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Xeno­pho­bic elves and pur­ple dragons

Mas­sive mul­ti­player on­line games are a big com­mit­ment. While you can ditch your job and put your chil­dren up for adop­tion, it’s es­sen­tially im­pos­si­ble to give up on an MMO once it has its grip on you.

The lat­est se­ries try­ing to take over your life is The Elder Scrolls On­line. Fol­low­ing last year’s nos­tal­gic Mor­rowind chap­ter, the next ex­pan­sion will be Summerset, let­ting you loose on a re­gion that hasn’t been ex­plored since 1994’s The Elder Scrolls: Arena. You see, Summerset’s bor­ders have been shut for a long time, but now Queen Ayrenn has or­dered them to be opened, al­low­ing you and your merry band of on­line pals to wan­der in. Not ev­ery­one’s chuffed about this, and it’s your job to help soothe the grow­ing ten­sions be­tween the dif­fer­ent fac­tions.

But if the likes of griffins and uni­corns are one step too far into nerd­vana for you, then you might want to look else­where. While games like Skyrim and Obliv­ion were dom­i­nated by hu­man-cen­tric sto­ries and set­tings, Summerset is more in the vein of Mor­rowind, div­ing down the fan­tasy rab­bit-hole. Com­bat is pretty ba­sic, but as wiz­ardry is a big deal in th­ese parts you’ll be ex­per­i­ment­ing with a lot more spells. Th­ese in­clude be­ing able to tem­po­rar­ily freeze time as well as med­i­ta­tion skills, which re­plen­ish health, stamina and mag­icka.

It’s way too early to of­fer a de­fin­i­tive ver­dict, but this Summerset ex­pan­sion al­ready feels like a fas­ci­nat­ing ad­di­tion to an al­ready mon­strous game, and one that has a lot to of­fer both new­com­ers and vet­er­ans.

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