Box art - The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online Update 24, 25, and 26 | All performance updates until Q2 2020

While The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr has brought a ton of new content you will hopefully love, the performance of Bethesda’s MMORPG has not been the best. As such, Zenimax has given a general plan for how they will improve the game’s performance from now until Q2 2020. If you want to see the full list of all The Elder Scrolls Online Update 24, 25, and 26 performance improvements, you can skip to the bottom of the page. Below, you will find a more in-depth look at why these changes have been made and some of the highlights from each update.

The Elder Scrolls Online Update 24, 25, and 26 | General details and when to expect each update

The Elder Scrolls Online Update 24, 25, and 26

So, why are Zenimax and Bethesda making this new optimization initiative a priority? It seems that The Elder Scrolls Online‘s performance has not been favorable for some players, especially for those playing the base models of the PS4 and Xbox One. The popular MMO has been live since 2014. There are five years of content that has created a pretty expansive experience. However, it has also impacted the game’s performance.

This optimization initiative is broken into three phases that are slated to release in Q4 2019, Q1 2020, and Q2 2020. While all of these performance improvements are currently in development and have the aforementioned release windows, dates for when these updates will be implemented can change at any point. If you want to keep track of this initiative’s progress, you can check this page which will be updated when any changes occur.

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The Elder Scrolls Online Update 24, 25, and 26 | Update 24 highlights

Update 24, which is scheduled to launch in Q4 2019, will attempt to improve stability by overhauling memory management. It doesn’t seem like much, but this can create a much more stable online environment for PC and console players that will reduce crashing and dashboarding. It can potentially make other minor performance improvements in the process.

The first update will also begin the first phase of some combat ability improvements. Again, this doesn’t seem like much but can reduce server load and in turn provide a much smoother experience that what you already have.

Lastly, Update 24 will completely re-write the Looking for Group system that is currently in place. The devs will be focusing on the system’s reliability and speed under heavy load. The plan is to change how the system queues both dungeon and battlegrounds and create a system that works as expected.

The Elder Scrolls Online Update 24, 25, and 26 | Update 25 highlights

The biggest change happening in Update 25 is the patching overhaul. The developers are currently working on changes to how The Elder Scrolls Online patches are downloaded, patched, and stored. When this update takes place, it will significantly reduce the amount of space the client takes on your hard drive. Additionally, it will improve load times, streaming of assets, and reliability of asset loads.

It is noted that these changes will be more significant for console players. More importantly, when this update is set to go, every The Elder Scrolls Online player, both PC and console, will need to re-download the game client. Afterward, moving forward, patch sizes should be smaller than what they are currently.

This will also begin the first phase of frame rate improvements. While this is a pretty imperative part of The Elder Scrolls Online experience, the team has simply scheduled for it to release during this update, as well as the next update in Q2 2020. More details on the frame rate improvements will be revealed in future updates. For now, know that the goal is to create smoother and faster frame rates.

Lastly, the team will be concentrating on server optimization and stability for update 25. As of right now, the developers are assessing how server optimizations can be implemented. It is stated that they will be focusing on CPU and bandwidth usage, especially on the combat handler and messaging. This will result in more responsive gameplay online, even in situations where a lot of bandwidth is being used. This is typically found when large groups of players are present.

The Elder Scrolls Online Update 24, 25, and 26 | Update 26 highlights

Update 26 is planned to launch in Q2 2020. Along with it will be the implementation for a “cold storage” account database. Since there are “millions” of accounts in The Elder Scrolls Online database, this has affected account login and character loads. The idea is to create a separate database for inactive accounts and decrease the player pool of the active player database.  This will result in faster account login and character loads. It is noted that if players are logging on from an inactive account, the initial character load will be longer since the account is being transferred from the inactive pool to the active pool.

The Elder Scrolls Online Update 24, 25, and 26 | Full notes

Q4 2019: UPDATE 24

  • Memory management overhaul
    • Fundamental changes to how we handle memory use in ESO to reduce memory fragmentation
    • User Experience: Greatly improved stability (i.e., less crashing / dashboarding), especially on base consoles, as well as potential minor performance improvement
  • Behind-the-scenes combat ability improvements phase 1
    • This is the first of an ongoing initiative to rewrite some of the more consumptive combat abilities to lesson server load
    • User Experience: This is the first of many behind-the-scenes combat optimizations and may not have a huge impact, but over time this will lessen the server load and allow smoother and more responsive combat with larger groups
  • Complete re-write of the Looking for Group system
    • Ground-up rewrite of how the system handles queues of people in both dungeons and battlegrounds—focused on reliability and speed, especially under load
    • User Experience: The LFG systems work as expected, even under heavy load

Q1 2020: UPDATE 25

  • Patching overhaul
    • Big changes to the way ESO is downloaded, patched, and stored on local hard drives. We need to refresh ESO’s patching and file manifest data to remove duplicate files and older data that is no longer needed. This will result in a major reduction of space taken up by the client on the player’s local hard drive. Console players will see a significantly larger impact compared to PC, because of the way those patching systems work
    • User Experience: Major improvement in load times, streaming of assets, and reliability of asset loads, especially on consoles
    • NOTE: Every ESO player, on every platform, will have to re-download the game client when this change happens, probably with the launch of Update 25
    • NOTE: After this change happens, patch size going forward should also be reduced
  • Faster-loading art fixtures and characters
    • As part of the client changes above, we will be moving to faster/newer/better compression libraries for art fixtures and character loading—these are two of the most “expensive” loading tasks
    • User Experience: Better load times, fewer “shadow” player silhouettes
  • Behind-the-scenes combat ability improvements phase 2
    • The next round of behind-the-scenes ability streamlining and optimizations
    • User Experience: A smoother, more responsive experience in combat situations
  • Frame rate improvements phase 1
    • We have time built in the schedule here for general frame rate improvements; more details on this in future updates
    • User Experience: Smoother, faster frame rates
  • Server optimization & stability
    • Server optimizations are being investigated and assessed, with the focus on CPU and Bandwidth usage on the server—especially on the combat handler and messaging
    • User Experience: A more responsive experience, especially in intense or high bandwidth situations (i.e., places where large groups of players are found)

Q2 2020: UPDATE 26

  • Account Database “Cold Storage”
    • There are millions of accounts in our database. The goal of this task is to split the character database into “active” and “inactive” shards to remove the need to pool all the character records for all logins
    • User Experience: Faster account login and character loads
    • NOTE: Players logging in for the first time after being inactive for a few years will notice an initial longer load while their account is transferred from inactive to active
  • Frame rate improvements phase 2
    • The team has time built into Update 26 to identify more areas for frame rate improvements. Please note that this takes place after the frame rate improvements in Update 25, so this will piggy-back on those
    • User Experience: Better, smoother frame rate
  • Additional bug fixes and other updates
    • The NPC and monster “pathing” system will be overhauled to result in fewer movement bugs
    • NOTE: We are always working on identifying outstanding bugs and fixing them. If any rise to the level of needing to be included in this regularly updated post, we will do so here