The Elder Scrolls Online’s next expansion gives the Bretons a delayed close-up

Bretons, the “Man-Mer” breed of The Elder Scrolls lore, has long been a favorite choice among role players looking for a skilled magic user who is not an elf. But of the standard races in Bethesda Softworks’ fantasy universe, the Breton homeland of High Rock has been on time for a close-up. You get that The Elder Scrolls Onlinenext major expansion, High Isle, launch June 6.

“This is probably the most accessible piece of content we’ve added The Elder Scrolls Online in the form of people familiar with the franchise, ”said Rich Lambert, MMO’s creative director at Zenimax Online Studios. “Morrowind [which got a huge expansion in 2017] is very strange and you know it has these weird fungi and stuff like that. When you look at Blackwood [last June’s big expansion] this is a big, giant demon coming in, and if you do not know who Mehrune’s Dagon is, you do not necessarily care.

“But with this, this is kind of your traditional medieval fantasy tale,” Lambert added. “It’s focused on the noble houses and the politics that mix with all that, and knights. So it’s super accessible and super easy for anyone to get into.”

High Rock (the name of the province; High Isle is a place there) has been a playable area in The Elder Scrolls Online since the MMO debuted in 2014, but it has not received the full chapter treatment until now. IN TESOThe Daggerfall Covenant faction, made up of orcs, Bretons and redguards, controls High Rock, and then missions that promote knowledge of that alliance as a whole, rather than the Bretons specifically.

High Isle, Lambert said, this is about the Three Banners War, which is the fractional conflict that underlies it TESO; in the expansion, a peace summit on High Isle brings the noble Society of the Steadfast and the Chaotic Ascendant Order to the table, and players must uncover the true motives from both sides as they wind their way through the expansion’s main story.

Lambert acknowledged that the Arthurian legends and their aesthetics, as traditionally presented, provide much information about the scenography and activities of High Isle. Bretons are taken as an analogue for Britons, even though they are half-elves. (In the Elder Scrolls doctrine, “Breton” comes from a dead language and means “half”).

“We wanted [the setting] to feel more like a resort than anything else, ”Lambert said. “To the team as I went through [the backstory] I said, ‘This is where the nobility goes, this is where the money goes, this is Las Vegas meets Roman times.’ How can we make this as pristine and as beautiful as possible? And the team just jumped on it and started digging into it. “

Asked for his favorite spot that Elder Scrolls fans should be sure to visit High Isle, Lambert mentioned one of the expansion’s two new NPC supporters, Ember, a Khajit-street survivor with a talent for magic. “She’s such a cool character, and the story and her goal of unlocking her, they’s just so well done,” Lambert said. “I think the players will enjoy the heck out of her and that goal.”

The other unlockable companion is Isobel Velois, a Breton knight. She is not a straight lift of Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thronesbut if so, players relate to her role inside High Isle, Lambert sounded fine with it. “She could be such a person,” Lambert said. “She and her family are knights. And her goal is focused on what she sees as right and wrong and how she wants to do the right thing for everyone. She’s not your stuffy, pompous, ‘I’m a knight,’ therefore, you know, worship the ground I walk on. ‘ She has her own qualities and flaws and whatnot. ”

In terms of gameplay, a notable new feature is Tales of Tribute, a pub game that evolves as a deck-building diversion to play against NPCs and human players. With Tales of Tribute, players will be able to unlock maps, decks and other pieces with leaderboards to map progress.

Close up of a card on a game board in a deck building game

Tales of Tribute is a deck-building game mode where The Elder Scrolls Online players can receive NPCs or other players.
Image: Zenimax Online Studios / Bethesda Softworks

Considering that High Rock and High Isle are so much undiscovered land for an Elder Scrolls video game – other than Onlineits last appearance as an exploratory video game world was the 1996s The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall – Lambert agreed that this expansion actually put him at the helm of much of the guns for the series, which turned 28 on March 25th.

“But one of the things we have established over the years is this sense of trust; [Bethesda Game Studios] trust us with IP – we’ve been working on this game since, you know, for me it’s been 2007, but it’s been live since 2014, “Lambert said.” And we treat the IP with respect. We work very closely with them every time we do something. And they have given us carte blanche to do what we want with the High Isle. It is well.”