Recently our leveling trio in Elder Scrolls Online made its first foray into a group dungeon: we’ve done delve ‘mini’ dungeons many times but this was our first try at a proper group instance. Since we’re playing Aldmeri Dominion for this group the first such dungeon was Banished Cells in the Auridon zone.
I found the experience overall to be very enjoyable, somewhat reminiscent of dungeons in The Secret World in terms of the smaller trash packs in between boss encounters. These smaller monsters posed no particular threat to our full trinity group (my Templar tank, a Nightblade dps and a Sorceror healer). The boss fights were more of a challenge as we ‘learned through doing’, there were a few casualties and we wiped once on the third boss, but otherwise the difficulty level seemed good for a trio of new(ish) players.
The design of this first dungeon was visually striking and interesting to explore. It’s very old content now to veteran players but I had a blast getting a first look at such a zone. I especially liked how the game neatly handles the Undaunted guild/faction and its links to dungeons. Running dungeons gives you experience with them, just like completing dolmens does with the Fighter’s guild. Here however the game will intelligently prompt you with an NPC outside the dungeon if you haven’t already found the relevant NPC in the first city (e.g. Vulkhel’ s Guard) to unlock the skill line. On my Dragonknight I’d come across the equivalent NPC in Davon’s Watch – but somehow we missed the guy in Vulkhel’s Guard completely. Having a character customisation reason for running dungeons is a powerful motivation for me, perhaps more so than loot. Unlocking and leveling up new skills is an aspect of ESO gameplay that I really enjoy.
The loot in the dungeon was good, at least from my perspective. I ended up with a full five piece set of the Tormentor gear – lovely for tanking with the set bonuses depicted below! Not all of us were so fortunate though; the loot drops in dungeons, and from specific quest rewards do tend to be a bit random in this game. Perhaps we’ve just been spoiled by the class-tailored loot system in World of Warcraft these days.
So overall a very positive first dungeon run, we managed to complete it in limited time and without needing to resort to boss videos or playthroughs. I look forward to our next such attempt – either on a dungeon in another starter zone, the next one for our faction or even a go at the second ‘veteran’ version of this one.