GDC 2019 just ended and that means it’s time to talk about the newest expansion pack, The Elder Scrolls Online. Following suit from the last two major content expansions, the upcoming The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr sends players to a reimagining of a region that has not been seen since a previous The Elder Scrolls title. The region of Elsweyr was first explored in the 1994 title Arena but since then its existence has only been hinted at within the greater lore of Tamriel hidden throughout the subsequent games. Like the previous expansions in Morrowind and Summerset, Elsweyr will modernize the classic setting and expand on the narrative that was introduced during these previous expansions.
A difficult task with MMOs is the need to continuously evolve the title in a way that keeps it interesting for players after several years, and even with major annual expansions that can be difficult after the five years since the original release in 2014. Elsweyr shows promise in this area, but focusing on three things that are of personal interest: dragons, necromancy and cats. Elsweyr is the homeland to the anthropomorphic felines known as the Khajiit. Elsweyr is in the middle of being torn apart by war and facing a threat from some powerful ancient evil because peacetime with no powerful evils tend to make for boring video games.
New players and veterans alike will be able to jump into Elsweyr immediately, as was the case with the previous expansions. Bringing in an established character could be fun, but with the new necromancer class it’s hard to think of a better reason to start a fresh character. Playing as a high level necromancer in the demo build showed that there are a variety of dark powers at this new class’s fingertips that involve the manipulation of flesh and spiritual energy. Raising the dead to do one’s bidding never grows old but the powers of the necromancer can be channeled into many more macabre uses. The short time with the necromancer wasn’t enough to truly explore and appreciate all of their powers, but it was enough to create interest for starting yet another new The Elder Scrolls Online character since the powers we did get to play with were quite enjoyable.
One of the more exciting features to be found in Elsweyr is the return of dragons and we get them back without having to wait for The Elder Scrolls Online: Skyrim. The world of Tamriel always seemed like a world that dragons simply belong in, so they’re a welcome addition to the online version of Tamriel. Only one dragon was encountered during our time at GDC and based on its role in the story didn’t put up that much of a fight, but it looked incredible, letting the imagination run wild about the battles against dragons that will hopefully be not too terribly uncommon. The idea of a Khajiit going claw to claw against a dragon while leading an army of undead is reason enough to be excited about this upcoming expansion.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr is slated for a June 4 release for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and if history has taught us anything we can expect a few different buying options for the new content. The new content for Elsweyr is scheduled to be spread out across the year to give players incentive to keep returning. The main chapter available in June will feature a story campaign that’s approximately thirty hours in length, but throughout the year will receive a few new patches introducing new dungeons and some substantial story content in the year’s fourth quarter.