Fight monsters with monsters in Stone Garden, one of the two new dungeons arriving with the Stonethorn DLC. Uncover this new Dark Heart of Skyrim adventure in this latest preview.
A Secret Laboratory
Hidden within the twisting caves of Blackreach lies the secret laboratory know as Stone Garden. There, inside this age-old Dwarven complex, the mad alchemist Arkasis toils unceasingly to perfect his latest abominations.
“Not much is known about Stone Garden other than the fact it was an abandoned Dwemer facility of some kind,” explains Mike Finnigan, ESO’s Encounters Lead. “The pipes, tubes, and Dwarven machines were perfect for Arkasis’s plan, and so he retrofitted them with his own designs, making the entire structure one giant laboratory.”
You and your team must discover the entrance to this hidden laboratory, face the mad alchemist’s terrible designs, and put a stop to his vile experiments. Worry not, for you won’t have to do it alone, as Gwendis of House Ravenwatch (from the ESO base game and Castle Thorn dungeon) joins you in your investigation of this ancient complex and its newest master. Indeed, you’ll need all the help you can get if you are to face Arkasis’s latest creations!
Guarding Arkasis and his laboratory is a monstrous host, twisted by their master’s dark science, including ambitious apprentices, colossal Stone Husks, and savage werewolves, all alchemically empowered.
To best the monstrosities of Stone Garden, you must make use of Arkasis’s own creations against him and become a monster yourself!
“Not only was Arkasis instrumental in using his alchemy to bring to life Stone Husks (seen in the Greymoor Chapter), but he has even found a way to create Werewolf Behemoths without infecting people with Lycanthropy,” explains Finnigan. “Players can experience this transformation and wield its power firsthand as they battle their way through the Stone Garden.”
Confront Arkasis’s empowered creations
In addition to these unnatural defenders, Stone Garden has a unique twist: It features three boss battles, each with their own Hard Mode!
“We have heard from players that they would like another level of difficulty within dungeons to challenge themselves,” says Finnigan. “In reviewing the Sunspire and Kyne’s Aegis trials and how well those were received, we decided this would be a good opportunity to do this in dungeons as well.”
As a result, Stone Garden is the first ESO dungeon with an activatable Hard Mode for each boss. In challenging your team in this way, you’ll receive greater rewards, and you must complete each Hard Mode in succession in order to face Arkasis himself in Hard More!
As with the trials, this allows you and your team to tailor the difficulty of your experience at will, and of course, if you find a boss is too challenging in Hard Mode, you can always fight them at their base difficulty, too.
Should you and your group descend into Stone Garden and face Arkasis’s terrible creations, you’ll uncover unique rewards found only in this dungeon, including gear sets, a monster mask, collectibles, and Achievements.
These include the powerful Kraglen’s Howl medium set.
Kraglen’s Howl set
“This set is ideal for aggressive players who not only want to cast Ultimates for themselves, but also wish to provide additional support for their teammates,” explains Nadav Pechthold, one of ZOS’s Combat Designers. “With this set, you can lead your pack on a successful hunt.”
In addition to this unique set (and two others), Stone Garden also has a new Monster Mask, called Stone Husk, which when combined with its shoulders can allow your Heavy Attacks to create a damaging tether that also boosts your Weapon Damage.
“Stone Husk adds a mini-game-like experience where positioning your character to maximize the damage and stack generations is key,” says Nadav. “When used by a savvy player, it will both dish out AoE damage and provide up to 450 Weapon Damage.”
Aside from these powerful items, you can also earn some dungeon-specific Collectibles, such as the Mostly Stable Juggling Potions memento earned by completing the dungeon on Veteran difficulty or the “True Genius” title (finally, all of Tamriel shall recognize your superiority!) earned by completing the dungeon on Veteran Hard Mode (all three bosses) with no deaths AND under 20 minutes—phew!
Maniacal Laughter Guaranteed
Whatever the mad alchemist Arkasis is cooking up in his dark laboratory, it’s sure to spell doom for the people of Western Skyrim. Get ready to enter the Stone Garden, battle your way through the mad alchemist’s empowered minions, and put a stop to his dread experiments before it’s too late! Let us know if you’re excited to check out this new Dark Heart of Skyrim dungeon and story via @TESOnline, Instagram, and Facebook.
Part of the Dark Heart of Skyrim year-long adventure, the Stonethorn DLC game pack is coming August 24 for PC/Mac and Stadia, and September 1 for Xbox One and PlayStation®4. This new DLC game pack arrives in tandem with Update 27, a free base-game update for all ESO players.