What order should I place the ESO story arcs in? - Guidance (2023)

Since One Tamriel, players have been able to go anywhere and do anything in Tamriel. This makes for a great sandbox-style open-world adventure in the spirit of previous Elder Scrolls games, but also mixed with quest and story continuity, which is kind of fierce.

Add to that the post-One Tamriel world zones with DLC and chapters, and the world becomes very confusing for anyone who wants a coherent, cohesive, engaging story that spans an entire continent.

This article is aimed at new players who are wondering, "Where do I start to get to know the amazing stories ZOS has written in ESO without going completely lost?" I will try to avoid spoilers as much as possible by explaining the rationale behind the order of the tasks. If you just want to clean up your to-do list, I highly recommend this resource:http://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Zadania

Running the tutorial:ESO has a new beginner's guide that starts on Balfiera Island and ends with the option to choose which chapter zone or starting island you want to start on. All previous chapter tutorials are no longer available.

Your choices are:
Stros Mkai - Daggerfall Covenant plot
Bleakrock Isle - History of the Ebonheart Pact
The Story of Khenarthi's Roost - Aldmer Dominion
Vvardenfell - Del 1 af Daedric Wars questline
Summerset - The third part of the Daedric Wars story
Elsweyr - Part 2 of the Year of the Dragon
Greymoor - Part 2 of Skyrim's Dark Heart
Blackwood - Del 2 af The Gates of Oblivion
High Isle - Del 2 af The Breton Legacy
Note: None of these options allow you to start from the main taskIf you want to start the main quest right away, you'll want to find a shrine and head to any major town where a mysterious hooded figure will approach you with the first of the main quests.

Get started

The player is the main mission and becomes the clue in the quest "The Hooded Figure", received from a mysterious figure who will approach you in any major city.

Below is a major spoiler regarding the quest with a hooded character

The player character becomes a soulless trace of a hooded figure.

Many of the quests in the base game zones and some quests in the Daedric Wars zones recognize you as a Clue, and the quest explains some of the gameplay mechanics like why you want to find sky shards, why you don't die, etc. So I highly recommend completing this quest so as soon as possible after starting a new character. You will need to go to the starting city of the alliance or any major city, talk to the hooded character and complete part of Coldharbor in order to start this part of the main quest. Starting cities available in sanctuaries are: Davon's Watch, Stonefalls for the Ebonheart Pact; Vulkhel Guard, Auridon for the Aldmeri Dominion; Daggerfall, Glenumbra for the Daggerfall Covenant. The hooded character will direct you to the appropriate starting city for your alliance.

What if I want to play the role of a vampire/werewolf?
Vampire and werewolf shrines are found in the Rift, Reaper's March, and Bangkorai. You can hunt werewolves and blood monster NPC mobs, or you can do what I did and request a bite in zonal chat. Many players will give a bite for free. I got it quickly and offered to pay for it. If you wish to cure this ailment, there is an NPC in the Mages Guild in Riften, Evermore, or Rawl'kha in these zones who will heal you for about 600 gold.

From there you have four main storylines to choose from: Planemeld Molag Bala or Daedric Wars, Season of the Dragon, Dark Heart of Skyrim, Gates of Oblivion or the latest "Legacy of the Bretons" storyline.

Planemeld Molag Bala
This plot occupies most of the basic zones of the game and the main quest. It precedes all other story arcs chronologically.

Daedric Wars
This story covers Morrowind -> Clockwork City -> Summerset Isles, although each is designed to be a standalone story. This story follows Planemeld chronologically, but can be completed more quickly with minimal immersion issues thanks to alternate dialogue

Season of the Dragon
This arc begins chronologically with two dungeons from the Wrathstone group: Frostvault and Depths of Malatar. Continuing the quest for Elsweyr Prologue, Elsweyr Chapter, Dragonhold Prologue and Dragonhold DLC. The DLC Scalebreaker dungeon takes place sometime after the Elsweyr prologue. It takes place after the Main Quest due to several Main Quest NPCs starring. Note that there is a final quest to complete the story that requires you to complete the main quest in both Elsweyr and Dragonhold.

Skyrim's Dark Heart
This arc includes Harrowstorm Icereach Coven and Unhallowed Grave dungeons, Greymoor Prologue, Greymoor Chapter, Stonethorn 'Stone Garden' and 'Castle Thorn' dungeons, Markarth Prologue and Markarth DLC. Due to the presence of the NPC Lyris Titanborn from the Main Quest, this story also takes place after the start of the Main Quest. Due to the presence of Count Verandis, the Markarth DLC takes place around the Rivenspire zone from the base game. Note that there is one final Dark Heart of Skyrim quest that requires you to complete both the Greymoor and Markarth main quests to access the end of the story.

The gate of oblivion
This story begins with the "Flames of Ambition" dungeon DLC with "The Cauldron" and "Black Drake Villa". Prologue and Chapter of Blackwood: Blackwood begins in Q2. Dungeons "Waking Flame" DLC, Deadlands Prologue and "The Deadlands" DLC complete the story. There is an epilogue that requires you to complete the main chapter and zone quests to complete the story. Chronologically, the presence of recurring NPCs places this after completing the Coldharbor zone and the Orsinium DLC.

Breton heritage
This story begins with the dungeon DLC "Ascending Tide" with two dungeons Coral Aerie and Shipwright's Regret, continues with the prologue and chapter High Isle, the dungeon DLC Lost Depths with two dungeons Earthen Root Enclave and Graven Deep, and the final Firesong Prologue and DLC. As with the other year-long stories, there will be an epilogue that requires you to complete the main quest of the High Isle chapter and the Firesong DLC.

Descriptions of the plot

Breton heritage
Since this is the latest content, let's tackle it first. Set in the Systres region off the coast of Tamriel, Legacy of the Bretons deals with the political intrigue surrounding the Alliance's attempt to end the war, as well as the rise of a mysterious political force within the Ascendant Order.

Chronologically, it shows the leaders of each of the three alliances and a number of characters from the main missions of the alliance. Due to ZOS's habit of starting new players in the chapter zone, if you want to know what happened before the High Isle before you start:
Spoilery af "Coral Aerie"

Captain Kaleen and Jakarn (of the Daggerfall Covenant Zones) were hired to retrieve the locket and thwart the Ascension Order's plan to train feral griffins for battle.

Spoilers for "Shipwright's Regret"

Captain Za'ji (from the Dragonhold DLC) is looking for ship blueprints from the All Flags Navy to create his new ship.

High Isle prolog spoilere

Plans for peace talks between Allied leaders do not go well as the medallions that were their invitations have gone missing. Along with Jakarn and Lady Arabelle, you will recover them, discover that they have been cursed, and foil a plot to assassinate High King Emeric by the Ascension Mage and their master.

Legacy of the Bretons builds on much of the previous content from the Daggerfall Covenant zones and the relationships you build with other Alliance leaders in the Dominion and Pact zones. If you want to have pre-existing relationships with NPCs, I recommend making these zones first. Additionally, the High Isle features dialogues where you can relate past adventures with old friends if you had any.

The gate of oblivion
"The Abyss Gate" takes place in the regions of Cyrodiil and involves a deal with Mehrunes Dagon made by the Longhouse Emperors (a short-lived dynasty of three Reachmen Emperors that was overthrown by Emperor Varen from the main mission).

Chronologically, "Flames of Ambition" features Eveli Sharp-Arrow, who makes her first appearance in the Orsinium DLC as a main support NPC. The Blackwood Prologue introduces Lyranth, who first appears in Shadowfen, Coldharbor, and Imperial City Prison as a support NPC. They both have different dialogue if you've met them before.

Due to the ZOS habit of starting new players in the Chapter zone, it is not possible to play the story in chronological order on a new character. If you start in Blackwood and want to know what happened in the previous story content:
Spoilers for "Cauldron"

Lyranth dedicated himself to destroying Mehrunes Dagon's associates. To this end, he asks for your help in recovering a cache belonging to a cult.

Villa of the Black Dragon Spoilere

Eveli is hired to bring a book (possibly Mysterium Xarxes) to Farrel Lupus from the great archives beneath the house of the Black Dragon, the first of the Long Emperors, except the sand-worn cultists would rather see the whole place burn to the ground. the earth instead. You and Eveli will pick up the book.

Blackwood prolog spoilere

Lyranth and Eveli follow the Dagonist Cult of the Rising Flame. Eventually, you discover an encrypted letter from Emperor Leovic, which suggests that his steward Farrel Lupus intends to make the "Four Ambitions" come true, according to an agreement his grandfather made with Mehrunes Dagon.

Skyrim's Dark Heart
Chronologically, Dark Heart of Skyrim begins after the main quest begins, due to the presence of Lyris Titanborn.

Skyrim's Dark Heart begins with two Harrowstorm dungeons: Icereach Coven and Unhallowed Grave, which introduce the dark forces that threaten Skyrim. Greymoor Prologue and Greymoor Chapter continue the story. As with all year-long stories, new players starting to learn the new Greymoor tutorial will not be able to experience the story in chronological order.

If you're new to Greymoor and want to know what happened in the previous story content:
Spoilers for Icereach Coven

You help Lyris Titanborn stop a storm summoning ritual performed by the Icereach Covenant and discover that the Covenant has a plan and a secret ally. This leads directly to the Greymoor prologue.

Spoilery does Unhallowed Grave

You help the Pyre Watch guardian Shelaria and the vampire Fennorian investigate the necromancer Draugrkin's break into the unhallowed tomb that once guarded the remains of a horde of undead. Fennorian intends to investigate what the mysterious patron Draugrkin would do with the stolen remains of the Gray Host.

Spoilers for the Greymoor prologue

You work with Lyris Titanborn to investigate the connections between the Icereach Pact and vampires. You will discover the location of Blackreach, create Harrowfiends, and thwart an assassination attempt on the Skald King, Jorunn. Evidence suggests that the Coven is interested in Haafingar in Western Skyrim.

Greymoor's Story builds on much of the previous content from the main quest, Ebonheart Pact, and Daggerfall Covenant zones (especially Rivenspire and Alik'r Desert). If you want past relationships with NPCs, I recommend tackling these zones first.
The prologue and main mission Markarth also rely heavily on Rivenspire, Alik'r Desert, and Greymoor. I highly recommend doing at least Rivenspire for the already existing relationship with the two main characters: Count Verandis Ravenwatch and Gwendis.

Season of the Dragon
Chronologically, Season of the Dragon takes place after the player completes Molag Bal's Planemaktion main quest due to the presence of some NPCs for the main quest. Due to bugs in the Elsweyr prologue missions conflicting with the main mission, I highly recommend completing either MQ or prologue first. If you can't find Abnur where it should be, see the error note below.

Technically, you don't need to run Wrathstone or the Elsweyr prologue to know what's going on in Elsweyr. I've found Elsweyr Prologue to be a good introduction to Elsweyr, but the Wrathstone dungeons are just the basics of Prologue, so if you don't want to run group dungeons, you're not missing out on much.

If you start in Elsweyr and just want to know what happens and why dragons exist, here are story spoilers for the Wrathstone and Prologue dungeons.
Spoilers for Wrathstone

In each dungeon, you and your merry band of adventurers help Tharayya and her husband recover the two halves of a Wrathstone tablet.

Elsweyr prologue spoilers

Abnur Tharn uses the Wrathstone board to track down the "demon weapon" he hopes to use to get all sides to negotiate an end to the War of the Three Banners. Unfortunately, his half-sister Euraxia finds out about this, and when you, Abnur, and Khajiit agent Khamira defeat Euraxia with a tablet en route to the Halls of Colossus, the Rage Stone opens a seal that traps more dragons inside. oops. Now dragons are raging in Elsweyr, and it's all your fault.

Big quest bug!If you have the Elsweyr Prologue quest "The Demon Weapon" or "The Halls of Colossus" active in your questlog, this will interrupt the main quest "The Tharn Speaks" due to the presence of Abnur Tharn in both quests. You must give up or complete the prologue quests to progress to the main mission.

To play the entire arc content in order:
1. Reach level 45 to join Frostvault and Depths of Malatar normal DLC dungeons. You can manually travel there in the lower levels. It is not necessary to go through the Wrathstone dungeons to understand the story, as they mostly form the background of Elsweyr's prologue story.
2. Meet Abnur Tharn in your starting town to complete the Elsweyr prologue quest.
3. Start the Elsweyr chapter.
4. Start Dragonhold and the Dragonhold prologue by completing the Scalebreaker dungeon at any time.

If you want to have a previous relationship with the main NPCs:
Tharayya and Quintus in the Frostvault and Depths of Malatar: Tharayya's story is told in the caves of the Alik'r Desert and Group Dungeon Volenfell.
Abnur Tharn in Elsweyr Prologue: The story of Abnur Tharn is told in the main mission
Sir Cadwell in Elsweyr: Main Quest
Sai Sahan in Dragonhold: Main Quest

Daedric Wars: Morrowind, Clockwork City, Summerset Isles
Chronologically, Daedric Wars takes place after the player completes the main quest Planemeld Molag Bala. This also comes after the Orsinium DLC, which includes an easter egg from the end of the Coldharbor mission and another easter egg that foreshadows the events of Clockwork City. Nevertheless, players can experience the Daedric Wars story without completing Planemeld or Orsinium.

Summerset has an NPC present in the Daggerfall Covenant and Coldharbor quests. If you didn't, you'll get an alternative dialog confirming it.

Morrowind, Clockwork City and Summerset Isles were designed as standalone games. I think they are better in chronological order. Morrowind serves as an extended prologue to the events of Clockwork City. Summerset is a poignant finale with the NPC you helped in Clockwork City.

Planemeld Molag Bala: Alliance Zones, Coldharbor, Fighters Guild, Mages Guild og Main Quest

The main quest starts in your alliance's starting city when you talk to the hooded character and you will see the original Coldharbor tutorial. This will kick you to your alliance's starting island(s). Starting cities are Davon's Watch, Stonefalls for Ebonheart Pact; Vulkhel Guard, Auridon for the Aldmeri Dominion; Daggerfall, Glenumbra for the Daggerfall Covenant.

From there, Tamriel's pre-One order is as follows:
Starting islands
1. Zone (start fighters and mages guild, start Haborage quests for main quest, list certifikater osv.)
Zone 2-5 by completing Fighters Guild, Mages Guild and Main Quests as you level up until your alliance, guild and main quests are completed.
When you receive the mission "Messages Across Tamriel" you will gather the leaders of the 3 factions and prepare to storm Coldharbor
Complete quests in Coldharbor. These are the prerequisites for completing the main task.
Complete the main quest
Talk to Cadwell to make Cadwell's Silver and Cadwell's Gold, which are the other faction's questlines.

Alliance Zone Order

Ebonheart Pact has a fairly piecemeal plot, but there are a few events that will only make sense if played out of sequence (technically, Deshaan and Shadowfen could probably swap easily).
Chronological order: Bleakrock Isle -> Bal Foyen -> Stonefalls -> Deshaan -> Shadowfen -> Eastmarch -> Rift

Daggerfall Covenant is also quite fragmented, but has more characters moving from zone to zone. (Technically, Desert of Alik'r could have been done anytime after Stormhaven story-wise.)
Chronological Order: Stros M'Kai -> Betnikh -> Glenumbra -> Stormhaven -> Rivenspire -> Alik'r Desert -> Bangkorai

The Aldmeri Dominion has a very consistent and cohesive story with plenty of recurring characters. Do this series of tasks in order or you will get very confused.
Chronological order: Khenarthi's Nest -> Auridon -> Grahtwood -> Greenshade -> Malabal Tor -> March of the Reapers

DLC and other zones:

  • Cyrodiil: Cyrodiil is a PvP zone where the missions are very simplistic and have little to no backstory due to the risk of fighting enemy players. This takes place alongside Planemeld and before the White Gold Tower dungeons.
  • Imperial City: Imperial City is a PVP zone with a main PVE/PVP quest. The main task will be to complete quests in areas that enable PvP with many NPC mini-bosses. The Dungeon of the White Gold Tower makes a good end to the main IC quest (although the dark anchor still won't close).
  • Craglorn: Craglorn is part of the base game, but has its own problems outside of Daedra. Several parts of the quests strongly recommend getting a group of players together to complete them.
  • Dungeons and Dungeon DLC: Aside from the White Gold Tower, the two Wrathstone dungeons, and Harrowstorm, none of the dungeons have any impact on the story as a whole. Rage Stone is an introduction to the Prologue mission Elsweyr that introduces the story of the Rage Stone. Scalebreaker takes place after Elsweyr's prologue due to the presence of dragons and after Selene's Web dungeon. Harrowstorm is an introduction to Greymoor.
  • Gold Coast: The Gold Coast takes place after Planemeld and features returning characters from all three Alliance stories
  • Hew's Bane: takes place after Planemeld, I don't believe it has recurring characters from alliance history?
  • Orsinium: takes place after Planemeld and before the Daedric Wars Arc. This includes an easter egg for something at the end of Coldharbor and an easter egg that foreshadows Clockwork City and spawns after the main mission is completed. I highly recommend doing Orsinium after completing the Daggerfall Covenant quest line as there are a few returning characters and the DC quests give you a better understanding of the history of the region.
  • Murkmire: I don't think it features recurring characters from the alliance's history, but if you want a recurring relationship with the Cyrodiilic Collections, the Prologue mission is worth doing.
  • Dragonhold - Follows Elsweyr chronologically
  • Markarth - Follows Greymoor chronologically
  • Deadlands - Follows Blackwood chronologically
  • Firesong - Follows the High Isle chronologically

What if I really miss or want a Tamriel quest experience before One Tamriel?

1. Create a new character and shrine for your Alliance starting city
2. Accept the main mission from the hooded character
3. Complete your main Alliance quest in sequence along with the Fighters and Mages guild quests for this zone and the Harborage quests for the main questline. Originally, the main mission progressed every 5 levels, but now you don't have to wait.
4. The Coldharbor questline is a prerequisite for completing the main questline.
5. After completing the main story, accept Cadwell's silver and gold to proceed to other Alliance questlines.
6. Explore Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Imperial City, Orsinium & Murkmire and Craglorn DLCs in any order.
7. Start Daedric Wars-historien fra Morrowind -> Clockwork City -> Summerset.
8. Complete the two Wrathstone dungeons, Elsweyr Prologue quest, Elsweyr, the two Scalebreaker dungeons, Dragonhold Prologue and then Dragonhold.
9. Complete the two Harrowstorm dungeons, Greymoor Prologue quest, Greymoor, the two Stonethorn dungeons, Markarth Prologue and then Markarth.
10. Complete the two Flames of Ambition dungeons and the Blackwood prologue. Chapter: Blackwood in Q2, two Waking Flames dungeons and Deadlands prologue/DLC.
11. Complete the two Ascending Tide dungeons, the High Isle prologues, Chapter: High Isle, the two Lost Depths dungeons, the Firesong prologue/DLC, and the Epilogue mission.

It's entirely possible to have a great and rewarding experience getting things done by running around in circles, doing everything in random order. In that respect, it is an Elder Scrolls game. On the other hand, if you want to experience a coherent, cohesive, engaging Elder Scrolls Online story that spans an entire continent for the first time since TES: Arena, following the chronology of ESO's original pre-One Tamriel, through the threat from Planemeld , the growing threat of the Daedric Wars, facing the fury of the dragons, exploring the dark heart of Skyrim, returning to Cyrodiil to deal with the Abyss Gate (again for TES IV Oblivion fans), and now exploring the Systres while researching The Order of Ascension is one of the best ways to do this.

I hope you have fun exploring the stories of ESO!

Additional Game Guides “In what order should I play ESO?
This is not an exhaustive list of useful guides, but these are some ESO content guides that I think are great and a very useful alternative to the story-centric approach I used in my guide. If mine doesn't give you what you need, I hope you get some good information from them!

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