It's been about three weeks since it was released and I got to bring home my box, but I wanted to wait to make a post until after I had finished exploring the new zones. But let's start with the unboxing!
(Base game CE unboxing and Morrowind CE unboxing)
The box in itself was really pretty imo :3 And when I opened it the first thing I saw was the Mephala statue on the top and the discs tucked into the bottom.
The discs were in a metallic case and I love the whole leaf design. The Mephala statue looks badass standing in my window next to my statue of Molag Bal from the base game CE.
Underneath the statue was a map of Summerset and this CE's book - The Alinor Codex. This book doesn't seem as impressive as the other two. Sure it's leatherbound and pretty, but there's more text and less concept art, and while a lack of pictures isn't really a problem for me when it comes to books I really appreciate the concept art in the other CEs' books.
And let's dive into the game. (Spoilers ahead if you haven't played it yet)
I was really excited for Summerset (maybe not as much as for Morrowind, but that was Morrowind - hello?!), mainly because I was excited for how pretty it was going to be. Auridon is my favourite starting zone in the base game because it's so darn pretty. And I wasn't disappointed.
However I wasn't surprised that the Maormer seemed the main enemy of the chapter, seeing as Maormer were prevalent everywhere in Auridon. But I loved the sidequest where a female Maormer and a male Altmer had fallen in love, but their love would start a war and so they had to leave. Spoke to the romantic in me I guess. On the other hand, the Sload were a nice surprise that I wasn't expecting. I've stayed away from every single piece of information regarding this chapter, except for the release date, and I had no idea about the Sloads. Ofc the devs bent the lore a little bit as these were Sea Sloads which haven't been part of ES lore before, but still impressive and imo added so smoothly to exisiting lore that I was actually surprised when I realised that this version of Sloads didn't exist before in the lore.
It was great to see Razum-dar again. I love his guts and he was the main reason why I stayed AD in the beginning years of my ESO tenure. But meeting Darien again after what happens to him in Coldharbour in the base game, made me way happier than I probably should be for a character ^^;
The Psijic part of the story was cool and I actually enjoyed running around Artaeum. My favourite part there being the delve where you found out about Mannimarco's and Vanus's common backstory. I also really liked the Psijic companion, Valsirenn, and by the end of the main story I felt like I knew her.
The main quest was really cool, especially towards the end when the Triad falls apart and then the final showdown against Nocturnal. So cool ♥
I also have to mention the Abyssal Geysers, which basically are this zone's anchors. So when I came running towards a map icon that I thought was an anchor I was really confused when I found a geyser. They weren't as much fun as anchors either, though the concept is the same. Cultists appear, kill cultists and a beam goes up into the sky. Kill all the rounds of mobs spawning and then finally kill the boss to finish the geyser and get some shiny loot and a chest. Same thing, but yet so very different and not as much fun.
Finally I have to mention the new trial, Cloudrest. It's a new mini-trial, sort of like Asylum Sanctorium. Cloudrest has a ton of mechanics that were really confusing the first time we went in there. Our first guild run was blind so we figured things out as we went, still the trial took less than an hour to complete. I went in there with visions of Halls of Fabrication from Morrowind expecting several wipes and several hours of trying and failing and still not completing it on the first blind run, and then we just finished Cloudrest like that. I was a little bit disappointed. The trial was cool and all, but it did leave a feeling of "is that it?" when we finished it. However, the first run being so quick opened up for us to do it several times that evening. So I went the first time with my main healer and the two other times with my baby healer. That place has to be farmed because all the end-game BiS gear drops from there now.... *sigh*
All in all, I really liked how amazingly pretty Summerset was and the main quest was really cool. But thinking back it never gave me the same wow feeling that Morrowind did (or the base game for that matter when that was brand new). Summerset was cool and had a lot of fun side quests, but it lacked wow factor and compared to Morrowind it seems pretty bland.