Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood Preview

Thanks to the generosity of Zenimax Online Studios I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s preview event for Blackwood. In my time playing the preview I got the chance to explore a story that ties back into TES IV: Oblivion, a new companion system that harkens back to companion mods for Skyrim, and even a new system that allows you to obtain crown crate items without having to purchase crates. This year’s chapter takes you to both familiar and new areas of southern Cyrodiil and part of Black Marsh. Blackwood has much to offer both new and returning players. I will attempt to give a small preview of what I experienced below.

Please be warned that while I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum there will be some spoilers in this article so read with caution.


Just like every other chapter Blackwood introduces a brand new tutorial but unlike previous years it is set to standardize the tutorial for years to come. The tutorial opens on the Isle of Balfiera where you will meet Norianwe, a Direnni. The tutorial takes you through the usual bits with you picking your weapon of choice, combat training, and learning about skyshards. Where this tutorial differs from previous ones is the fact that at the end you get the chance to choose your starting location making it easy to choose if you want to start in the alliance zone or a DLC of your choice. Even if you have played through a previous tutorial I would highly recommend you play through this new tutorial as well. Not only do you get gorgeous visuals of the Isle of Balfiera you will also learn more lore about the Direnni Clan, Skyshards, and even learn about a unique artifact called the Helix, that may or may not be related to the Adamantine Tower.


This year’s main storyline revolves around investigating and thwarting Mehrunes Dagon’s plans in Blackwood that involve the mysterious Four Ambitions of Mehrunes Dagon. Along the way you will explore Leyawiin a Cyrodiil City-state that has been protected against the Three Banner War by the Ivory Brigand. Besides Leyawiin you will also explore Gideon, a major stronghold in the swamps of Black Marsh that is ruled by Keshu the Blackfin, a renown hero of the Ebonheart Pact.

The main quest is not the only thing for players who enjoy story content to look forward to. Blackwood also has a variety of side quests for players that can be quite enjoyable. These side quests boast a great cast of new and returning characters including many fan favorites such as Revus Demnevanni, Stibbons, and even Alchemy. These quest will have you doing everything from tracking down a lost book of Azra Nightwielder to solving the mystery of a Xanmeer which clones people. No matter the type of quest you like there is sure to be one that you find enjoyable and tons of lore to uncover along the way.


One of the major highlights of this Chapter is the highly anticipated companion system. No longer do you have to wander Tamriel alone if your friends are not online. Now you can have NPCs that will follow you and fight beside you in both solo and group content, except in solo arenas. Each companion comes with story, a rapport system based on their personality, and can be used in a variety of situations to supplement your play style. Companions are fully customizable allowing you to change their outfit, mount, skills, and even have their own special companion gear with unique traits only available to them. These NPCs are not just cardboard cutouts that follow and fight for you, they also have their own likes and dislikes. The personality of each companion ties into how you play, for instance if you steal and your companion doesn’t like thieves then your rapport will go down and as a consequence they may not trust you enough to offer you their quests. These quests help to further flesh out their character while giving the player an incentive to get to know their companion better. A small preview of the companions and their personality is below.

Bastian Hallix:

The first companion I’d like to introduce is Bastian Hallix. Bastion is a Breton who works as a retainer for a noble family of Daggerfall. He considers himself an honorable man and doesn’t take kindly to thieves and murderers. Bastian also loves to play his flute and read books, in fact doing so yourself while in his company may improve his rapport with you. But nobody is without flaws and Bastion shows his with a small temper when stressed casuing him to have difficulty putting his words together. Bastian is the perfect companion for someone that will always try to do the right thing and wants to fight for the side of justice.


Our other companion you can ally yourself with is Mirri. Mirri is a Dunmer adventurer who comes from a family of adventurers who she deeply cares for. Unlike Bastian she doesn’t mind thieves nearly as much but she does have deep hatred for slavery. In many ways she reminds me of Indiana Jones such as the fact she doesn’t like snakes and cares for cultural artifacts and treats them with respect. She even has a certain artifact she is after, sadly this is not the Eye of Argonia. Mirri would be a great companion for one who loves adventures and isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty every now and again.


Last but definitely not least I’d like to talk about Endeavors. Endeavors is a new system that will allow players a way to be able to obtain crown crate items without purchasing crates. Yes, you heard right, that shiny Radiant Apex mount you have your eyes set on can now be earned entirely in game. The Endeavor system works just like what you can find in traditional FPS games where you have a set of objectives that you can complete by doing certain tasks. The objectives have both daily and weekly ones both of which are account based. These objectives range from killing a certain number of a mob, clearing a delve, or even crafting items. Whether you are new to the game or a veteran there is sure to be some Endeavor you can accomplish. 

If you are excited to experience Blackwood you can check out the first part of the Chapter now with the Flames of Ambition dungeons and the prologue quest which are available now.

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