The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom Review – The Crux of eldritch horror

Reviewed June 19, 2023 on PC


Xbox One, PS4, PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S


June 5, 2023


Bethesda Softworks


ZeniMax Online Studios

The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom is the seventh instalment and the first of the multi-year Shadow Over Morrowind storyline. Set on the Telvanni Peninsula, just east of Morrowind’s Vvardenfell, Necrom centres around the ancient Dark Elf city. Prepare to dive into a weird and wonderful world to uncover the secrets that threaten reality itself.

A journey into Lovecraftian horrors

The Daedric Prince of knowledge, Hermaeus Mora, recruits you to prevent the unravelling of the fabric of existence. Your journey takes you to the Oblivion realm of Apocrypha, a surreal and otherworldly realm that will be familiar to those who have ventured into The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It retreads as Blackwood and Greymoor did previously, but this time with a more exciting twist. As you piece together the puzzle and navigate the mysteries of Apocrypha, you’ll work alongside intriguing characters such as the powerful High Elf mage, Leramil the Wise, and the endearingly pessimistic Watcher named Scruut. The story is an entangling adventure soaked in the chthonic atmosphere of eldritch horror, adding to the evergrowing lore of the universe.

“…an entangling adventure soaked in the chthonic atmosphere of eldritch horror, adding to the evergrowing lore of the universe.”

One standout aspect of Necrom is the exceptional voice acting. The performances of characters like Leramil and Scruut add depth and engagement to the storyline, making it a delight to indulge in. Combined with a cast of lively side characters, the dialogue and interactions throughout the chapter are absorbing from start to finish.

In addition to the main storyline, Necrom embarks on a variety of side quests with a mixed bag of objectives. The expansion also introduces two large public dungeons, providing opportunities for solo exploration and encounters. From roaming world bosses to new items, gear, and furniture, there’s plenty to discover and collect.

Cosmic terrors and a familiar atmosphere

Necrom impresses with its stunning landscapes. The Telvanni Peninsula showcases the distinct Morrowind aesthetic, characterised by towering mushrooms and a blend of nature and architecture. Apocrypha, with its alien and ethereal atmosphere, is a visual marvel. Mindfulness and artistry are evident throughout the expansion, from the confounding walkways of the Endless Library, composed of countless floating books, to the fog-filled nightmare landscape of Chroma Incognito.

“Telvanni Peninsula is reminiscent of Vvardenfell… While visually impressive, it may not be as fresh as fans hope for.”

The new companions, Azandar Al-Cybiades and Sharp-as-Night, provide meaningful gameplay opportunities to forge bonds. Choose the companion that aligns with your preferred playstyle and enjoy their charming personalities, abilities, and personal quests. Through levelling, gearing, and completing rapport quests, you can strengthen companions and witness their growth alongside your character’s progression. Whether you want a powerful spellcaster or a supportive healer by your side, Azandar Al-Cybiades and Sharp-as-Night are sure to enhance the journey.

Despite its strengths, Necrom does have minor drawbacks. The Telvanni Peninsula is reminiscent of Vvardenfell, leading to a sense of sameness. While visually impressive, it may not be as fresh as fans hope for. There is also a notable lack of end-game and ongoing content to endure after the completion of the main story, compared to other expansions. The High Isle had a great addition in the Tales of Tribute card game and there doesn’t seem to be anything nearly as appealing in the content of Necrom. Again, no real additions for PvP content outside the new class shaking up the battlefield. Additionally, there have been occasional reports of quest bugs and technical issues that can detract from the overall experience. However, these issues are not widespread and are expected to be addressed in future updates and patches.

Unveiling the dark arts of the Arcanist

The introduction of the Arcanist class in Necrom adds fresh and exciting gameplay to The Elder Scrolls Online. This eldritch-powered spellcaster brings a unique playstyle that sets it apart.

One of the standout features of the class is the Crux mechanic. It functions as a combo system, accumulating up to three Crux points that can later be spent. When used in conjunction with corresponding abilities, Crux significantly enhances effects. For example, using Crux with a damaging spell will amplify its damage output, while using Crux during healing abilities can also restore mana or stamina for allies. Learning which abilities to spend Crux points on is crucial for optimising the effectiveness of the Arcanist’s toolkit. Crux encourages careful planning of abilities, creating a satisfying strategic gameplay loop.

The class has a range of spells for different playstyles. Spells can take the form of projectiles, shields, or healing abilities. Visually impressive spells like summoning Daedra to unleash beams of energy or transforming the player’s arm into a powerful tentacle for attacking enemies are so much fun to use. The most notable is the Apocryphal Gate. This allows the creation of two portals, one near and one far, enabling instant movement across large distances. Apocryphal Gate closes gaps between the player and enemies or can create a tactical positioning advantage.

The Arcanist class offers a diverse set of skills, combining magic and weapons to deliver a variety of effects. Its versatile nature, ability to enhance equipment, and the inclusion of the Crux system provide you with opportunities to customise builds in an engaging way.

At Sanity’s Edge

Sanity’s Edge, the new trial in The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom, introduces another 12-player trial set in the mind of a powerful member of the Mages Guild. Taking place on the fields of Dreams and Nightmares, a war for control rages between the mage’s own consciousness and an agent of Vaermina. Sanity’s Edge is similar in size and scope to other trials like Rockgrove or Dreadsail Reef, offering the chance to test skills and teamwork against powerful enemies.

“Sanity’s Edge is a mix of challenging encounters and moments that allow you to recover.”

Sanity’s Edge is on par with Kyne’s Aegis in terms of difficulty. While the first boss, Exarchanic Yaselya, is challenging, the subsequent two bosses are more forgiving. Archwizard Twelvane and Ansuul the Tormentor both are multi-phase battles but aren’t as big of threats as bosses from other Trials, if your party is well-coordinated.

In contrast, the Add Pulls in Sanity’s Edge can be harder than the bosses. To enter the trial, the group will approach Warlock Vanton lying on a bed. You will enter his mind and find yourself in a nightmarish version of Alinor, a city in Summerset. Making your way toward the palace, you’ll face a series of enemies. At the end of the day, Sanity’s Edge is a mix of challenging encounters and moments that allow you to recover.

For adventurers who know previous trials like Rockgrove and Dreadsail Reef like the back of their hand, Sanity’s Edge may disappoint in toughness. Although, others who are jumping back into the world of The Elder Scrolls Online, without the gear and item sets from previous chapters, may appreciate the accessibility of the content.




  • Exciting Arcanist class and Crux mechanic
  • Meaningful companions enhance gameplay
  • Lovecraftian terrors bring stunning landscapes and visual marvel
  • Exceptional voice acting and storytelling


  • Not as challenging as other expansions
  • Sense of sameness in the Telvanni Peninsula
  • Not as much content as hoped for

For both newcomers and long-time players, The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom is a chapter that stands on its own. While previous knowledge of the game is not necessary to enjoy the self-contained story, it adds depth to the ongoing Shadow Over Morrowind narrative that unfolds throughout 2023 and beyond. The new environments may be a little “samey” and there might be a lack of extra content afterwards, but with the captivating storyline, the introduction of the Arcanist class, and a plethora of content to explore, Necrom is a recommended addition to the MMO.