After the last visit to The Imperial City proved a success for the most part, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited is now taking us on a brand new adventure with its second DLC, "Orsinium". Focusing more on the story and questing side of the game rather than the PvP campaign like the last DLC, we are introduced to a brand new area called Wrothgar and are invited there to continue our questing. Does this newest expansion build on the game, and does it provide the 20+ hours of gaming that we were promised?
Once you've started up the game, you can pay a visit to your starting city in order to start the DLC. After this, you'll be met by a messenger, given your invitation to Orsinium, and be off on your way to the Wrothgar mountains. Once there, your main questline of the area sees you following the ruling of King Kurog and his dilemma with the chiefs that oppose his rule. Most of your time on the main quests are spent running errands for the King, trying to help resolve the conflict between him and the opposing chiefs. As with lots of stories nowadays, everything is not as it seems, and you'll be met with various twists and turns along your journey. The story will drop some unexpected bombshells on you, which keep you guessing until the end as to how the story will pan out. It isn't too farfetched (in terms of The Elder Scrolls universe anyway) and is interesting and engaging enough to keep you playing through until you get your ending.
The nice thing about this questline is that you partly have a choice in how you play it. You can choose the stealthy option, sneaking through areas in order to save people, or you can simply run in all guns blazing, which may get the job done but lives might be lost in the process. It also tests your understanding of sacrifice for the greater good, and even goes as far as to test whether you would kill a friend and ally in order to get some important undiscovered information. This kind of decisions make you feel like you are more in control of how the quest will turn out, even if there is only one solid ending in the long-term.
You won't be able to simply rush through this main questline, though, as the game encourages you to do a little bit of exploring and complete the side quests first. Every so often, the main questline will take a break and you will be told that you'll be contacted when you are needed again. This gives you the opportunity to explore the wider area of the Wrothgar mountains and there are plenty of other quests scattered about for you to pick up there. You'll be talking to the other chiefs and helping them out with their problems, saving villages and people, as well as damning others for their actions. There's also a long running quest that sees you trying to collect 20 different relics for a museum in Orsinium; with only a small hint as to where these items might be, you'll be searching high and low around the mountains in order to find them. This particular quest, especially, will improve your game time dramatically if you really do want to find them all.
Another plus with this DLC is that your character level is scaled to the area, so if you are a slightly lower level than you think you need to be to play it (the enemies are usually veteran level 15/16), then you don't need to worry as you will come close to matching that level when you enter the area. This also means that if, like me, you don't have a group with whom to play through the game, the chances are that you will still be able to get through 99% of the DLC fairly easily on your own. This opens up the DLC to a wider audience. In the bits that did need an extra helping hand, there was often another couple of people around the area who were coming up against the same enemies anyway. Obviously, the group bosses and public dungeons that are scattered about will be where you are needing to grab a friend or two, but the DLC area was fairly well-populated. For the moment, at least, you shouldn't have a problem.
If you want to take a break from questing then there are plenty of places to explore in this DLC. With new caves, group bosses, areas, and public dungeons to find, there's surely going to be something here to keep you entertained. For those who are true fighters at heart, the Maelstrom arena will provide an exciting new challenge. This arena consists of nine levels of fighting different waves of enemies, which are scaled to your level and that you have to fight on your own. There are normal and veteran difficulties to this, as well, so there is more than enough to challenge you here, and you have to make good use of the boosts that you will find in each of the different levels. You have the option to come and go from this as you please, so the option to take a break is there should you need it and it is nice not to be forced to complete the whole thing at once.
Orsinium and its surroundings are in a beautiful setting and you might find yourself admiring the scenery in between your questing. The huge snow-covered mountains will loom over you as you travel by horseback across the land and you'll come face-to-face with giants, mammoths, and polar bears. This snowy setting means a lack of bright and bold colours in Orsinium, but the grand buildings more than make up for it. You'll find marvellous dwarven ruins hidden underground and be met with a multitude of different sights and sounds to accompany this. Unfortunately, there were a few problems with the sound and music, specifically jumping and lagging every so often whilst walking between areas, which did break the illusion now and again.
The only other real problems were a few bugs in the quests. Quest givers were sometimes in the wrong place, preventing the start or continuation of a quest. At other times, characters or enemies glitched into the wall or rocks, so that they couldn't be killed or conversations were impossible. Reloading fixed this every time, but the easy fix still doesn't stop it being annoying. The game also offers you a few puzzles to solve during some quests; a few of these were more than a bit annoying to try and complete, even while knowing what you were meant to do.
The DLC adds an extra six achievements on to the base game, totalling an additional 220 points in gamerscore. You'll have to complete all of the main quests, as well as pretty much everything else that the DLC has to offer. Remember those relics. Well, you will be wanting to find them all, as well, and fill up that museum. After that, you can try your hand at the Maelstrom arena -- both normal and veteran hold achievements for you.