Recently, The Elder Scrolls Online has been battling with giving paying members an advantage, but not enough of an advantage to make free members feel slighted. This has resulted in a lot of interesting loot, but with the exception of three sets, nothing that holds these users back. With the Shadow of the Hist expansion we got two new dungeons and a couple of new sets, but are these additions worth the price or is it an expansion you can skip?
The big problem with Shadow of the Hist is, as mentioned above, the loot. To prevent those without the DLC from obtaining the loot, every set is bind on pick-up, which means you need to either get the perfect piece or have someone trade you it. Naturally this makes the sets harder to complete, especially when most of them cater more towards unique mechanics or novelty than being outright superior, like we saw with Spell Power Cure.
To make matters worse, the expansion is another step towards a more casual Elder Scrolls Online. While there is nothing intrinsically bad about making the game more accessible, the shift in priorities is a little off putting. Unlike previous dungeons, 160 gear can be obtained from normal dungeons, except they’re blue instead of the usual purple. This means you need to invest materials to bring them up, but that is much easier than the previous 150/purple system we saw in Imperial City. Monster helmets are also obtainable on normal making veteran less of a necessity and more of a mode you do if you want achievements.
As for the dungeons themselves, they take a lot from the least popular pair, Imperial City Prison and White-Gold Tower. Both dungeons are filled with mechanics, but each one goes about things a different way.
Cradle of Shadows has a strong emphasis on mechanics. None of the bosses, besides the last one, is particularly difficult if you follow the mechanics. Naturally this makes this dungeon a nightmare for random groups and extremely stressful if people don’t understand what they’re doing. Even some of the easier bosses can cause a wipe if one or two people have absolutely no clue what they’re doing.
The other dungeon, Ruins of Mazzatun, also has mechanics, but almost everything can be countered with high DPS. With the exception of the third boss, you can outright ignore the mechanics and focus on the objective. In most cases this will make the fight easier, as the fewer totems, charges or rock throws the better. The dungeon also suffers from making random groups undesirable. Like leaving a totem up, especially on veteran, is a death sentence for the team. So if you have someone doing that, ignoring the mechanics for the third boss or doing whatever they want for the second one, expect to spend hours there.
Shadow of the Hist adds some neat things to The Elder Scrolls Online, but nothing about it is essential. Similar to the Imperial City dungeons, both require a fair bit of time and effort, making them less desirable for people to do. Combine this with the fact that most of the sets aren’t worthwhile and can be obtained on normal and you have an upward battle for anyone looking to do them or get the achievements from there. In some ways that is a shame, since both dungeons are a lot of fun with the right people, but for most you simply won’t get much value out of them.