Posted at 17.28 on 4th December
Time played: 6 hours
Getting back onto the main quest, we head towards the map marker for the Temple of Miraak but are immediately attacked by a dragon, showing we're not safe from the flying menaces in this new location. After taking care of it we continue across Solstheim, finding that much of the landscape here is barren and scorched.
Arriving at the temple we find more citizens toiling away under Miraak's power, chanting the same mantra we heard earlier. A lady named Frea is here trying to rescue her people, but as we speak to her the temple entrance opens up and we are attacked by Cultists. With them dispatched we head down into the temple itself.
TIP: While progressing through the Temple of Miraak be vigilant for pressure pads on the floor, as there are many of them linked to dangerous traps.
As we move through the temple we face many other Cultists and Draugrs, before finally reaching a Word Wall and learning 'Armour', the second word of the new Dragon Aspect shout. Defeating a Gatekeeper here provides us with a Temple of Miraak key and allows us to proceed to a dining room, where we have to seek out a hidden passage to move on.
Still further we move into the temple passages, seeing more strange and twisted statues that resemble dragons. This is definitely one of the more expansive dungeons we've experienced in Skyrim, but so far there's been enough variety to keep us interested.
An eerie silence has now descended over us, but we expect that won't last long as we move through the next hidden doorway...
Posted at 15.42 on 4th December
Our impressions so far
We're approaching the 5 hour mark of our time with the Dragonborn DLC, and these are our initial impressions. The DLC introduces a lot more variety into the game world, as travelling out of Skyrim and into Morrowind allows for a complete change of scenery.
The main point to note is that the Morrowind map area is huge! We've barely scratched the surface at this point and aside from all the main quests to come there's bound to be additional locations to find and explore.
The characters we've met so far have been interesting and the storyline is immediately engaging, as we're keen to find out what strange power is controlling the people and what purpose is it trying to achieve.
We've already encountered a number of new enemy types, all of which have been tough to beat, so the DLC may prove challenging to new and lower level players. We recommend recruiting a decent follower to fight alongside you to give yourself a better change of survival.
Puzzles such as opening the Raven Rock Mine door with the Bloodskal Blade and elements like using the Black Books to travel to Apocrypha mean the quests we've been on so far have felt fresh and new, even after the number of hours we've already sunk into vanilla Skyrim and the previous DLC content.
We will continue to post updates with our impressions and useful tips as our quest continues.
Posted at 14.38 on 4th December
Time played: 4.5 hours
After looking around this cavern we're initially confused, as there doesn't seem to be any way out of there. Then we stumble across the body of Gratian, the great-grandfather we've been looking for, and find his journal along with a glowing sword called the Bloodskal Blade that emits an energy blast with power attacks.
From the journal entries we deduce that we need to fire these energy blasts at the glowing runes on the door, and activate them by matching the angle of the blasts with the direction of the rune. Initiating a power attack on its own creates a vertical blast and the first runes are horizontal, but after a short time we work out how to proceed.
TIP: When using the Bloodskal Blade, hold left or right on the movement stick then initiate a power attack to create a horizontal energy blast to activate the runes.
With the door opened, we have to navigate rows of swinging guillotine blades before entering a chamber and fighting a tough Dragon Priest named Zahkriisos, who yields a Heavy Armour mask when defeated. In this chamber we also find a Word Wall which gives us 'Strength', the first word of the new Dragon Aspect shout. When completed this shout can be used once a day to 'take on the mighty aspect of a dragon', giving us improved armour and more powerful attacks.
In the next area we find a new item on a pedestal, a Black Book: The Winds of Change, which is worth a whopping 2000 gold! When we try to read it, however, we are engulfed in a green light a teleported away to a strange place known as Apocrypha, made up of platforms and towers of books surrounded by murky waters full of snapping tentacles.
After making our way through this area and fighting off new enemies called Seekers we come up against a huge Lurker creature that dishes out massive damage. At first we struggle to stay alive during this fight, until we find a way to make things much easier for ourselves.
TIP: When fighting the Lurker in Black Book: The Winds of Change, retreat down the corridor you entered from and the Lurker will reach a point where it gets stuck, meaning you can safely pick it off with ranged and hit-and-run attacks.
After gathering up the large number of soul gems and scrolls in the area we interact with the book and return to Solstheim before fighting our way out through a bandit camp. We then return to Raven Rock and report back to our original quest-giver, who rewards us with 500 gold for our troubles. One quest down, many more to go...