A Run Through The Endless Archive – The Elder Scrolls Roguelike

A Run Through The Endless Archive - The Elder Scrolls Roguelike

The ever-reliable and ever-entertaining Elder Scrolls Online just seems to keep on keeping on. Every time I turn around there seems to be something new and cool being added that really mixes things up. Archaeology, card games, treasure hunts and new AI companions, the update list to one of the biggest MMOs in the world never fails to impress me. There is a clear sense that Bethesda really wants to continually push what is possible within their world, to stretch the borders of what an MMO can be and with their latest addition, they may have taken it in a direction no one else would have even considered.  With the introduction of The Endless Archive, ESO has gone full roguelike. 

Set in Apocrypha, The Endless Archive is a free update for all ESO players, not just those who have purchased the Necrom chapter. It sees players dive into Hermaeus Mora’s realm to rid the archive of a corrupting influence. In gameplay terms that translates into a full-on, never-ending roguelike experience that sees players going through groups of four combat areas that culminate in a boss battle. Once this group of four levels have been completed, the cycle starts again, with tougher enemies and higher rewards. It can be played solo or with a team and as with all good roguelikes, you can purchase upgrades at the end of each run to make your next trip into the Archives that little bit easier. 

It shares a lot of DNA with just about every roguelike you may have ever played but there are some interesting differences that make it feel unique to the world of Tamriel. Firstly there is no enemy scaling based on player level or numbers. So obviously higher-level players and groups of players are going to have a much easier time of it than those soloing at a lower level. That said, if solo players can push through some of the tough battles, well there is no doubt it is a great way to grind some levels, upgrades and gear that can be taken back out into Tamriel. As the name indicates, the Endless Archive is endless so no matter how high your level or how good your team is, you will die, it will eventually become too much. I am super interested in seeing how far those high-end teams can get though. It could be a real show of skill and to support that idea there are leaderboards in place making sure those that take on the challenge are recognised by the community. 

The runs also include a couple of things to mix up the standard approach to combat. After completing each stage players can choose one of two (later three, once an upgrade has been purchased) combat bonuses that will help them in the next stage. The same happens when a boss is defeated, only the bonus remains for the remainder of the run, not just the next stage. Another addition is the random side stages that can appear. These are optional stages that offer bonuses upon completion and can be a range of different activities including puzzles, trap rooms and tougher individual combat situations. These offer a nice break between the usual combat loop so are well worth diving into. 

The Endless Archive is much like a lot of the content that has been added to ESO over the years in that it isn’t essential, but it is a welcome addition. There is no real story motivation to dive in, there is no imperative to enter the Endless Archive in order to see some grand reveal. It is just another piece of entertaining side content in a game that is chock full of entertaining side content. With that said, it is a very well-developed and engaging piece of content that should see both long-term and new ESO players entertained for a good period of time. Hopefully, the Endless Archive continues to see updates, changes and new challenges as ESO continues to evolve. ESO really is the “everyman” MMO and the Endless Archive only further cements that reputation. 

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