The Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands Review

November 7, 2021

Deadlands Zone

Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands introduces Mehrunes Dagon’s personal realm of Oblivion, completing the year-long Gates of Oblivion story by having players work their way through a series of portals between Deadlands, the new city Fargrave, and finally to confront Mehrunes Dagon himself. The new Deadlands zone is filled with mysteries and dangers including new delves and world bosses as well as new memorable characters, quests and most importantly, amazing locations to explore. In fact, we’re willing to say that the new Deadlands zone could be considered the most ambitious Elder Scrolls Online zone yet – if it were a bit bigger.

Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands

Read Rocket Chainsaw’s review of this year’s main story expansion The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood

Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands is free for ESO Plus subscribers, but there are also two bundles which can be bought through the Crown Store. The standard Deadlands DLC costs 2,000 Crowns (~$16 AUD) while the Deadlands Collector’s Bundle will gift you a mount, pet, and a pack of experience scrolls as well, at a cost of 4,000 crowns. This prices it at around $32 AUD which is perhaps a bit steep for only a couple of cosmetic items. We’d be more interested in a pack that comes with the DLC’s homestead but that sets players back further crowns or in-game coins.

Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands

The new DLC provides players with just two new delves and two world bosses. Deadlands also introduces wandering world bosses. Three Wandering Executioners roam the new zone and can catch you by surprise… if you manage to find one. With every player in the game currently in Deadlands, the new wandering bosses were being killed in 10 seconds or less, meaning it was almost impossible to locate one before it was taken down. Once the dust settles and the veterans go back to completing their group content, the wandering bosses will likely be more of a challenge but for now the only challenge was finding one.

With limited side quests, striking locales, skyshards and points of interest, we found that the DLC completion achievements were popping when we had only spent a couple of hours exploring the new zone. While we understand that this is supposed to be the smaller zone expansion for the year, it seems they are getting smaller each year and that everything is so tightly packed together in Deadlands that it didn’t really feel like we were exploring a MMORPG. When we looked back at DLC like Dragonhold that included the relatively large zone of Southern Elsweyr and featured a constant flow of dragon world bosses, Deadlands did certainly seem very close-quarters and somewhat claustrophobic.

Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands

Despite its compact feel, the Deadlands zone was still one of the most enjoyable to explore, possibly because it felt very different to the luscious green plains and sweeping vistas that we’ve been presented with in basically every story expansion since Summerset. There are new beasts to encounter and secrets to uncover, though thanks to the new map icons update, we no longer struggled to locate the Skyshards in both the Deadlands zone and the two delves. With only a limited amount of side quests, experienced ESO players will quickly complete the story content that the Deadlands DLC has on offer.

As usual, the Deadlands DLC comes alongside a free title update, and this time the quality of life improvements almost outweigh and will definitely outlast the shine of the new zone. The Armory system has finally arrived in ESO, allowing players to set up gear builds and quickly switch between them at the Armory station. Not only can players rotate their gear, but the Armory also allows you to switch attribute points, skill points (both passive and active), champion points, your outfit, and yes: the vampire and werewolf curses. This means you can now quickly load up the type of character setting that you want before heading out into the ESO world for your next adventure. Other new features in Update 32 include curated item set drops, map updates, PvP emotes as well as NVIDIA DLSS and DSAA support, and you can find out a whole heap more about it all in the official Community Guide post.

While the game has added NVIDIA DLSS and DSAA support, there haven’t been any graphical changes in this update. The Deadlands zone is gorgeous and certainly has a unique feel despite all of the content that has rolled out throughout the year, and Fargrave is a great new capital city, despite it being in its own zone via a portal. As always, Zenimax Online Studios has done a thorough and brilliant job with the voice acting, and we’re always surprised by just how in-depth the dialogue gets when there are still some AAA games coming out with little to no voice acting at all.

Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands provides players with roughly 5-10 hours of new content depending on how committed you are to completing the main achievements. There are some other achievements such as fishing and collecting item sets that the hardcore completionists will spend more time on, but overall Deadlands was over almost as quickly as it began. That said, the Gates of Oblivion storyline has been one of the most thrilling yet, with dungeons that felt like they tied in with the story more thoroughly than previous year-long stories. We’re always excited to see what’s next in the world of Elder Scrolls Online, and as we move closer to finding out more details about Elder Scrolls VI, we’re pretty confident that this game might soon be heading towards Hammerfell.

Rocket Chainsaw reviewed Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands on Windows PC with Crowns provided by the publisher. It is also scheduled to launch on Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 5 and previous generation platforms on November 16th. For more information, head to the official website.


- Though Deadlands is small, the world design is stunning
- A thrilling end to the year-long Gates of Oblivion story
- Voice acting on point as usual.


- Even smaller than last year’s Markarth DLC
- The new wandering world bosses were impossible to find.

Overall Score: