The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr Review – Here be dragons!

The Elder Scrolls franchise is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! Its online multiplayer game, The Elder Scrolls Online, is debuting a brand new, exciting storyline, with a bunch of new content for players. It’s called Elsweyr. That’s right – players are finally going to get the chance to visit the home of the feline Khajiit people.

Info about the public test beta

If you’ve played ESO this year, or you’ve helped the ESO team test some of their previous chapters, you might have access to the public test beta.
The new chapter, due to be released June 4, 2019, includes:

  • A brand new zone, Elsweyr – home of the Khajiit
  • A new main story, part of the Season of the Dragon adventure
  • A new class, Necromancer
  • New Delves, Public Dungeons, World Bosses, and Dragon Attacks
  • A new Trial, Sunspire

The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr Screenshot
Full disclosure: I’ve played about 150 hours of Skyrim, but I’d almost never touched ESO until I received the Elsweyr beta code. I had no idea what to expect.
So is it possible for new players to jump right into ESO, even five years late?

The new player experience

Yes! Not only is it possible, but it’s also actually pretty easy.
After loading into Elsweyr, you immediately create your character. There are a lot of options here, but even if you have no experience with Elder Scrolls, everything has explainer text.
Since I know I love playing spellcasters, I went straight for Sorcerer. I did have access to the Necromancer class, but the game warns you – Necromancers are criminals. if you use your Necromancer abilities in town, the guards may take issue.
For you, that might be fun. But I figured I had enough to deal with, jumping into a new game!

Starting a new adventure

The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr Screenshot
If you’re an experienced player, you can load into the new zone Elsweyr and start your adventure with the first of the new questline, A Rage of Dragons. You arrive at the Star Haven Waypoint – a fast travel spot.
There are probably going to be a lot of half-naked player characters around looking at their inventory and throwing spells at each other and other things in the world. You get used to that pretty quickly.
For first time players, you instead start a new tutorial quest. The tutorial teaches you the basics of gameplay. It does assume you want to start with a sword no matter what your class, but you get the opportunity to grab up a mage staff or a bow before too long.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr Screenshot
(“I was attacked by a Dragon? Goodbye” is a big mood for 2019.)
Once you’ve completed the tutorial, you should have a couple of levels under your belt, some neat starter gear, and also a burgeoning attachment to the world. Dragons have returned to Elsweyr and they’re causing trouble, allying with necromancers. Nothing good can come of that. You have a letter asking you to travel to a nearby town and talk to someone who knows how to fight dragons. Seems like a good guy to teach you a few things about staying safe in this new dragon-infested land.

A closer look at Elsweyr

The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr Screenshot
Elsweyr itself is beautiful, by the way, despite its dragon problems. It’s unlike anything I saw in Skyrim. The area around Star Haven looks like an African savannah, while the Khajiit native architecture reminds me strongly of Thailand. In the Star Haven Adeptorium, there are big cats lounging around while Khajiit Adepts practice something that looks like tai chi. I wanted to stay there forever.
For twenty-five years, The Elder Scrolls have been delivering intriguing storylines and fascinating worlds to players. That’s a lot for a new player to digest.
But the best thing for me about playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2011 was that I didn’t need to know any of the history. It was there for me to discover – but I could also leap right in and start firing lightning and fire magic spells at dragons and loading up my inventory with big wheels of cheese.

No need to know what happened before

The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr Screenshot
It’s the same for The Elder Scrolls Online. There is five years of history and multiple DLC chapters to experience. But you don’t have to start with that. You don’t have to know what’s happened before.
You’re a survivor of a dragon attack, which means there’s something strong about you. And there are more dragons on the horizon – like, the immediate horizon.
That’s all any of the NPC characters care about, and all you have to care about, too.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr is a brand new story, due out June 4, 2019. It promises to be a beautiful and exciting experience – for both seasoned players, and new adventurers.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have necromancers and dragons to hunt.
Images: Screenshots of Elsweyr captured by Brodie Smith.
If you enjoyed this article from Brodie Smith, you can check out her Twitter @thisisbrodie.