Another year, another annual 30+ hour Chapter to further expand the already mind-bogglingly expansive RPG universe of The Elder Scrolls Online, which is now steadily approaching its 10th anniversary (coming up on April 4). This special occasion calls for a long-awaited classic TES feature to finally make its way into Zenimax Online Studios’ massively multiplayer online spinoff when the newly announced Gold Road expansion becomes available later this year. And for what it’s worth, that classic feature is indeed spell crafting in the form of Gold Road’s new Scribing system, as some theorized on Reddit following an unintentional leak of Gold Road’s introductory videos on YouTube via Zenimax itself.
Gold Road will release in June on all platforms, with PC and Mac versions releasing on June 3 ahead of its console launch on June 18.
As ZOS puts it, Scribing lets you “collect and customize” unique skills called Grimoires across ESO’s open-world zones through various means, and it’s even being described by Zenimax as a “fictional precursor to what could become spell crafting 1000 years in the future,” so take that as you will.
It’s exciting to hear that those skills each have a “primary, secondary, and tertiary effect” which you can alter and build upon with socketable Scripts. In theory, that could immediately open up tons of opportunities for new builds no matter which class you play as – and if I’m being optimistic, it could even shake up what many (myself included) believe is a stagnant combat system where skill rotations rarely change within a given CP160+ build.
But hey – if you’re more obsessed with getting your ESO character’s visual style just right, they’ve got you covered. At launch, Gold Road will feature 22 collectible styles that can be applied to your customizable Grimoires, and The Elder Scrolls fans who remember spell crafting from Daggerfall, Morrowind, and Oblivion may be pleased with the new system – which will tie directly into the skill lines that already exist for all classes, whether or not you directly engage with Gold Road’s content.
Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road Screenshots
To that end, there will be “at least one” Grimoire for each of the major Weapon and World (Mage’s Guild, Fighter’s Guild, Soul Magic, Assault, Support) skill lines. Frankly, it’s been a long time since the Soul Magic line got any love, and I’m stoked to finally replace Soul Trap on my Templar’s skill bar.
It wouldn’t be a new ESO Chapter without a new zone featuring the usual mix of new quests, delves, points of interest, a new 12-player trial called Lucent Citadel, and a new main story – as we’ve come to expect from ESO’s annual Chapters since the Morrowind expansion released in 2017. The only thing missing is the usual duo of fresh NPC companions, who Zenimax says are coming in the final DLC of 2024.
The new area is set in the West Weald region of Cyrodiil, home to one of Oblivion’s iconic cities – Skingrad – which serves as Gold Road’s capital city.
The West Weald sounds like a sizable region, split threefold. There, you’ll find yourself exploring the titular Gold Road which is described as a “deciduous forest with windswept fall colors,” the jungle rainforest-inspired Valenwood Annexation, and the arid Colovian Highlands. From what’s been shared by Zenimax Online Studios, it sounds like you can simply walk into the West Weald via Cyrodiil, Reaper’s March, Craglorn, or the Gold Coast.
Once you get settled in the West Weald, you can choose to embroil yourself in the politics of a faction of Bosmer splintered off from the Valenwood named the “Recollection,” as they try to help out the newly-introduced 18th Daedric Prince, Ithelia – who, without spoiling too much about her identity or her connection to the broader story, was first mentioned during the events of 2023’s ESO Chapter, Necrom.
Like Necrom, that makes Gold Road’s role in terms of expanding broader TES lore especially important because we haven’t seen any additions to the Daedric Pantheon – which typically numbers 17 – since The Elder Scrolls series was in its infancy.
If you complete the main stories of both expansions, you’ll get to experience “capper” quests that resolve the combined stories. Ithelia and her realm Mirrormoor could very well make an appearance in The Elder Scrolls 6 in the far-flung future, so Gold Road may make it worthwhile to jump back into The Elder Scrolls Online and play the new main quests – even if you’ve been burned out of ESO’s otherwise decent Chapters over the last few years.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road is currently in development for PC, Mac, Xbox, and PlayStation.