For there be dragons. (Minor spoilers ahead.)
Already live on the Elder Scrolls Online PTS, Scalebreaker continues the Year of the Dragon story with the introduction of two new dragon-themed dungeons: Lair of Maarselock and Moongrave Fane.
Lair of Maarselock, set within the jungles of Grahtwood is named after the titular dragon, spreading a growing corruption that threatens the Elden Root Tree. This corruption isn’t due to anything Maarselock has done in particular, instead emanating right from his draconic body. Upon the opening of the Halls of Colossus, Maarselock immediately headed to Grahtwood, attempting to build up his area of power much like Kaalgrontiid and the other dragons.
As you progress through the dungeon, you’ll encounter the warlock Carindon and the forest spirit Selene. Selene, in particular, isn’t too happy about your presence and will attempt to remove you from Nirn but will eventually ally with you to take down the bigger threat.
Such a threat is Maarselock that he himself will be a boss battle three times over the course of the dungeon, with different mechanics and attacks each encounter. Maarselock will change his stance as you progress through the dungeon with the dragon first battling while flying, then while perched, finally landing when you reach the pinnacle of the lair. While introducing varied attack styles throughout the dungeon, the change in Maarselock’s activity also represents his increasing injuries.
In a similar fashion, Maarselock starts off with a larger health pool to endure three different boss encounters, which is why he has health missing when the final battle begins.
The second dungeon, Moongrave Fane merges dragons with a particular branch of undead: vampires. Located within Northern Elsweyr, Moongrave Fane sees players face to face with an old Dragonguard alongside his fellow Hollowfang vampires.
Not simply content with their vampirism, the Hollowfangs have shot down a dragon, causing it to crash through a tunnel and into a large cave, trapped beneath the rubble. They now prepare a ritual to drain the beast of its blood. Of course, you’re going to stop it.
Set within a Khajiiti Temple dedicated to an old Moon Faith, Moongrave Fane introduces new mechanics that have never been seen before in an ESO dungeon. These include the Sliding Stones, blocks which can be relocated through both Light and Heavy attacks. Shoving both monsters and players out of the way, the Sliding Stones can be used to block attacks, plug holes, and used as part of door-opening puzzles.
A second, more-aggressive mechanic is known as the Sangjiin Sacrifice, designed with the large health pools of tanks in mind. Either kill a monster while standing on top of it or sacrifice a portion of your health to summon a blood ball which can be directed towards your foes, dealing damage.
Of course, both dungeons have a large variety of assorted loot for players to collect and utilise, making repeat trips well worth it.
The great thing about both Moongrave Fane and Lair of Maarselock is that you do not have to have purchased Elsweyr, you can simply fast travel right to the dungeon.
Following the arrival of Scalebreaker, the Year of the Dragon will close with Dragonhold, a zone DLC opening up Pellitine in Southern Elsweyr, a land still devastated by a plague from twenty years before.
Scalebreaker is slated to release in August, giving players plenty of time to optimise their builds and gather their dungeon team for some good ol’ fashioned dragon hunting.