This year’s expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online has launched. The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood kicks off the year-long Gates of Oblivion storyline. Players can explore not only the new region of Blackwood but also have the opportunity to return to the Daedric realm of Oblivion from The Elder Scrolls IV.
The Mehrunes Dagon Bundle is only available from the Bethesda store and is likely to be in short supply, especially in this part of the world. Bethesda ANZ knowing that I’m a collector of these sort of things send one over for me to look at with a few other goodies.
First Launched in 2014 The Elder Scrolls Online has gone from strength-to-strength positioning itself as the essential free-to-play massively multiplayer game. After purchasing the game, the persistent world is free to explore without a monthly subscription. New DLC content is dropped throughout which needs to be purchased separately, the same with the yearly major expansions. ESOPlus subscribers get all this content fee, plus a little bit more as part of their monthly subscription.
ESO is packed with things to do and quests to complete. The massive world invited exploration. Over the years, the game engine has been improved and upgraded keeping the game looking fresh and new.
The Blackwood expansion adds another huge area to the game as well as the realm of Oblivion. One of the benefits of ESO is that it can be played relatively easily solo. Blackwood gives solo players a boost with the ability to take an AI companion with them on their journey. The Blackwood Expansion can be purchased as an upgrade or in a bundle along with the contact from the base game plus the five expansions.
Sadly, Blackwood bucks a trend that started with the very first release of ESO. This year the game does not have a collector’s edition. Whilst it’s fair to say that the contents of the collectors’ editions have varied in quality, each has contained a nice-looking statue relating to the instalment.
I’ve been collecting The Elder Scroll’s Collectors Editions since Oblivion (I missed out on the Morrowind CE). But it was with Skyrim and its bold statue of the dragon Alduin, the World Eater, that Bethesda went all out. As well as statues the ESO collector’s editions have included books, coins, and maps associated with the new content.
Whilst there’s no collector’s edition game bundle, Blackwood does have a collector’s edition of sorts in the Mehrunes Dagon Premium Bundle.
The package contains a statue of the Daedric prince, Mehrunes Dagon, a replica Ambitions token, and a lithograph.
The first, and very exciting thing that I noticed about the package was the weight. On opening, my suspicions were confirmed. Unlike all the other Elder Scrolls statues, not only was Mehrunes Dagon realistically painted but it was also made from weighty polystone and not plastic. The statue is the smallest one that Bethesda has produced for The Elder Scrolls Online, but it’s also the most detailed.
The contents were well packaged, encapsulated in a molded Styrofoam case with the exposed hands of the statue having an extra bit of protection. The coin was in a protective plastic bag and the lithograph rolled up in another bag- more on this later.
The statue comes in three parts, the main figure perched between two rock outcrops, a plastic axe, and a plastic axe pommel. The axe handle slides into one of Prince Dagon’s four hands with the pommel sliding on the end. The tiny pommel is a bit loose and could probably do with a bit of glue to better keep it in place.
The statue has a lot of detail, a stark contrast to the muted features of the last Collector’s Edition figure, that of the Greymore Vampire Lord. As I mentioned, the figure is polystone, but Dogon’s chainmail skirt seems to be hard plastic, and likely easily broken.
The figure looks hand-painted as a true-to-life representation of the Daedric Prince rather than a statue of the character, as with the previous collector’s pieces. Dogon’s red body has muscles and features lightly dry-brushed with black to make them stand out. His chainmail skirt is also meticulously detailed to give it a fatigued metallic look.
By and large, the paint job is pretty good. No effort, however, has been made to paint the eyes or teeth, which are red the same as the head and body. It’s a pretty minor complaint, though.
The bottom of the figure has rubber feet to stop it from scratching your shelf. This is what you should expect from a premium statue.
The next item, the Ambition token, is rather special. Unlike the four coins in the Greymore CE, or even the Septim included in the Oblivion CE, this metal coin looks really old.
The two-sided oversized coin is inscribed with Daeric text and symbols. The coin has been designed to look badly cast with the irregular shape you would expect from an ancient artifact.
The final item in the package is the least impressive. I enjoy a good lithograph, but the litho included with the Mehrunes Dagon Bundle is disappointing. Firstly, the lithograph has been rolled up.
It’s a mission to even look at it without damaging it as the paper had been rolled so tightly. The lithograph is quite long, so you’ll likely not have a book long enough that you can use to flatten it. I get that with the size of the box, rolling is the only option, but I’d have sooner had a small flat picture than a large rolled one.
The image itself, of Mehrunes Dagon, looks more like a promo picture than an actual lithograph. Being rolled up it comes across as more of a little poster than a piece of premium artwork.
At US$120 the Mehrunes Dagon Premium Bundle is not cheap. But saying that all of the ESO CEs have been a bit overpriced. The figure being polystone was a nice surprise. Even though its smaller size makes it initially less impressive than say the huge Dwarven statue that came with the Morrowind CE, up close the detail is outstanding.
I’d say it was the best ESO statue yet. Similarly, the Ambition token looks great and very authentic. Even though the lithograph is disappointing, I can see the Mehrunes Dagon Premium Bundle being a very sought-after item for The Elder Scroll fans and collectors.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood expansion gives players another opportunity to become part of the lore that shaped the continent of Tamriel. These legends are only spoken of in the single-layer Elder Scrolls games set much later. As such Blackwood continues to make ESO an essential title for fans of The Elder Scrolls.