Elder Scrolls Online’s Gold Road chapter takes players back to Oblivion’s best city on June 3


With the conclusion of Elder Scrolls Online’s stream this afternoon, we can finally talk about the new chapter, dubbed Gold Road. TES fans who played TESIV: Oblivion will remember the Gold Road as the road that runs through the West Weald, from the Imperial City to Anvil on the Abecean Sea, just across the waterway separating Cyrodiil from Valenwood. The road runs directly through Skingrad, which will serve as the hub city for the chapter here too (as predicted and hoped for). Biomes include the autumn-themed Gold Road itself, the Valenwood Annexation (jungle rainforest), and the Colovian Highlands (rocky and dry).

ZeniMax Online Studios’ Rich Lambert noted that Gold Road is a full chapter with all the bells and whistles, including 30 hours of content, though the traditional pair of companions won’t arrive until Q4. The chapter includes the prologue and story questing, the hub city of Skingrad, 11 objectives, six delves, six world bosses, two public dungeons, one trial, one new world event, dailies, and tons more quests relating to content, housing, antiquities, and so on.

As he explained it, 2023’s Necrom chapter ended on a cliffhanger; players can expect capper quests to bridge the gap between the two chapters. The video makes clear that players will be investigating the rise of a new daedric prince, Ithelia, who’s escaped her prison and doesn’t remember who she is but is slowly gaining in power. Yes, that means a big new addition to the lore! Players will also be investigating a splinter group of Bosmer called the Recollection, which is generating fresh magic jungle in the West Weald.

Perhaps even more interesting than the plot is the addition of the new scribing feature. The devs were quick to clarify that scribing is not a direct port of spellcrafting from earlier Elder Scrolls games; instead, it’s the team’s own “take on a precursor to spellcraft” that makes sense as an early version in the lore. Scribing allows players a new element of customization for Gold Road players as they spend inks to combine grimoires and scripts to make their own spells – within the strict balance-related confines of the system.

There’s also a new “styling” feature for existing abilities, essentially power customization that might eventually open the door for things like pet skins too. At launch, owners of Gold Road will have access to 22 unique styles for this system, and all of those (at least) will be earned through questing.

During the press and influencer preview stream ahead of the show, Lambert answered multiple questions about the chapter and the future of the game. A few of the highlights:

  • The team has no major sweeping overhauls on deck, although it’s continuing to work on potions and food as remaining hybridization plans. Expect some in U41.
  • Lambert says storymode for dungeons is “really hard because it’s essentially a third difficulty mode”; it’s on the list but probably isn’t happening any time soon.
  • Yes, ZOS has plans for expanding Infinite Archive, but it doesn’t want to spoil anything.
  • Improvements to guilds are also on the list. Players believe there aren’t enough reasons to be in guilds. ZOS hears you.
  • Cross-play is also something ZOS knows players want; no promises, though.
  • Lambert doesn’t like puzzles that gate progression; he wants to “do better puzzles” while still balancing for the “lowest common-denominator” – i.e., people who hate them and just look them up anyway.
  • Similarly, open-world content is balanced for casual play; ZOS is not going to make the open-world game or story content too hard because they don’t want people to quit. People who want challenge are funneled into dungeons.
  • Inventory size and storage is an eternal question; the team knows that just increasing inventory doesn’t fix it (it hurts server performance, and players just want more anyway), so it’s looking to reduce inventory pressure instead. Also, “siege-stacking is coming soon.”
  • Yes, the devs are still working hard on PvP performance. The PvP stuff coming in Q4 is not Cyrodiil-related. “PvP is definitely a big part of our future.”
  • ZOS says years 1-9 were all about figuring the game out, figuring out what the game is and who wanted to play it. Ten and beyond is about more content and improving the game tech and making it all more accessible – and that includes more basegame improvements.
  • What pushed the devs to do Gold Road? They mostly just wanted to do something very different from Hermaeus Mora and found a chunk of the world map and race they hadn’t done a lot with. “It just kinda fit.”
  • “There is a very distinct ending to this story” in regard to Gold Road, but Lambert is coy about whether any loose threads will be picked up in the future.

The rest of the year has now been laid out in roadmap form too:

Q1: Prologue quest, QOL tweaks, and the Oathsworn Pit and Bedlam Veil dungeons
Q2: Gold Road, the Lucent Citadel trial, and performance improvements
Q3: Undisclosed housing feature and QOL updates
Q4: The PvP update and addition of two companions

Update 41 hits the PTS on January 29th and goes live on PC March 11th (console to follow on March 26th). Gold Road itself launches June 3rd on PC and June 18th on consoles.

Source: ZOS
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