Preview: The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon

Awoooooooooo! Actually, werewolves are real as well, but I missed that Biology class.


Werewolves aren't the only things that are hungry.

On an ice floe.

Now, who can tell me what the difference is between a Spriggan and a Goblin?

A Nord looks on sternly.

Building the mining colony.

Confronting a spook with weapon drawn.

Bethesda said that there will be no riding animals - but what are those, then?

Grasping claws.


"We'll meet again when there's blood... on the moon."
Platform: PC CD-ROM
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Rated Teen

Why quit when you're on top? That was what Bethesda was thinking when they started developing the Bloodmoon expansion. Although Morrowind, with its epic story about heroes and cults, has earned many fans, the developers still wanted to offer something different. With Bloodmoon, players can travel to the island of Solstheim, northwest of Vvardenfell. This island is a blizzard-washed arctic, where a fledging mining colony is having difficulties with a community of werewolves. For many fans of Morrowind, the decision whether or not to buy this expansion is dwarfed by a more significant decision - which side are they on?

Solstheim is accessible by a boat from Khuul, or by swimming. This new island is about one-fifth the size of Vvardenfell, which is much bigger than the land area introduced in Tribunal. Once Bloodmoon is installed, Solstheim is accessible anytime during a player's Morrowind or Tribunal questing, although only high-level players will be able to complete Bloodmoon's main quest. Bloodmoon features new dungeons in the form of ice caves and Nordic burial tombs. The new expansion boasts new monsters and items for the player to discover. A new faction, the mining colony, is also introduced. Players can complete quests as rise in the ranks, as usual, but they will also get a say in how the colony develops. This may seem like a small feature to those who use the map editor extensively, but it should still be interesting to see how decisions develop over time.

The werewolves that are attacking the colony offer the player the opportunity to radically change the way he or she plays The Elder Scrolls III. Similar to the vampires of Vvardenfell, getting hit by a werewolf can cause the player's character to become a loup-garou himself or herself. From then on in, the player will transform into a werewolf every night, whether on Solstheim or Vvardenfell. If an NPC sees this transformation take place, however, than the player's character becomes a wanted criminal, regardless of his or her present form. Guards charge on sight, and civilian NPCs will either do the same or run away. While in werewolf form, the player gets an instant bonus of speed, agility and strength, but can not use weapons, items or spells. Instead, the werewolf attacks with his or her claws, but in this special case of hand-to-hand combat, the opponent's health is damaged rather than his or her fatigue. As for spells, the new werewolf gains the Eye of Wolf ability, which is a combination of Night-Eye and Detect Creature powers. It is possible that other unique wolf abilities could be acquired later on. Hopefully, these new skills will balance things out for the lycanthropy-inflicted player, because there is a whole new slew of quests just for werewolves, acquired through dreams.

Like Tribunal, Bloodmoon brings some much-desired improvements in regards to the journal and map, such as the ability to sort quests by their name. The map editor is also fully compliant with Bloodmoon, except for the fact that any player-placed landmass along Solstheim's coordinates gets destroyed and replaced with the new icy island. Unfortunately, many features that fans of Morrowind were hoping for will not be delivered. For instance, there will be no new music. Still, Bloodmoon can lay claim to a whole new area complete with its own blizzard special effects, monsters, and quests. Altogether, players can expect to get between 20-40 hours of additional gameplay form this expansion. Morrowind fans will want to spend a little time on Solstheim - not in the least because Bethesda promises that the island will be much to cold for cliff racers.

·You can check this game's release date here.    
by Matthew Scribner

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