The Elder Scrolls IV: Knights of the Nine Hands-On Preview

Knights of the Nine is an upcoming add-on pack for Bethesda’s smash-hit The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. To date, it is the largest add-on content Bethesda has created for Oblivion and it’ll easily rival the size of a standard expansion pack. After getting my feet wet with a preview of the expansion, it’s pretty clear that this will provide more content for fans of not only the game but for gamers everywhere.

Knights starts out with an attack on Anvil’s Chapel of Dibella. When you venture there, you’ll meet a prophet who foretells a prophecy of an ancient evil (named Umaril) arising from the past to lay waste to all who oppose him. But in order to combat him, you’ll need to acquire the equipment from the legendary warrior who laid the smack down on him back in the past. Note this quest-line is only for good folks, but that doesn’t mean you evil folks are immediately ruled out.

Before donning the new items, you’ll go on a pilgrimage to nine places around Cyrodiil to pray to the gods (the Nine Divines) for help. After that, Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary warrior, will summon you to get his items, which starts with his helmet. He sends you to a chapel his friends erected where he fell near the Imperial City. It’s a standard dungeon, full of your usual groups of skeletons. For the sake of adventuring, I had my level 4 thief/mage (wore the early set of the Dark Brotherhood armor and had some iron weaponry) go after the quest. It looks like the level scaling from Oblivion fits nicely with Knights since the skeletons were relatively easy after a fireball or two. When you venture to the room with the helmet, you’ll encounter the long-dead remains of a man named Amiel. His journal tells the story of his quest to recover Whitestrake’s artifacts. His journal also tells of a group called the Knights of the Nine who were formed to recover and safeguard Whitestrake’s artifacts. Unfortunately, a power struggle went down (a Knight named Berich grew greedy, along with others) causing the Knights to disband and most of the artifacts to be thrown around the world.

After nabbing the helmet, you’ll venture to the Knights of the Nine’s headquarters, which has been long abandoned save for a secret underground crypt where the souls of the Knights remain. When you enter the crypt, the Knights arise and challenge you. If/when you defeat them all (they were leveled to my thief/mage so it wasn’t terribly hard), you’ll be sent off to recover the artifacts.

Since this is a preview-build, there were things missing and the first thing I noticed is that after you go to each of the nine places to pray, they’re not marked on your map, even after you "discover" them initially. You get a map that tells you where the nine places are but it seems kind of out of place to not have the areas marked once you discover them. I also noticed that some dialogue didn’t have any speech implemented yet, though this only happed in one incidence.

Once you beat the nine Knights and become part of the order, you’ll have command over some folks who decide to enter the order. You can deny them entry at first, but if you let them in, they’ll fight with you or just stay at the Order HQ to liven the place up. Overall, the relics make up a hell of a set. If you happen to find more powerful items, there’s a rack at the HQ where you can swap out the relics. Also it appears the relics will scale to your character-type, i.e. if you’re a fighter, the relics will be heavy armor while if you’re a thief (like me), it’ll be a set of light armor.

If the above preview is what is to be expected by the whole package, I’m sold. Bethesda is touting that the expansion will take 10-20 extra hours of gameplay to complete. If the rest of the story and action is like what I experienced, I’m sold. Knights is set for release via download on November 21st on Xbox Live (800 Marketplace points) and on December 4th for the PC ($9.99). A retail version of the expansion, selling for $19.99, will be available for the PC on November 21st. Unlike the downloaded version, the retail version will include all currently released downloadable content add-on, which counters the higher retail price. Knights will also be included with Oblivion upon its release for the PS3 sometime in early 2007.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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