Look, I am a fan of Elder Scrolls Online. We've streamed it many times and I still think the MMORPG has some of the best dungeons in the genre. That said, it's no secret that the game has its woes right now. Starting in 2019, the team at Zenimax has been focused on the "Year Long Adventure" model and these releases have been met with mixed results.
On one hand, having year long crafted storylines taking place in new new zones provides a hell of an RPG feel to the MMO. On the other hand, continuing to add what Studio Director Matt Firor calls "one and done" content has led to a feeling of intimidation for many.
Add on top of that the missteps of recent updates (Update 36's notorious blocking issue is still being worked on as of the release of today's Director's Letter), the addition of a card game when players really wanted new classes, and some seriously questionable cash shop decisions and it's easy to see that a focus change is in order.
So what's changing? In the short term, not a lot as the plan for the beginning of 2023 is already in progress and that won't change much. Q1 will see new dungeon DLC and Q2 will see a whole new chapter added, one that you can play all the way through without having to wait on parts of the story being saved for later in the year. We don't know a lot yet (the reveal event comes in January), but Firor teases a hint, "this will be part one of a multi-year story arc and will contain one of the most requested new features."
The big changes come in the back half of 2023 as Q3 will focus on bugs and quality-of-life changes and Q4 will introduce a whole new "tentpole" system but we'll have to wait for the reveal event for more info here, too.
Hardware updates continue to take more time than the team would like, but they are expecting to be completed by late February/early March, with multithreading work continuing throughout the year.
We'll also see the return of ESO fan gatherings, so that'll be fun.
What isn't mentioned here are a few things players like myself have been talking about for a while, but hopefully they are on the team's radar. Primarily the almost total lack of truly unique rewards for actually playing the game. The constant shift towards the cash shop for the best cosmetics, home items, and more is frustrating. We all know the game has to make money, that's fine. However, when accomplishing in-game things doesn't feel rewarding, what's the point? Also, a new class is sorely missed right now.
We'll see what 2023 brings, but I certainly hope that shifting from "one and done" design to more "repeatable" design isn't just a fancy way of saying "more dailies."
About the Author
Mike “Magicman” Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site’s current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.
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