The Elder Scrolls Online: Scions of Ithelia preview — Deadly bosses and Daedric intrigue await

The Elder Scrolls Online Scions of Ithelia boss
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Daedric influence mean that once again, cults in Tamriel are up to no good. 

I recently had the chance to play through a preview version of Bedlam Veil, one of two dungeons included in The Elder Scrolls Online: Scions of Ithelia. This DLC pack is kicking off 2024's story for The Elder Scrolls Online, introducing new adventures that players can hop into ahead of the launch of the Gold Road expansion this summer. 

Oathsworn Pit heralds a bloody investigation, with a training pit of Daedric Prince Malacath being raided by a strange group of Wood Elves. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Bedlam Veil sees demiprince Fa-Nuit-Hen requesting aid, as a cult has attacked his smaller realm of Oblivion in search of a powerful relic.

As usual, the two dungeons in the first DLC for the year tell distinctly standalone stories, but there's some resonance with later events, plot threads, and characters for anyone paying close attention. From what I've played, Scions of Ithelia is the perfect way to warm up for the year's escapades, with some clever encounters that reward careful footwork. 

Bedlam Veil heads back into Maelstrom Arena

Bedlam Veil takes players to a new part of Maelstrom Arena. (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

While playing through a preview version of Bedlam Veil alongside members of the ZeniMax Online Studios development team, it was pointed out that while players may have visited Maelstrom Arena all the way back in The Elder Scrolls Online: Orsinium (November 2015), things are a bit different in Bedlam Veil. This section of the realm has an "unfinished" look as Fa-Nuit-Hen often uses it to store raw materials, meaning you should expect a degree of haphazardness instead of strict combat arenas. 

My session didn't have time to go through them all, but there are even some optional side puzzles that you can solve as you're making your way through the dungeon. These puzzles provide some solid rewards, giving you a bit of an easier time in a particular boss fight, and are especially recommended if you're playing on the harder difficulty.

Combat is still the main focus, however, with this primordial realm bringing together a number of challenging fights that require paying careful attention to your surroundings. You'll face powerful foes, but there are also a number of special gameplay mechanics at work. I won't spoil any particular examples, but if you aren't careful with your footwork, you're in for a rough time. These mechanics show up in force during some of the boss fights, which are among my favorites from recent dungeons added to The Elder Scrolls Online over the last couple of years. 

Central to the intrigue of Bedlam Veil is The Blind, a mysterious figure leading the invading cult. The Blind bears more than a passing resemblance to Tho'at Replicanum of the Endless Archive — something the developers indicate is also an intentional choice, though the connection isn't being fully explained at this time.

Outside of the fun story beats, players can also expect the usual kinds of rewards for going through Bedlam Veil and Oathsworn Pit, including new achievements and some special item sets.

Not too long to wait

Wood Elves, Orcs, and bears, oh my.  (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Overall, Bedlam Veil is a great experience. I'm looking forward to going through it again with enough time to check out the different puzzles scattered through the dungeon. While I didn't get to take a look at the Oathsworn Pit yet, assuming it's of similar quality to its sister dungeon, then this is definitely a DLC worth grabbing. 

The mysteries are at an all-time high heading into Gold Road later this year, and I'm looking forward to learning more about these factions and characters as this later story unfolds in the coming months. 

The Elder Scrolls Online: Scions of Ithelia is available now on Windows PC and Mac. It is slated to launch for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4 on March 26, 2024. Meanwhile, The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road is scheduled to arrive in June 2024. 

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.