The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road Review – Tales of West Weald

Reviewed June 17, 2024 on PC


PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S


June 4, 2024


Bethesda Softworks


ZeniMax Online Studios

After more than ten years since its original release, the team at ZeniMax Online Studios has graced us with another chapter of The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), Gold Road. The newest expansion to the ever-popular MMO promises an adventure full of intricate character arcs and a meticulously crafted world that beckons exploration, a setting last seen in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Heroes hold fast against Ithelia

ESO: Gold Road is set around the city of Skingrad in the West Weald, diving deeper into the story set up in the Necrom chapter. The narrative centers around the Daedric Prince Ithelia, also known as the Prince of Paths. It unfolds with an intriguing plot and complex character arcs, presenting a deeper, more nuanced tale than previous expansions.

While a familiar region, West Weald has an immense amount of detail and care in world-building that sets it apart as a place you want to keep exploring. Surrounding Skingrad lies sprawling vineyards that paint the region with class, the looming wastelands and depths of the Dawnwood forest encroach on the picturesque landscape with many mysteries to reveal. Albeit, this chapter doesn’t lead us through an otherworldly zone like the Lovecraftian Necrom before it, the setting still lends itself to the story resulting in a compelling layer to the quest line.

“Ithelia is portrayed as a tragic and arresting figure in both writing and performance.”

From the outset, Ithelia’s introduction is captivating. Her presence immediately raises questions about who the true antagonist might be, with her champion Torvesard adding layers of ambiguity. This initial uncertainty provides a refreshing departure from the clear-cut good versus evil dichotomy typically seen in ESO quests. The journey to understand Ithelia’s motivations and her role in the broader tale keeps players invested in the unfolding drama.

There’s so much to love about the Gold Road main quest. While there may be some poorly handled parallels with real-world conflict, the plot is still engaging without leaning heavily on a momentous narrative twist. This is a story written and directed with keen purpose and is a testament to how excellent the writers at ZeniMax Online Studios are at crafting the world.

Even the player dialogue has been improved upon, with care and thought put into each main character along the journey. Voiced by the talented Alix Wilton Regan, Ithelia is portrayed as a tragic and arresting figure in both writing and performance. Others such as Beragon, a Wood Elf with a storied past, lead to secrets and intriguing plotlines. These characters lend themselves to excellent writing for an incredible main quest that will drive players new and old from start to finish. The Wayrest Vanner Pillion Steed is also a fantastic reward for finishing the main quest of Gold Road.

Transcend your limits with Scribing

Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road introduces the Scribing mechanic, reminiscent of Oblivion’s Spellcrafting. Scribing creates special abilities using Grimoires, books that expand their skillset. This system is user-friendly but offers enough depth for those who love tweaking their builds. It’s a dream for those who enjoy fine-tuning their characters.

Adventurers must be level 30 to start Scribing. This ensures a good grasp of the game before diving into this advanced mechanic. A downside is that Grimoires and scripts are locked to each character, so multiple characters need to repeat the quest chain each time, which can be frustrating.

The questline for Scribing is a fun and informative side adventure. It helps with learning the basics while exploring areas and meeting interesting characters of Gold Road—a well-designed introduction to this feature. While the questline serves as an intuitive tutorial, Scribing may be a bit complex for newer players with an overwhelming number of systems to learn in ESO and how much time you need to invest to properly reap the benefits. With so many existing features, Scribing might not be used by everyone. However, for those who love deep customisation, it’s a powerful tool that enhances gameplay.

Battle for the Lucent Citadel

The trial of Gold Road is the Lucent Citadel, a challenging venture for a party of 12. At the heart of the trial is the Reanimating Crux, an artifact with the power to manipulate life itself. It’s an attractive goal to fight towards with a group of people combining the necessary strength, skill, and knowledge to overcome obstacles.

The Lucent Citadel Trial is north of the Valente Vineyards Wayshrine and can be tackled on Normal or Veteran difficulty, with an optional Hard Mode for those seeking an extra challenge. The design and atmosphere of the Citadel are truly immersive, drawing players into its mysterious and dangerous world. Players who complete the Lucent Citadel Trial earn a variety of rewards that make the effort worthwhile. These rewards include unique body and face markings, housing items, and a prestigious Mount called the Refulgent Mirrormoor Steed, which is granted for completing the Knot Worthy achievement. However, this trial isn’t for the inexperienced, being one of the most challenging, and some of the mechanics are repetitive after multiple runs which could affect long-term enjoyment. It’s built-for-purpose for the ESO grinders who are seeking the best armour sets and rewards.

“…the neglect of PvP content, once a core part of the ESO experience, highlights the shift towards a more solo and narrative-driven game.”

The Gold Road expansion continues to showcase ZeniMax Online Studio’s ability to craft stories and rich worlds, but it also raises important questions about the direction of ESO. The game has evolved significantly over the past decade, focusing heavily on intricate storylines, an abundance of mechanics, and deep lore that appeal to long-time fans and lore enthusiasts. However, this focus can be daunting for new players, with a steep learning curve and an overwhelming amount of content to catch up on.

Additionally, the neglect of PvP content, once a core part of the ESO experience, highlights the shift towards a more solo and narrative-driven game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does make you wonder how long the current approach can sustain the game. The MMO landscape is ever-changing, and while Gold Road is a testament to the game’s strengths, it also serves as a reminder of the challenges and choices facing ESO in the future. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to Tamriel, Gold Road offers something worth experiencing, but who is this game for nowadays and how can it continue to grow?




  • Intriguing story and world-building
  • Engaging characters and writing
  • Scribing adds depth to skill customisation
  • Lucent Citadel is tough but rewarding


  • Challenging to pick up for new players
  • Neglect of PvP content
  • Scribing progression locked to each character

The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road expansion demonstrates ZeniMax Online Studios’ storytelling and world-building excellence. While the gripping narrative, new Scribing mechanic, and challenging but rewarding trial will appeal to long-time fans, this chapter and the game are no longer new player-friendly. Gold Road is a must-experience chapter for the crowd still invested in one of the best MMOs in recent years, but it poses significant questions about ESO’s growth and future.