Auriels Retreat adds a completely new world space for exploration. Upon loading, you are given a book that provides some back-story and explanation to the places you will find in the new world-space.
Note: All images are from Lance4791
The new land is beautiful visually. Rather large with few places to explore such as merchants’ town, the temple of tides, a hidden cavern that isn’t marked on the map and a labyrinth to reach to the maker of the world-space’s cottage. The ‘blessed’ cottage which I assume is where Auriel stays has his notes which explains further on his quest for immortality Even the merchants’ town has their own little book to give the town’s back-story, as well tell you of the available merchants who live there.
Lance4791 in-cooperates elements of Hindi/Buddhist elements give the mod an appearance of having the fengshui theme going for it.
However, there seems to be an issue in regards to the portal that is meant to return you to Tamriel. It doesn’t return you back to where you summon your portal to the retreat. Unsure whether you need to find a sweet spot for it activate or it is completely broken. Some users have used the coc command, since it seems they have forgotten there are teleporters in the Temple of Tides where if you took the portal to the portal room, there are portals taking you to the main cities in Tamriel, which is what I used to return back to the world of Tamriel.
There are also various arenas that you can fight in. The arenas are categorized, but I have forgotten most of the arenas. I know there is an arena for Shivering Isles, Daedra, Undead and the vanilla dungeon. I cannot remember the rest. I apologize. It was the one aspect of the mod that I did not explore.
Other than the visual aesthetics, exploring the labyrinth to reach the cloud layer…there isn’t particularly much to do. It is mostly a visual world-space for you to explore for the most part. The journals and note were a nice touch adding onto the back-story of the realm.
Most people seem to keep it for its visuals since they like to return to it and re-explore its beauty. It didn’t seem to have that effect on me. It did feel rather bland at times, since there was so much emptiness in the land. There were few points of interest at best for me personally. It didn’t really hold my attention like I hoped it would. The main part that I enjoyed about this mod was probably its hidden cavern which I loved swimming through. Even found myself a deformed swamp tentacle for the Museum of Oddities quest, while exploring the cavern system.
In general, it is an excellent mod which does what its description says. Extremely pleasant visually in terms of the visual aesthetics. Offers a few locations for the player to explore, as well access to the usual spell-making and enchanting altars, access to rare skill books in-game and portals to teleport to any of the main cities. Just not a mod that I will be keeping around unfortunately, although I did enjoy it for its visual aspects.