Even before it was selected for highlight in the Destination Guide Editor’s picks, I’d heard that Bo Zano (BoZanoNL) had opened a new iteration of Elvion, and I’d added it to my list of regions to visit ASAP in 2023. I’ve always admired Bo’s work, and over the last several years he has brought us a range of visions for Elvion, and all of them have been utterly captivating and photogenic – and this latest version, once again a Homestead build – is no exception.
An island setting, Elvion emerges from the surrounding waters as a pair of low isles, the larger of the two running east from the landing point, initially as a narrow finger, then broadening out to the north and south, a shallow channel of water separating it from the smaller isle.
Reached via a simple bridge, the latter sits a the home of an ivy-draped cottage, a place that looks at first to be a little homestead, courtesy of the geese (both on the ground and circling overhead) and horses sharing the island with it. However, caught within the same EEP settings as the rest of the region – and which I recommend viewing it under -, this smaller island carries that same sense of mystery and age as its larger neighbour.
A path points eastwards from the landing point, and presents the best means by which to become immersed in that sense of mysticism and mystery. Along the way it passes under great broken columns which have tumbled to form gigantic arches pointing the way towards the ruins of an abbey-like building. Between the first and second of the giant “arches”, the bases of which are marked by exotic puffball plants also of large proportions, is a huge mushroom tree standing at the water’s edge.
Overlooked by a bench, this otherworldly tree marks the start of a way across the shallows – also marked by plants and reeds rising from the water – to where a stone tower rises from the thumb-tip of rock, standing like a guardian – or watcher – over the setting. From this lofty perch (reached by touching the door to teleport up to the single room), visitors can gain an eagle’s view of the main islands and their watery surrounds.
Lit by trees rich in autumnal colours and strung with lights, the abbey-like ruins offer a sense of timelessness; a place where peace holds sway and dreams come easy. Beyond it, a path leads onwards to a shrine caught within the branches of another tree whilst a second leads to the bridge and the second island beyond.
Within the broader part of the main island lay more ruins, suggestive of an outlying element of the abbey – perhaps what was once a small church. These sit at the edge of a stream issuing from rocks which oddly intrude into the ruins, as if the rocks arrive after the building had been built and collapsed.
The steam itself only flows a short distance before it enters the surrounding waters. In doing so, it indirectly points the way to where a swings sits off-shore under the branches of another tree. Close by sits a wooden pier marching across the water, yet itself separated from land by that same water. It offers a further retreat and place for reflection in solitude.
Through the setting there is a uniqueness that sets it apart from previous builds – notably, again, the EEP settings, which offer so much to the immersiveness that other Elvion builds perhaps haven’t quiet reached, as captivating as they have been. At the same time, there is enough within the region that offer links to past iterations – such as the shrine noted above, the two-wheeled cart on the edge of the smaller island and the presence of wildlife and animals throughout the setting.
Some of these – in the form of white stags – both offer a hark-back to past builds and add to the mystic / fantasy feel of this iteration. In this, they are joined by glowing chrysalis butterflies flying offshore and the magical rings of fish circling a Moon chair sitting part-way to the stone tower, the puffballs and mushroom trees and other exotic flora awaiting discovery. When combined, these move Elvion into a realm of the imagination, brought to life by the presence of the animals and wildlife.
Wandering Elvion is, for me, like coming home; there is a comforting sense of familiarity within each iteration of this region I find engaging. And I don’t mean a familiarity borne of similarities of design or the inclusion of familiar elements from one version to the next; rather there is a sense that Bo has an imagination and a flair for region designs I know are always going to be attractive to me; places I can appreciate and spend time within, wrapped in a since of freedom and exploratory delight.
Definitely not a location to be missed.
- Elvion (Forevermore, rated Moderate)