Veteran players of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will know exactly what to expect from the game's newest expansion, Orsinium. The add-on, which costs 3,000 in-game crowns (£14.99/$24.99 on the PlayStation Store), manages to pack a lot of content into the fresh location of Wrothgar, but it's ultimately more of the same. Needless to say, if you're already burned out on the base title's offering, then you won't find much to entice you back into the familiar fantasy world.
Of course, fans of the massive online release will no doubt find plenty to like, including new equipment, dungeons to delve into, quests to discover and complete, and an all-new single player arena where you can put your skills to the test against hordes of enemies. Orsinium is built for endgame characters, but you're able to jump in even if you haven't reached the recommended veteran rank. If this is the case, then you'll be automatically buffed so that you can hold your own, which is a nice touch, and it's especially impressive in the sense that you'll hardly notice that things have been rebalanced.
Wrothgar is home to the orcs, many of whom are trying to restore the capital of Orsinium to its former glory. The large city is sprawled across a mountainside and is full of sloping streets and grand buildings – it's perhaps one of the most visually interesting spots of civilisation in the game. Likewise, the wilderness of Wrothgar is similarly dramatic, as snowy northern mountains collide with southern countryside that gets greener and greener the further that you trek away from the cold.
In true Elder Scrolls fashion, the map's littered with small settlements, caves, and ruins, most of which house some sort of secret or quest. The quests themselves don't really offer anything out of the ordinary as far as structure goes – find a person in need, clear out a dungeon, report your success for a reward – but some of them are quite well crafted, and feature relatively entertaining storylines.
Meanwhile, the main plot that acts as the spine of the expansion certainly has its moments – particularly when player choice is involved – but again, it's nothing that breaks the somewhat humdrum mould that Tamriel Unlimited seems to cling to. This isn't necessarily a bad thing seeing as the scope of the narrative has to adhere to typical massively multiplayer online design, but it still feels like a little more could have been done to make Orsinium's own tale stand out from the rest of the title's storytelling.
Fortunately, exploring Wrothgar and hunting down its treasures is enjoyable, partly thanks to the aforementioned variety that's found in the landscape. Once again, The Elder Scrolls Online provides a land that's simply a pleasant place to spend some time in, whether you're adventuring with friends or journeying alone.
If you do get a bit tired of wandering, you can always head to the Maelstrom Arena and smash some baddies until you've had your fill. This single player gauntlet is built to test the viability of your character's build, and proves to be a decent challenge – especially on the harder veteran difficulty. Essentially a survival mode, you'll need to fight off waves of foes, which puts an emphasis on resource management and, ultimately, your ability to stay alive.
The arena's a solid addition to the release, but it probably won't hold the attention of experienced players for too long after they've blitzed through it once or twice. As you'd expect, there's fun to be had in seeing whether your character builds have the power to slog through each round, but when compared to other endgame content, such as high level co-op dungeons, the lack of more dynamic happenings can damage any lasting appeal.
Orsinium won't win back any lapsed players with its familiar content, but for those still invested in The Elder Scrolls Online, it provides an interesting new land that's full of dangerous enemies and lengthy questlines. It's perhaps a shame that the expansion doesn't try to tweak or evolve the existing formula, but with so much to see and do, Wrothgar is still a tempting holiday destination for those with an itch for adventure.