In September there was full info bomb on the near future of The Elder Scrolls Online, with first details about the upcoming in-game events, Update 28 and of course the last DLC of 2020. Markarth will conclude the year-long story "The Black Heart of Skyrim" and lead us to the heart of the Reik. On the official website the developers have now presented the location that we will enter in the next Skyrim adventure.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Markarth gives you the opportunity to explore the part of Skyrim known as Reik and the Arkthzand Cavern (the area of Black Reach below). These new areas introduce you to stories and standalone quests, vaults, open world leaders, tormentor ritual sites, and more. In addition, the conclusion of the year-long epic "The Black Heart of Skyrim" takes place here.
All of these adventures await in this ancient part of Tamriel, and for the first time in ESO, immerse yourself in the Reik's long history and learn more about its people as they try to face the Gray Company.
"In Reik, every stone tells a story. From the sacred ancestral sites of the Reikmannen to the ruins of Nordic conquerors and the winding halls of the missing Dwemer. Every piece of Reik refers to the vast and bloody past of this historic land"explains Andrew Young, Zone Lead for Markarth."I hope players venture out of Markarth feeling like each of the questions they answer has raised new puzzles. That this will motivate them to continue to explore this fantastic world in the years to come."
The Reik of the Second Era
The Reik wilderness is not just rugged, treacherous, and merciless. For curious foreigners it can be an extremely dangerous undertaking. When the team designed the areas for this year, they wanted to instill familiarity with players who have traveled to these areas of Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Markarth is no exception.
"Throughout the Black Heart of Skyrim stories, I've been hoping that players will feel like they're coming home"says CJ Grebb, ESO's art director."Of course this takes place 800 years before the time when most players crossed this land, so of course it's a new experience, but the culture of the Nord and the Reik are unshakable and little changes. We also wanted to implement this through familiarity with the area and nostalgic feelings, which we hope will also be felt."
Accordingly, the team worked hard to ensure that Markarth had its own unique aesthetic, but still felt like part of Skyrim. "Skyrim is a large province of Tamriel and we already had parts of it in the base game, which is why we were careful not to make it feel like it would not fit in with, for example, arriving from East March or Rift. And yet, it should also bear witness to the lessons we've learned with ESO over the years, what an area should look like and how it's best to play."
As with the western edge of the sky from Greymoor, you can explore both the above-ground region (the Reik) and the underground as an additional area in Markarth: the Arkthzand cavern. Similar to the gray moor caverns from the chapter, this part of Black Wide is a strange, dangerous world full of new mysteries and wonders and of course with a whole range of new dangers.
"Pay attention to the dynastids. He really is one of the most interactive and entertaining opponents we've been able to introduce as part of ESO"says Grebb."The idea behind the Dynastid was really complex and luckily we started it early, which meant we could put an artist right on the development team to work hand in hand with the designers to create a creature that looks, Movements and even transitions are happening in ways that we have never done before."
The people of the Karth
As it is a small region surrounded by the powerful provinces of Hochfels, Hammerfall and Himmelsrand, Reik has been a hotbed of conflict for centuries. Right now, however, the Reikmannen control it completely.
"Even if the chaos of the Second Era has gripped large parts of the sky, the Reikmannen, in contrast, enjoy a time of relative stability as an independent region under Ard Caddach, the despot of Markarth"explains Young."It's an exciting opportunity to see culture and Reikmannen like never before, giving fans new insights and perspectives into the proud traditions of this unique and largely misunderstood people."
If you've been playing The Elder Scrolls Online for a while, the Reikmannen are certainly no strangers to you. And even if they mostly only caused trouble, with Markarth you now have the chance to learn more about this people, their history and their everyday life.
"We at ESO spent years fighting hostile Reik clans, but none of these factions reflected the image of the entire people, especially the very different clans at the core of Reik. We look forward to meeting new characters, such as Ard Caddach, the self-proclaimed King of Reik, or the wild witch Arana. Both of them will prove to you that there is more to the Reikmannen than what imperial scholars would like you to believe."
Threatened by the Gray Company, the Reikmannen of the Second Era found themselves besieged by dark forces in the middle of their homeland and threatened by wandering monsters and supernatural beings. If you are to face the Black Heart of Skyrim, the people of Reik could prove useful allies.
The city made of stone
In the heart of the area is the eponymous Markarth, an ancient Dwemer fortress controlled by the Reikmannen. This allowed the team to create a slightly different city than what you may have experienced in TESV.
"We had immediately nailed it to the fact that this was the time of the Reikmannen and their cast of Markarth"explains Grebb."We also liked the idea that the Reikmannen saw the defenses of the big city as weak and so reinforced them with all kinds of battlements and fortifications."
The Reikmannen are a hardened and experienced people. As you roam Markarth you will find this aspect of their culture throughout the battlements and halls.
"A funny idea we played with was how the Reikmannen were annoyed that useful metal plates were worked into the stone for decoration everywhere", Grebb admits."You wouldn't hesitate to rip it off the walls and use it in more useful ways."
The Markarth Story DLC and Update 28 will be released on PC / Mac and Stadia on November 2nd. The release on Playstation 4 and Xbox One will follow on November 10th. However, you can already start the free prologue quest series. To do this, visit the crown shop as usual, start the associated quest, and off you go!
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