I’ve dabbled in Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) over the last 10 years—though “dabbled” might be putting it lightly. I first jumped in during the Open Beta phase of the original PC launch. While it didn’t grip me then, I returned at the initial launch and have been hooked ever since, jumping in and out of the world of Tamriel.

Over the years, there have been many changes, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I return to the game with each expansion. I can’t quite pinpoint what keeps drawing me back to ESO. It could be the incredible voice acting, the stunning graphics, or the gripping narrative that pulls me in from the start. Whatever it is, I find myself hooked once again with the latest expansion, the Gold Road Chapter.

If you haven’t experienced any of the Elder Scrolls titles, you might be interested to know that we first visited The West Weald in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. As with many landscapes in Elder Scrolls Online, it’s fascinating to see these familiar environments with a fresh coat of paint and to explore their rich histories in greater depth.

In the Gold Road expansion, two major threats emerge: the return of the Daedric Prince Ithelia, whose very existence threatens reality, and a faction of Wood Elves called the Recollection, who are summoning jungles to revive their lost Ayleid culture.

The Recollection offered a unique opportunity to explore Tamriel’s complex history, specifically how human empires have historically overshadowed elven cultures. This could have been an insightful exploration of the colonization themes that permeate the Elder Scrolls series. Unfortunately, the Recollection is depicted as just another group of evildoers, infiltrating Bosmer culture as spies and turncoats, missing the chance to tackle this rich and raw historical narrative.

The storyline in the Gold Road expansion has been interesting, primarily due to the exploration of a new Daedric Prince. However, the main narrative feels a bit weak compared to previous expansions. Despite this, the side stories have been captivating. I’ve found myself solving a murder mystery, exploring Ayleid ruins, and helping someone piece themselves back together—it’s been a wild ride.

I’ve been enjoying my time with this expansion. I approached the latest entry in a slightly unconventional way by creating a brand-new character. Having never played as an Arcanist before, I thought this would be a great opportunity to try it out. This decision means I’m considerably underpowered, despite the game’s claim that you can tackle anything in any order. Most players advise gaining some levels and skill points in the earlier sections of the game before diving into new content.

What’s most frustrating about starting from scratch in the Gold Road expansion is the lack of new companions at launch; they’ve been delayed until the end of the year. While this is just a minor gripe, it’s worth mentioning. As of writing this review, I’ve completed everything available without a companion, and it’s been a lonely adventure.

Scribing – Customisable Skills

A new system has been introduced in the Gold Road expansion, adding customizable skills to the game. While not every existing skill is customizable, a significant number are, adding greater depth to character builds and new opportunities for roleplay.

The new skill line is introduced through quests that teach you the basics and take you across Tamriel to unlock new options, providing a deeper understanding of the lore behind Scribing. This addition enhances the overall game, though it can feel complicated at first. However, by investing time in exploring the available options, you’ll soon grasp the potential of what you can achieve. And if you get stuck, there are plenty of guides online to help you out.

Handheld – Rog Ally experience

While I’ve spent many hours playing the XBOX version of Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), I’ve recently transitioned to playing on PC, specifically using the ROG ALLY. When I loaded up the game for the first time, I was greeted by all my pre-existing characters, ready to continue their adventures. However, from a handheld perspective, I encountered an issue: although the game is fully playable with a controller, I couldn’t use this control method for selecting or creating a new character.

If you’re new to ESO and planning to use a handheld device, make sure you have a mouse and keyboard ready for the initial setup. You’ll need these to customize your character and get started. Once you’ve gone through this initial phase and jumped into the game, you can enable controller mode, and the rest of the game works beautifully in handheld mode.

Closing Thoughts

I’ve spent 15 hours on a fresh character and managed to clear all the content available in the West Weald. I’m currently leveling up my character to tackle harder content. The story has been a blast, with some writing feeling a bit lackluster, but the overall presentation of the Gold Road has been fantastic.

The introduction of Mirrormoor Incursions feels reminiscent of past live events, but they’re well-integrated into the narrative, adding to the overall chaos and fun. Despite not playing the last two expansions, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in animation quality during story moments.

Considering Elder Scrolls Online is 10 years old, this expansion does feel somewhat formulaic. However, there’s nothing wrong with more fresh content, and I’m excited to see where the game goes from here.