Zenimax has given us a basic layout for the year with things getting vaguer the further out they are. The developers want to keep us focused on what is coming next while letting us know they have more in the works. They like to keep their cards close to their chests and not reveal details until the changes are near release on the PTS (Play Test Server). I have to admit that I like this only because it allows them not to put some things in concrete until they are sure how they are actually going to accomplish it. I’ll do my best to sum things up because the patch notes for the first quarter release of the ‘Thieves Guild’ is close to 50 pages or so. If I copied from the PTS patch notes, or as players have come to call them “natch potes,” I made a note to that effect.
1st Quarter Release - Thieves Guild
Thieves Guild DLC
Abah’s Landing is where you will go to join the Thieves Guild. However, I don’t see it in my map list. I won’t spoil the fun, but the hint is to go check out an outlaw’s refuge for a quest giver. A new Larceny system and the Thieves Guild-only passives will add to what you can achieve joining this nefarious guild. Your Legerdemaine skills will get a good chance to be leveled if you have not maxed them out yet.
Hew’s Bane is a desert peninsula in Hammerfell. It contains fun areas of Hammerfell never seen in an Elder Scrolls game before. Abah’s Landing is one of the most elaborate cities in the game, and it’s the jewel of Hew’s Bane. It includes many back alleys, catwalks and hidden alcoves. Be wary as you explore, for you never know what you might find or what might find you. Much like Wrothgar, the nodes level to your character’s crafting level, your loot is at the character’s level and you are battle-leveled up to fight mobs set at veteran rank 16. Currently, the PTS has all nodes at your maximum crafting level, which is a slight but welcome difference from Wrothgar.
The Larceny System includes (straight from the PTS patch notes):
- Guild Job Quests - Kari, a precise Nord woman who keeps accounts of the guild’s finances, as well as accounts of information and rumors runs the Guild Job Board. Travel all around Tamriel doing jobs for the Thieves Guild. These include pickpocketing, unlocking safeboxes, gathering specific categories of items for consignment requests, and more.
- Heist Quests - Find Fa’ren-dar, a tough male Khajiit who works on the far side of the Den, near the sewer drain exit. He runs the Heist Board. These heists require sneaking, avoiding traps, and getting in and out of special instanced heist areas with your prize—earn special bonuses for completing the heists undetected and within the time limit!
- Reacquisition Quests - Seek out Spencer Rye, a fancy Breton man who runs the Reacquisitions Board, which is set up just outside the Thieves Den. Kill group bosses and complete delves in Hew’s Bane. This sounds similar to daily quests in Wrothgar that many of us have enjoyed.
There are quite a few new criminal activities being added to the Justice System. There are three new activities, and Trespassing goes beyond picking locked doors as follows:
- Trespassing - There are places in Abah’s Landing and at least one village nearby adventurers are not to go. Just being there will cause you problems if detected. It will be recorded on your Justice Meter just like picklocking your way into a house and being seen. In this case, it may not even be a door you have to go through. Each entrance is clearly marked that you will be trespassing. Stay unnoticed or suffer the consequences.
- Guild Jobs - The Thieves Guild may request you to acquire certain items. Categories have been added to stolen goods to let you know if you have acquired the correct ones for the job.
- Bounty Pardons - Given the Thieves Guild has certain “connections,” they may at times reward their members with documentation which conveniently erases past misdeeds (to a point). (Straight from the patch notes).
- Hidden Panels - Things can be hidden in plain sight, but the discerning eye may observe what the average person may not. You have the chance to find these secret stashes if you pay attention.
A full passive skill line has been added for the Thieves guild. These six new passives will assist you with your Thieves Guild work and are unlocked as you level with the guild. They are (straight from the patch notes):
- Finders Keepers - Access new troves of stolen goods throughout Tamriel
- Clemency -Talk your way out of trouble
- Veil of Shadows - Reduce the range of your criminal acts being witnessed
- Timely Escape - Make a dramatic escape from the guards
- Swiftly Forgotten - You just have one of those faces that the guards tend to forget about faster than others
- Haggling - Get every coin you deserve for those stolen goods
New 12-Man Trial - Maw of Lorkhaj
An ancient Khajiiti shrine known as the Temple of Seven Riddles has been claimed by the dro-m’Athra—ancient, moon-hating spirits from the heart of the Great Darkness. The monks residing within the temple, led by Moon Bishop Kulan-dro, have all been corrupted and possessed. Now, they lurk within the shadows of the Temple, preparing to spread their dark influence to the Khajiit of Elsweyr and beyond. Fearing the worst, the Moon Bishops have dispatched a group of Twilight Cantors to the scene. These powerful monks are no match for the evil within the temple. The order’s leader, Chief Crier Adara'hai, asks for the player’s help in banishing the dro-m’Athra and resealing the boundary between Mundus and the dark realm of Namiira. (Straight from the patch notes because I love how they wrote it up).
This trial can be found in the southwest section of Reaper’s March and includes both normal mode and veteran modes. There are two ways into this trial, including the usual travel to its entrance or talking to Bakhum, a Khajiit on the docks in Abah’s Landing to receive the quest, The Dark Moon’s Jaws. This quest will take you directly to the trial.
Here’s a new twist. This trial will scale to the leader’s level, much like the dungeons do now. To qualify for the leader boards, you must do it on veteran mode at veteran rank 16 (VR16).
There are unique sets, including armor, weapons and jewelry, only available to this trial that can be acquired in either mode. They include unique, group-based PvE bonuses.
New Collection Category - Assistants
These non-combat assistants can be called up from the Collection system. You cannot have one of these active at the same time as a pet. Some of the things they will be able to do is sell or fence goods and perform banking for starters. They will not be limited to those activities.
Saving Progress in Veteran Maelstrom Arena
All progress will be saved in the Veteran Maelstrom Arena, and a new quest named “Veteran Maelstrom Arena” will be added to coordinate the saving function. You will be able to have this quest along with the already existing quest for running the veteran arena. Per the patch notes, if you make it to a certain area of the arena and have to logout, you will have a portal to return to that point. If you choose the portal to complete the arena, you will not be eligible for the leaderboards. Due to timing and other factors being included in the leaderboard standings, you must complete all steps of the veteran arena in one run.
Starting with this DLC, the reward of a vanity pet or item, will be rewarded for every DLC pack you own. If you are a Plus member, you will have access to them while you stay a Plus member. The available vanity pets are an Echalette for Orsinium and a Jackal for Thieves Guild, both of which will be found in your Collections.
You must complete a new achievement to get these vanity pets, which occurs when you walk into the main city associated to the DLC: Orsinium, obviously, for the Orsinium DLC and Abah’s Landing for the Thieves Guild DLC.
All future DLCs will have some sort of reward associated with them.
Other DLC Related Updates
The DLC also includes several new sets that can be crafter or set items beyond the ones already mentioned that are connected to the trial. Some older sets are also being revamped, though the details are sketchy in the patch notes as to what specifically.
Introductory quests for both Orsinium and Thieves Guild have been added to Collections under a new tab.
Game Upgrades and Adjustments
Grouping Tool Updates
- Broken into three parts: Regular grouping, the Dungeon Finder, and the Alliance War.
- Cross faction parties without using the grouping tool. This is does not include Cyrodiil or Imperial City where PvP between alliances occurs. You also will not see your party members of differing alliances outside the dungeon.
- Queuing for multiple dungeons at once.
- Bonus experience and items for completing a random dungeon. The first time will give a fairly sizable chunk of experience, but this decreases as you continue to do random dungeons. Also the first run will give a blue item and subsequent will be a green item. There is also a chance of getting a style item or style item fragment for a rare style.
64 Bit Client
This version of the client will be downloaded with the patch and will open automatically on any system that is 64-bit compatible. This will fix a large number of crash issues as well as improve memory usage. For the Mac, it is recommended to have 8GB of RAM and systems, since having only 4GB may cause a negative performance.
Azura Star and Blackwater Blade will limit the Champion System. You will still earn experience towards champion points, but you will not be able to spend them while in these campaigns. You will have to wait until you leave the campaign to spend them. Also, all Champion System abilities will be inactive while in either of these campaigns.
Adhazabi, a merchant, will sell powerful item sets not available in Cyrodiil for a hefty amount of AP or gold. He will be located at the following spots: Western Elsweyr Gate, Northern Highrock Gate, and Southern Morrowind Gate. He will only be available during limited days and times. Obviously, he must have time to restock, eat, sleep, and whatever else a merchant of such esteemed goods may need.
Forward Camps are back! There have been a few changes, as listed:
- You can respawn at the Forward Camp if you die within the a radius of it.
- The radius of a Forward Camp has been greatly reduced.
- There is a global respawn time of two minutes before you can use a Forward Camp again.
- They can be purchased from Siege merchants for 20,000 AP (Alliance Points).
- You must be at least Alliance Rank 6 to buy and deploy a Forward Camp.
- Any member of your alliance will be able to use the camp once deployed.
Champion System Improvements
A lot of work went into balancing and making all the stars viable choices. The Warrior (red) and the Mage (blue) tree abilities are more closely matched to counterbalance defensive and offensive abilities. Infrequently chosen abilities have been improved and consolidated, which should give greater build diversity. The tooltips and effects have been updated to help explain the bonuses.
New Crafting Motifs (straight from the patch notes)
This update introduces a host of new crafting motifs to learn:
- Outlaw: Found in the delves and world bosses of Hew’s Bane from the Thieves Guild DLC game pack
- Trinimac: Received from Orsinium Daily Delve quests
- Malacath: Received from Orsinium Daily World Boss quests
- Alliance Motifs: Found in chests within Cyrodiil and Imperial City
- Soul-Shriven: Received from completing the Cadwell’s Silver quest (anyone who has already completed this quest will receive this style)
- Those who complete Cadwell’s Gold will receive a special item that you can perhaps wear on your head…
I rather like that little caveat at the end. Who doesn’t like Cadwell and his unique headgear?
Final Comments on the First Update of 2016
One caveat is that all those wonderful trophies acquired from public dungeons will now have their own Collection section called Mementos. If you deleted them from your inventory, don’t worry. Logging on your characters unlocks them in your collections for the ones you have completed. It’s a space saver for those who wanted to keep some if not all of these just to mess with the effect.
There are plenty more tidbits buried in pages of patch notes for the PTS used for this article writing, but this sums up the major items for the Thieves Guild DLC and the main game updates to come to live on March 7th.
Items for Later this Year
Second quarter will bring the Dark Brotherhood DLC and the removal of veteran ranks. Hopefully, the timing will work that I can have an article all about it for our magazine release around June 1, issue 9.
Housing - There are no details of exactly how this will fit in.
Barber Shop - it may not be called this, but there will be the concept of one. So, for all of you who hate your character’s look, you will be able to adjust it by the end of the year.
PvP - This has no actual date, but they are looking at adding capture points in the various “city” hubs around Cyrodiil and in the Imperial City. They are still looking seriously at adding instanced PvP, as well. I think we may see the capture point addition first, but saying anymore would be more speculation.
Nameplates - These are coming, though adding the guild tag to it may not happen. Part of this is because the game allows you to be in five guilds at once without needing to represent any one of them. This would force the game engine to track a lot more information. In addition, Zenimax would have to change the UI interface so that you could select which guild you want to display.
We should be seeing a lot of new things this year. The game is definitely staying alive despite various things causing delays last year. Will all the changes be good ones? It depends on the viewpoint, but I’ll be sticking around to see and updating you in further articles.
About the Author
Althea "Briseadh" Damgaard
Althea joined Gaiscioch back in October of 2009 and has been here ever since with only a few month hiatus between Warhammer and Rift. As soon as she knew they were in Rift, she jumped ship to Faeblight and has followed them onward through every chapter since with a few side games thrown in for spice.
She has been an avid player of RPG style games since 1980 when she first played Dungeons and Dragons. Since then she has created her own tabletop gaming world used with various rule sets as D&D progressed. Once she could get online she played MUDs. Her MMO days started with Everquest and have moved through over a dozen games with some lasting only a month's time in her life and others going for years. She has tested several games from the perspective of a disabled gamer with hand issues due to her multiple sclerosis.
When not writing about or playing games, she can be found writing novels, reading and doing various art projects. She also writes items based on her faith and is working on publishing a novel. She also does editing for a gaming developer.
About Elder Scrolls Online
Experience an ever-expanding story across all of Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls Online, an award-winning online RPG. Explore a rich, living world with friends or embark upon a solo adventure. Enjoy complete control over how your character looks and plays, from the weapons you wield to the skills you learn – the choices you make will shape your destiny. Welcome to a world without limits.