The Elder Scrolls Online Necrom Review: the descent of the Arcanists

Brian Adam

Necrom, the new expansion of The Elder Scrolls Online, offers us a new adventure, new locations and above all an extraordinary class: the Arcanist

The Elder Scrolls Online Necrom Review: the descent of the Arcanists


For the past few weeks we have been playing a The Elder Scrolls Online Necrom, a valid expansion that keeps the promises made by the developers of Zenimax Online. We told you about it on the occasion of a closed-door event (here our preview of The Elder Scrolls Online Necrom), during which the Creative Director of the title, Rich Lambert, had emphasized the most interesting news. In particular, he had devoted much time to the new class: the Arcanist. After having tested its potential firsthand, we understood the reasons for his enthusiasm and we are ready to expose them to you.

The success of the Arcanist

Let’s start by talking about the Arcanist, the true protagonist of the expansion. As usual, even in Necrom it is possible to approach the new contents of the DLC at any level, for example with a newly created character. A wise choice, which required a particular effort to balance the automatic scaling of the capabilities of the opponents present in the two locations, the Telvanni peninsula and the Apocrypha Zones.

After all, the amount of tasks, NPCs, events and territories to explore already present in The Elder Scrolls Online would become more of a ballast than an added value, if to get on board you had to recover the cumbersome past of this endless adventure. We therefore thought that there would be more pleasure in immersing oneself in the events narrated with a hero from scratch e holding the enchanted books of the unprecedented magical classas fearsome as it is fascinating.

From an exquisitely “pyrotechnic” point of view, the special effects made available to the Arcanist’s numerous abilities they are among the most successful in the whole game. We are often surprised by explosions, death rays and runes that glow a very intense emerald green, as they swirl around us. Moreover, that of the Dark Elves is the perfect race to exhibit Daedric magic with ease, which only a people so proud and “secluded” from the world could be able to recover from the dimensional meanders where Hermaeus Mora he kept it hidden.

However, the newborn category of wizards does not juggle only with offense and DPS, but also with healing or with the defense of the team. Just as we anticipated, the Arcanist is fun to watch, as well as versatile and satisfying to control. As always, three exclusive Skill Lines are the basis of each build, containing the specific skills of the class and dividing them by theme. However, this time each direction diversifies the role of the warrior who will travel it. Who takes the road Herald of the Tome he knows he’ll have to focus on dealing massive damage through flashy columns of energy, rapid jabs, and never stopping. Thanks to instant teleportation portals, or the lightning-fast recharge times of skills and dedicated equipment, becoming a Damage Dealer (DPS) is a safe bet for budding Arcanists. The line Soldier of Apocrypha, on the other hand, focuses everything on resistance and brute force, on deflecting enemy blows and, therefore, on the Tank attitude. Thinking of a defensive mage might sound bizarre, but it actually works great. Finally, if your mission is to help and support others, the tree called Curative Runeforms contains some of the most powerful and scenic healing spells of the entire experience.

Choosing a defined and uniform path is not wrong: the Arcanist has been designed with great precision and balanced to fulfill every purpose immediately and effectively. However, precisely for this reason it is also very flexible and works best even with more complex builds, hybridizing the movements of all three aforementioned branches. They think about making the Arcanists truly unique the Cruxes. These are points that are accumulated by using certain skills and can be spent on exploiting others, or kept aside to enhance the most important moves.

Learning how to manage Crux isn’t difficult, you just need to decide what you want to do with them and build everything around your character. In MMOs, a class that tends to obtain currency by consuming it is called a “spender”, while if the goal is to accumulate as much as possible, it belongs to the “builders”. The pure Arcanist is both, even wanting to remain within the confines of a well-defined role between tank, healer or DPS. Broadly speaking, we fared better with some builder healer skills, while DPS or Tanks tend to be more than spenders.

Nonetheless, there are certain offensive spells that become truly terrifying once you have 3 Crux in your hoard. It’s not an innovation in the world of RPG titles, but it’s the first time we’ve seen such a dynamic system in The Elder Scrolls Online.

Daedric Conspiracy and Raid

The main campaign of Necrom lasts about thirty hours, divided between two new maps with a strong identity in the lands of Morrowind. We had already approached the Telvanni peninsula, clearing the two dungeons of the Scribes of Fate mini-expansion and preparing for the darkness that the endings of each mission foreshadowed (here our review of The Elder Scrolls Online Scribes of Fate).

In Necrom, after having vanquished his deviant sect, the Daedric prince of knowledge Hermaeus Mora in “person” (so to speak) asks if we want to join him in fighting another group of former faithful, now conspirators in cahoots with beings supernaturals eager to overthrow him. They are his peers Vaermina (Lady of Dreams, Nightmares and Bad Omens) e Peryite (Lord of Plagues). While not going into the details of the narrative, our help will be essential to prevent a terrible secret kept by Mora from falling into the wrong hands, condemning all of Tamriel.

Immersing yourself and getting involved in the events was easy, partly because the dialogues are well written and in depth, but also thanks to the chosen settings. They are evocative and detailed, perfectly characterized each with its own atmosphere. Our favorite is the misty dreamland where Hermaeus Mora resides: the Apocrypha Zone. Obviously, not the same one that players had already visited in previous titles, but a revised and improved version of it.

Although the Telvanni peninsula offers almost alien glimpses, as if they were taken on unknown planets, more colorful and lively than most of the continent, in the daedric dimension Apocrypha there is an almost Lovecraftian air. The level design is sinuous, various in defining now labyrinthine corridors supported by piles of books that break the laws of physics, now open spaces, swamps and rocky expanses populated by horrible creatures. By the way, TESO’s bestiary is enriched with new entries scarier than ever, full of sticky paws, teeth and tentacles, which seem to come from a horror imagery reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro’s supernatural abominations, or HR Giger’s xenomorphs. Just like the beings they remember, Necrom’s mobs should not be underestimated, although the average difficulty of the experience is not very high. At least, until we get down to the post-campaign tasks: the Endgame is monopolized by the challenging new 12-player trial, called Sanity’s Edge and set in the mind of a sorcerer under the yoke of Princess Vaermina.

The level of challenge of this section of Necrom rises considerably, although it is not the highest we have experienced in The Elder Scrolls Online. Anyway, let’s talk about an ambitious trial, complete with unique mechanics necessary to defeat the three terrifying bosses it contains. The prizes for those who complete these challenges are the classic armor sets divided by weight categories: medium for Ansuul’s Torment, light for Peace and Serenity, heavy for Test of Resolve, and light again for Transformative Hope.

The best, in our opinion and according to the most dedicated professional players, are the last two, both designed for healer and support. They have the most interesting passives and make the path of the “medical” Arcanist even more appealing than the others.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom
The Elder Scrolls Online: NecromPC Analyzed VersionThe Elder Scrolls Online Necrom is the expansion that was needed for a game that was beginning to feel the weight of the years. The new maps are fun to explore and unique, full of points of interest and charismatic enemies to face. Furthermore, the lore in which Zenimax Online has sunk its hands to write the plot is dark and mysterious: we can’t wait to discover its future developments for the world of Tamriel. Finally, the class that signs the DLC, the Arcanist, is fun to use and flexible, as well as the one with the most rewarding learning curve and the most “explosive” rotations. Seeing is believing.