I have been playing The Elder Scrolls Online since its release in 2014. Admittedly though I don’t play it every day. I jump between a few MMORPGs throughout the year much to the angst of the friends I play with. For the last few years, ESO has seen a release cadence where it gets a dungeon DLC in quarter 1, a new story chapter in new lands in Q2, a second dungeon DLC in Q3 and a conclusive storyline DLC and more lands to explore in Q4. This has meant I would return to the game every few months to play through the new content and see what has been added, then drift off to another fantasy world.
It has been a great time seeing changes to the game such as game-saving One Tamriel taking it free-to-play, new classes (Warden and Necro) and new game systems implemented (thieves guild, jewel crafting, antiquities, new companions, and heaps more). When I reviewed the latest High Isle chapter last year, I enjoyed the heck out of the new lands and the fantastic quality of storytelling I expect from Zenimax, however I was feeling like something needed a change up, especially with the game’s 10th anniversary coming up in 2024.
At the end of 2022, Studio Director Matt Firor gave us an insight into his team’s experiences and feedback from 2022 where at times, the game suffered from some pretty terrible bugs and performance issues. Given my ad hoc playing throughout the year, I personally wasn’t affected by these outages, or rather if i went to play one day and saw some issues on forums and social media, I played something else until the issues were reported to be lessened or resolved. There will no doubt be many players that were affected and let down by these outtages and poor performance, but I love the MMORPG genre and I love ESO. In Firor’s letter, he acknowledged the issues and promised his team would do better. He also announced some changes to the release cadence for The Elder Scrolls Online for 2023.
Zenimax Studio Director Matt Firor:
2023 will see us moving away from the “Year Long Adventure” 12-month storylines that we have featured since 2019’s Season of the Dragon. 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. 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.
So, below is the 2023 content cadence. Please note that the first half of the year remains essentially unchanged, but the second half of the year now has an update devoted to addressing issues/quality of life improvements and an update devoted to a large new tentpole system.
- Q1: Dungeon DLC.
- Q2: Full-featured Chapter in June. 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.
- Q3: Focus on Quality-of-Life improvements and bug fixes.
- Q4: Rather than the usual zone DLC, we’ll be featuring a new system. We are working on the concept and design for this now; we’ll give more details during our Global Reveal Event early in the new year.
Looking back at ESO’s evolution since 2014, you can see that we often shake things up, try new things, and make changes as needed. So, we will assess how this new cadence is received—both by the development team and in the community. If we have to make more adjustments, we will.
The ESO Global Reveal Event is usually at the end of January and it’s always and exciting time for me. It reignites my love for MMORPG’s and ESO specifically, and my wife and I always enjoy watching the playback of the reveal if we can’t watch it live. I wonder which lands we will head to next, and I am super intrigued as to what the new system is going to be added to the game. I would absolutely love to see a new class added to the game, specifically a bard-type class, but my wife and I will just be happy to return to Tamriel as we do each year. We will keep you updated as news is released.