Elder Scrolls Online Mac review: Can you run it? (2023)

Few video game franchises still make it well into their 20th anniversary, but The Elder Scrolls is one of the exceptions. Unfortunately, Mac users were left out in the rain... until the release of The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), which also introduced multiplayer for the first time.

Of course, making an Elder Scrolls MMO wasn't easy, and the game's early iterations were heavily criticized. But a few fixes, major updates, and great later expansions, ESO is now one of the most popularMMORPG games for Mac.

Worried about upgrading to macOS Catalina? THISis now up to datein 64-bit and supports Catalina! You needreinstallbut the launcher...

In this review:

  • Mac System Requirements
  • The Test: Benchmarks on Various Macs
  • The results: Can your Mac run it?
  • you must get it

ESO is very well regarded these days and many consider it to be the best MMO out there. However, concerns have been raised about the Mac's performance.

We decided we needed to test it ourselves and on as many different Macs as possible to see how it actually works in the real world on real Macs.

What's new in ESO on Mac?

ESO hit a rough patch last year when it abruptly switched from OpenGL to Metal and broke the Mac version of the game for months.

I personally replayed the game yesterday and can confirm that ESO now works flawlessly on macOS. You can read more about it.sob.

[Table "165" not found /]

First things first, is the game any good?

Set in the same universe, but at a time before previous games in the series, ESO offers an open world for you to explore and play at your leisure.

With a rich story, lots of side quests, crafting, combat and much more, ESO lets you explore the world of Tamriel however you want, alone or with your friends. Few MMOs can benefit from such a rich lore (except, of course,Star Wars: The Old Republic) and ESO makes the most of its fascinating universe.

After some growing pains and living in the shadow ofWorld of WarcraftIn its early years, ESO established itself as one of the best MMORPGs out there.

(Video) Should You Play ESO in 2022? (Elder Scrolls Online)

Elder Scrolls Online Mac review: Can you run it? (1)

A radical change in the pricing model (no longer requiring a monthly subscription), a steady stream of updates, and ambitious expansions have helped keep the game fresh and the online community engaged, both imperative to staying relevant given the current situation.Final Fantasy 14.

Despite teething problems, the original game marked a71/100target score; while the latest expansion, Summerset, does much better:

Elder Scrolls Online Mac review: Can you run it? (2)

If you like MMORPGs or Elder Scrolls games, chances are you'll like Elder Scrolls Online. AsIGNput it in a few words:

As a fan of MMORPGs and the Elder Scrolls series, I've found it to be one of the most rewarding games in the genre in years... I've loved my time doing quests in Tamriel and look forward to logging back in again soon.

MMORPGgave the game a 7.9/10 saying:

I'm happy and proud to say it's a game I stand by and can support with my wallet. It strives to be different from the usual theme park MMORPGs and faithfully represents the Elder Scrolls universe through lore and gameplay.

If you think this game is for you, read on to see what our tests revealed about the macOS version of the game.

What's new in ESO on Mac?

The decision to abruptly switch from OpenGL to Metal (via Vulkan and MoltnVK) was definitely a bad choice. This made developer ZeniMax look for a solution with a completely broken macOS version.

unfortunately the locationIt took too long(several months), but I'm happy to confirm that the game is running fine on macOS. I tested it myself on a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro yesterday, April 19, 2019.

A new expansion (and dragons!)

The next major expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online is called Elsweyr and will be released on June 4, 2019.

Elsweyr features a new zone to explore, a 30-hour main story, a new necromancer class, a new artifact system, and much more. But most importantly, Elsweyr is bringing dragons to The Elder Scrolls Online for the first time.

Elder Scrolls Online Mac Requirements

As the game has been moved to Metal, game system requirements applywere increased:

  • Mac OS High Sierra v 10.13
  • Late 2013 27" iMac and newer
  • 85 GB of free hard disk space

These requirements are relatively high, but read on and you'll be surprised to see that some older MacBook Pros are running this game at over 30 FPS on medium settings!

(Video) Should You Play ESO in 2023? (Elder Scrolls Online)

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The Test: Can You Play The Elder Scrolls Online on Mac?

We think rendering a huge fantasy world must be a challenge, right? To see how Elder Scrolls Online really works on the Mac, we tested it on these six machines:

  • iMac 27-inch (5K, Late 2014): Intel Core i5 de 3,5 GHz, 16 GB de RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M290X (2 GB)
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro (Touch/Mid 2017): Intel Core i7 de 2,9 GHz, 8 GB de RAM, AMDDeon Pro 560 (4 GB)
  • MacBook Pro 13" final de 2016: Intel Core i5 de 2,0 GHz, 8 GB de RAM, Intel Iris Graphics 540 (1,5 GB)
  • Mac Mini (Late 2014): Intel Core i5 de 2,6 GHz, 8 GB de RAM, Intel Iris 5100 (1,5 GB)
  • MacBook Pro 13" final de 2013: Intel Core i5 de 2,4 GHz, 4 GB de RAM, Intel Iris 5100 (1,5 GB)
  • MacBook Pro 13" Mid 2012: Intel Core i5 de 2,5 GHz, 8 GB de RAM, Intel HD Graphics 400 (0,5 GB)

⚠ Please note that since the game engine has moved to Metal, most of these computers no longer meet the new minimum system requirements. Before purchasing the game, make sure your Mac meets the minimum system requirements!

Why these machines?

We wrote these performance reports to show how games perform on mainstream Macs. We use devices similar to most Mac users, from the latest models to the older but still popular MacBook Pros or Mac Minis.

While your exact Mac model has not been tested here, you should be able to easily estimate the performance levels you can expect when playing this game.

Elder Scrolls Online Mac review: Can you run it? (6)

Using our built-in FPS counter, we tested all machines with the following settings:

  • 1280×800 or equivalent resolution
  • Graphic Quality: Average
  • V-Sync and Anti-Aliasing: Off

All benchmarks consisted of 5 minutes of real-time gameplay in an open area, running around and killing everything in sight. We prefer to test games outdoors, as they tend to be more demanding and draining than indoors.

And for the record, Medium settings and 1280×800 resolution may seem low, but it's the best compromise if you're testing high-end and low-end models.

The Results: Who knew ESO would be so easy to administer!

This graph shows how our Macs are performing:

Elder Scrolls Online Mac review: Can you run it? (7)

As a reminder, this is how we describe the different power levels:

  • Less than 20FPS:not playable: Slow gameplay, full of crashes and slowdowns.
  • 20-30FPS:Border: It may work fine in slow games. It's still not ideal.
  • 30-45FPS:playable: Acceptable for most (most game consoles accept it).
  • 45-60FPS:Suave: Smooth gameplay, no noticeable stutters.
  • 60+FPS:very soft: For hardcore and professional gamers, a luxury for most.

We typically aim for 30 FPS as 30 FPS is enough to ensure a smooth and fluid experience.

The results are good, but some bugs spoiled the experience a bit. A quick Google search reveals that the macOS version of the game has suffered from numerous bugs over the years.

(Video) Elder Scrolls Online on M1 Macs (8GB vs 16GB)

bugs and problems

When we first reviewed this game a year ago, we were blown away by a frustrating installation issue. Installing the game via Steam requires downloading 85 GB of files. Opening the game would open a launcher which would download another 85GB of duplicate data!

This alone prevented us from testing the game on Macs with small SSDs...

Fortunately, that problem is now gone. I downloaded the game on Steam yesterday and the launcher only downloaded about 3-5GB of patches.

Elder Scrolls Online Mac review: Can you run it? (8)

We encountered a few other fluke hits during our testing. Sometimes the mouse just didn't work. Other times we were met with a screen error that required a game restart. But to be fair, the bugs that remain are few and far between.

Bugs aside, the game ran great on every computer we installed it on.

Can my Mac run The Elder Scrolls Online?

If you have a high-end Mac, you can expect a fantastic experience.

The game runs smoothly at 79.8 FPS on our 2014 iMac. Our 2016 15-inch MBP performed even better, running the game at 106.5 FPS. Our iMac is generally faster, but it seems the Mac version of ESO prefers the Radeon Pro 560 over the 15-inch MBP.

At higher settings, both machines still handle gaming with ease. When comparing the iMac on Ultra High (maximum possible) settings, it still runs smoothly at 71.5 FPS.

The difference between medium and ultra high settings is a meager -11% FPS, but this can be explained by the small improvement in quality that ultra high offers.

In fact, the ultra-high settings look cluttered and less detailed.

But what happens when we take our high-end models to ultra high and maximum resolution (2560×1440)? The iMac can still run the game well at 47.4 FPS. Much lower than before, but it looks much, much better.

For the best combination of performance and appearanceWe recommend leaving the settings at medium and increasing the game's resolution as high as possible. That's where you'll see the biggest quality improvements.

Can you play The Elder Scrolls Online on a MacBook Pro?

With only integrated graphics, entry-level Macs often struggle with graphics-intensive games. But not today. ESO works on aSuave50.9 FPS on our 2016 13" MBP.

The game still runs relatively fast on ultra-high settingsplayable39,1FPS:

(Video) Elder Scrolls Online on Apple Silicon (M1 MacBook Gaming Benchmark)

Modellowest settingsmedium settings
2016 13-inch MBP68,5FPSvery soft50,9FPSSuave

And if you run into low framerates, you can always play with the minimum settings. During our tests, we saw an improvement of 34% more FPS. However, the graphical quality really suffers, as seen below:

final result: Newer MacBook Pros with integrated graphics will run this game well.

But what if you have an older Mac?

Players with older Macs are often left behind, but ESO is a surprisingly forgiving game.

The game startedplayable32 FPS on our 2012 13" MBP and 38.5 FPS on our Mac Mini.

Just for the record, this was before the game switched to metal and the system requirements went up. We'll be doing more testing soon to see if older Macs can still handle this despite being under the system requirements.

Running away: Older Macs from 2012 and newer should be able to play this game without issue.

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Download Elder Scrolls Online for Mac

The true cost of an MMO has never been more complicated.

Today, most MMOs are full of microtransactions, paid add-ons, and some even have optional monthly subscriptions. Sometimes free MMOs are the worst.

In the case of ESO, the pricing model is straightforward. You don't have to pay a monthly subscription, but the base game and expansions are all paid for. On the bright side, the standard edition of the game includes the previous expansion.

To help you understand what each version of the game includes, we've created this summary table of the different expansions:

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Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase (this is how we pay the bills). This commission arrivesat no additional cost to you.


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