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The Elder Scrolls Online

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: ZeniMax Online Studios
Release Date: April 4, 2014


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PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road'

by Adam Pavlacka on Jan. 19, 2024 @ 12:30 a.m. PST

The Elder Scrolls Online is the first Elder Scrolls game to allow gamers to explore the legendary Elder Scrolls world with others.

Fans of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will be familiar with the new zone getting added to The Elder Scrolls Online this summer. The upcoming story chapter, Gold Road, will be set in West Weald. Bordering Cyrodiil (to the East), Gold Coast (to the West), Craglorn (to the North), and Reaper's March (to the South), West Weald is a relatively central section of Tamriel.

West Weald will feature three major biomes and the hub city of Skingrad for players to explore. The featured biomes are the Colovian Highlands (dry, hilly, and rocky), the Valenwood Annexation (a jungle rainforest), and the titular Gold Road (a windswept deciduous forest).

ZeniMax is estimating Gold Road to provide players with approximately 30 hours of new content. In addition to the story quest and Skingrad, Gold Road promises to deliver 11 objectives, six world bosses, two public dungeons, a new trial, a world event, and more. One element you won't see in the chapter is new companions. They'll be making an appearance near the end of the year instead.

Story-wise, Gold Road can be played as stand-alone content, just like any other ESO chapter, but for players who have already completed Necrom, it will offer a handful of bonus quests. You can think of them as similar to director's cut content on a Blu-ray, as these "capper" quests tie together the main storylines of the two chapters.

Necrom ended on a cliffhanger — the story ended with the reveal of a previously unknown Daedric prince. This is where the Gold Road prologue begins, with players searching for the location of the Forgotten Prince and discovering chaos in West Weald. A group of Wood Elves known as the Recollection has used its magic to create a jungle in West Weald while they look for Ithelia, the Forgotten Prince. The group's goal is to find her and restore her power, as Ithelia has no memory of who she is, or how she ended up in a prison. Bits of Ithelia's story will be revealed over time. She is wandering around West Weald and is drawn to powerful artifacts; those same artifacts will slowly restore her missing memories. As the story progresses, you'll also learn more about Ithelia's former realm, Mirrormoor.

The development team describes Ithelia as "crystal and color" rather than cosmic horror. While that doesn't reveal much, the opening cinematic does give some hints as to her power. It'll be interesting to see how her story connects to the other Daedric Princes, and if her imprisonment was a result of a conflict with them, or due to something else entirely.

Speaking of magic, one of the major features debuting in Gold Road is scribing. Scribing is best described as a precursor to spell crafting. Scribing allows you to customize your play style by customizing skills, with primary, secondary, and tertiary effects.

The basis for scribing is a Grimoire, which is a book with a core skill. You customize the Grimoire skill by adding three "scripts" to it, and each script changes the ability in some way. During our demo, ZeniMax showed us a Vault Grimoire as an example. The primary script was "Venomous," and it added poison damage to arrows. The secondary script was "Hawk Eye," and it granted a stack of Hawk Eye when activated. The tertiary script was "Vulnerability"; it affected all damaged enemies with minor vulnerability for a limited amount of time.

Just collecting the scripts isn't enough to use them. In order to apply, or scribe, them to the Grimoire, you also have to acquire consumable inks.

Keeping with the customization theme, you will also be able to change the look of your abilities by tweaking the visual effects. More than 20 styles will be available when Gold Road launches; however, you'll have to unlock or earn them in-game before you can use them. The development team is planning to add additional styles after Gold Road launches, so the variety and customization options should only increase as time goes on.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road chapter should be live in March 2024, while the story chapter is scheduled to appear on PC and Mac on June 3, 2024, with PlayStation and Xbox versions releasing soon after on June 18, 2024. The upcoming housing feature is scheduled for release in Q3 2024, while a PvP feature and two new companions will be released in Q4 2024.

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