The latest chapter in The Elder Scrolls Online, titled Greymoor, takes players back to the white cold expanse of Skyrim (opens in new tab), or at least, the very northwestern corner. While the new playground doesn’t stretch the entirety of Skyrim’s map, what is there effectively captures the look and mood of 2011’s The Elder Scrolls 5, while adding a distinctly dark, gothic flavor. Some areas, like Morthal, look almost identical to how we remember them, while Blackreach, for instance, has been substantially expanded and tweaked.
We’ve been playing Greymoor for a couple weeks now, and in that time collected folders of screenshots. Make no mistake, The Dark Heart of Skyrim has been kind to Elder Scrolls Online visually, and the latest chapter is the MMO’s prettiest yet. If you’re looking for a few scenic rest stops to punctuate battles with vampires, werewolves, and witches, look no further than this handy travel guide for the best spots to see and explore.
6. Blackreach: Greymoor Caverns
Skyrim’s dark, witch-infested underbelly is utterly grand. Blackreach was in Elder Scrolls 5, but not as we see it in Greymoor – the original Blackreach from Skyrim is now just one of four distinct cavern structures. Luminous purple geodes shoot from the ground in Dusktown, while Greymoor Keep is home to a massive gothic vampire castle. Diverse, otherworldly, and dangerous, the underground caves of Blackreach might not be ideal for smooth, leisurely strolls, but they’re fascinating to explore nonetheless.
Playing through the main story and sidequests of Greymoor will take you through Blackreach more than once, but it’s worth the time touring every square inch. You can access Blackreach by finding one of three “Great Lifts,” which will take you below the ground to the caverns.
A famous landmark and centerpiece of Greymoor, strolling through Solitude is the nostalgic mind trip you’re looking for in The Elder Scrolls Online’s latest chapter. You’ll be introduced to Solitude almost immediately after watching the opening cinematic, ZeniMax using the power of nostalgia to pull you in right from the get-go. You’d be hard-pressed to find any substantial differences between Greymoor and Skyrim’s versions of Solitude, even though Greymoor is set roughly 1000 years before The Elder Scrolls 5.
Though admittedly ZeniMax could’ve done more to rewind Solitude and make it better reflect Greymoor’s much earlier timeline, there are some differences. First of all, you’ll notice right away it’s a younger, cleaner city in its prime. The centuries have yet to wear down the walls and roads, leaving Solitude with a glow you don’t see in The Elder Scrolls 5. Likewise, some local businesses have yet to change hands in Greymoor’s Solitude, like The Lonely Troll, which is The Winking Skeever from the original Skyrim.
4. Dragon Bridge
While civilized areas like Solitude and Morthal look strikingly similar to their Skyrim counterparts, Dragon Bridge is a reminder that Greymoor takes place 10 centuries before Skyrim. The iconic bridge itself looks structurally identical, but without the stone tiles that would later mark the path.
Likewise, the adjacent village you’ll remember from Skyrim is a humble military outpost in Greymoor, occupied only by guards and a few small tents. Once the novelty of seeing Skyrim again wears off, it’s areas like Dragon Bridge that make Greymoor feel like its own game instead of a 2020 massively-multiplayer remaster.
3. Wreck of the Icerunner
In Skyrim, this location is the scene of a shipwreck caused by the Solitude lighthouse being put out by the Dragonborn. But for whatever reason, ships were crashing into the same coastline 1000 years earlier in Greymoor. Messy continuity aside, in Greymoor times the wreck site rests between the frozen Karth river and the Solitude coast, and it’s an enchanting stay exploring the graves of the misfortuned vessels.
You’ll find the icy ship graveyard by talking to a shivering NPC near Solitude, who will ask you to find some raw meat and take it to his starving comrades at their beached ship. And that’s apparently because it’d be far too tasking for the sailors to simply walk a few minutes to the bustling metropolis of Solitude. Regardless, it’s a snappy little mini-quest well worth taking on, if only for the sights you’ll encounter along the way.
2. The wilderness
If there is one single image that represents Skyrim, for many it’s not built-up cities like Solitude or Whiterun – which sadly isn’t featured in Greymoor – it’s the streams that run through and away from them and the countless powdered trees that populate the backdrop. Wintery, rocky, forested nature.
That’s why roaming around directionless could be the best way for ESO players to recapture that oft-desired Skyrim atmosphere. Breaking away from towns is also the only way to (mostly) avoid big crowds of other players facing off in spectacular magic fights atop strange mounts – something you definitely won’t find strolling through the streets of Western Skyrim in The Elder Scrolls 5. Better yet, the new Antiquities system rewards you for simply roaming around looking for hidden relics. And if you thought the landscapes were beautiful in 2011’s Skyrim, seeing them through the lens of 2020’s Elder Scrolls Greymoor will make you realize what a difference nine years can mean.
Part of the Icereach Witch Coven’s attempts to take over Skyrim, Harrowstorms are epic new world events that demand attention no matter what you might’ve been doing before. Massive, swirling red supernatural rituals capable of zapping the life from entire town populations, Harrowstorms are every bit as spectacular as they are… harrowing.
In the eye of each storm is a big baddie surrounded by Harrowed, with your goal being to defeat the enemies and expel the storm. Harrowstorms play a key role in Greymoor’s story, and they’ll continue to occur randomly across the map even after you’ve completed the main quest, so don’t worry about trying to find one – they’ll find you.
Good thing The Elder Scrolls Online keeps getting bigger, otherwise we’d have nothing scrolls-y to do while we wait on Elder Scrolls 6 (opens in new tab).