Elder Scrolls Online: A Guide to Fixing Common Issues & Bugs

Some users are running into issues launching, updating, or starting this game. Here are some ways you might be able to fix these problems!

The latest addition to the longstanding Elder Scrolls series is halfway through early access already, and preorder players have already been plagued with the usual first-day difficulties.

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Here are some of the issues I and others around the internet have been experiencing, as well as some suggestions on how to fix them.

No in-game sound

This one happened to me. I would have sound as far as the opening trailers and the opening cinematic but nothing once I got in-game. Now it worked perfectly fine while I was in beta, so it was something new.

While I was patching, some data was corrupted – which makes sense, the patching process was a little broken before the 30th with stops and starts all over the place.

If you are experiencing this issue (or any issue) and it says you are ready to play, verify that your downloaded files are complete and error-free.

  1. Start the ESO launcher.
  2. Select Game Options (small drop down right above the news pane).
  3. Click “Repair.”

This will prompt a quick scouring of your game files and will sort out whether anything has to be redownloaded. Mine was about 5 GBs.

Loading Screen Error

This has been a recurring issue for some players since beta and Bethesda has had its hands full trying to find out what is causing it and a solution for it. One of our GameSkinny writers experienced this issue – and managed to solve it too!

According to her, Adobe Flash Player is the culprit. She has already written extensively on this particular issue fix, so please check out Elder Scrolls Online – Stuck Loading? Try This Solution!

Spinning in Place

If your character is stuck constantly spinning in place, there are two different fixes for this particular issue. Many users have reported that upgrading from Windows 8.0 to 8.1 is enough to fix the issue.

However, other players who are not using Windows 8.0 are still experiencing this issue as well, and this the recommended fix for the issue:

  1. Right-click the ESO launcher icon.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. Select the Compatibility tab.
  4. Disable display scaling on high DPI settings.

Hopefully this will be enough to fix the issue.

Freezing Mid-Update

While I found myself with corrupted files but an otherwise playable game, others weren’t so lucky. Another one of our GameSkinny writers experienced this issue, where the update screen would freeze and refuse to download anything.

She has since managed to solve the issue and has also written extensively on the solution, which you can find here: How To Solve Elder Scrolls Online Update Freeze Issues.

ESO Launcher Will Not Start

Some players are unable to start the launcher at all, much less update or get into the game. If this is happening to you, first make sure that it is not your firewall or antivirus program preventing you from running it. 

If that doesn’t work, try running the launcher program as administrator (right-click > run as administrator).

  • Try running the launcher “as administrator”.
  • Make sure that you are not using any VPN or proxy.
  • If you have any ad-blocker or similar tools installed, try disabling them.
  • Also, try disabling your antivirus/firewall temporarily to see if the problem goes away.

Unable to Zoom In During Character Creation

This also happened to me. There is no current fix for this, although other players have reported that upon making a second character, the zoom in function worked just fine. 

Bethesda has announced that a fix for it is planned for a future update.

“Error 302”

Players who experience this error see “Lobby Connection Failed” when attempting to sign in. While there is no immediate fix available, it has been reported that shutting down the launcher and retrying after 10-20 minutes will allow you to connect just fine.

Unverified Protocol Code 305

Players who receive this error also have some corrupted or unusable files which will need to be redownloaded. Unfortunately, running the Repair tool from the launcher alone does not seem to be able to find and fix the problem. Some users have reported that deleting these files first before running the Repair tool and redownloading the files have fixed the issue: 

  • Eso.manifest (C:Program Files (x86)Zenimax OnlineThe Elder Scrolls Online InternalLivegameclient)
  • Data.manifest file (C:Program Files (x86)Zenimax OnlineThe Elder Scrolls Online InternalLivedepot_databuild)
  • zos.control.manifest
  • zos.core.manifest
  • zos.eso.manifest

These files should not take very long to reacquire.

Play Button Is Grayed Out

This is an issue several users have reported, and I found a solution that seems to have some success here. This is the workaround. 

Locate UserSettings.txt in My Documents/The Elder Scrolls Online/Live. As I am not a fan of effacing stuff without a backup, I would suggest renaming the original first (e.g. ORIG_UserSettings.txt), opening up Notepad and making a new one.

Paste the following text inside it:

Save the file as UserSettings.txt in the same folder. Then start the launcher and hopefully the button will be a bright and shining blue.

Crash After Pressing Play

I’ve gotten a few comments about this one. Whenever the user presses the Play button, the game unexpectedly crashes and an error message pops up. Theros_9946 was good enough to post a solution:

  • Try editing the UserSettings.txt. (The default location for that would be My Documents/The Elder Scrolls Online/Live)
  • Open UserSettings.txt in Notepad and then locate the string SET GraphicsDriver.7 “D3D11” and change “D3D11” to “OpenGL” (You can hit Ctrl + F and paste in SET GraphicsDriver.7 to find the string easier.)
  • After you’ve made that change Save and close Notepad and try launching the game again.

If you are running into any other issues, please feel free to leave a comment. I apologize if I am unable to find a fix for you right away (if at all), although I promise to try my best. Thank you very much to everyone for reporting both issues and fixes!

Edit: It appears that notifications for GameSkinny are currently not working properly and I will have to check for comments manually. I will try to keep up, but if I miss your comment, I am very sorry!


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Stephanie Tang
Avid PC gamer, long-time console lover. I enjoy shooting things in the face and am dangerously addicted to pretty. I'm also a cat.