The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Preview

When The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle was announced along with 2022’s Legacy of the Bretons years of adventure back in January, two things really piqued my interest – the plot shift from impending apocalypse to political intrigue and the introduction of the Tales of Tribute card game. Now that I’m a little ESO nerd, everything about the game excites me, to be honest, but it was definitely the two messages that stood out the most to me. So when ZeniMax invited me to a digital preview of the upcoming High Isle Chapter, hosted by The Elder Scrolls Online creative director Rich Lambert, I was quick to respond.
The Elder Scrolls Online has just celebrated its eighth birthday – the Anniversary Jubilee event is still in full swing until April 19 – and it’s been a wild ride over the years with the inclusion of five chapter expansions, 19 DLC packs and a host of updates . It has over 200,000 lines of voice-over in each language, hundreds of thousands of NPCs and thousands of quests. “ESO is thriving and we are not slowing down. We announced earlier this year that we were crossing 20 million players,” Lambert said. “We’re charging forward to 21 [million players] already, and things could not be better. We are still committed to quarterly updates and a major chapter each year. ”

Given that the team has been working from home for the past two years due to the pandemic, the constant flow of content and a mostly uninterrupted schedule is a pretty impressive feat. Both the Greymoor and Blackwood chapters were developed and published as the team adapted to the new way of working. “The challenges of working from home have not been insignificant,” says Lambert. “It’s been a huge effort from the team to learn to work together, [and] learn to work together again while we all are [working] from home. I’m really proud of what the team has done over the last few years. “Both chapters were launched with a wealth of new content, including features like the Antiquity and Companion systems, and were accompanied by three DLC drops each. The upcoming sixth chapter, High Isle, has been developed from the team’s homework environments as the previous two chapters, and is on track to deliver the same amount of content.

the elder scrolls online high isle preview

“This is a never before seen place in The Elder Scrolls. The island chain has only been on a map in Redguard, there are no textbooks about it and there is really no knowledge of it at all, so it was an exciting thing for the team. , “says Lambert. “They were able to work really closely with Bethesda Game Studios on this to figure out what we wanted and how it relates to the overall knowledge, and I’m excited about what we came up with.”

In recent years, we’ve had Daedric Prince’s plans and plans for Tamriel’s destruction, vampire masters threaten our annihilation with armies of werewolves and witches, dragons leave vast tracts of land desolate, and Sload rise from their watery home to once again become a royal pain in the back. It has been one potential apocalyptic event after another, and because of that, it’s easy to forget that Tamriel is still in the middle of the bloody Three Banners War. This year, Rich and the team have focused their attention on the most destructive and deceptive creatures Tamriel has ever faced … deadly.

“Do not take the island’s chain size for face value according to the map. Like the real world, not all maps of the world are correct,” Lambert explains. “This year’s chapter is as big as the previous one in terms of exploratory space.” High Isle is part of the Systres archipelago, which was originally used as a staging post for the All Flags Navy during the Sload War. Over time, it has turned into an island resort for the richest Bretons, featuring Arthurian tournament venues and magnificent castles showcasing the very best of Breton architecture. For the nobility on the High Isle, life is built around politics and greatness – all that its neighboring island Amenos is not.

the elder scrolls online high isle preview

Amenos is a New York-style escape prison on a lush jungle island; a dumping ground for all who do not belong, or are not welcome, on the High Isle – political prisoners, criminals, dissidents and the like. The prison itself is built into a giant caldera, and anyone who gets thrown in there is on their own. Lambert did not go into detail about what we should do on the island, but he said that there is a small contingent on the outskirts of the island with a safe area that offers quests and targets to explore. Travel between the islands requires the use of boats, and any area where wealthy people ride boats must, according to the Video Games Act, have pirates. If you’ve played the new Shipwright’s Regret dungeon that was introduced with the Ascending Tide DLC, you’ve already encountered scallywags causing chaos on the shores of the High Isle.

The High Isle nobles have had a dislike of the Dread Sail pirates who are causing chaos and hiring you to loot their home base in a brand new 12-player trial. According to Lambert, we can expect the new Trial to be roughly the same size as Rockgrove, which was added with the Blackwood chapter. It has three unique bosses, each with their own Hard Mode difficulties, and ZeniMax has ensured that the trial version is packed with new images and mechanics that will put pressure on players. “The team actually took a lot of experience and did some wild and crazy things,” Lambert says. “I think the players will enjoy a lot what is in store for them.”

the elder scrolls online high isle preview

High Isle deals with catastrophic events and focuses more on political intrigue, drawing our attention to the Three Banners War and helping us dive into Breton culture. A humanitarian organization known as the Society of the Steadfast is trying to negotiate peace talks to end the Three Banners War. Lambert describes them as related to the Red Cross, so they are focused on providing assistance to those who have been affected by the war. Of course, it would not be too exciting to negotiate peace talks per se, and war has a way of favoring some people or organizations.

This particular organization is known as the Ascendant Order. They are a mysterious party, led by the even more mysterious Ascendant Lord and Ascendant Magus. No one knows who they are because they never get out of their full suit and masks – why would you when your armor is so cool, no? The ultimate goal of the order is to abolish the three alliances completely, and free Tamriel from their rule. It will be up to us to find out who they are and put an end to their plans.

the elder scrolls online high isle preview

With each new chapter, the team is always looking to add a whole new feature to The Elder Scrolls Online, and High Isle is no different. This year we get the Tales of Tribute card game, a PvE and PvP competition-based turn-based two-sided resource deck building game, with history and storytelling at heart. The idea behind Tales of Tribute is that you build your deck when you are actually playing, instead of creating a deck outside of gameplay and using it against your opponent. This is what the team imagines the residents of Tamriel playing when sitting in taverns or going on long boat trips to distant shores.

At the heart of Tales of Tribute, of course, are your card games, or Patron Decks as they are called here. As the name suggests, each deck is based on different Elder Scrolls patrons, such as Hunding, Pelin and Duke of Crows. Each of the stacks contains a suite of 20 cards that are thematically tied together with a focus on different game mechanics. Some piles revolve around drawing cards quickly, while others work around removing your opponent’s cards or generating resources. There will be eight decks available when High Isle comes out; four are automatically unlocked after you complete the tutorial, and the other four can be earned in other ways.

It sounds like Tales of Tribute will find its way into many other aspects of Elder Scrolls Online, with performance unlocking, ranking, and other activities giving you a chance to earn upgraded cards for your decks. Different aspects of gameplay can reward you with puzzles that, once solved, can take you to parts of Tamriel to find upgrades – it sounds like it might look like the ancient system, but on a much larger scale, and the maps you discover, will be bound to you just like Antiquities. Now, while upgrading your cards can certainly help with the strength of your Patron Decks, that does not mean you have an advantage over your opponent. The Elder Scrolls Online has always made it accessible to players of all levels, and Tales of Tribute is no different. Just because your opponent has spent hours unlocking all the cards does not mean they will wipe the floor with you.

the elder scrolls online high isle preview

When you start a game of Tales of Tribute, both players each choose two of their Patron Deck, which are shuffled in one pile and placed in the center of the board, called the Tavern. Both players get a hand of ten starting cards and the game begins. The goal of the game is to win in one of two ways: Earn the favor of all four customers by paying their prize, or earn 40 Prestige Points, which are earned at the end of each turn when your remaining power is converted. Basically, the more Prestige you earn, the more resources you control (Gold, Prestige, and Power). Of course, winning the Tales of Tribute is the key to defending your resources or not blasting them through, but it sounds like you want your work ready for you.

Tales of Tribute has three types of cards – Action, Agent and Contract – all of which offer different features such as destroying enemy cards, defending your own, generating resources and so on. The primary type of card that will be played is Action Cards, which have multiple purposes like drawing and discarding cards, stealing resources from your opponents, helping you generate extra power and the like. Once you have played an action card, it is placed in your discarded pile. Next to these, there are special action cards called Agents, and unlike the base action cards, agents are placed on the board with various effects that hinder your opponent and force them to deal with their effects. Finally, the contract cards are powerful one-shot cards that are designed to be used immediately before being removed from the game.

Like I said before, Tales of Tribute offers PvE and PvP game modes. It has a full story to experience with NPCs around Tamriel, and the PvP aspect has progression and seasonal rankings that pay out rewards just like Arena and Cyrodiil boards. Like other aspects of The Elder Scrolls Online, there will be plenty of rewards available for gamers who enjoy playing, such as gold, craft materials, furniture, emotes, cosmetics, Transmutation crystals and the like.

the elder scrolls online high isle preview

We did not get a chance to learn about the two new companions, Ember and Isobel, during the event, but the latest unveiling stream from ZeniMax has just covered them in more detail. Lambert told us that quality of life improvements in the form of rewritten leaderboards, which should offer a more reliable experience and display all data once High Isle has been released. In addition, Armory will finally save your Mundus Stone choice with your loadouts, so you do not have to run a Mundus race every time you switch to another building – it was just a back pain.

“This is a really, really big chapter for us, a big moment for us. It’s High Isle and Amenos, 30-plus hours of quest content. There are lots of things to explore here. A very different story. We have Tribute on the road , [and] we have something for our veteran players, “Lambert says.” This is our moment and we are really excited about this. The team has spent a lot of time in this and I think it’s our best chapter to date. “

All told, The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle looks incredible, and I can not wait to dive into the content with my Warden – casually dressed in the Breton Hero costume from the trailers, because it’s an ace. I’m even more interested in Tales of Tribute now that I’ve got an understanding of its basic formula, and I’m sure it’s going to offer a great way to spend a few hours of downtime between Veteran dungeon runs. I’m ready for the High Isles launch on June 21st! Who’s with me?