Posted by : Starships and Dragons Tuesday, March 12, 2013

As we get farther north, we see the territory shift to be more similar to the icy north of Skyrim.

                  There are glaciers and Horkers galore as well as Ice Wraiths and Spriggans.  Also we see more new enemies in the form small little tribal imps known as Reiklings.  They themselves are weak but can be dangerous in high numbers.  The only time they aver actually managed to kill me was when I was outnumbered 10 to 1.  Also they tend to ride on dangerous boars called Bristlebacks that have very strong charge attacks.  All in all though, they aren’t tough.  One of the most interesting features that dot the northern terrain for me was a cave inhabited by a tribe of werewolves.  Because in my Skyrim game I am a werewolf, I was highly excited to see a werewolf outside the companions.  What really interested me were the unique rings they sold that enhanced my werewolf powers if I wore them upon transforming.  They had a variety of effects from self-healing, more damage, a power howl, and slowing time.  Being a fan of the werewolf powers I thought that no other transforming power was better.  That is until I ran into the WereBEAR.  It is as it sounds.  It’s like being a werewolf except you transform into a bear-man hybrid.  They are stronger than your normal rogue werewolf and far more dangerous.  To my current dismay, it is not currently possible to become one.

                But enough of that, back to the main quest line.  In the north is also the Skaal village, a home to Nords that live off the land.  They are the only ones who are able to see through Miraak’s power and help you oppose him….Yeah that’s pretty much it.  You free the people from Miirak with the shout “Bend Will”, get the souls of your killed dragons taken by Miraak half the time (really unfair) and then your ride a dragon through Apocrypha.  While at first fun, it easily becomes dull because it is difficult to control properly and aim.  From there you go and fight Miraak where we once again see the game hype up a weak boss that although fun to fight, serves no real challenge.  How the fight works is that you lower Miraak’s health to near zero three times but with each time he absorbs a dragon to restore his strength.  Upon defeating him on the final time, Hermaeus Mora appears as a mass of tentacles and a giant floating eye (He does this multiple times throughout this story but doesn’t do anything significant).    He then proceeds to steal your much deserved final blow and kills Miraak himself.  Your reward for completing the Solstheim story line is a plethora of dragon souls and whatever Miraak has on his person, which was surprisingly weak and explains the disappointment I felt during the fight.  Miraak wore clothes fitting of a mage and even had a dragon priest mask that boosted his magicka.  However, Miraak fought with a sword that drained stamina and a staff that created tentacles, which was never used while he was fighting even though it was equipped to him.

                While the main storyline for Solstheim is quick and shallow, everything else about the island is full of adventure and grandeur.  The Dwarven ruins bring forth new styles of puzzle adventures and hold amazing treasures such as a Dwarven helmet that lets you use the steam attack that Dwarven Centurions use.  Another unique treasure is the ability to obtain a dwemer sphere and spider as a companion as you travel.  In the new ruins we also see another new enemy called the Dwarven Ballista, which shoots colossal crossbow bolts at the player that can pierce armor.

                Along with Miraak we are given four other new dragon priests and three new dragon priest masks from them. Each of these new masks gives a boost and resilience to the three basic elements of magic found in the game.  The most interesting priest is Ahzidal.  Throughout his tomb are unique items that were previously owned by him and each have a one of a kind enchantment such as water walking and adding new spells to your arsenal.  The priest you don’t get a mask from, Vahlok, is interesting because he adds more back story to Miraak because he is the one who seals him away. However, all in all, the new dragon priests don’t really bring anything extravagant into the world of Elder Scrolls.

                Hidden throughout Solstheim, is a unique variant of Stalhrim armor called Deathbrand armor.  It is unique because it is stronger than normal Stalhrim armor and has enchantments that improve for every piece of Deathbrand armor you wear.  After obtaining all the pieces , you go to the grave of its redguard owner and get two unique enchanted Scimtar named Bloodscythe and Soulrender.  Another unique armor is obtained by befriending Glover Mallory, the brother of your Thieves guild friend, Delvin Mallory.  Upon completing several quests for him, he gives you the key to his house.  Inside, you will find a set of Blackguard armor.  It is pretty much stronger Thieves guild armor with improved enchantments.  The real point of interest is a letter in his house addressed to the Thieves Guild member, Sapphire.  In which we learn that he is Sapphire’s father and all the regrets of his life about not being there for her.  If this letter is given to Sapphire, she will give you an exquisite sapphire that has a base value of 5000 septims.

                Dragonborn also introduces two of the toughest enemies in the game.  The first is an undead frost giant named Karstaag.  After finding his skull in Glacial Cave, you can bring it to Castle Karstaag Ruins to fight his spirit.  Upon being awakened, he unleashes a blizzard and charges at you.  Due to his incredible physical strength, he can kill you and send you flying in one hit.  He has the power to knock you down and kill you before you can even get up.  He is the only enemy in the game I haven’t beaten and is one I will try again to in the future.  This is because victory over the undead frost giant gives you the power to summon him to aid you in combat.

                The last thing added in Dragonborn is the Ebony Warrior.  He is a Redguard man who appears to the player upon reaching level 80(The player reaches Max level at 81).  He asks the player to give him an honorable death.  Afterwards the player meets him at his desired location and fights him to the death.  Being only level 74, I have not done this quest. However, he is a guaranteed challenge because he wears full Ebony armor, the third strongest heavy armor in the game.

                To sum it all up, Dragonborn is not phenomenal for the reasons I expected.  The shallow main quest it added was fun but it could have been more.  What was phenomenal was all the new places, spell, weapons, and creatures that are encountered in the brand new land of Solstheim.  I give the whole DLC a 9/10 and consider it a must have.

-Brendon Green

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