Elder Scrolls Online nixes year-long story arcs for 2023 roadmap – here’s what to expect


If you thought the Elder Scrolls Online’s 12-month-long storyline arcs were getting a little bit stale after the last several years, well, ZeniMax Online Studios apparently agrees with you. In his 2022 retrospective letter to the ESO playerbase today, Studio Director Matt Firor tells players the team will be “moving away” from those storylines.

“I think these have run their course and frees us up to do some new and interesting content that we’ve been wanting to do for a few years now—and lets us return to expansive story arcs that unfold over multiple Chapters,” he says. “This year-long strategy was a huge success and raised the profile of ESO, but now after four straight years, we’re finding more and more that this cadence limits what we can do.”

Firor says the studio has been “reassessing the balance of hand-crafted ‘one-and-done’ storytelling content versus repeatable game activities” based on feedback from players. “[W]e are hearing from our new players that the sheer number of zones and stories and characters is intimidating,” Firor says. “And […] our veteran players consistently tell us that they would like more content that isn’t played through just once—they would like more content they can enjoy for years; content that utilizes our already existing zones to add new things to do, and most importantly, introduces some new gameplay.”

Consequently, the studio aims to alter its 2023 cadence, though the key differences won’t appear until Q3. Q1 will see the usual dungeon DLC, followed by the Q2 chapter (expansion), but then Q3 will focus on quality-of-life additions and bugs, while Q4 will skip over the traditional zone DLC and add a new system instead (details will be shared “early next year”). Worth noting is that the chapter itself – the anchor for the game every year – will be a bit different.

“The 2023 ESO Chapter will be a complete story: you will be able to play all the way through it without a storyline that is broken out and reserved for later in the year. We will return to larger/better and more detailed Chapters by doing this. We are REALLY excited about next year’s Chapter—for details, you’ll have to wait for our Global Reveal Event in January. But one hint: this will be part one of a multi-year story arc and will contain one of the most requested new features.”

A few other noteworthy bits:

  • ZOS is “in the home stretch” of its datacenter hardware upgrade; hardware should be installed over the next few months, with priority for the three EU realms, then the remainder of the NA console realms (NA PC is already done). “It is happening and will be done and ready for all players, probably in late February or March of 2023.”
  • The team will resume a “mass gathering of ESO fans” this spring in the US.
  • ZOS says it welcomed “millions” of new players over the course of 2022.
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