very well.

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High Isle was bright and sunny shores with scattering thunderstorms. The Telvanni Peninsula takes players through a new area of Morrowind with some reused assets. Then once you land in the Apocrypha, it becomes apparent how new and alien it all is, absolutely lined with books – like it’s a never-ending library. Finally, once you reach the city of Necrom, you’re met with darkness and a very historic-looking place. Every place is distinct, and there’s no mistaking that you’re not only in a different locale, but traversing deeper.

The new monsters are great, and they expand on the Daedric horrors so clearly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, as most of this expansion does. There’s Cthulhu eyes, dreamcarvers, and hidden kindred to battle, which offer up their own strengths, weaknesses, and whether they are in groups or solo attackers. With your abilities, it’s always fun to tear them apart.

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Ever since their introduction a few years ago, there are also two new companions to gain: Azandar and Sharp-as-Night. They’re both solid additions, that are maybe a bit less memorable than prior expansions. They however have interesting companion quests that will lead you in interesting directions and ensure you visit worthwhile locations that Necrom has to offer.

During my time playing this expansion, I did run into a few bugs, some of them progression halting. I’d have it where quests wouldn’t advance to the next stage, or just bug out in some other ways. Logging out and back in would generally fix it, but larger fixes came in patches to the game. Almost all of these issues have been resolved at this point. While they aren’t bugs, I did find that some of the quests themselves felt samey to that of existing content.

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The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom features a new 12-player trial named “Sanity’s Edge”. This is a dungeon that is one of the most memorable aspects. I don’t normally delve into the dungeons, as I like to play solo. But this was such a thrilling dungeon, and having it break all forms of reality to present it to the players involved just feels so inventive and fresh.

There are two new world bosses to encounter, both of which bridge the gap on difficulty where the main story can feel easy, and these are far more challenging. And it requires good coordination with a group to beat efficiently.

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Necrom leans on greens and blacks to fill out its color palette, and does so in wondrous splendor. As it is an extension of the game, it continues to run great and has lots of customization for machines of all ages. In particular, the new areas you travel to, the Apocrypha and Necrom are absolutely gorgeous, and something you couldn’t even dream of. They’re equally grotesque and not exactly pretty, but they have their own beauty and decadence to them. It’s a place well-worth exploring based on its visuals alone.

My PC Specs:

– Microsoft Windows 11 Pro
– Intel Core i9 13900K @ 5.8GHz
– ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4080 16GB GDDR6X
– WD_BLACK SN850X M.2 (4 TB)
– LG UltraGear 34GP950B-G (21:9 Ultrawide @ 3440×1440)

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Necrom has everything you need from story to location to characters to keep you invested in the goings on in this MMORPG for the next year. It successfully builds upon all of the expansions before it, especially last year’s. Being released at this time, it’s a summer horror with Lovecraftian vibes that really sets apart from the other content in the game. It’s got a great questline, and the two new zones are a visual delight, and doing everything is easily 30 hours worth of content. For its seventh expansion, the team is showing no signs of fatigue as this is another fantastic addition. The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom is a great reason to revisit and hang out in the Morrowind province for a summer of Eldritch horror.

A Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes