Is It Too Late to Get Into ESO? The Elder Scrolls Are Still Online

Despite being one of the best MMOs available right now, ESO is frequently overlooked.

Are you looking to fill a Skyrim-shaped hole in your life? This ESO guide explains all the details an Elder Scrolls fan should consider when looking to make the jump into this sizable Elder Scrolls-themed MMORPG.

It’s easy to feel daunted when looking at Elder Scrolls Online’s massive world map. Tamriel is brimming with hundreds of hours of quests, secrets, and things to explore and do. So much so, that it may seem positively impenetrable, especially if you’re expecting to grind your way up to any of it. But since ESO runs on a level-scaling system, there’s actually no grind at all. Aside from PVP (which unlocks at level 10) and higher level Trials (basically Raids, which become approachable after you’ve reached CP160 at the earliest), you can jump directly into any part of the world that seems interesting.

We strongly recommend you have the latest expansion, Blackwood, which includes all the other expansions leading up to it. We also recommend the $15 monthly subscription to the premium ESO Plus service — which unlocks all the DLCs — if you want to see everything. That said, assuming you have all those things, you’re basically able to go anywhere you want after you finish the tutorial. If you want to travel directly to the fiery Deadlands, you can do that! If you want to explore the Wrothgar Mountains and hang out in the homeland of the Orcs, you can do that too!

Is It Too Late to Get Into Elder Scrolls Online?

Circling back to the initial question, it’s actually never too late to get into ESO, because you can play as little or as much of its mountain of content in whichever order you prefer. Each enemy and quest scales to your level, and very few of the storylines directly interconnect into one another. [Editor’s Note: If you do want to play in order, here’s a guide on how.] You might see certain characters reappearing across quests, but you’ll never miss something if you skip a quest or simply choose to not follow the main story.

If you’re trying to figure out the best place to start, here are a handful of pointers that you might find interesting. These are the absolute must-do activities that I’d recommend for every new player, especially when you’re trying to learn the ropes and get a sense of your surroundings in ESO.

Note: All of these tips assume you’re subscribed to ESO Plus and own the latest expansion pack, Blackwood.

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Get the Blade of Woe

Yes, you can indeed assassinate NPCs from behind — Assassin’s Creed style! You just need to obtain the Blade of Woe from the Dark Brotherhood. And in fact, getting the Blade of Woe early on is also extremely easy and should take you mere minutes out of the gate after you finish your tutorial.

You’ll want to immediately travel to the coastal town of Anvil, which is located on the bottom left corner of the Gold Coast zone. Once here, you’ll go into the Outlaw’s Refuge and speak to an NPC named Amelie Crowe. They’ll ask you to murder one citizen in Anvil, so go outside and pick any NPC to kill who is highlighted in a white aura. After that, go to the nearby lighthouse and speak to Speaker Terenus, who will recruit you into the Dark Brotherhood and hand you your very own Blade of Woe. Note that you can join any and all guilds and factions in ESO with no mutual exclusivity.

Continuing down this questline also introduces you to the main story of Gold Coast, and ultimately takes you to the Dark Brotherhood headquarters where you can continue to rank up that skill line and build your relationship with the other servants of the Night Mother.

Join the Thieves Guild

Joining the Thieves Guild grants you access to a whole line of skills which makes a life of crime far easier, especially the Clemency perk which allows you to skirt the guards if they manage to chase you down. Being a part of the Thieves Guild also simply makes criminal activity far more tenable to, say, make a lot of gold very quickly.

Joining the Thieves Guild and getting started with that questline is also quite simple, though you won’t reap the rewards nearly as quickly as you did with the Dark Brotherhood. You’ll need to go to (any) Outlaw’s Refuge and speak to an NPC named Quen. From her, you’ll get a quest called Partners in Crime, which will send you off to meet her in either Wayrest in Stormhaven, Woodhearth in Greenshade, or Windhelm in Eastmarch.

Once you speak to her again in any of those locations, she’ll whisk you away to an instanced zone where you are introduced to the main conflict of the Thieves Guild story. Follow that quest and eventually you’ll end up in Abah’s Landing, which is where the physical Thieves Guild headquarters is located. That’s also where you can rank up your Thieves Guild skill line and turn in special rare stolen items for massive rewards.

Join the Antiquarian’s Circle

Elder Scrolls Online has a really cool minigame that centers around scrying relics and hunting for treasures. It’s a diversion from the regular looting and questing that you’ll find yourself doing throughout the rest of your time in Tamriel, and some of these treasures can actually be quite valuable to a newbie player who especially needs the gold.

All you need to do in order to become a fellow Antiquarian is travel to Solitude in Western Skyrim, enter the building called the Antiquarian Circle, and speak to the NPC Verita Numida who will run you through everything you need to know. Completing the quest The Antiquarian Circle unlocks everything. Once this system is unlocked, you can find scryable items and treasures essentially everywhere across Tamriel.

Recruit Your Companions

One of the latest additions to the game is a companions system that you should take advantage of as soon as possible. The two recruitable companions, Mirri Elendis and Bastian Hallix, are both local to the zone called Blackwood, which is located on the bottom right corner of the map. Mirri is more of an archer type, while Bastian is more favorable to spellcasting. That said, you can spec them out however you’d like. They don’t replace other human teammates, but they do serve as a little extra firepower or healing which comes in handy while playing solo. You can also dress them however you like, and you can lend them one of your mounts.

In order to recruit Mirri Elendis, you’ll want to travel to the northwest portion of the Blackwood map to a point of interest called Doomvault Vulpinaz. Here, you’ll pick up the quest Shattered and Scattered from a note near the front door. Follow the quest inside and complete it to recruit your companion.

Bastian Hallix is found on the opposite (south) side of the map. Below the mainland is a tiny island that you’ll want to visit called Deepscorn Hollow. Here, you’ll need to rescue Bastian Hallix, who’s less than happy about the situation. Once you get the quest Competition and Contracts, you’ll want to follow him inside and complete the quest in order to recruit Hallix to your party.

Finally, Pick a Direction

And don’t stop running until you get to level 50.