The Elder Scrolls Online — why you should play this fantastic Xbox MMO in 2024

After many years of playing ZeniMax Online Studios’ adventure-filled MMO set in the lands of Tamriel, I can finally count myself as one of the few players to have unlocked all of The Elder Scrolls Online achievements on Xbox. Having completed such an undertaking over more than 3,500 hours, traveling to Amsterdam to revel in the first ten-year celebrations, and with the Gold Road’s gorgeous landscapes looking like they might be my new favorite hunting grounds, I figured now was the perfect opportunity to discuss the best things this awesome game has to offer. Here’s why you should be playing this fantastic game in 2024, and why The Elder Scrolls Online is also a great place to start if you fancy diving into the best MMOs on Xbox.

Ten years of fresh Elder Scrolls Online content

While possibly one of the more daunting aspects for achievement hunters, due to the ever-growing list of Xbox achievements attached to the game, The Elder Scrolls Online is crammed full of content to explore. Having already started out as a fairly large game, ESO has now grown into a gargantuan title spanning a massive portion of Tamriel, as well as many off-world locations like Coldharbour, Apocrypha, and The Deadlands, offering fans of the franchise a wealth of content to get lost in for thousands of hours across seven post-launch Chapters, ten smaller zone DLCs, and 28 additional group dungeons. While it’s certainly an MMO first and foremost, The Elder Scrolls Online is still a solid RPG similar to the mainline games, so expect single-player gameplay to steal a ton of your time — or share it with pals, of course!

Set during the Second Era (around 1,000 years before Oblivion, and even further back from Skyrim), The Elder Scrolls Online is a lore junkie’s dream, and thanks to the close work between ZeniMax and Bethesda, it’s even offering new lore that could potentially lay the foundations of future stories from the franchise. If you’re new to the game or the franchise and all that lore and content (and the terminology we’re about to get into) sounds completely incomprehensible right now, worry not, because The Elder Scrolls Online is friendly to new players.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road

This year’s Chapter, Gold Road, takes us to West Weald and the city of Skingrad, which we first explored in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. In line with its name, Gold Road has an autumnal setting, filling the landscape with hues of orange and gold, and after having the chance to play it during the 10th Anniversary Celebration event in Amsterdam, it’s replaced High Isle as my favorite zone to date. It’s stunning to explore, and while the early build we were fortunate enough to play for an hour was about a month old, the surrounding beauty was obvious. The landscape is littered with Ayleid ruins, and many nods to Oblivion can be found when wandering the wilderness, including Elenglynn and its huge Ayleid statue. One notable addition ZeniMax has implemented, which I was thoroughly pleased to see, is the return of Dark Welkynd Stones in some of the ruins, which fire various elemental magic attacks at you — they’re little more than an annoyance, but such a great nostalgic treat to come across.

Of course, alongside the story content, Gold Road comes packed with plenty of other activities to enjoy, such as the new Scribing skill, and a 12-player trial called Lucent Citadel. My time was limited, so I only managed to dabble with Scribing a little bit. Interestingly, though, Scribing takes place away from West Wield and instead can be performed at a Scribing Alter on Eyevea, which we discovered during the Mages Guild questline from the base game. ZeniMax hasn’t utilized the area in quite some time, so it’s cool to see it return to the limelight this year. Scribing is the precursor to Spellcrafting, which many of you might remember from The Elder Scrolls VI: Oblivion and Morrowind, but takes a much more simplistic approach to create new abilities for your characters, even melee attacks. Scribing uses two new resources: Grimoires and Scripts.

The Elder Scrolls Online — why you should play this fantastic Xbox MMO in 2024

Grimoires are the base element you need when scribing a skill and determine how the ability looks and functions when completed. You can then add one of each type of Script to your new ability: Primary Scripts defines what the ability does, whether it has a damaging effect, heals, shields, or other such action types. Secondary Scripts then add an additional effect, such as buffs and debuffs, resource restoration, and so on. Tertiary Scripts then add minor named buffs to the ability, such as Minor Force, Lifesteal, etc. There are tons of potential outcomes, so the abilities you create can become fairly unique. On top of that, the new Styling system is practically a transmogrification process for skills, offering you the chance to change an ability’s visual effect, although it’ll be a limited system at launch.

Tamriel is open to all players on Xbox

The Elder Scrolls Online — why you should play this fantastic Xbox MMO in 2024

I’ve spent over 3,500 hours of my life exploring ZeniMax Online’s Tamriel, soaking up everything the game has to offer with my Nord Warden, and as such, I relish the moment something new arrives, such as the big Chapters. The fantastic thing about ESO, though, is you don’t need to be a top-level player to enjoy the new content. Even a fresh-faced adventurer can purchase the latest Chapter and jump in to hunt down the new Daedric Prince Ithelia without any prior experience with the game. Fancy seeing what 2021’s Blackwood has to offer? No worries, take your level one butt over there and get stuck into the main quest to battle Mehrunes Dagon. All of the open-world content in The Elder Scrolls Online can be enjoyed by players of all levels, thanks to level-scaling, making it an extremely welcoming place for players new to the MMO scene.

What’s more, apart from the odd bad egg, which can be said for any online community, I’ve found The Elder Scrolls online community to be a friendly bunch, many of which are happy to help new players. The in-game guild system is full of guilds offering to help players out — or you might just come across a new friend when calling for help with a World Boss. I’ve met many great players in my years playing the game, not least of which is our very own Xerox 1485, to whom I owe much of my completion, thanks to his fantastic skills at taking hits to the face as a tank.

I witnessed much of that camaraderie during my time in Amsterdam, which saw players travel from around the globe to celebrate their love for the game. While many didn’t know each other before, and there might have been some friendly jabs about the Alliance each of us is aligned with (I was called out a few times by the PvP crowd for running with the Ebonheart Pact), there was an instant connection with everyone I met. Sure, ZeniMax has built a solid game, but its community continues to be its heart and soul.

Now is the perfect time to explore Tamriel

The Elder Scrolls Online — why you should play this fantastic Xbox MMO in 2024

Although I’m sure many of you are currently exploring Fallout 76 after watching Amazon’s brilliant Fallout TV show, I urge you to pick up your sword and seek adventures in Tamriel once you’ve finished mooching around the mutant-infested Wasteland. There really hasn’t been a better time to become an adventurer in The Elder Scrolls Online. The Gold Road Chapter in June is shaping up to be exciting and beautiful, Scribing adds to the already teeming list of activities the game has to offer, and the ongoing 10-Year Celebrations mean there’s something happening almost all of the time.

The Elder Scrolls Online’s inclusion in Xbox Game Pass means you can bypass purchasing the base game to immediately access the magical world. For those of you looking to get a taste, you can play without a subscription, but you’ll need to subscribe to ESO Plus for $14.99 / £7.49 / €14.99 a month to really unlock the full potential of the game, including a crafting bag for the thousands of materials you’ll collect, all non-Chapter DLCs, and more. If like myself, you find yourself falling in love with this world of mystery and wonder, it’ll be worth every penny.

If you do decide to jump in for some adventures in this mysterious and wondrous world, remember that the latest Spotlight event is offering up some free Thieves Guild DLC for players with sticky fingers… and a cool mount to boot!

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