Preview: Elder Scrolls Online’s High Isle brings knighthood, chivalry and tavern fun to the mix

high island is the next chapter of The Elder Scrolls Online, bringing players to the island archipelago of Systres. The two main islands you will explore, the eponymous High Isle and Amenos, transport players to the feudal high society of the Bretons. It is a place where Breton culture has flourished and endured. High Isle itself is a place where the medieval code of chivalry and duty to one’s noble house are paramount.

It is also a land that harbors mystical forces that predate the magic of the Britons and an island that hides a mighty force beneath.

And a deck of cards.

I sat in the game room in Gonfalon Bay, ready to learn the new tavern game coming in the next chapter of The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle. As someone who has spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours playing Magic: The Gatheringthe idea of ​​an in-game card game intrigues me.

And luckily, once the basic rules are mastered, it’s quite fun.

Tales of Tribute is a new activity that the ZeniMax Online team is adding to the MMORPG, and it’s part of their attempt to continue to fully flesh out the world. And when you think about it, the idea of ​​tavern games makes perfect sense.

Since the launch of THAT eight years ago, we were able to explore taverns and more in nearly every major city in Tamriel. There was lively music in the form of bards playing for money and a place to buy a Tamriel brew and settle in after an adventure. But there really was nothing to To do.

This is not a new concept either for the THAT team to add in a minigame or side activity to go along with the main meat and potatoes in the chapter expansion. More recently, Antiquities has given players the ability to explore and learn more about Tamriel, while earning rewards at the same time.

ESO Tales of Tribute

However, there’s nothing you can really do with your friends. And it is, after all, an MMO.

It’s something creative director Rich Lambert said was at the forefront of the team’s mind when creating Tales of Tribute. In fact, Lambert says the team has been coming up with tavern game ideas since 2009.

“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Rich Lambert told MMORPG. “I remember as far back as 2009 tossing around ideas for tavern games and what they could be, and what people do when they’re not seek and kill or waiting for someone come and give them a quest. So that’s something we’ve always wanted to do. And it made sense to do so. »

Looking at the other businesses the team has built in the past, Tales of Tribute plays a totally different role in Tamriel. There’s not just a chain of PvE and other quests to go through, but this is definitely a game that will be social. You can challenge your friends, enter in-game tournaments when they happen, and even battle on a leaderboard. There will be rewards for players who participate, so there’s nothing really lost in your time spent sitting in a tavern, dealing cards with the best of them.

How it works? It’s simple but has a striking depth. Tribute is a resource building game, with both players bringing decks to the table and shuffling the two together. The goal is to obtain a certain number of prestige.

You do this by buying cards from the Tavern – the middle row between the two players – which then adds those cards to your deck. Each turn you’ll draw a new hand, and when you run out of cards, you’ll simply shuffle them and draw again from the supply.

Some cards have effects like giving players gold to spend on tavern cards. Others, like The Armory, give both gold and a resource called Power. Power accumulates throughout your turn based on the cards you play, and when you pass the turn, that power turns into prestige.

There are also four patrons that both players choose at the start of the game. These patrons can augment you and help you (or potentially hinder your opponent), giving whoever the patron favors a bonus if they choose to activate them. For example, one of the patrons gives those he favors the possibility of drawing an additional card at the cost of a certain power. Another can transform the gold you accumulate in a round into power, which can then be converted into prestige at the end of the round.

As I mentioned before, you win the game by gaining more prestige than your opponent, but you can also win just by having all four bosses favor you. There will therefore be a constant showdown between you and your opponent for their favor, in addition to what is happening on the board in front of you.

It’s a fun little side hustle, although I can see myself wasting hours playing like I do for Triple Triad and even Gwent. But that’s not the only thing high island bring players.

Back to the roots

The Elder Scrolls Online, in its early days, was a story about the politics of Tamriel. Sure, the Daedric forces might be pulling a few strings here and there, but the global war that can be seen in every corner of Tamriel has really been at the heart of THAT since its launch. The War of the Three Banners has ravaged the land for years, pitting alliances against each other.

However, expansions in recent years have seemingly strayed from the day-to-day struggles of those involved in warfare and instead focused disproportionately on the supernatural. It is also not difficult to understand why. the old scrolls The series is full of fantastic Daedric Princes who deserve their own time to really shine and explore.

However, the outer cosmic struggle can start to feel a bit To do both gamers and developers.

“It comes down to ultimately, if as a player, if you play the same thing, or [devs] keep building the same kind of thing over and over and over, you kinda get bored,” Rich told us. “So it was a way for us and the team to stretch [our] creative muscles. It’s very different trying to tell a more grounded story than telling the story of a 100-foot-tall red demon that’s going to destroy the world.

The story centers on the peace talks that began in secret on the island of High Isle. The three leaders of the alliances come together with a society that, as Rich describes, effectively resembles the Tamriel arm of the Red Cross, the Society of the Unwavering, in an attempt to broker a lasting peace.

However, as the trailer released earlier this year shows, the boats didn’t necessarily arrive at their destination. Players will need to uncover who is behind attempts to stall the peace talks, as well as uncover some of the mysteries behind the magical forces of High Isle.

Like everything THAT chapters, characters from every tale told so far return to the mix, like the Breton Rogue Jakarn or the Khajiit ship captain Za’Ji. New characters are also introduced, such as the intelligent investigator Lady Arabelle as well as Lord Vacarro, the leader and benefactor of the Society of the Steadfast.

In front of you is the Ascending Order – – an Order of Knights who use subterfuge and sneak attacks to achieve their goals of throwing off what they see as the chains of the Alliances themselves – led by the mysterious Ascendant Lord and the Ascendant Magus. Uncovering the motives and machinations of the Ascending Order is central to the plot, as they aim to threaten the peace talks.

The setting is very whimsical, but also draws inspiration from early Celtic, Welsh and the rest of the British Isles. It’s a very Arthurian setting where the various noble houses dictate what happens on the island. Knights joust and uphold the chivalrous virtues associated with chivalry, the people of High Isle live in what may be towns and villages reminiscent of Arthurian legend.

Entering the courtyard of Navine Castle made me feel like I was in Avalon: tall stone buildings surrounded by turrets and curtain walls dominated my view. The main town of Gonfalon Bay sees stone walls and cobbled streets lined with waddle and cob houses and thatched roofs. It’s very Tolkien-esque and reflects a highly feudal society that the Britons cultivated and cared for in relative isolation from their High Rock brethren.

Outside of the towns you come across, at least on the main island, rolling green hills with ruins and stone henges, the latter being central to the druids and their culture that call the High Isle home. This was an interesting discovery for me, as I normally forget that Celtic druidic traditions can be found throughout the original Arthurian legends before they were normalized.

Amenos is another story. Dense jungle blankets the island acting as a natural prison for murderers, thieves and even political dissidents that the mainland and High Isle simply don’t want to deal with anymore. It’s a nice change of pace and gives more to explore than just an identical landscape, no matter how pretty that landscape is.

Explore High Isle Elder Scrolls Online

As someone who plays mostly Breton characters, it’s been fun to explore the island and interact with the culture that for the most part has gone unexplored in the history of Ancient Scrolls. Oddly enough, one of the High Isle characters embarrassed me a bit too, so much so that I created a brand new preview character to explore the chapter with afterwards.

One of the characters, a mage, complained about the Breton’s emphasis on the martial aspects of the court, focusing more on sword and shield instead of what makes Bretons so unique: the mixture of elven blood in their veins. As a result, all Britons have some affinity for magic – and as someone who has played characters primarily associated with Stamina builds (even my Necromancer is a Stam Necro), I immediately got a Breton Wizard Magicka to rectify this.

I also enjoy the political intrigue behind the main story of the island. Uncovering the true motivations and identities of the Ascending Order was a lot like solving a mystery. While many digs and encounters proceed as they typically do in THAT fashion, uncovering clues and unraveling the story was a blast.

And it’s also a nice change of pace. Before, the reasoning behind everything was a little clearer: we really don’t want some vampire lord taking over the world, or this 100-foot-tall red demon somehow escaping of the Deadlands to devastate Tamriel.

But what if the sympathies of the Ascending Order appeal to you? What if the characters around you liked them? It’s an intriguing thought, and given Those relying on player choice as the driving motivation for certain quest decisions could open up some possibilities as the story continues through the end of the year.

In the current state of affairs, high island might be my most anticipated chapters lately elder scrolls online Memory. The idea of ​​taking part in a mystery that affects the people of Tamriel on a more personal level, down to Nirn, is appealing, especially after years of celestial influence dominating the narrative. The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle is set to release in June on PC, Stadia, Mac, PlayStation, and Xbox consoles.