The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr Review

June 11, 2019

Nestled in southern Tamriel lies Northern Elsweyr, a new zone where The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr expansion takes place. Dragons return to Tamriel as players visit the Khajiti homeland to command the undead and reclaim the vast savannahs and canyons. With the new Necromancer class, the new Sunspire 12 person trial, and plenty of dragons to slay The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr reignites the dragonborn vigor that we all loved in Skyrim.

Elsweyr is full of cats. Whether it’s the Khajiti, lions, tigers, panthers, or even domestic cats that talk, around every corner lies a cat. If you’re a cat lover (and we know there are lots of you) then this expansion was made for you. Most of the quests throughout the expansion feature rescuing cats or stealing random things for cats, and even the main quest features a cat that likes to jump on any bed it finds. Fans can also purchase a merchant and/or banker cat in the Crown Store that follows you around and manages your wares and coin.

Elder Scrolls Online Elsweyr

The main quest of Elsweyr involves you making new friends and stopping an evil force from taking over Elsweyr. It doesn’t feel anywhere near as long or involving as the main quests in Morrowind and Summerset, and would be pretty dull if not for the stellar voice acting from John Cleese who returns once more as Sir Cadwell who plays a key role. Before you know it the quest comes to a grinding halt and we were left wondering why it ended so abruptly without giving too much away. It seems the Season of the Dragon is here for a while though and based on what Zenimax had to say at the E3 2019 presentation they have only just begun to tell the story of the dragons returning to Tamriel.

What is abundant throughout The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr is side quests as well as world bosses and dragons. The dragons show up on your map as soon as they appear in the zone and you can also tell whether they are in combat or not, meaning you can make your way towards one without having to join a group. From our experience there was always a dragon slaying group happening in the zone chat and it was just a matter of asking for an invite, though it wasn’t necessary. The world-spawning dragons weren’t particularly challenging, and most players will soon think they’re a Dragonborn but the loot dropped was accordingly so. In fact, due to our main character being past the C160 level, we didn’t actually use any loot we found throughout the entire Elsweyr expansion. This isn’t anything new however, as the best loot comes from veteran dungeons, and we expect there will be some amazing loot coming our way in the Q3 dungeons expansion Scalebreaker.

Elder Scrolls Online Elsweyr

The Necromancer class is a welcome addition to the Elder Scrolls Online line-up. Choosing from three different paths, players can choose the Grave Lord skill line, allowing you to summon several undead to fight by your side using magic like frost, fire and lightning, the Bone Tyrant skill line allows you to use dead mobs to create barriers and also heal yourself, while the Living Death skill line allows you to use both dead and alive souls to heal yourself and allies, and also resurrect fallen allies. Each skill line really becomes the typical DPS/Tank/Healer for end-game content, so it’s important to queue appropriately for dungeons when playing the class to avoid frustrating moments with other players.

Northern Elsweyr is actually a great starting zone as the quests feel very fresh and there’s plenty of support nearby. Elder Scrolls Online continues to grow and so does the friendly community as more pieces of the world of Tamriel unlock, though we were a bit disappointed that the entirety of Elsweyr wasn’t part of the expansion at launch. There are rumours that the Q4 DLC teased at E3 2019 called Dragonhold will cover some lost ground in southern Elsweyr, but we’d be surprised if it will unlock the full area that is still out of reach.

Elder Scrolls Online Elsweyr

The cities and towns throughout Northern Elsweyr almost seem like they are designed to be like a maze. Whether they use bridges across canyons or a series of steps, they can be quite confusing to traverse at first. The main cities lie in the north which is where you begin your adventure in the expansion, so finding wayshrines to fast travel was never really much of a challenge. With plenty of new collectibles, crafting motifs, gear, and a nice house in the middle of the zone, Elsweyr is a fun little playground where we can see die-hard fans of the Khajiti spending a lot of time in.

As mentioned earlier, the voice acting throughout all of Elsweyr is fantastic. It really adds to each quest you do that the NPC’s have a full voice dialogue and you’re not stuck reading walls of text. Graphically, it seems Elder Scrolls Online is starting to show its age. This is the WoW: Cataclysm of Elder Scrolls Online, and we remembered it was about that stage that things started to look quite dated too. While the savannahs and canyons are intentionally desolate, the overall looks of the graphics and textures were showing their age. Elder Scrolls Online came out five years ago so it’s understandable, and perhaps another clue along with the smaller expansion size that Zenimax may be looking towards the future and a possible reboot of the MMORPG.

Elder Scrolls Online Elsweyr

The base Elsweyr expansion falls short on providing fans with that hit of Elder Scrolls Online that they seek each year. Morrowind was a massive addition to the game, and Summerset was also on par bringing a new gorgeous landscape to the game. The Elsweyr expansion on the other hand only unlocks half of the Elsweyr zone and doesn’t offer any of the southern beaches that we were hoping for. Though this isn’t unheard of in Elder Scrolls Online (such as Cyrodiil also missing most of its southern section which runs along the Eastern border of Elsweyr), when you compare the map sizes to those of the previous expansions it’s clear that this one comes up short. With a short main questline and a small map, Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr just doesn’t provide the same reach that the previous expansions did.

We reviewed The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr on maximum settings using an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW GAMING Graphics Card and experienced no framerate issues.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr is also available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms.

Rocket Chainsaw has been reviewing Elder Scrolls Online content since launch, and you can check out some of our recent articles below:

The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset Review

PAX 2018: Elder Scrolls Online Interview with Zenimax Director

Elder Scrolls Online: Murkmire Review


- Cats and dragons. The perfect formula
- Necromancer class is a welcome addition
- Plenty of side content as usual.


- Northern Elsweyr is too small
- The main quest is over before it goes anywhere.

Overall Score: