Something primal has awoken deep within the rocky steppes of Craglorn in the Elder Scrolls Online, and the forgotten flames of the Bloodroot Forge have been restoked by the blood rites of the Dreadhorn Clan. Bloodroot Forge is one of the new dungeons found in the Horns of the Reach DLC game pack, and it offers a brand new adventure for your group along with a host of new gear, collectibles, and other rewards. Want to find out more? Read our preview below!
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INVESTIGATE THE LOST FORGE
The Dreadhorn Clan, an unusual alliance between Reachmen and Minotaurs, has been terrorizing the people of the Jerall Mountains for months, and now you and your comrades must travel to a long-forgotten site to investigate the fate of those taken and discover the truth of Bloodroot Forge.
“The idea behind this dungeon is an ancient forge, buried away within the bowels of the earth, that is unstable and highly volatile," says Mike Finnigan, ESO's Dungeon Lead. “When building this new area, we wanted it to feel primal and somewhat untouched."
When traversing the winding paths towards the Forge, you'll notice the twisting growth of pulsing vines and rich Nirncrux veins. These strange plants seem to draw Nirncrux, a rare material reportedly found exclusively in Craglorn, up from the ground in huge quantities, bathing the area in a red glow.
As you work to free the captives and investigate the Forge, you will quickly find that the environment is not the only thing that has changed in unusual ways. The savage Reachmen have been twisted by their Nirncrux Heartstones, and they stand with their fierce Minotaur allies guarding the Forge. Even worse, Nirnblooded beasts, magical creatures imbued with Nirncrux, have been summoned by a powerful Hagraven to assist them.
The deeper you go into the mountains, the more dangerous the environment will get. As you work to uncover the fate of the poor souls captured by the Deadhorn Clan and shut down the Forge, you must navigate the site's crumbling caverns and red-hot molten Nirncrux lakes.
Finally, as you enter the Bloodroot Forge itself, you will discover first-hand the cost of the Reachmen's terrible blood rituals and the power they bring to life.
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DESTROY THE NIRNBLOODED MENACE
As mentioned above, Bloodroot Forge is defended by a host of new, unique enemies, each ready to fight to the death. The Reachmen and Minotaurs of the Dreadhorn Clan, empowered by blood rites, have unique abilities that'll require team coordination and mobility to overcome.
Everything in Bloodroot Forge has been saturated by the touch of Nirncrux thanks to the Reachmen's blood rituals, including the dungeon's bosses. You'll encounter massive beasts, insidious Hagravens, Minotaurs, and more before finally taking on the Earthgore Amalgam, a colossal Iron Atronach that is fueled by blood and given life by the Forge itself.
Some of these bosses may seem straightforward, such as the giant Nirnblooded bear Mathgamain, but others threaten to confuse you with tricky new abilities that must be deftly managed. For example, the Hagraven Caillaoife has a unique ability that looks similar to the Warden's Healing Grove, however, instead of healing, it has different effects depending on whether you're inside the radius or out. How you manage this ability will help you overcome the cunning witch.
In a similar fashion to Falkreath Hold, the environment also plays an important role in Bloodroot Forge.
“From the start of the lava cave (called Sanguinary Veins), there are various places where you see rocks falling from the ceiling into the lakes, creating temporary platforms," says Finnigan. “So you get to see that unique gameplay element telegraphed before the upcoming boss fight."
These unique mechanics, telegraphed by either the Forge's guardians or the environment itself, reflect a core tenet found in all of the dungeons that the development team builds.
“It's important to have mechanics that are both easy to identify and have a big payoff when you do them right. It cannot be too difficult, but at the same time it has to feel rewarding when you do it."
Should you make it into the heart of the Forge, the Earthgore Amalgam boss fight reinforces this environmental element and goes even further by allowing you and your team to actually interrupt or cancel the boss's attacks.
“A lot of the bosses in ESO can't be stunned, as it would cancel abilities that we don't want interrupted. But what we did with the Earthgore Almalgam is that we built interrupts into mechanics of the boss fight itself," says Finnigan. “And you're definitely going to want to make use of these mechanics if you want to survive the battle."
Stopping a boss in their tracks is a rare occurrence in ESO's dungeons, but in the case of this one, it is core to how you defeat this challenge.
PLUNDER AN ANCIENT SITE
While the battles you'll experience in Bloodroot Forge are rewarding in their own right, it wouldn't be a true dungeon experience without unique gear, furnishings, and collectibles for your efforts.
Firstly, like all dungeons in The Elder Scrolls Online, each one of the five bosses will drop a piece of one of the three new sets (one light, one medium, and one heavy). This could include, for example, the Blooddrinker medium set. This high-critical set increases your Bleed Damage by a full 20%, making some of your Weapon Skills such as Twin Slashes, Cleave or even the Twin Blade and Blunt passive (with axes) much more effective.
Of course, Bloodroot Forge also features a powerful monster mask set. The Earthgore set is designed to help healers by increasing their healing done and providing additional heals to friends who are under 50% health via a pool of blood that grants a heal over time effect.
When completing Bloodroot Forge on normal the first time, you'll also receive a unique mounted trophy for your home, and if completing it on Veteran, you'll get a bust. Finally, in addition to the bust, if you complete Bloodroot Forge on Veteran, you'll also unlock the Keptu-Horn Skull Sallet collectible. As mentioned in our Falkreath Hold preview, you can pair this with the Veteran reward for that dungeon simultaneously, ensuring everybody knows you've completed both dungeons on the hardest setting.
Finally, after completing both Falkreath Hold and Bloodroot Forge on Veteran difficulty, you'll unlock the ability to purchase the Hakkvild's High Hall home with gold. If you have not completed both dungeons on Veteran, you can still purchase it with crowns in the in-game Crown Store.
You can take on this new four-player dungeon this August on PC/Mac, PlayStation™4, and Xbox One. The Horns of the Reach DLC game pack will be available to all ESO Plus members and available for purchase in the in-game Crown Store. Will you discover the truth of the Bloodroot Forge?
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