The Elder Scrolls Online devs want the Arcanist to be your new main

The Elder Scrolls Online Arcanist with tome
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

What you need to know

  • The Arcanist is a new class being added to The Elder Scrolls Online with the Necrom expansion. 
  • A new trailer provides an overview into the myriad powers of the Arcanist, who wields a fraction of the power of the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora. 
  • Speaking with the developers, the Arcanist is a favorite at the studio, and it's expected to be the main class for many new players. 
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom is launching on June 5, 2023 for Windows PC and Mac, with the console versions following on June 20.

The next class coming to ZeniMax Online Studios' ongoing MMORPG is likely to be a fan favorite.

That's according to combat lead Brian Wheeler, who spoke regarding a new trailer for the Arcanist class that's coming as part of the Necrom expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online.

"I’m looking forward to seeing the Arcanist giving players a run for their money for 'this is my new main,'" Wheeler explained in Q&A with Windows Central. "We’ve created something really unique to ESO, and anyone that gets their hands on it immediately has a grin from ear to ear." 

"We’ve had a lot of people at events and in the studio say the Arcanist will be their new main class so I’m betting that holds true when Necrom launches!"

The new trailer for the class focuses on the abilities of the Arcanist, which range across offensive and defensive capabilities such as summoning tentacles and energy beams to blast an opponent or using ethereal hands to block and reflect damage. Meanwhile, the Crux system allows players to enhance their abilities as they master the class, but is not a "hard requirement" for having fun. You can check out the trailer below:

The Arcanist draws power from Hermaeus Mora, something that Wheeler notes was tricky for the team, as they didn't want to just make a "scary" class, and focused on emphasizing the Black Books. The Arcanist veers wildly between textbook precision with some abilities and is far more unstable with others, with Wheeler saying that team used an analogy of cooking for crafting the class. 

Sometimes, someone may understand a recipe to its core and handle it with ease, but if it's more unfamiliar and complicated, they might almost mess it up even with the exact instructions.

"Runeblades looks and feels precise and exact because it’s committed to heart and is your core attack, where as Abyssal impact is much more unstable and almost possesses you for a moment as you blurt out tentacles from your arm," Wheeler said.

The Arcanist is front and center as part of the next expansion. (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

The Arcanist stands out visually with elaborate attacks and defenses, with the team focusing on making sure the effects were impressive, but not detrimental. As part of the quality assurance testing, the developers set up a dozen Arcanist and spammed every ability to ensure it wouldn't cause hitching and making sure the abilities remained responsive. 

The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom is part of the year-long Shadow over Morrowind storyline, and is slated to launch on June 5, 2023 for Windows PC and Mac players, with Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PS5, and PS4 players able to join in on June 20, 2023.

Windows Central's take

I'm really looking forward to Necrom, as the tone and setting seem like the perfect shift for The Elder Scrolls Online. I was already torn, but after seeing some of these abilities in action, I'm convinced I'll have to start up an Arcanist character alongside my Templar.


The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom

Shadow over Morrowind continues the tradition of year-long adventures in The Elder Scrolls Online, and the story really gets underway with the Necrom expansion. The Arcanist is a new class with a powerful mix of abilities that provide something for everyone to like.

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Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.