This is the first time in the Elder Scrolls franchise, the beautifully complicate Argonian race is eventually centered under the spotlight in the newest DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online. The most recent zone DLC, Murkmire, provides a rich delve into the culture of the Argonians, which is a marginalized, misunderstood and mistreated reptilian people native to the lands of Black Marsh. Murkmire has quickly become is my favorite Elder Scrolls Online zone since its released. I love this just because its excellent execution of showing the harsh swamp environment of the Argonians to be just as beautiful and misunderstood as they are.
Once the DLC has been unlocked or purchased the land of Murkmire can be accessed by traveling directly there via Wayshrines. Obviously, once you enter this world, you'll notice that this land distinguishes itself from ones we have seen before: it is not very beautiful or attractive. It is not a place that players and lovers of fantasy would initially beg to find themselves the way they typically do with the more objectively beautiful places such as Summerset. In here, you'll find its swampy, humid environment teems with dangerous flora and fauna, but to some extent, it still presents itself in a surprisingly attractive light.
To fall in love with this world is quite easy. Before this DLC was released, I had low expectations for the visual appeal of a place themed around marshes, but many of its regions burst with colorful plants and shrouded temples, giving it a really unique, subtropical charm. I have to say that scenery is really blown me away. In the Argonian culture, there are tons of tribal elements, like ancient religious artifacts and shamanic connections with the trees, to name a few — that just feels quite different from previous races we’ve come to know in the Elder Scrolls. Many of the tasks funnel us through temples that give strong Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark vibes, and exploration through the mysteriously exotic land truly makes you feel like you’re on an adventure rather than just being told you’re on one.
One for the Lorebooks
You can find journals and books are scattered everywhere in Murkmire. And it is really worth your time to slow down and flip through them once you seize the chance. Before we come to this chapter, we've known very little about the Argonians and have seldom seen them in a light where they haven’t been completely subjugated or pushed to the corners of society. Thus, the lore around the world of Murkmire becomes priceless. This truly is the first opportunity we’ve got to dive deep into this culture, and meanwhile, it is also very worth taking advantage of.
In terms of content, the Murkmire is a quite great deal for loyal ESO players, cause for casual players, the price is 2,000 crowns or a little more than $20, which is very worth purchasing (and do not worry you can still earn a lot of elder scrolls gold in Murkmire) on the condition that you really are interested in Elder Scrolls lore. There are all kinds of different new weapon set that can be unlocked in quests or in the arena. Two new delves, and a new arena map called Blackrose Prison.
Though it is disappointing that there are no new public or private dungeons, and therefore no real way to queue up for a cooperative group activity in this world, this zone is more tailored for individual adventurers who will find no shortage of standard quests. If taking your time to read the endless amounts of dialogue and texts isn't your cup of tea, then the DLC offers little more than a nice new area to do more of the same quests in, and unfortunately I don’t see much draw for the brand new player or the player who rarely logs into the game.
Beauty in Strangeness
I am quite satisfied with the Murkmire DLC, and love it so much that I think it could have easily stood alone as a chapter had it been given more content. I would not build up expectations about what the DLC brings to the table: it is not a new chapter, simply a new zone, and this is what it excels in being. The world feels so alive, you can see lizards, crocodiles and many other reptiles scuttling around everywhere and plants giving off toxic gases should you get too close in proximity. The unique integration of a highly tribal, ancient-jungle-meets-swamp world into a game that most typically displays elements of traditional fantasy is done masterfully, and I would recommend any hardcore Elder Scrolls fan to lose themselves in its strangeness and beauty. It will not offer you any new gameplay mechanics, unique quest activities or even a new dungeon, and this is where I find that the ESO DLCs truly have room to grow. Until then, we’ll have to settle in and enjoy the exploration and tireless grinding that this new zone greatly encourages.