Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, The Elder Scrolls Online has steadily grown into an experience that many fans of Bethesda’s RPG franchise wanted back when it debuted back in 2014. As an open world MMO, players can freely explore the many regions of Tamriel embarking quests, exploring dungeons, and acquiring rare loot. With the releases of previous expansions set in familiar areas, including Morrowind and Summerset, the scale and content of the online world has steadily seen improvement. During a livestream hosted by Twitch, the developers of ESO revealed the next major expansion set in the land of Elsweyr, along with an ambitious set of DLCs and updates releasing this year.
Set for launch on June 4, the Elsweyr expansion takes place in the homeland of the Khajit. Not only will new quests and events open up for veteran players in the region, but it will also be a new starting point for newcomers. As a part of their annual event for the Season of the Dragon, the developers plan to launch four unique DLCs throughout 2019. In the reveal trailer for Elsweyr, dragons have once again found their way to Tamriel, prompting the many adventurers in the land to face off against the new threat. In addition to being tied into the all new story quests, these dragons will also be a part of major world events.
Prior to the reveal, GameSpot spoke with ESO creative director Rich Lambert about their plans for the game in 2019, and how the community has expanded in big way in recent years.
«Elsweyr been one of the most requested places from our fans; it’s the homeland of the Khajit,» said the creative director. «There’s bits and pieces of the land in other DLCs, such as Reaper’s March and Khenarthi’s Roost, but those are really on the outer edges of the province. So we’re really going into the heartland, showing what Khajit culture is, and how they’ve evolved over the ages.»
With the Season of the Dragon annual event, the developers plan to update many of the core pillars of the MMO with four key updates. Beginning in Q1 with Wrathstone, the first DLC will add in new dungeon content for experienced players. In the second DLC—releasing on June 4—the region of Elsweyr will open up for all players, focusing on new quests and storylines within the desert land of the Khajit. The final two DLCs releasing in the back half of 2019 will also place a heavy emphasis on on additional story and dungeon content as well.
The highlight of Season of the Dragon will no doubt be Elsweyr, which adds in a massive new zone to explore. However, there will also be numerous other updates and quality-of-life additions that will switch things up. The year-long event will also see a new class thrown into the mix, which is the Necromancer. Using their dark magic, they’ll be able to summon spirits and manipulate the dead to fight in battle. However, their dark arts will arouse all kinds of attention from NPCs throughout the land. Using the Necromancer’s abilities in towns will prompt citizens and guards to confront the player—similarly to when players used shouts in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. These interactions also tied into the game’s Justice system, which judges your character based on in-game choices.
Furthermore, there will also be new world events. In addition to in-world battles against the massive dragons, some regions will also catch the attention of Daedric deities, who’ve become bored of the state of the world. In order to spice things up, they’ll introduce a little chaos by spawning powerful artifacts in the world. Those who can find them can wield the ancient weapons, transforming them into a demi-god. With drastically amplified stats and unique spells and skills, you’ll need to unleash carnage on other players, or else succumb to the artifact’s insatiable hunger for chaos.
The Elder Scrolls Online is in for a big year, and the new forms of content look to bring some interesting opportunities for players to explore more of the world. In the years since ESO’s debut, the developers spent a lot of time listening to what the fans wanted, which they they credit the game’s current success.
«We spent a lot of time reflecting on what the fans wanted, in trying to bring that Elder Scrolls feel into the game,» said Lambert. «That’s where One Tamriel came from, Thieves Guild, the Dark Brotherhood, and that’s where the Justice System came out as well. It really changed the feel of ESO, and players have enjoyed it since. The game has never been stronger, which is awesome.»
For more info on Elder Scrolls Online, including what’s to come with Elsweyr and the Season of the Dragon, be sure to check back with GameSpot.