The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road Preview – Welcome back to Skingrad

Posted on April 8, 2024

Celebrating its milestone tenth anniversary this week, The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is entering a new era with the highly anticipated expansion, Gold Road. Set to release on 3 June 2024 on PC and Mac, then 18 June on consoles, this latest chapter promises to take players on a nostalgic journey back to the iconic region of the West Weald, last explored in 2006’s The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

At a recent preview event hosted by ZeniMax Online Studios, we got an exclusive hands-on experience with an early build of Gold Road, delving into its new features and exploring the beautifully reimagined city of Skingrad.

The West Weald reimagined

The West Weald has picturesque landscapes and the bustling city of Skingrad. In Gold Road, ZeniMax has painstakingly recreated this beloved locale, offering players a glimpse into a time before Skingrad reached its full grandeur.

The city retains its signature charm, with narrow cobblestone streets winding through towering stone structures. You will be drawn to the iconic Chapel district, dominated by the imposing Temple that serves as a focal point in the cityscape. In its initial stages of development, we see hints of the majestic metropolis it will become in the future.

Surrounding Skingrad lies the sprawling vineyards that define the region, yet something dark looms as a wasteland encroaches upon the landscape, serving as a buffer zone against the forest from nearby Valenwood. The origins of this forest, dubbed the Dawnwood, unravel slowly throughout the main campaign, adding a compelling layer of intrigue to the narrative.

A new Daedric threat

Building upon the narrative foundation established in last year’s Necrom chapter, ESO: Gold Road continues the epic saga with a compelling storyline that intertwines seamlessly with its predecessor. Players are encouraged to delve into the prologue quest, Prisoner of Fate, which sets the stage for the unfolding events in the West Weald.

You will start by investigating the return of Ithelia, a Daedric Prince never seen before in the Elder Scrolls series. By diving deeper into the background and origin of this unknown entity, their devoted followers are clearly hatching a scheme to raise chaos in Tamriel. It’s your job to stop that from happening.

Notable characters such as Beragon, a Wood Elf with a storied past, add depth to the narrative, leading to secrets and intriguing plotlines waiting to be uncovered. The interconnectedness of the storylines across chapters offers a cohesive story, fostering a sense of continuity and investment in the world of The Elder Scrolls Online.

Scribing your own skills

Gold Road introduces the new feature of Scribing, described as a precursor to Oblivion’s renowned Spellcrafting. Scribing empowers players to craft their skills, offering unprecedented customisation and personalisation to their gameplay experience.

During the preview, we had the opportunity to experiment with Scribing, albeit in its early stages. While the system showed immense potential, some initial limitations were noted, particularly in the availability of skill options. Grimoires, the core components of Scribed skills, were primarily sourced from select skill lines, leaving room for expansion and refinement upon full release.

The Lucent Citadel trial

At the heart of Lucent Citadel lies the elusive Reanimating Crux, a mysterious artifact with the power to manipulate life itself. You and your friends will investigate this ancient vault, navigating treacherous traps, battling hordes of monstrous creatures, and confronting powerful bosses standing in their way.

To conquer the challenges of Lucent Citadel trial, you need to band together in groups of 12, combining strength, skills, and strategies to overcome each obstacle. Cooperation and coordination are essential as you’re faced with increasingly difficult encounters, testing teamwork and resilience to the limit.

Only the most skilled and determined adventurers will emerge victorious from Lucent Citadel, shaping up to be one of the more challenging trials in ESO. However, we hear the rewards are well worth the risk. From powerful weapons and armour to rare treasures and valuable resources, the spoils of victory are both plentiful and prestigious.

Looking ahead

As the launch of The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road draws near, anticipation mounts among the ESO community, eager to embark on a new adventure in the West Weald. With its rich storytelling, new gameplay features, and testing trial, Gold Road promises to captivate.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road is set to release on PC and Mac on 3 June 2024, with console releases following on 18 June.