Skyrim: Dragonborn drops today

Posted by CB Droege

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's latest expansion, Dragonborn, goes live today for the XBox 360.

The DLC is the first for this game to include a new landmass, but that's not even the half of what the new content entails.

The official synopsis is thus:

Journey off the coast of Morrowind, to the island of Solstheim. Encounter new towns, dungeons, and quests, as you traverse the ash wastes and glacial valleys of this new land. Become more powerful with shouts that bend the will of your enemies and even tame dragons. Your fate, and the fate of Solstheim, hangs in the balance as you face off against your deadliest adversary – the first Dragonborn.

The new land will be similar in climate to the northern patches of Skyrim, rocky and snow-bound, but the architectural style and the creatures inhabiting the land will be more like what we saw back in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - except more heavily populated, since in the time of Skyrim, Vvardenfell itself is still  inhospitable after the eruption of Red Mountain about 200 years earlier. So you should expectrounded clay buildings, towers made of giant mushrooms, the occasional cliffracer, and lots of Dunmer, especially in Raven Rock, the Morrowind settlement on the southern coast.

The other people of Solstheim will be the Skaal, who reside in the northern, snowy reaches of the island. The Skaal are distant cousins of the Nord peoples from Skyrim. Their culture and dress is similar, but they are not descended from Nords, they are native to the Isle of Solstheim. They practice a form of animal worship, and have a slightly more barbaric culture.

The player will also gain access to new shouts which increase his/her Dragonborn power, including Dragon Aspect, which allows the players to deliver mighty, dragon-powered melee blows; Dragon Riding, which is pretty self-explanatory; Bend Will, which forces a retreating or distracted Dragon to focus on the player; Cyclone, which creates a small windstorm to knock stuff around; and Battle Fury, which increases the fighting power of the player's humanoid companions.

New spells for the DLC are based around a new element of sorts: Ash. Players will be able to learn spells similar to what can already be done with the other elements, like attacking with an ash storm and summoning ash monsters.

New enemies from Solstheim include those ash monsters as well as some werebears and a new type of giant. New equipment is also based on the setting, with players gaining access to Chitinous and Bonemold armors, Stalhrim weapons, and a full set of new Nordic weapons and armors with a different design than the ones in Skyrim. There are not, however, any spear weapons for the player to use - the animation files for spear throwing that were found in the previous update are only used by certain NPCs.

Of course, there are also many new side-quests, dungeons, and other interior locations. It's a lot to explore, so get going.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn is available now for XBox 360, and will arrive on PS3 and Windows early in 2013.