Editorial: Ranking The Elder Scrolls DLC

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I am a fan of The Elder Scrolls series as should be well evident from my articles by now. Instead of talking about a particular game today however, I wanted to do something else and discuss the various DLC expansions released for the main games. I will not be discussing Elder Scrolls Online at this time, but may do another list in the future. This list is purely my opinion, and I ranked the DLC based off of quality, what it did for the game, how well it was received, and how well it held up years later.

 

 

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

 

 

Without further delay, let us start with Number 7.

 

7: Hearthfire 

Hearthfire is a great little DLC, but there is emphasis needed for the word little. It doesn’t have a huge amount of content like the other expansions, but what it does offer is some new followers, new houses and children to adopt. It isn’t the most exciting DLC but it does help the role playing experience and does allow a greater degree of immersion. There isn’t much to talk about. Its a nice way to build on the game but there isn’t much to it.

6: Knights of the Nine 

Knights of the Nine was the first major expansion for Oblivion and it was well received at the time. However, I honestly feel it hasn’t actually held up as well as the main game or what came later. To me, Knights of the Nine feels like an attempt to bring Morrowind’s narrative style to Oblivion in a way that just didn’t fit. The story was good, don’t get me wrong and the expansion did offer a neat experience, but it just has not held up as well as others. It is also rather short and doesn’t feel as well developed as the other expansions, bar Hearthfire.

5: Tribunal

I can hear the anger already. Tribunal serves as a direct sequel to the story of Morrowind, one of the most acclaimed games in the series, so how could I only put it at number 5? Well, to be honest, it isn’t very good. I rated this above Knights of the Nine because of the fact that the story is a continuation of the events of the main game and is very important for that reason. That being said, the expansion has a lot of issues, a story that feels ill plotted at times, and game mechanics that take you out of the immersion. It is an important DLC but not one that I particularly like.

4: Dawnguard

The top 4 DLC expansions are all amazing and I had a hard time choosing which to put in number 4 through 2, but I came to the conclusion that Dawnguard fits best in this spot. The vampire threat is a big departure from the main quest of Skyrim, but the story does actually build on the lore of the game and the series in general. It introduced amazing characters like Serana, explored the history of Skyrim and the Falmer, and showed us the truth about the soul gems. It had an atmosphere of adventure, tough enemies and great new abilities. Plus it overhauled the perk system and due to the choice you make early one, there are two ways to actually explore the DLC.

3: Bloodmoon

The 2nd expansion for Morrowind is far and away the better one.  This is the first time we are introduced to Solstheim and the Skaal people among other things. Bloodmoon introduced the Lycanthropy ability to the game and offered a unique area that felt large and yet different from the main game. it felt new and different and had a great charm to it. The quests were great, there was a lot to do in the expansion and it brought a lot of innovation. It does not get the attention that Tribunal gets, which is a shame because it is a far better expansion, as it is better developers, has a better story, and a much better sense of immersion with more choices for the player.  It has aged better than tribunal and is simpley a better experience.

 

2: Dragonborn

The third and final dlc expansion for Skyrim, Dragonborn is set once again on Solstheim, only 200 years have passed since Bloodmoon. You can now see how things have changd, while exploring a familiar setting for players of Morrowind. As with Bloodmoon, there is a lot to do in this expansion, but it goes beyond as we get an epic plot that discusses the nature of the Dragonborn more, awesome new abilities and shouts, great new weapons and armor and more. This isn’t even mentioning the excellent quests and characters that are in the dlc. Reviving Raven Rock gives a real sense of accomplishment, and honestly, this feels like proper semi sequel to Skyrim more than Tribunal felt like a continuation of Morrowind. This is a story that emphasizes how things have changed and how you are the one to help make things right.

 

1: Shivering Isles

There was no other choice for the number one spot. Shivering Isles  is the greatest DLC expansion for an Elder Scrolls game so far. If Cyrodil felt like too much of a typical European fantasy setting, then this solved that problem by making the setting a bizarre would where madness ruled. It made Sheogorath into a fan favourite character and gave him some amazing lines. There was so much to do, and so many ways to do them. There was a sense of whimsicalness as well as a tragic undertone building up throughout the story. The ending was amazing, with Jyggalag being freed from his curse and the cycle of the Greymarch broken, and then your character ascending to godhood as the new Sheogorath. Nothing has topped this yet, and I doubt anything will. Shivering Isles could have been a standalone game and it would still have been amazing. There is a reason the fans love this one the most, and time has been very kind to it, unlike some other expansions. It is simply a masterpiece of game design.

 

 

Well I hope you enjoyed the list. Let me know what you think of it, and some suggestions you think would make good lists.

 

 

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and not necessarily the views of ROG or its staff.

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