Eight years ago, today, The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) was released. I started ESO on April 1, 2020 and have since spent hundreds of hours playing it on Steam and Xbox. Needless to say, it quickly became my favorite video game. Since its inception, ESO has been overhauled, enhanced, and updated, making the game a fantastic experience for its millions of players. In honor of its eighth anniversary, let’s look at some of the major milestones in ESO history.
Development & Announcement
Set in Tamriel, ESO was in development for seven years prior to its release. Rumors of a massively multiplayer game set in The Elder Scrolls universe had been discussed amongst fans and journalists for years. And they had good reason to think that it was true because in November 2007 ZeniMax Media registered the domain ElderScrollsOnline.com. On November 12, 2008, Bethesda released a video on YouTube entitled “An Introduction to The Elder Scrolls Online,” featuring the team behind ESO talking about the content and development of the game.
Voicing The Elder Scrolls Online
The stellar voice cast for ESO was released, including John Cleese, Bill Nighy, Kate Beckinsale, Lynda Carter, Alfred Molina, Michael Gambon, Jennifer Hale, Malcolm McDowell, and Peter Stormare. Moreover, it was revealed that all non-playable characters (NPCs) in ESO would feature the professional voice actor treatment, providing additional polish to this already massive undertaking.
The Game’s Release
ESO was officially announced on May 3, 2012, including a feature in Game Informer magazine. The game was released on April 4, 2014, for Windows and Mac, followed by home console releases on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on June 9, 2015. On June 16, 2020, ESO was released on Google Stadia.
When it was first released, ESO required a monthly subscription to play the game. Starting May 17, 2015, this subscription was no longer needed to play ESO. An optional monthly subscription called “ESO Plus” came out at this time, offering players a multitude of benefits to enhance their ESO experience.
In June 2016, a new content update called “One Tamriel” was announced. This update was a monumental turning point for ESO because it changed the core gameplay to allow gamers to play quests, explore areas, and team up with others without having to contend with the previously implemented restrictions. The update was released in October 2016 and has been lauded by fans as being the most significant improvement to ESO since its initial release.
Chapters & DLCs
Announced in January 2017, the Morrowind chapter was the first of its kind in ESO, providing a full-fledged expansion to the base game. Subsequent chapters have been released on a yearly basis since then, including Summerset, Elsweyr, Greymoor, Blackwood, and High Isle, which is coming to PC and consoles in June 2022. These chapters provide fans with new locations to traverse, quests to enjoy, dungeons to explore, and much more. They, collectively, offer hundreds of hours of gameplay, as well as new gameplay mechanics and quality-of-life improvements.
ESO is my favorite game and has been for the past two years. I started playing it when the COVID-19 pandemic set in, and it’s been a fulfilling and magical experience that is now part of my daily routine. I love visiting Tamriel early each morning to go on quests, envelope myself in the game’s rich lore, and get lost in the complete freedom it offers. It’s a gaming experience that is calming and never leaves me bored. Based on what I’ve detailed above and what I’ve seen since becoming an ESO player, the developers have a vested interest in making this beautiful game bigger and better on a continual basis. Eight years in, the future is bright for ESO. Whether you want to play the entire game by yourself (which you can) or with others, there’s never been a better time to get on board. Other than Oblivion, it’s my favorite Elder Scrolls game, and I highly encourage you to try it as well. You never know, you might wind up loving it just as much as I do.