ESO feature art

The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Review

June 27, 2022

By: Jessica Thomas

 
 

The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle is another huge expansion to the successful MMORPG. The islands found in the expansion are ambitious, the story is rooted in politics, and there is plenty of lore for die-hard Elder Scroll fans to sink their teeth into. Just how well does this expansion stack up against the previous DLC for the game?

Politics Fuel the Story

One of the very first things you're going to learn when you arrive on High Isle and start the story is that it's heavily rooted in politics. The Ascendant Order is trying to take control of High Isle, and for the first part of the story, the locals are ignoring the danger until things get out of hand at a party. There is also a prison island, Amenos, where those who are kicked out of society are hanging out.

 

To say that this story is going to pull you in and wow you would be a lie. It’s not a bad story, but it’s nothing compared to the content of the mainline game. The content in High Isle is pretty predictable, and at times, the dialogue isn’t all that enthralling, which isn’t something that is new for this type of MMORPG.

If you are a fan of Elder Scrolls and want to get ahold of all the lore the games can offer, then the story is still worth playing through. If you love the lore of Elder Scrolls, then there are tons of books, sidequests, and locations for you to dive into to learn more about the world. In fact, lore is probably the spot where High Isle shines the brightest. It was pretty enjoyable to read the new books and learn how the Breton society around me worked. I also have to admit that the idea of Amenos was interesting, as it showed a dystopian layer of society.

 
 

Gameplay Changes in High Isle

Tales of Tribute

While there is a ton of new content in High Isle, the core gameplay of ESO doesn’t play. If you have played the game before, then you are going to be intimately familiar with how playing through High Isle will feel. If you like the combat, then you will have fun playing new content like Dreadsail Reef where you take on a group of pirates with other players.

There are also new items and bosses to take on. You will quickly become familiar with Volcanic Vents, an area where you will fight waves of enemies for treasure. Volcanic Vents are taken on by several different players, and a powerful boss will spawn once the waves of enemies have been taken down. Like most world events in the game, these are fun, especially when large groups of players gather around to take on the challenge. The downside I’ve found with these is when I wanted to do a Volcanic Vent, but no one else was around to help.

 
 

You will also be able to meet new companions, Isobel and Ember. Like other companions, they simply help you out in battle. Neither of them caught my attention too much, but they can be helpful on your adventure. One of the more interesting additions to High Isle is Tales of Tribute, ESO’s card game. This card game is a unique quest line in itself that allows you to win everything from housing items to emotes.

You can play Tribute with both NPCs that are already in the game or challenge other players once you have unlocked a deck. The game allows you to build a deck and try to climb the in-game leaderboards. The gameplay is pretty solid in general, but those who don’t play card games may find it a bit boring.  Basically, you play card to earn coins every turn, and then spend the coins on cards with special abilities.  The amount of coins you earn don't stack, so each turn you start at 0 coins. You gain points based on your plays, but there is also a Patron system. Patrons give you points for having and meeting card-specific requirements. If you manage to turn all four Patrons' favor towards you, you automatically win the game.

You are tasked with earning enough points to win or getting all the patrons on your side. Basically, you Whoever reaches one of these goals first is the victor. There are several different card types that you will need to get familiar with,  but the game is easy to learn, and I never spent too long on a single match.

More Elder Scrolls Online Content

Volcanic Vent

One of the worst things I encountered with High Isle was the number of bugs that kept popping. I tried to do the quest Spies in The Shallows in the Shipwreck Shoals Delve. The last item glitched on me, and I couldn’t pick it up. It was only after abandoning and reaccepting the quest that I could complete it. I also faced a boss spawn glitch, but with time these will be ironed out.

 
 

Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Review | Final Thoughts

During my time playing High Isle, I can’t say I was blown away by the new content or that it was my favorite expansion. I don’t think it’s bad, and if you're an Elder Scrolls Online fan, you should go ahead and pick it up. With that being said, it’s no Endwalker, and the game can feel a bit empty at times.


TechRaptor reviewed Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle on PC using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Review Summary

Review Summary

6.0
Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle adds a huge new area to explore, with one of the key features being a card game. While Trails of Tribute, and the large amount of lore are fun, the expansion isn't enough to win players of other MMORPG's like Final Fantasy 14 over.

Pros

  • Large Area
  • Hours Worth of new Elder Scrolls Lore Lore
  • Trails of Tribute is Fun
  • Content Filled

Cons

  • More of the Same
  • Predictable Story
  • Glitches
More Info About This Game

In This Article

Developer
Zenimax Online Studios
Publisher
Bethesda Softworks
Platforms
PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date
April 04,2014
Genre
MMORPG, MMO
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