Bethesda and Zenimax Online Stidios has announced Blackwood, the next chapter and great adventures in The Elder Scrolls Online which will be released on June 1 on PC and Mac (June 8 on consoles). IN The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood we are given the important task of exposing the evil plans of the demon prince Mehrunes Dagon and doing what we do best: save the world!
The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood is this year’s big chapter in Bethesda’s online role-playing game and includes over 30 hours of story missions, lots of side quests and for the first time ever computer-controlled helpers who follow your adventures! Blackwood is part of this year’s story, Gates of Oblivion, which runs throughout 2021 and is complemented by two dungeon DLC and one story DLC at the end of the year. Gates of Oblivion kicks off on March 8 when the first DLC Flames of Ambition released and sets the tone for Mehrune’s Dagon’s intrigue which will be transferred directly to Blackwood this summer.
In the spring, all players come in The Elder Scrolls Online be able to take part in a free prologue quest that begins the story in Blackwood.
Varvat had the opportunity to talk to Rich Lambert, creative director at The Elder Scrolls Online, before the unveiling of The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood. In this article, we summarize the announcement of the chapter and the game’s annual story Gates of Oblivion with the help of Mr. Lambert.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood takes players from the coastal town of Leyawiin in Cyrodiil to Shadowfen’s wetlands and finally the titular Blackwood and the colony of Gideon. Last time players could strut along the streets of Leyawiin was in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. That was also when we could get lost in the magical forest of Blackwood, and while the areas feel familiar, Zenimax Online Studios has left its own mark on them. In the online game’s timeline, the region is a melting pot of cultures and societies, and tranquility balances on a knife edge.
In this adventure, players will be able to take part in a new World Event, Oblivion Portals, and pass through demonic portals and travel to Mehrunes Dagon’s private hell Deadlands. There, players in the usual order get to fight monsters for various rewards. Rich Lambert, creative director at The Elder Scrolls Online, tells players that players will be able to get to Deadlands and explore it in more detail when Gates of Oblivin reaches its climax during the third DLC at the end of the year.
Furthermore, Blackwood contains a new trial for twelve players, Rockgrove, in which honor and riches await those who survive. Players can also expect the usual rewards and collectibles associated with a new chapter in The Elder Scrolls Online, such as armor and weapons with set bonuses, world bosses, caves to explore, houses to buy and new decorations to acquire. But the biggest news is the new feature to recruit Companions, NPC companions who assist you on your adventures.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood will be released on June 1 on PC followed by consoles on June 8.
Blackwood comes in several different editions. Digital upgrades for veteran players, complete editions for beginners and collector’s editions for those who want extra loot. It is even possible to pre-purchase the chapter for a unique riding animal (Welva).
A friend in need
In Blackwood, you will be able to recruit two characters as companions on your adventures. You will be able to decide their role in battle, what qualities they should know and what armor they should use. They have their own personalities and preferences and are elaborate characters you can take with you wherever you go The Elder Scrolls Online.
– Right now we are testing the capacity of our Companions but it is our goal that you should be able to take them with you to all activities throughout the game, says Rich Lambert, creative director at The Elder Scrolls Online. For example, you and a friend should be able to take your Companions with you and run a dungeon. However, they are not allowed to follow PvP.
Blackwood introduces two Companions, an imperial male and a female dark elf. You unlock the characters by doing quests in Blackwood associated with them. If you work on your relationship, you also unlock their own companion assignments. It may sound like two characters are a bit, but Lambert explains that they are elaborate characters. He does not want to go into details about the level of interactions you can have with the companions, because he wants players to discover it for themselves.
– We want to take the temperature with these Companions, says Rich Lambert. Try the water a bit and see if it is something that fans appreciate.
Safe during the continued pandemic
Last year, the previous chapter, Greymoor, saw a minor delay followed by large and small bugs during the autumn. This happened in the middle of the pandemic outbreak when all major companies adapted their working conditions. Zenimax Online Studios has, despite the circumstances, kept the game in a good position and released two DLCs without much significance. With continued restrictions in society, the issue of delays is relevant ahead of the spring releases.
According to Rich Lambert, creative director at The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax Online Studios is safe in set release dates for both the Flames of Ambition DLC and Blackwood. He tells how during the year they improved their working methods for game development in the home to be able to deliver updates to The Elder Scrolls Online to the same extent as in previous years. However, they have suffered more bugs than usual.
– As developers of an online game, we have always needed to be available, says Rich Lambert. Even before the pandemic, we needed to tackle tasks at home. Therefore, I think we could adapt relatively well. Of course, it is much easier to work together in a place where we can quickly give each other feedback, but we have made the best of the situation.
A major investment Zenimax Online Studios is making for the future is that they both expand their team with new developers to be able to create more content for The Elder Scrolls Online, and replaces and upgrades the game’s servers. The current servers have been running since the game’s original release in 2014, so it’s time for a renovation. How the transition in hardware affects the game is unclear, but expect that any maintenance work will be announced in good time.