Whether you’re an Elder Scrolls newbie or a weathered traveler of Tamriel, the series’s move into the MMORPG genre means that The Elder Scrolls Online is a bit different from what you might be expecting. You can check out my full impressions of the game here (or on video here), but here are some tips for taking on Tamriel in TESO:
1. Don’t skip (many) quests
The Elder Scrolls Online is not Skyrim. You can’t simply wander anywhere on the map and expect to be equal to the challenges there, or to be able to find local quests that are suitable for your level. And once you do leave an area, it’ll cost you either gold or your time to get back there, so it’s best to take advantage of all the level-appropriate quests you can find in a particular area before moving on to the next one. Resist the urge to treat it like Skyrim; you can still go exploring in TESO, but if you wander halfway across the map by yourself you’ll probably have to go all the way back to find quests you can do.
(That said, you can of course still skip the odd quest here and there. Just don’t overdo it).
2. You can’t be a sneaky archer
Sorry, but although it is technically an option in TESO, sneaking and shooting from the shadows just doesn’t work as well in the game as it did in single-player versions. The archery system is different and your range is actually quite short, for one thing. But the more significant problem is that once you hit someone once, you’re no longer hidden. And since you can’t shoot from very far away to begin with, that means you can often get only a few shots into your enemy before they’ve closed the gap and are performing amateur surgery on you with their melee weapons. A sneaky archer may work OK within the context of some groups, but there are simply better options out there. Trade in that bow for a sword, an axe, or a handful of magic and you’ll have a better time.
3. Team up
The Elder Scrolls Online is a multiplayer game, and while you can play it alone, it is not designed for that. It’s going to be more fun—and easier—played with friends. If you don’t have any friends, just find people you can tag along with in the game for a few quests. It’ll help you progress faster, and you’ll probably have more fun in the process (which, after all, is the point of playing a game in the first place).
4. Pay attention to the story!
Although it will be tempting to skip through the quest dialogue, the game will occasionally punish you for that. In one early quest, for example, a character asked me the name of another NPC the quest was focused on. I couldn’t remember it, and as a result he wouldn’t help me. I completed the quest anyway, but I suspect it would have been easier with his help. Plus, some of the stories are actually fairly interesting if you take the time to slow down and enjoy them rather than blowing through them while you power-level.
5. Upgrade your abilities immediately
When you level up, upgrade your abilities immediately to make sure you’ll be game for the next level of quests. Some of them can be quite difficult, and if you haven’t got the latest and most-upgraded abilities available to you, you’re only making things harder on yourself. And one a related note…
Bonus: re-map your abilities
Not everyone can do this, but if you have a gaming mouse or keyboard, you may want to re-map the buttons for some of your key abilities to easier-to-reach buttons. Since there’s no auto-use of abilities in The Elder Scrolls Online, you’re going to have to fight your battles manually, and trying to hit the number keys while using WASD to move at the same time can be awkward. Even if your mouse only has a couple of extra buttons, it’s worth the effort to re-map your most useful abilities to them so that you can spam those abilities more easily in combat without compromising your movement.
Have many hours have you logged in TESO so far? Any other helpful tips to share?