Everything We Learned About The Elder Scroll Online High Isle DLC – New Quality of Life Improvements, 12-Player Trial & More

If you’re looking foward to The Elder Scrolls Online’s next major expansion, we’re here to make the wait a wee bit easier. Bethesda invited MP1st to get our hands on the DLC in advance, and we’ve written everything we learned about it in an easy-to-digest bulletpoint format. There’s also a short impressions piece as well, just gamers are aware what we thought of it so far.

Elder Scroll Online High Isle Info Overview and Preview:

General Info

  • High Isle is a never before seen location that takes place in the Systres Archipelago.
    • The team felt excited having to create something from scratch as there are no lore books, nor anything written about it.
  • Chapter consists of 2 major islands, the first one being High Isle.
  • High Isle started off as the staging point for the All Flags Navy and their war with the Sload thousands of years ago.
  • High Isle was built as an homage to the Best of High Rock, essentially a place where the ultra wealthy and nobility go for vacation.
    • The team compares it to Las Vegas in terms of “glam”
  • The team wanted to deliver a deep dive into the Bretons’ culture.
  • The second island is called Amenos, which is essentially the opposite of High Isle. It is where the unwanted (criminals, dissents, and political prisoners) get sent to be forgotten.
    • The team described it as an “Escape to New York” type of atmosphere where players will need to stay alive.
    • Lush green jungle fills the island with the prison in a caldera.
  • Despite this year’s chapter taking place on a small chain of islands, the studio has assured us that this chapter is every bit as large as the previous ones in terms of explorable space and amount of content.
  • 30 plus hours of questing.

Storyline

  • The story for High Isle is a very different one compared to chapters before it. It is described as being very political and grounded to the real world. Heavy focus is on the Bretons and politics with the team saying that there is no cosmic threat like in past chapters.
  • Overarching story – A group known as the Steadfast hold secret peace talks in hopes of bringing an end to the Three Banners War.
    • Steadfasts are a humanitarian organization that aids those affected by the Three Banners War.
    •  Founded by Bacaro Volorus, a wealthy philanthropist who, with other like minded members, just wants to bring peace to Tamriel.
  • The Ascendant Order is a secret group formed by separatists who oppose Steadfast. They want to keep things the way they are.
  • The Ascendant Order has two main leaders, whose identities are not yet known. They simply go by the Ascendant Magus, and the Ascendant Lord.
    • Players will be tasked with uncovering who they are, and what they are really up to.

New 12-Player Trial

  • The trial is called “Dreadsail Reef” and is pirate themed given that the trial takes place on an island.
  • Story: Pirates have grown bold over the years and the noble houses of the archipelago have finally decided to do something about it.
  • Size and scope comparable to Rockgrove.
    • Three unique bosses, each with their own hard mode.
    • Tons of new achievements and cosmetics, and a mount.

Tales of Tribute

  • A completely new activity (card game) to ESO. The team described it as their take on what a “tavern/pub game” would be like. Not just about questing and killing as it has places for players to hang out when they have time to kill.
    • Wanted to make sure that everybody felt like this was in the game from day one.
    • There is a storyline that is PvE and a ranking system that is PvP.
  • The team went on to confirm that there are 8 unique patron decks to collect (4 from the tutorial and the other 4 from playing the game,) with each deck consisting 20 cards.
  • There are upgradable cards that are unlocked from various tasks.
  • Types of cards
    • Starter
    • Action – range from power, drawing cards, discarding, and other abilities.
    • Agent – These cards have HP and remain on the board until they have been dealt with by the other player. Can help players give combos quicker, prevent opponents from generating prestige, and a number of different actions.
    • Contract – One shot cards that can be action or agent. Can be put into play immediately when purchased, but once they have been removed/dealt with they are removed from the game completely.
  • Every card in the tavern has a coin cost, which varies in pricing.
  • To win a match, one person either needs to reach 40 prestige points or have all 4 patrons favoring a player at the same time.
  • To incentivize players to play, Tales of Tribute will have rewards. Some of those are listed below.
    • Gold
    • Consumables
    • Base crafting materials
    • Crafting boosters
    • Furniture crafting materials
    • Cosmetics
    • Recipes (provisioning & furnishings)
    • Motifs
    • Transmute crystals
    • Emotes
    • Furnishings
  • PvP will have seasonal leaderboards and seasonal rewards.

Quality of Life Improvements

These are included for all players, not just those who buy the latest chapter.

  • Mundus stones are now going to be saved in the Armory
  • Leaderboard re-factor – A complete rewrite that will make leaderboards a lot more reliable.
  • New Quick select wheel for PC – Inspired from the console side and is now segmented. Multiple quick wheels for major things.
  • AMD FSR support – Team working closely with AMD with implementing FSR. Helps boost frame-rates at higher resolution and works on almost any card out there. 

Hands-On Impression

Having spent a bit of time exploring the luxurious resort of High Isle, I have to say, this is one expansion that should have any long-time ESO players excited. Taking place across two islands located in the Systres Archipelago region, players will embark on a journey exploring the high society of the Brentons, learning every bit of their culture while also uncovering a mystery that threatens their very way of life. As noted, this is a very different story compared to past chapters, with a big focus put on the Brenton’s themselves, and the war they so desperately hope to end. However, not everyone agrees with them, as a mysterious group vouches to oppose them every step of the way as they want to preserve things as they are, if not for the worse. 

This is one campaign that sets itself to be grounded, a stark contrast to previous chapters. That’s not to say it’s boring by any means, as I actually enjoyed the heavily political storyline that expanded immensely on the series’ lore. In fact, that’s a huge highlight with High Isle as you’ll find that every NPC interaction, and quest given, there will be plenty of new things to learn about. 

And while I did only get to play on the first island, I have to say that High Isle has some of the most diverse environments in a chapter yet. Of course, the city itself without question, will be the main attraction, as it is filled with activities that you’d expect from a Las Vegas-inspired location, but on the outside there is a richness of vegetation, terrain, and an assortment of homesteads that players will be able to venture to. Exploration is a big factor here, especially since this is a completely new location that has nearly no previous points of reference. That sense of mystery is certainly an exciting one, and not just for old players either, as newcomers will find the island to be very welcoming. 

Of course if you aren’t progressing through the main quest, or exploring every inch of the island for some hidden treasure, there is a new side activity known as the Tales of Tribute, which is essentially a card combat game. It’s a surprising addition, though one we are surprised that didn’t happen sooner as it felt so natural to the world of Elder Scroll. 

Admittedly, I’m not much of a card player so I only played a few matches after the lengthy tutorial. It’s pretty fun, and I especially loved that it wasn’t a game that forced PvP as I could stroll along at my own pace through the PvE campaign. Of course if you wanted to go head-to-head with someone that’s completely possible, but for those who enjoy the solo experience, ZeniMax has definitely provided on that front. I did lose a few matches, mostly due to learning the mechanics, but once I did get them down the game itself wasn’t as complicated as it seemed. It’s definitely an activity worth trying out, one that I can see become a staple in not only Elder Scroll Online, but in even the mainline series itself.

All in all, I really enjoy the direction ZeniMax Online is headed in with High Isle. I didn’t want to go too in-depth with the story for obvious spoiler reasons, and this build was limited, but even so, it’s easy to tell that High Isle is shaping up to be one exciting chapter that’ll be sure to please everyone come release.

The Elder Scrolls Online High Isle releases on June 6th, 2022 for the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X. 

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