Elder Scrolls Online is a much loved and much hated game that divided gamers since its release in 2014. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to the high expectations of the fans that were waiting to re-experience the glory of Skyrim. Upon release, subscribers received a broken, buggy game that frequently crashed and had serious log in issues, so it is understandable that people were upset, especially when they were paying $15 a month on top of buying the game.
I also ended up dropping my subscription after two weeks because the game was virtually unplayable. However, my story doesn’t start there. I was a beta tester for the game for months before release. I started out with participating in simple crash tests, but because I was a vigilant bug hunter I was soon promoted to a 24/7 beta server.
More than a year passed since then and ESO dropped its monthly subscription fee. I thought it was time to revisit the game and give it another chance. One year is a long time, and I wanted to see for myself what have changed; for the better or for the worst.
Probably the biggest change introduced to the game is the justice system.
When the game was launched there was no such thing as thievery. You could roam around town looting every crate, barrel and sack until the obsessive compulsive hoarder in your heart was satisfied. You could search in vendor’s shops, mansions and even the bank without anyone raising an eyebrow. However, with the introduction of the justice system, that is no more! You can now steal from vendors, pickpocket NPCs, and even break into houses! As long as no one catches you, that is. If you get caught be prepared to run for it, or stand your ground and fight of the guards. Just kidding. Don’t fight the guards, they are invincible. They will just keep coming until you die, so definitely run for it. Getting caught will also put a bounty on your head. You can either pay this off to restore your status as a proud, law abiding citizen, or embrace your inner fugitive and hide out in the forest until the law forgets about you.
Let’s say you survived your crime spree and didn’t get caught. Good job! Now you have a collection of mugs, journals, lamps and a Mounted Troll Head in your backpack —nothing suspicious there— so you make your way to a vendor to sell all the loot but he won’t even look at you. You need to find a fence to sell or, if you want to keep them, launder all your stolen goods. Fences are located in Outlaw Refuges. These are underground hideouts that are located in major cities; they are also a good place for waiting for your bounty to drop.
As part of the justice system, most NPCs can now be killed, so if you like to spam AOE spells in town, be prepared for the consequences. Also, if a fight breaks out between the guards and another player and you decide to heal him you will be marked as a criminal as well. Conclusion: don’t heal random people in towns. I learned that the hard way. Supposedly, you should be able to loot your victims; I tried this but I haven’t got a single drop so far. I did manage to get a 1000 gold bounty on my head, and then I spent the next 20 minutes looking for a cooking fire out of town. I gave this another try later with the same result. Curiosity killed the cat they say. In my case, it was the town’s guard. As a result of this experiment I can safely say that it is probably not worth hunting down friendly NPCs.
Last but not least, this update came with the addition of the Legerdemain skill line. If you seek to advance your career as a notorious criminal you may want to think about investing some skill points into this, as it makes your job a little bit easier.
The influence of this update was huge and it drastically changed the gameplay that many people got used to since its release. Overall, I like these changes. They make the game more realistic and interesting. Thievery gives a reason to improve your sneaking technique and your actions draw more consequence.
If you liked this article and it kindled a burning desire in your heart to read more, there will be a second part which talks about some of the smaller changes introduced to the game.