Tamriel Infinium: Which province will The Elder Scrolls Online explore in 2020?

    
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As the Season of the Dragon begins to wrap up for The Elder Scrolls Online, community speculation has begun to turn to what 2020 may hold for our beloved game. Of course, we shouldn’t overlook Dragonhold, the final piece to that particular puzzle, launching in less than two weeks. And maybe it’s not fair to ZeniMax to be speculating about next year before the last DLC has officially released. But let’s be honest, it put itself in this position by doing such a reliable job with this year’s four-part theme. I for one can’t wait to see how ZeniMax is going to top kitties and dragons.

The first question on everyone’s mind seems to be where will the next major chapter expansion take place? We can start narrowing down the possibilities by looking at the current in-game map of Tamriel. Only a few pieces of land have yet to be included in the current game: Hammerfell, Skyrim, Morrowind, Black Marsh, and possibly bits of Cyrodiil. Let’s mull them over.

Hammerfell – ZeniMax may have already given us a clue as to our next destination by including the return of the legendary Redguard Sai Sahan in the upcoming Dragonhold release. Sai hails from Bangkorai in Hammerfell, and his Redguard kinsmen are the traditional inhabitants of that land. ZeniMax enjoys dropping little breadcrumbs to upcoming content throughout the game, and while the appearance of Sai is more analogous to a massive crouton, it would certainly make sense to follow him back to his homeland after our adventure in the next mini-zone is complete.

Another thread that could lead us to Hammerfell is the rumored inclusion of pirates in Dragonhold. Many of the inhabited cities in Hammerfell are coastal due to the massive Alik’r Desert taking up a large portion of the center of the zone. Perhaps ZeniMax is planning to give us some maritime questlines where we’re hopping from ship to ship just off the coast of Hammerfell.

I would love a Hammerfell chapter. I would like to explore the Redguards further, and after attempting to navigate the rough vertical terrain of zones like Wrothgar, I think a huge, flat desert map might be just the thing to make sure I don’t get lost!

Skyrim – Another large vacant space on the ESO map of Tamriel currently belongs to Skyrim. While we do have a few of the southernmost parts of that land already in the game, the northmost snowy regions remain undeveloped, and there have been plenty of wishful thinkers predicting that we’re headed to the great white north next year.

To be sure, whenever ZeniMax does decide to include Skyrim, it’s going to be a huge deal. Many players were first introduced to the Elder Scrolls series via Skyrim in TESV, and as it’s the most recent incarnation of the single-player games, it’s also the freshest in the minds of many a Tamrielic traveler. Skyrim is the home of the Nords, but is also the site of the Dragon War and the burial grounds of many deceased dragons. Could there be a tie between our current “season of the dragon” and these hallowed grounds? Could the recently released dragons from Elsweyr be looking to avenge their fallen comrades?

It’s an interesting thought, but one thing makes me think that Skyrim is not yet in the cards. ZeniMax is fond of anniversaries (it released the Morrowind expansion on the 15th anniversary of TESIII), and the 10-year anniversary of Skyrim is 2021. I think the team may hold off on a Skyrim DLC until that year in order to best capitalize on the marketing and hype the year after 2020 instead.

Cyrodiil – In most maps of Tamriel, the empire of Cyrodiil extends much further to the east and west than it does in ESO’s current PvP incarnation of the zone. This got my gears turning a bit. What if ZeniMax is planning to release east and/or west Cyrodiil zones for PvE? If so, it would be a great time to make the Imperial race free and playable for everybody (it’s required an extra fee since the release of the game). With the exception of Abnur Tharn and Varen, most Imperials in the game have come in the form of NPC enemies. We don’t have a true Imperial PvE zone yet, and I’d love to play through one.

There’s aren’t any real breadcrumbs for this idea yet, unless we’re going to follow Abnur Tharn back from Elsweyr. However, that would be a lot of time spent with Tharn. It’s kind of hard to imagine spending another whole year with him unless he’s simply used as a springboard to get us into the zone.

Morrowind – While we did receive the Vvardenfell segment of Morrowind with the chapter update a few years ago, a large section of the mainland remains undeveloped. While the lands of Morrowind (and the Dunmer who inhabit it) are vast and interesting, it’s difficult to imagine returning so soon. Still, most ESO players I interact with would look forward to running into Naryu once more!

Black Marsh – That gaping hole you see in the southeast section of the map of Tamriel is the remainder of Black Marsh, home to the Argonians. In some ways, it seems like Argonian culture is still one of the most overlooked aspects of The Elder Scrolls franchise and could use some more fleshing out. It is located adjacent to Elsweyr, where our current season is soon to conclude. Plus, that section of the map is just begging to be filled in. On the other hand, Murkmire was released as a small DLC just a year ago, so a return seems rather unlikely. I’m afraid that Black Marsh may need to take a back seat to some of the more sought-after regions.

Oblivion – A far-out and yet interesting possibility for next year’s content cycle is one or more of the planes of Oblivion. ZeniMax set a precedent way back in the vanilla game when Coldharbour (the plane of big, bad Molag Bal) was included as a zone. In subsequent releases, we’ve sampled small segments of the homes of other daedric princes. What if the next major theme for 2020 has the player hopping from realm to realm, each one vastly different than the last? It’s been a year since we had a deadric prince as a major antagonist, so perhaps it’s time to get to know another one. This would be quite a departure from what we’ve become used to, but it might be exciting to see how ZeniMax would string together a year’s worth of story and content while the player explores some planes beyond the land of Tamriel.

Where do you think the game is headed?

Traverse the troubled land of Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls Online! Larry Everett and Ben Griggs will be your guides here in Tamriel Infinium on Wednesdays as we explore together the world created by ZeniMax and Bethesda in one of the biggest MMOs in the genre. Larry and Ben welcome questions and topic ideas!

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Jokerchyld

ESO is great but if I had to be critical, I would want them to change the content pattern. It seems the cadence has gotten comfortable with a few dungeons, new land/maybe a class, more dungeons, and small DLC pack. I wish they would put more content into the rest of the world. Exploring is one the best tenets of this game. Also cant wait to see what they do with the CP system. Its a great idea and just needs to be tweaked. Definitely on the cusp of MMORPG greatness.

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Castagere Shaikura

I would rather them flesh out more factions with quest chains. Really get into playing many of the Vampire clans with their own stories. They had a group that was into freeing slaves but it went nowhere. It would make the world seem more alive to me.

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mysecretid

My house!

We could scry for messages from foreign lands (watch TV)

Fight pitched battles on strange planes of existence throughout the multiverse (play games on my PS4)

We could hunt stange creatures and tame them (pet my cat)

And you could listen to an ancient sage tell tales of forgotten kingdoms, all the while wondering wondering if he is a wise man or a mad man (listen to semi-geezer me talk about old games)

Sorry, Ben, I couldn’t resist :-) We can blame it on my pain meds, right?

Good article, of course, but I’m still not speaking to Elder Scrolls Online (even though I love the game) because I can’t seem to find a Nightblade double dagger and bow build which works against solo bosses since Orsinium (at least not without taking a multi-year PhD in character building for the game) and it still pisses me off.

Cheers! :-)

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Bruno Brito

I want them to explore the province of No Animation Cancel.

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NeoWolf

My preference would be Yokuda the ancestral homeland of the Redguards but it is unlikely as Elsweyr was an arid/desert-ish biome and Yokuda would be a full on desert zone and a bunch of smaller surrounding islands. It would have a nice quasi Japense-esque feel and was the home of the Sword Saints.

Alternatively, I would them to do a Mer based expansion that adds in sailable ships and ship combat and maybe a trade system mechanic? Underwater zone etc.. as well as the MEr as a playable race finally.

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Mewmew

There is a ton of great content in ESO and they normally do a really good job, but I really think it’s going to be difficult to top Kitties and Dragons.

I think I’d like them to do more with Vampires and Werewolves than they’ve currently done. I’d love to see an entire expansion be about the two, and even have unique places that you can only get into if you’re in one or the other. That kind of thing would interest me.

I don’t think anything will pull my interest as much as Khajiit based stuff has though. We finally got to see all sorts of different Khajiit too, from the little Alfiq to some huge lumbering Pahmar-raht and Senche-raht. It’s just been terribly interesting and cool overall, plus the entire dragon thing (and more difficult world bosses).

It will be interesting to see them try of course, though they did such a great job with Elsweyr they sure have their work cut out for them to equal it.

Maybe if the world bosses in the next area took special tactics to beat them other than the usual, like what happens in a lot of the DLC dungeons. Have more things we have to interact with, be aware of, more than just an outright fight avoiding the red spots, that would end up being something to pull a lot of people into the next expansion?

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Alex Willis

I think your suggestion about a “themed” expansion is very possible, actually. Rather than a geographically-linked one. I’d welcome more content on vampires — it’s fairly anemic right now in ESO.

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mysecretid

Anemic — nice one, Alex :-) And your general point is well-made.

Cheers,

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Alex Willis

I honestly didn’t even realize I did that. Sheesh! LOL

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mysecretid

If anyone asks, we’ll say it was “subconscious genius” :-)

Be well,

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

How about the Reach, finally subjugate those Reachmen in their Hinterland.

Theryl
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Theryl

It’s technically Skyrim but not very Skyrimish (is that a word?) so it might work.

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Alex Willis

Safe money is on Hammerfell, but I’m holding out hope for something more left-field, like the remains of Yokuda, or Pyandonea (home of the Maomer, who play a strong role in ESO).

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Tobasco da Gama

There are two things going against Hammerfell, I think. First, while it’s not all desert, there’s certainly a lot of desert, which means there’s significant tonal overlap with Elsweyr. Second, there’s good reason to think that TES VI will involve Hammerfell, in which case I’m sure Vivendi will have been told to keep their hands off it.

The ruins of Yokuda would be a really cool location, but I feel like it’s almost as too-mythical-to-depict as Akavir. Almost.

Pyandonea or Oblivion would be my bet.