The Elder Scrolls Online (opens in new tab) is getting an all-new year-long story for 2022, which Bethesda Softworks said will introduce players to "a never-before-seen world, stories, and cultures" in the sprawling world of The Elder Scrolls.
Where might players be headed off to on this exciting new adventure? That, I'm afraid, won't be revealed for a while yet. For now, we've got the cinematic teaser above, featuring three ships—each presumably representing one of TESO's three factions—approaching a rocky shoreline, under the watchful eye of someone wearing a pretty serious suit of armor.
There's some speculation on Reddit (opens in new tab) that the new expansion will feature the Bretons, a human race of elven ancestry known for proficiency in magic and alchemy. I think that's a good bet for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the geography fits: High Rock, their home province, is the most northwestern province of Tamriel, is a peninsula, with a long shoreline, plenty of rocky, rugged terrain, and a number of islands.
There are plenty of other maritime provinces in TESO, not to mention the entire Summerset Isles, ancestral home of the Altmer. More telling, though, is the armor worn by the observer seen near the end of the clip. At first glance I thought it was a fairly conventional set of Imperial duds, but upon closer inspection I noticed that the lower back plate of the cuirass is emblazoned with an odd symbol:
Popping around to the always-useful Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages (opens in new tab), we can see that a nearly identical symbol can be found on the Breton style heavy armor in TESO—a symbol that's not present on comparable armor for any other primary race in the game.
High Rock isn't quite "never-before-seen" in the overall Elder Scrolls context: The Kingdom of Daggerfall (opens in new tab), a region in the southwest of High Rock, provides much of the setting (and the title) for the second Elder Scrolls game (opens in new tab), and yes, it's also present in TESO. (I originally said that High Rock itself hadn't been meaningfully explored in the game, but that was not correct.) But there are other related regions that have not yet been explored, such as the Direnni Tower (opens in new tab) and the Dellese Isles (opens in new tab). High Rock proper may not be central to this year's story, but my money is on the Bretons themselves playing a big role.
(If you're curious about Daggerfall, by the way, you can get the full game for free from Bethesda (opens in new tab). It's old, but very good.)
Alas, we won't know for sure what's happening in the upcoming year of TESO for a few weeks yet: The next Elder Scrolls Online year-long story will be revealed at 12 pm PT/3 pm ET on January 27, on Twitch (opens in new tab). Further speculation while we wait can be fueled by the high-res screen caps below.