One of the most exciting things a dataminer can discover are what areas a game might take us to next and even though ZOS has been much better at keeping things out of the Live client, they left a hefty chunk of data in the Dark Brotherhood PTS build that leaves Elder Scrolls fans frothing at the mouth. We’re going back to Vvardenfall. Almost all of it. In one DLC. Soon™.
Ok, soon may be a stretch, but probably not as far fetched as you might think. There was never any official mention of the Gold Coast by ZOS until recently, but with the release of Orsinium on the PTS in October 2015, enterprising dataminers found data referring to the Gold Coast, Anvil, and Kvatch. Two updates later, all those areas are scheduled to hit the live client. Does this point to Vvardenfell being released during Q4 2016 in time for the holidays? From a marketing perspective, this certainly makes sense, but is it possible it’s coming that soon? What does it entail?
Datamining information isn’t illegal or against the TOS, but please understand that anything datamined isn’t final and is subject to change – Gina Bruno
So What Was Found?
During ESO’s timeline, the Tribunal of Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec are alive and well. We’ve explored a significant questline with Almalexia already. Certainly, fleshing out the stories of Vivec and Sotha Sil would make sense. If we also take into account that ZOS has already previewed Clockwork City, it would seem that a visit to Morrowind’s main island would be in order. Thanks to datamining efforts from the recent Dark Brotherhood PTS release, we can definitively say that we are indeed headed back to Vvardenfell.
What’s staggering is the size of this zone. The data would seem to indicate that it covers nearly the entire island of Vvardenfell in one huge DLC. According to the discoveries first brought to my attention by Reddit user Perca_fluviatilis, the zone contains six delves, six world bosses, twelve wayshrines, one or two public dungeons, three set-crafting stations, three player houses, fourteen points of interest and one group dungeon called the Cradle of Shadows.
The Points of Interest found for the zone are all over the map – literally. They include: Ald Sotha, Bal Fell, Balmora, Esutanamus, Gnisis, Mazhnch, Sadrith Mora, Suran, Tel Aruhn, Tel Fyr, Tel Mora, Tel Branora, Vos, and Yansirramus. Here’s what that looks like on the iconic Vvardenfell map from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
While there are some interesting omissions from the datamined points of interest, that’s a whole zone and then some. We’re back to the full compliment of six delves and six world bosses. Although it appears the central portion of the island involving Red Mountain will be cordoned off in some manner, the East, West, and South coasts look to get fully explored – keep in mind there are no circles for the delves, world bosses, public dungeons, and the many additional areas that will be quest related.
If the Gold Coast is any indication, and it should be, the nostalgia that will flood back for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind players will be off the charts. Here is a fantastic Imgur album put together by Reddit user -MVP that nicely compares ESO’s Anvil and Kvatch with their counterparts from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. ZOS has really nailed the nostalgia quotient in re-imagining these areas a thousand years before the events in the previous games. Vvardenfell will certainly be no exception.
What Else Might We Know?
Two New 4-Player Dungeons
The Ruins of Mazzatun have long been a blight on the pristine marshland of Shadowfen. Legend tells of a Mad Hist at the center of the ruins, but Argonians who enter the “Puzzle City” seldom live to tell the tale.
Information about the dungeon known as the Cradle of Shadows is scarce but this appears to be a direct reference to the Daedric Prince Nocturnal and his realm of Oblivion, Evergloam, which the texts reveal to be filled with perpetual twilight and called the “cradle of shadow”. We’ve already seen glimpses of what Evergloam looks like in ESO, as Crow’s Wood is a pocket realm of Evergloam. Could this adventure into Evergloam be part of the Prophet’s warning we heard at the end of Orsinium, or simply a diversion for a group of adventurous heroes?
But there is a second unreleased dungeon in the code called the Ruins of Mazzatun. While the Cradle of Shadows certainly appears to be tied directly to the Vvardenfell update based upon where and when it was discovered, Mazzatun is located in Shadowfen and this complicates both the Vvardenfell release and the release schedule of any additional dungeons.
This is further complicated by a new crown store listing I found entitled “Update 11 Dungeons – Grants access to Ruins of Mazzatun and Cradle of Shadows.” If this is to be believed, these two dungeons will release with Update 11 which is scheduled for Q3 2016. I seriously doubt Vvardenfell will be ready to go by then and smart money has housing as the most likely culprit for Q3 release. But maybe the Ruins of Mazzatun will release with Vvardenfell as well and that release is sooner then we all imagine! I doubt it. My money would be on housing, barbershop and two new dungeons being released in Q3 2016 with the Vvardenfell DLC being slated for Q4 2016 at the earliest.
Three Player Houses in Vvardenfell
Another obvious indicator as to why a major update or two will come before Vvardenfell is the existence of three specific player housing options within Vvardenfell. This in and of itself is an exciting discovery as it means there will most likely be multiple housing opportunities per zone! If you have a favorite area of Tamriel, you can live there. Getting back to the point at hand, you can’t really have housing areas in the zone if you haven’t introduced and fully released housing yet. One thing is for sure though, you’ll get the chance to live on Vvardenfell Island if you choose.
Where To From Here?
Wake up, we’re here. Why are you shaking? Are you ok? Wake up. Stand up… there you go. You were dreaming. What’s your name?
All that’s missing from the quote above is that iconic musical score. Hopefully you feel some of the excitement I felt when I first discovered Vvardenfell in the files. With the release of Thieves Guild in the rear-view mirror and the Dark Brotherhood imminent, where do we adventure next? Even without the datamined Vvardefell information, ZOS has already previewed three other zones and dropped a massive hint for things to come at the end of Orsinium’s main quest – all a future article to come. Privately and somewhat publicly, ZOS has been pumping up “big news” at the BE3 Event on June 12th. I fear I may have let you in on the party a little early. In any event we’ll all know more officially then.
Until next time – Dominoid