The Elder Scrolls Online is a massive game with seemingly endless choices to make and options of what to play. The size and setup of the game may have some players curious what they should do next or how they should approach it. Getting to level 22 took me through some hard lessons, frustrations, and epiphanies. I do think the game could use just the slightest bit of hand holding in order to curb down some of the unnecessary aimlessness or frustrations many gamers may experience. First things first, use your map and explore the area around you. Any icon that is black is something that you can clear for XP and loot. So look for torch icons, skull and cross bones, etc. and slowly work your way through the map to keep enemies close to your level. Second, the story missions only show up every 5 levels, so scan the radar at the top of your screen for black way points as they represent side missions you will need to level up, hitting those 5 level intervals and moving the story along. Now that we have the basics out of the way, on to more specific tips.
Early on in the game I couldn’t figure out why my money just wouldn’t seem to increase. I wasn’t dying and was carefully looting and selling everything I didn’t need. Whenever I used the map to fast travel I noticed that it had a cost to “recall” but didn’t have an explanation of what it meant. Since when you die you can choose to come back at a Wayshrines I assumed “recall” referred to that since you recall your character there. Unfortunately they decided to incentivize less fast traveling by charging money for it. While I understand not wanting people to just hop around by pulling up a map, it just seems strange to charge money for it. And if you are going to charge then make it more obvious by saying it costs to “fast travel” instead of “recall”. The good news is you can use a Wayshrine by going up to it and fast travel for free. So, instead of pulling up the map to fast travel, use it to see where the closest Wayshrine is and walk or ride to it and fast travel for free.
Keeping a clean inventory
One of my gripes about the game is the incredibly limited inventory space. While I did say that the silver lining is that it makes me pay more attention to what I’m carrying, it just starts to get tiresome to keep deep into a dungeon and unable to pick anything up. So my advice is to find the bank in the main town of your alliance and put everything in it for crafting or smithing that you will need to use. And then sell or destroy everything else. You need to form this habit after any significant missions, dungeons, or looting that you do. This will help with a few things. First it will help keep your inventory clean so you can charge into caves and missions without worrying about being unable to pick up anything. And second it will keep you more dialed in to equipping or creating better gear as you level up.
Learn Lessons and Bring Friends
The game has a nasty habit of not holding your hand with even the most basic features as I’ve already discussed with fast traveling. Staying true to this mold, boss fights and mini-bosses can come with a sudden sharp learning curve. The issue that I think I have figured out is the sudden jump in damage output and difficulty after fighting through a dungeon. The solution, I think, is that your armor rating is linked to its durability. So unlike other RPGs where you periodically have to repair your amor “just because”, you will want to keep repair kits in your inventory. After fighting through a good amount of tough enemies your armor rating can be significantly lower once you reach the boss, making you feel a sudden sense of frailty. So when you have a chance and you know the boss is around the corner make sure your armor isn’t setting you up for failure. This is why I say “learn lessons” because you have to analyze what’s happening and make adjustments in a game that leaves you in the dark. And one last combat hint, use block, it works. I can be a pretty aggressive player both in games like Elder Scrolls and shooters and I can tend to ignore defensive moves, but the more I use block the more fluid and effective I fight enemies.
And second, bring friends or find some. There are anchors that drop from the sky with insanely fun explosive fights and group dungeons that are going to be close to impossible without friends or other people in the game helping you. If you come across a boss fight or an anchor that you can’t beat, just keep your distance and see if anyone else decides to wander your way. Splitting an enemy’s attention can be the difference between an irritating fight and a really fun one. This is why games like Skyrim beg for co-op and group play because it opens up the combat and allows you to engage with more challenging fights and stronger enemies without feeling the need to pull off a flawless fight with high fail rates.
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