When exploring the new zone in The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, you will discover a world caught between two worlds. Learn about this diverse and colorful part of Tamriel in this preview.
A Massive New Zone When The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood launches this June, you’ll have an opportunity to venture into a part of Tamriel new to The Elder Scrolls Online, but also one that might be familiar to you in parts if you’ve previously played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or The Elder Scrolls: Arena.
Located amid the Imperial province of Cyrodiil, the Argonian homeland of Black Marsh, and the warm sands of Elsweyr, Blackwood encompasses a colorful and dangerous environment to explore, full of life and the remnants of long-forgotten empires.
Featuring over 30 hours of story content and adventures, Blackwood introduces an explorable area that is similar in size to the Elsweyr or Summerset Chapter zones. Home to the major cities of Leyawiin and Gideon, this region also includes six delves, two public dungeons, six world bosses, a 12-player Trial, and the new Oblivion Portal world events (more on these in the future).
Two Worlds in One
“Blackwood bridges the gap between the idyllic hills and deciduous forests of Cyrodiil and the low-lying swamps and marshes of Black Marsh,” explains CJ Grebb, ESO’s Art Director. “The northern region is prone to periodic flooding from rivers that flow down to the Nibenay Bay, and long-abandoned settlements and ruined castles dot the landscape, a testament to nature’s ultimate power.”
The sprawling marshlands of Blackwood
For the worldbuilding team, Blackwood represented an opportunity to play with a truly diverse melting pot of a region, crafting an explorable realm unlike anything else we’ve released before.
“We were happy to get a chance to explore the rolling hills and deciduous forests of the Nibenay Valley, an environment which will be familiar to the brave souls who spend much of their time in Cyrodiil,” says Grebb. “However, distance from the Three-Banners War has afforded a pocket of calm, and the forest will offer nature lovers longer stretches of undeveloped (yet still dangerous) woods to explore.”
The zone also features many perils for those willing to venture beyond the cities, and, when exploring the wilderness, you might discover that many of the area’s most dangerous locations are beneath your very feet.
Delve into Blackwood’s buried past
“Ancient Argonian temples and mysterious Daedric vaults lie waiting for thrill seekers to try their luck,” says Grebb. “Moving south, the Valley’s unpredictable spillways lead to beautiful sunken ruins surrounding ancient Ayleid structures and more recent Imperial settlements. All of this is populated with a mix of Argonian and Imperial cultures.”
Of course, ancient ruins and mysterious Daedric structures aren’t the only dangers you’ll encounter in your journeys, and we encourage you to keep an eye out for the region’s hazardous native creatures, such as the corpulent death hoppers.
“These enormous toads are not to be confused with their smaller, less threatening cousins. They often burrow into the cool mud of the swamps, and interrupting their rest can lead to a deadly whiplash-like tongue attack or a bite from their thousands of needle-sharp teeth.”
Beware the death hoppers
Never mind the rising Daedric threat, the bog dogs, wamasus, bog fiends, and death hoppers are more than enough to endanger those carelessly wandering into the marshlands without protection. Thankfully, the local inhabitants of Blackmarsh are (generally speaking) more welcoming to newcomers and are just as colorful and diverse as the region’s environment.
Argonians and Imperials Together
“The local inhabitants of Blackwood include an assortment of races and cultures who have found their way to Blackwood for different reasons,” says Jason Barnes, Blackwood’s Zone Lead. “The citizens of Leyawiin, for example, is comprised of Imperials, Argonians, and even Khajiit from the bordering region of Elsweyr, all wishing to live in peace.”
The streets of Leyawiin
Within the high walls of the city of Leyawiin, these peoples live in relative harmony with each other, and each in their own way have become distinct from their respective homelands.
“The Imperials within Blackwood have accepted their division from the main Empire and wish to lead normal lives–even if it seems like all odds are against them,” explains Barnes. “The Argonians of this region are more adventurous than their cousins from their homeland, and the city of Gideon acts as a border of sorts that allows the Argonians of Black Marsh to venture out of the marshes into safe lands.”
Leyawiin’s bustling docklands
Of course, the people of Blackwood are no strangers to conflict, and while they fear being pulled back into the war for Cyrodiil, when you arrive, stranger and more sinister forces now threaten the region.
“Allying with the Argonian-led city of Gideon, the city of Leyawiin has recently reclaimed their independence after being invaded during the Three-Banners War,” says Barnes. “However, in other areas, tensions are high. Mysterious cults have sprung up throughout the land, and unusual vault-like Daedric formations have emerged with no explanation of their origin or purpose.”
Upon your arrival, you will find that Blackwood is poised to fall into chaos once again, and it is up to you to investigate this troubled region and uncover the forces that work to destabilize it.
In The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood you’ll have the opportunity to explore a new and exciting part of Tamriel, full of new stories, characters, and perils. Take heed—the forests, hills, and marshlands of this new zone are not to be underestimated, lest you find yourself overwhelmed by this world between worlds. Are you excited to explore this colorful-but-dangerous new zone? Let us know via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and keep an eye out for more information on Blackwood in the coming months—the Gates of Oblivion year-long adventure has only just begun!
The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood arrives on PC/Mac and Stadia* on June 1, and on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 on June 8. Pre-purchase Blackwood now to receive unique bonus rewards and gain immediate access to the Nagahide Welwa Ravager mount. Don't miss out!
*Available only in limited territories.