The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood
Violent expansion to online adventure adds new companions.
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The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for the PlayStation 4 and 5, Stadia, Macintosh, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. This is the fifth expansion to The Elder Scrolls Online, and takes place in three new zones, with Blackwood as the primary entry point. While there's been a big resetting of champion points in this expansion, this pack has also added the option of earning companions as a reward, who are customizable and will fight with your character, though they will drop out if you have a full dungeon party assembled. Combat's an essential element of play, and players will be tasked with killing a variety of humanoids, as well as monsters and oversized creatures, with blood and gore shown as a result of combat. Bodies of defeated enemies remain onscreen until they've been looted, and there are scenes of torture. Female characters can wear skimpy outfits as armor. While there are instances of the word "bastard" used in dialogue, chat is unmoderated, and there are some instances of sexual innuendo in story dialogue as well. Characters can potentially be seen as intoxicated in the game, and can make and purchase alcohol for their party. Players will also have the option to purchase weapons, armor, and other items with real-world money for their avatars.
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What’s It About?
THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: BLACKWOOD is the latest chapter in the long-running online franchise. The plot behind the events of Blackwood surround a deal made long ago with the Prince of Destruction that has finally come due. These events are seemingly connected to or interwoven with tales of the Elder Council being murdered, and a secret project connected to the Four Ambitions and the Daedric Princes. Set 800 years before the Oblivion storylines, Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood takes familiar elements, intersperses them with some new game mechanics and three new zones, and then guides players through a main story arc that leads to Mehrunes Dagon. Portals scattered across the land open gateways to one of the new areas known as the Deadlands, which offers players the opportunity to earn new gear. Additionally, there's also a new 12-player trial zone called Rockgrove. Along the way, players will be able to take on quests to pick up companions Bastian (who starts as a mage-like character) and Mirri (who starts as a ranger-like character). These companions can be leveled up and outfitted with new gear, making them more effective in battle when you're going alone in exploring dungeons or the environment.
Is It Any Good?
While there isn't a ton of radically new content added to this expansion, adding companions that help with your dungeon crawling improves the time exploring Tamriel. Expanding the lore of any MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) is always a good thing, and having companions to fight with or take the focus off your player in the midst of battle so you can target enemy weaknesses or gain support in a fight is even nicer. Blackwood tracks some familiar territory in terms of game mechanics: the main quest line and side quests help with gaining experience points and acquiring campanions that will fight by your side and can be customized to fit your personal gameplay style. The side chatter from the companions is a nice touch, and, quite frankly, there are elements of the new zones that are candy for the eyes. Plus. the plot of the adventure is very good, and there are enough side quests to keep players busy for hours. Blackwood is the fifth expansion for ESO, and like any expansion, it adds content to keep players engaged. But the downside is the formulaic nature of the content. Blackwood doesn't really offer new mechanics, expand with new classes, or provide a slew of new abilities. At least there are a lot of new armor sets that are nice looking, along with new pets and mounts.
The visuals and sounds of the game are wonderful, and the story arc will pull players through the zones. Blackwood could have offered a bit more instead of the same quest-driven formula, but when you have a winning formula, why change it? This is a worthy addition to the ESO franchise. It gives players more control over their option to explore dungeons by themselves with the help of customized computer driven companions, and provides some additional context to the Oblivion tale.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood affected by the frequent fighting that you engage in during the game? Would the impact be lessened if there was less blood, gore, and torture? Does it feel appropriate given the content and setting of the game?
What's the importance of protecting your identity in an online game? What should you do if a player starts to chat persistently with you and ask for personal information?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Release date: June 1, 2021
- Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG)
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence
- Last updated: June 11, 2021
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