The very first thing I did once the PTS was updated and downloaded and turned on was to roll a new toon and run thru the new tutorial I had heard was part of Update 6. I will say, I was pretty fond of the old tutorial, and can say that even though I have done it many times, between the betas and now. So my bar was high.
That being said, I can say that the designers outdid themselves with this redesign of the tutorial. I think it’s great, tightened up where it could be, which made room for some more in-depth tutorials through the actual mechanics of the game. But all of it very nicely folded into the story, in true Elder Scrolls tradition.
It starts right at the beginning, when your rescuer shows up—
Why hello, Lyris Titanborn! Fancy meeting you here, and so much earlier than before.
I thought this was just spot on, and felt the same way about not seeing The Prophet until later in the sequence. Actually, it made it all ring a lot truer in terms of the whole, “He’s imprisoned and we have to rescue him” thing; I mean, if he’s so powerful that he can Psijically project himself into my cell to give me lots of backstory, what am I actually needed for? Instead, we see him for just a few seconds until the rescue is completed, which makes Lyris’s line about how much effort that cost him really seem believable.
I will say, in this new tutorial Lyris does a lot more running off—leaving you the player to follow behind—than previously. Which makes her feel more like the guide, more like the person who has been trapped here for a long time.
You go girl!
A lot of new stuff makes its appearance just in these first minutes of play, from UI to items in the world, in addition to the tutorial-specific changes.
The Towers of Eyes is the first time I realized exactly how far-reaching the design changes were. From NPCs to beasties to the landscape and architecture and map, they pretty much overhauled everything while still keeping it plenty familiar for old-time players.
Overall Coldhabour is just a lot grimmer, more immersive—even quite scary and startling at times. Those times mainly being when feral Soul Shriven lurched against the bars of their cages and grasped hungrily for you…
The Prophet’s Cell is very different now, architecturally, story-wise, and task-wise. All very good, very epic—I loved having to defend Lyris as she was doing the switcheroo, plus it nicely planted the idea of killing daedra as a way of charging up anchors, foreshadowing the dolmens later in the game.
The Anchor Mooring was not so very different: the Big Molag B. appears and the summons the Child of Bones for a big (for level 3) boss fight, and then skyshard and then the rift back to Tamriel. Also, both in the Prophet’s Cell and here, there are just a lot fewer urns and pots and crates and other containers that—for those of us who are obsessive-compulsive about looking into things like that—often caused a big slow-down in game play. So thank you for that, O Game Designers.
They do seem to have fixed the issue where if you were really stupid I mean clever, you could manage to fall into the pit and die rather than ascending into the rift. Oops. Not that I would know about that from personal experience or anything.
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.