By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
The Dark Brotherhood is my favorite faction from the Elder Scrolls games; not because they’re super grimdark and edgy but rather there’s a lot of clever thought that went into the missions. It’s not all running and murdering people by surprise. I mean, that’s a huge part of it without a doubt. Still the surrounding narrative that’s told makes it meaningful. And through that tale it becomes more than simply a band of murderers brutally destroying the lives of the innocent and guilty. Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Now available in Elder Scrolls Online along the Gold Coast, around Anvil and Kvatch, lies a new plot; the Dark Brotherhood are expanding their base of power and battling the Akatosh Church in Anvil. You join the Dark Brotherhood in a pretty interesting way, too: Once you activate the DLC, you get a quest where you’re required to murder someone. Just anyone you want, to prove that you are worthy. From there, you move forward, meet the family, and learn the fine art of killin’ folks.
Some of the Thieves Guild DLC mechanics come back on the missions, like diving into barrels to hide and avoid patrols; but the big addition to the game is the “Dagger of Woe” mechanic. What it means, is when you are stalked behind an enemy that needs to die, you can press “X” on the keyboard and brutally murder a foe! It’s not just certain targets either. Almost all things that can be killed can be killed this way. But if they have that stupid damn lantern that prevents stealth, you can’t, so don’t even try. I did… believe me. You don’t seem to get a lot of XP for it [I seemed to only get about 15 exp] but if there’s no guards or people around, you can just murder someone in towns for free! I had an experience where I killed someone for a mission in a crowded city and just walked away, but the next time I tried it. . . not so much. This leads me to one of the big complaints I had.
There was a glitch on the second story mission. You delve into a Church to get back a brother of the murdering style, and proceed deeper and deeper underground til you get to this huge open chamber; there are lots of patrols that have the anti-stealth lantern technology, and you’re supposed to kill them one at a time, until they’re all gone. If you somehow fail or die in there, when you come back you’ll aggro everyone every single time you go in to fight. This made a fight that should’ve only taken a few tries take in the neighborhood of EIGHTEEN. TRIES. Yes, I counted. Sure, I’m low level, as I made a character just to do this content, and so I had very little in the way of equipment. But equipment shouldn’t matter if the quest was functioning properly! Most of the other missions have been really intuitive and fun, requiring more than just transporting to a town and killing people [except the repeatable faction/daily missions. . . those become the same very fast], like stalking around in the woods, finding a trail and killing anyone in your path.
I feel it’s also pertinent to note that you do NOT have to be a stealth class to do this DLC. I made a Nightblade for it, but I also had a spellcaster that did most of it too. Hell, as a Nightblade, I only completed that aforementioned story quest because I had a staff I could cast from a distance with! Only reason I ever got through it at all. But again, you are not bound to any particular class or playstyle. Though the level of difficulty may surely vary depending on your class. I feel like the story for it is not going to be as long as they advertised it (hours and hours), but I have spent a fair amount of time playing it without getting anywhere close to the finale! Glitch aside, I did spend quite a few days going through the story and enjoying the Dark Brotherhood. There are also daily missions and new group boss encounters, and the daily missions are kind of interesting because depending on how many extra conditions you fulfill, you get better rewards [and there are new, unique gear pieces/sets in this DLC]. But there are plenty of repeatable quests to complete to build reputation with them, as well as unique costumes and a cool new passive line of traits that befit the Dark Brotherhood.
There are some other things that came in with this content too: Poison-Making, which was a part of one of my quests [I had to kill a target with a particular poison that was provided to me], removal of Veteran ranks, a few other balance and UI changes. Of course that stuff likely only intrigues you if you already enjoyed the game. The Dark Brotherhood is clearly here to lure fans of the single player games into the MMO world. While I do feel like the DLC might be a little short, it offers a lot of really interesting play that still kept my attention. I love the Dagger of Woe thing, and I genuinely hope it’s something I can keep doing no matter where I am in the world. If you like being a sneaky, killy-mcstabby asshole, this DLC is RIGHT up your alley! If you like the faction from the franchise, it’s not likely to disappoint you.
The characters are intriguing, and the Skeleton Merchant makes tons of really silly [but on-point] puns. Receiving quests to kill people or going on killing sprees through the Litany of Blood is a nice touch. I think one of my favorite quests was when it demands you to indiscriminate kill people in a town, going in and finding a way to kill random innocents without being caught. Or if you get caught, bribing/sneaking away.
There’s a fair amount on offer, and I feel it’s still a step up from the Thieves Guild. If ESO can keep pushing up equally riveting DLC, I think quite a few gamers will be giving it a second look by end of 2016.
Interested in seeing more from the new Dark Brotherhood DLC? Check out my video as part of the tag team champions of MMOHuts, Bottom Tier!