ESO High Isle Chapter Early Impressions

I played High Isle early, the next chapter in the Elder Scrolls Online, releasing June 6th of PC and June 21st for consoles.  I wanted to share what I learned during my experience and what you can expect from the latest chapter in ESO.  The High Isle chapter requires an additional purchase cost from ESO base game and or ESO+ subscription service.  This new chapter what you’ve come to expect from there chapter yearly releases.


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Tales of Tribute Card Game

My experience with collectable card games comes from spending an inordinate amount of time playing magic the gathering in my middle and high school years.  What I like about CCG is the strategy, the imagination, the comrade, and the competitiveness.  I think if you have that mind set, you’ll enjoy Tales of Tribute.  Let me explain how this works.

Once you unlock the chapter and arrive in High Isle, you’re promoted immediately about the card game tutorial quest.  This leads you to a nearby area with NPCs, books, and a general tutorial about the game.  You’ll quickly be thrown into a match with very little knowledge about the User Interface and or practical knowledge about how to play and I found it pretty overwhelming at first but within an hour meathead Deltia figured it out.

Consider this card game resource base.  You’re using your cards in your hand to build up resource, one of which, prestige, is a method for winning a game.  At the start of the match, you select patron decks which you own.

The major difference with this card game and say Magic the Gather is this, you and your opponent have a shared set of cards mixed in what is called the tavern.  What you bring to the match could ultimately hurt you or help you and it’s an interesting mechanic once it plays out of the course of a match.

Moreover, you have Patron’s, who are the leaders of your Deck.  Patron’s can be interacted with thru resources and turned to your favor.  If you have all patrons in your favor, you win the match regardless of the prestige.  You end up with two possible mechanisms for winning.

Are you confused yet?  Let me try to Deltia style explain this clearly.  DEEP BREATH.

The game essentially comes down to using your hand to play what would be the equivalent of lands in Magic The Gathering.  With those resources, which are called gold and power in Tales of Tribute.  You can spend them on the tavern or patrons.  Thus, you have this back and forth between making sure the enemy isn’t securing patron’s or building up prestige. The game becomes a resource race with tons of math, meta strategies, and excitement.

There is some minor combat with agent cards, but I’ll save that for a much more complex guide later.

I had fun learning the card game and I think the vast amount of ESO fam will enjoy it.  Tales of Tribute will have you roaming around Tamriel challenging NPC and completing activities to earn more cards, collect more patrons and build a better deck.  This is competitive PvP in the sense there will be ranked leaderboards, rewards and a queuing system.

I was a bit disappointed something this robust and vast wasn’t added to a currently existing system like battlegrounds.  Because I enjoy ESO for the combat, the learning, tinkering with builds, and experimenting.

But I think the vast majority of ESO players enjoy the variety of what the game has to offer, the collectables the never-ending hamster wheel of “oh I gotta catch them all,” pokeman type of gameplay.  And if that is you, you’re going to absolutely love this.

New Trial Dreadsail Reef

Next up, how was the trial? Dreadsail Reef on normal.  The developers did a good job to reintroduce old mechanics from recently added dungeons and introduce new ones some of which we haven’t seen.

The trial does have a similar epic build up to the final boss encounter like Rockgrove.  However, in that Dreadsail has a lot of exploration, secret rooms and chambers with extra bosses and feels a lot more of an adventure vs an instanced based thematic trial.  If they Developers were aiming to have a 12-player pirate adventure in an ESO trial, they nailed it.

Not to mention there’s huge new gear sets you’ll go nuts about and a new mount to collect for the sweatiest PvErs out there.  Overall, I still prefer Rockgrove trial as my favorite due to the visuals, scales, difficulty and throw back to an OG TES game, but Dreadsail Reef is a worthy addition into the ever-growing vast amount of trials.

New Gear Sets

I can’t show you all the pictures and the items are subject to change, but there’s a lot of new mythics to collect, 5 and over 10 gear sets.  One that will make my friend Hack the Minitour’s beloved one bar builds a reality locking you into one bar but giving you massive buffs to max stats, recovery, and damage.  Yes, you can’t bar swap, but you become super powerful.  This could easily lead to even PvP type builds for the average player who struggles with combat and I’m so excited to see how it works in realty.

You have a radical new mythic that gains inspiration, alliance rank, alliance skill, and monster kill experience based off how many Shalidor’s library books have been collected.  Essentially mages guild books and so forth.  This too also gets me excited for some out of the box gear sets and mythics to collect that yes add power but also had some flavor to the general builds out there.

Is this as good as a new class, a new weapon skill line?  No, but as a content creator I’m excited to collect and tinker on the PTS to see how they augment current builds.  I can’t get into all the sets but more on those once the PTS launches.

New Companions

I also tested the two new companions Ember a Khajiit Sorcerer and Isobel a Breton Templar which of course she’s my favorite.  Isobel seemed to perform much better than previous companions due to her massive raw healing as a templar base class and both of us were able to get to the first boss in the new trial as a duo which I thought was good indication of her power.

Then you have the massive zone which is gorgeous and denser than Blackwood on launch.  The zone looks very Pirates of the Caribbean, full of life, animals, creatures, and monsters.  It contains the usual suspects, world bosses, public dungeons, delves, skyshards and a new world event called volcanic vents. Think of these like other Chapter based world event a hyped-up public dungeon but fun to do and worth while to collect the near gear sets.

You’ll have 3 overland gear sets, 5 mythics, new trials sets, craftable sets so there’s a lot to collect.  Most of the sets I peaked at seemed strong but only a couple were over the top must use items.  Either way, a lot to explore, do and collect.

ZOS has stated expect about 30+ hours of additional questing and new lore never before seen in the Elder Scrolls series.

I also found a new mechanic like the anomaly in Craglorn called Druidirc blessing which dramatically increase my experience gained for a short time.  I didn’t experiment with this too much, but it might be a new grinding strategy and location emerging with this buff found in the open world.

ZOS also added some quality of life, the quickslot items can now be sorted by companions, consumables, and so on.  Thus, you can wheel pretty quickly with multiple presets and a great addition for the game.

High Isle Opinion

Zenimax Online Studio does one thing very well, and that’s horizontal progression.  Giving you some increase in power with near gear sets but a whole lot of things to do, collect and fiddle with.  You can spend countless hours in this new zone questing, collecting and experimenting with the card game tales of tribute.  You’ll be traveling around the world collecting cards and decks and pvping with huge incentives and rewards.

The PvErs out there get what they’ve come to expect and that’s a new sprawling new trial that adds new and returning mechanics for a fun fight.

And the questers will get over 30+ hours of never-before-seen lore which will make them drool with excitement.

I image the ESO PvP crowd that loves Cyrodiil and Battlegrounds will feel disappointed and I can relate.  My ultimate hope is that the competitive and rewards-based system they’ve created for Tales of Tribute migrates over into Cyrodiil, Battelgrounds and Imperial City.

But for now, I feel this chapter has something for everyone, whether it’s to collect gear and tinker with builds like me, a massive sprawling zone or a fleshed out card game that will last for years.

Thanks for reading and or watching.  Let me know what you think and consider watching me on twitch where I’ll play High Isle live on the PTS and live server.