The Elder Scrolls Online High Isle expansion is live now, bringing with it new lands, friends, and a citadel invasion that wouldn’t look out of place in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Or perhaps we’re just a bit starry-eyed for the land of the hobbits at the moment, seeing as Billy Boyd, who portrayed Pippin Took in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film adaptations, voices one of High Isle’s major new characters.
The High Isle expansion is a first for the MMO game, adding a brand-new location designed specifically for Bethesda’s online game. It takes place throughout the Systres Archipelago, an island chain replete with contrasts and intrigue. The Breton’s towering fortresses and sprawling towns on High Isle exist alongside volcanoes, majestic cliffs, and even jungles, but the dangers of the natural world are the least of your worries.
The latest expansion picks up the tale of the Bretons begun in March and follows a brand-new storyline of intrigue and conspiracy. This time, your foe is the mysterious Ascendant Lord, an enigmatic figure bent on plunging the world into never-ending war. As usual with ESO’s expansions, the full story unfolds over the course of the next year, with several new trials and world events to keep you busy in the meantime.
Chief among these new additions is Tales of Tribute, a deep deck-building game with PvE and PvP elements that grows and changes depending on how many characters you challenge across the world. Boyd previously commented that Braghas’ cheery outlook and love of life and teamwork matched his own so closely, which made the role a particularly enjoyable one for him.
It’s not the first time a Lord of the Rings alumni lent their talents to the series. Sean Bean voiced Martin Septim in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
High Isle is more than just a hobbit card party, though. When you’re not challenging everyone in sight to a card game, you can explore the archipelago’s less savory islands in the new Dreadsail Reef trial, a 12-person activity that pits your party against a band of nefarious pirates. There’s also the Volcanic Vents world event, which tasks you with aiding local druids in taming a recent spate of highly active volcanic vents threatening to destroy the islands.
Two new companions join you in the archipelago. Isobel is a Breton knight with a strong sense of duty, mainly to you, and Ember, a Khajiit with a flair for all things magic and a rather tragic background.