ESO Imperial City Guide for Beginners

In the ESO Imperial City Guide, you’ll learn about IC, bosses, collectibles and the best ways to farm Tel Var, and much more.

Welcome to ESO Imperial City Guide for beginners! The Imperial City is a high-risk, high-reward PvP instanced zone. It is located in the center of Cyrodiil and accessible from the Cyrodiil zone or by a separate queue in the Alliance menu tab, similar to Cyrodii. Furthermore, IC has, just like Cyrodiil, different types of campaigns. More about types of PvP campaigns (HERE).

In the ESO Imperial City Guide for Beginners, you’ll learn all the basics about this unique PvP zone, including bosses, collectibles, vendors, and items that can be bought with Tel Var stones only. We added information for beginners, the best ways to farm Tel Var stones, and other valuable tips and tricks.

Tel Var Stones

The most important and most significant reason to go to IC is the Tel Var Stones. This is a unique currency that you can collect by completing quests, opening chests, killing NPCs, killing bosses, and killing other players! However, this is the only item other players can take from you! Every time you die, the game retrieves half of your tel var stones and splits them between the players who took part in your defeat. Additionally, killing other players is the most profitable way to earn tel var stones. In the picture below is how much Tel Var I currently carry on my character and Tel Var multiplayer. This window is always visible in the lower right corner of your screen.

ESO Tel var

When you collect Tel Var you get multiplayer that helps you earn more, so the more you get the more you earn, but also the risk is much higher, because as I mentioned, on every death you lose half of your Tel Var. The table below represents Tel Var multiplayer:

Tel Var carried The Multiplayer
100 – 1 000 1x
1 000 – 10 000 2x
10 000 – 100 000 3x
100 000 + 4x

However, you can store your Tel Var Stones in the Bank just like any other currency in ESO, so it’s wise to come back to your alliance base or travel through the campaign menu to the Cyrodiil and store your precious Tel Var!

Sometimes Tel Var stones are also part of the daily log-in rewards.

In short with Tel Var stones you can buy from Imperial City merchants various materials, costumes, motives and gear sets. Some of those items can be sold to other players and are extremely expensive in guild trades, though more on that later.

How to enter Imperial City (IC)?

Firstly Press the default key “L” to open the Alliance Menu or chose the “tower” icon tab in the character menu. Secondly, choose the campaign tab and pick your campaign in the list, then double click on the campaign name or press “E”. You can find a detailed campaign guide and which one to choose HERE.

Imperial City campaigns have their plater limits, so sometimes you may be placed in the queue, so wait for a window to pop up asking if you are ready. Confirm and join your faction in the Imperial City!

ESO How to enter IC


Depending on your alliance you’ll start in one of three alliance bases located in Imperial City sewers, which is the only safe PvE area. However, inside the bases, players can find there almost everything they may need including crafting tables, banks and various vendors. The map below represents the Altmeri Dominion base as an example. The Bases’ layouts may vary from each other, but all have the same services and tools inside.


ESO IC A bases

How to navigate around Imperial City (IC)?

Imperial City doesn’t have any fast travel systems or shrines. However, there are some shortcuts, and a couple of tips I can give you to help you navigate easier.

In Imperial City we have two zones, upstairs is called the Imperial City Districts and downstairs, the Irrigation tunnels or sewers. To travel upstairs from your base locate the chamber with the ladders. Each ladder can take you to a specific district. Additionally, inside the Irrigation tunnels, outside of alliance bases, there are spread 6 ladders connected to 6 districts. Those ate the only shortcuts, everywhere else you need to go “on foot” and undoubtedly you will encounter other players. Regardless, to quickly come back to your alliance base you can use Sigil of Imperial Retreat. This item can be bought from Tel Var General Merchants for 10 000 AP in any faction IC base. Place the sigil in your quick slot menu to use it.

ESO Sigil of Imperial Retreat

The Exit

There are two ways to leave Imperial City PvP area. First is an “Exit door” in each alliance’s main chamber. So if you are upstairs in one of the districts, in the irrigation tunnels or somewhere far from your base you need to first find your way back to your alliance base. This solution sometimes is extremely dangerous for your precious Telvar stones.

The second way is to travel to Cyrodiil. Simply open the campaign menu and join any available Cyrodiil campaign. The less populated campaign you’ll choose, the faster your character can travel and leave Imperial City with your precious Tel Var where no one can take it from you. Additionally, this method works the other way around too. If you are in Cyrodiil and would like to travel to IC, you can do it at any moment, no matter where you are. Look at the gif below, it’s that simple and cheap!

ESO How to enter Cyrodiil

Irrigation Tunnels (sewers)

From the start & exit chamber, which is the main base chamber you can go to the Irrigation tunnels. Inside you’ll find bosses and the secret boss in the middle! In the Irrigation tunnels, you’ll encounter many minor NPCs but also wandering bosses. You can recognise them by the flags they carry on the back and they give a big amount of Tel Var. However, those bosses are very hard to kill solo.

Additionally, keep an eye on special glowing scamps, the rarer called the Cunning Scamps and the common Trove Scamps, who randomly spawn in the sewers. They don’t attack, instead run from the players and alert all nearby NPCs to attack! If you kill them before they escape through the portal or despawn, you can retrieve from Cunning Scamps the considerate amount of Tel Var Stones and from the Trove Scamps random crafting materials, including Hakeijo runes and Soul Gems.

ESO IC Sewers Map

Imperial City Districts

If you choose to go upstairs to the Imperial City the best way is to use ladders to the specific city districts in your faction base chamber. Imperial City is divided into six districts, that can be captured by players for a 33% extra Tel Var boost in that district for their alliance.

IC Districts

Similarly to Cyrodiil’s resources, to capture the district you need to capture the flag guarded by NPCs and often other players.

The Patrolling Horrors

Additionally, in each district, you can encounter special word bosses called the Patrolling Horrors, and some of them drop unique monster helmets.

Monster Sets
Arboretum Lady Malygda 1 item: Adds 1487 Offensive Penetration
2 items: When you deal direct damage to a target within 12 meters, create a 5-meter area that after 1 second, quickly moves forward and then returns, dealing 811 Shock damage to enemies and applying Minor Enervation for 5 seconds, causing the target to deal 10% less Critical Damage. This effect can occur once every 15 seconds and scales off the higher of your Weapon or Spell Damage.
Arboretum Ysenda Resplendent
Arena Glorgoloch the Destroyer 1 item: Adds 28-1206 Maximum Health
2 items: While in combat, each second you stand still grants you a stack of Flesh Fortress, up to 10 stacks. Each stack increases your Armor by 8-380 and your Critical Resistance by 0-38. Each second you move removes a stack of Flesh Fortress. Exiting combat removes all stacks of Flesh Fortress. Using charge and teleport abilities do not remove stacks of Flesh Fortress.
Arena King Khrogo
Elven Gardens The Screeching Matron
Elven Gardens Zoal the Ever-Wakeful 1 item: Adds 1096 Maximum Stamina
2 items: When you Break Free, you release a wave of Watcher energy, causing enemies within 8 meters of you to become Feared for 3 seconds. You also gain 34 Weapon and Spell Damage for each enemy hit, up to 6 enemies, for 7 seconds.
Memorial Nunatak 1 item: Adds 1487 Armor
2 items: On dealing Frost Damage, create a 6-meter area under the target for 6 seconds, dealing 191 Frost damage to enemies every 1 second and applying a stacking 25% snare for 4 seconds. On gaining 4 stacks, the enemy is immobilized and gains Major Brittle for 4 seconds, causing the target to take 20% increased Critical Damage. This effect can occur once every 15 seconds and scales off the higher of your Weapon or Spell Damage.
Memorial Volghass
Nobles Amoncrul
Nobles Baron Thirsk 1 item: Adds 129 Stamina Recovery
1 item: Adds 129 Magicka Recovery
2 items: On dealing area direct damage, mark a target for 6 seconds. Every 2 seconds after, an Explosive Scamp is spawned nearby and detonates after 1 second, dealing 362 Magic damage to up to 6 enemies within 4 meters and applying Minor Timidity for 10 seconds, draining 1 Ultimate every 1.5 seconds. Each Explosive Scamp spawned deals 100% increased damage. This effect can occur once every 25 seconds and scales off the higher of your Weapon or Spell Damage.
Temple Immolator Charr 1 item: Adds 1487 Armor
2 items: Adds 1206 Maximum Health
2 items: When you take damage while below 50% Health, gain immunity to immobilization, snares, and crowd control effects for 10 seconds. This effect can occur once every 40 seconds.
Temple Mazaluhad


The Vaults

The Vaults require the keys that cost 60-150 Key Fragments. The fragments have a chance to drop from any NPC in the IC or have guaranteed drop from IC Patrolling Horrors, White Gold Tower dungeon bosses and Imperial City Prison dungeon bosses. Each Vault requires a different number of keys to open it and inside you can find various gear sets, Nibenese Court Wizard Style pages and Xivkyn Motif chapters. Details on each Vault and items HERE.

Furthermore, in all districts, you can also find skyshards, lorebooks and crafting sets areas.

IC Quests and rewards

IC has just like Cyrodiil different types of campaigns. More about types of PvP campaigns (HERE). However, in IC campaign never ends so doesn’t offer any extra campaign end rewards other than Rewards for the Worthy coffer for every 20 000 AP earned. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that Imperial City doesn’t have a leaderboard.

Imperial City is not only about PvP. The zone has a very engaging main storyline and various repeatable daily quests as a result the IC offers a great PvE experience. Each quest will reward you with the AP, sometimes gear sets and Tel Var.

IC Main Story

When you enter Imperial City for the first time you may notice that only one quest is available to you. Just in the central chamber of your alliance base, where you start one of the generals should have a main quest marker above his head as shown in the picture below. Talk to him and follow the tasks to unlock all IC repeatable PvE-focused quests! If you lose the main quest or can’t find the next step always first check your base for markers, or at the city districts (use ladders in your alliance base, the easiest way to find quests).

IC Repeatable and Daily quests

You need to finish only a couple of steps of the main IC quest to have access to daily quests in IC. Each daily quest starts in one of the districts, so daily per character, you can do 6 quests in 6 districts. In your alliance base, go to the chamber with ladders that lead to all districts. Use any ladder and the quest giver will wait for you in the city above.

ESO IC Main Quest

If you already were in Cyrodiil before you may have the main IC quest taken from Cyrodiil that directs you to the same NPC general. In the picture below you can see how this main IC quest looks like in Cyrodiil

ESO IC Quest in Cyrodiil 20


Additionally, in your alliance base, you can find a mission board just like in Cyrodiil that will give you PvP repeatable quests:

  • Kill 20 enemy Sorcerers
  • Kill 20 enemy Nightblades
  • Kill 20 enemy Dragon Knights
  • Kill 20 enemy Necromancers
  • Kill 20 enemy Templars
  • Kill 20 enemy Wardens
  • Kill 40 enemy Players

However, if you can’t find the PvP repeatable quests mission board, that means you haven’t completed the “Introduction to Cyrodiil” quest. Guide HERE.

IC Vendors and Collectibles

In each alliance, base players have access to special merchants that offer materials, collectible items and gear sets available only in Imperial City. I’ll discuss three of the most important merchants you should know about.

Tel Var General Merchant

Tel Var General Merchant sells all supplies that can be useful in Imperial City including Sigil of Imperial Retreat and soul gems. Additionally, with Tel Var stones you also can buy crafting materials, particularly the Hakeijo. The rune is used in PvP and PvE and is exclusively available for purchase from this merchant. The Hakejo costs 5 000 Tel Var and can be sold to other players. Unique to this merchant, he also sells Storage Chest (200 000 Tel Var) and Storage Coffers(100 000 Tel Var) for your house.

ESO Tel Var General Merchant

Other items available from the Tel Var General Merchant are polymorph runeboxes shown in the picture below. Each polymorph costs 250 000 Tel Var.

ESO Tel Var Polymorphs

By completing the repeatable quests from the Mission Board in Imperial City, once a day per account you can acquire a Siege of Cyrodiil Merits to exchange for special costumes and emote. Siege of Cyrodiil Merits drop has a 20-hour cooldown so make sure you open the next bounty reward boxes, after this cooldown time to receive the next Merit.

Finally, when you have the required amount of Siege of Cyrodiil Merits you can buy a special envelope(upgrade) from Tel Var General Merchant (found at any alliance base – starting location) and combine all the items into collectibles:

Collectible Required Merits Required Upgrade
Runebox: Rage of the Reach Emote 30 Siege of Cyrodiil Commendation – 1 000 Tel Var
Runebox: Timbercrow Wanderer Costume 50 Siege of Cyrodiil Distinction – 1 000 Tel Var
Runebox: Siegemaster’s Close Helm 20 Siege of Cyrodiil Recognition – 100 Tel Var
Runebox: Siegemaster’s Uniform 50 Siege of Cyrodiil Recommendation – 1 000 Tel Var


The Tel Var General Merchant also sells bound on pick-up Style Pages: Dragonguard Berserker, and its armor-only. To acquire the outfit style pages you’ll need at least rank 20 alliance war and 325 000 Tel Var stones in total. These style pages cannot be sold to other players.


Tel Var Equipment Lockbox Merchant

Secondly, we have Tel Var Equipment Lockbox Merchant which sells random gear set items from boxes, as a result, it’s not guaranteed what item or trait you’ll get. But some of the gear from boxes are worth a considerable amount of gold in guild traders, and are very good PvP and PvE sets!

ESO Tel Var Equipment Lockbox Merchant


Tel Var Jewelry Merchant

Lastly, we have Tel Var Jewelry Merchant which sells golden jewellery items from Imperial City gear sets.

ESO Tel Var Jewelry Merchant

The best method to farm Tel Var stones

Certainly, the best method to farm Tel Var Stones is to go to the Imperial City flip the flags in all districts (for 33% more Tel Var gain) and do a clockwise rotation killing bosses in every district. There are 12 bosses in total. If you do it right and solo you can get from 5 000 to 8 000 Tel Var per boss. The boss’s respawn in the Imperial City takes 15 minutes, so perfect for constant runs around. In meantime, you can kill minor NPCs that will also give you a small amount of Tel Var. The best campaign to go is probably no-CP because the population there is smaller and gankers are not that strong, yet killing bosses takes much more time.

Finally, this is the preference but I think the best classes to farm Tel Var Stones in the Imperial City are Nightblades and Sorcerers, because of their escape capabilities. If something will go wrong they easily can run away from the danger and not lose any precious Tel Var.

Irrigation tunnels are another source of Tel Var. Similarly, you can join a less populated IC campaign and run in circles through the Irrigation tunnels killing all NPCs you can find. Occasionally you will encounter unique glowing scamps that will give you a considerable amount of Tel Var. This method is easier because don’t require killing bosses, however, is much less profitable.

Useful Information and tricks

  • Battle spirit – This passive you’ll have automatically applied to your character when entering Battlegrounds, Imperial City or Cyrodiil. It adds 3 000 health and reduces healing and damage.
  • Players can resurrect players from their faction in Imperial City
  • Zoal the Ever-Wakeful is a monster helmet from one of the bosses in Elven Gardens that offers great protection against gankers
  • Use the surroundings that Imperial City offers, to survive or kill players. Hide behind the objects, use speed or stealth, knock players from the edges or stun them! If they don’t see you they can’t hit you!
  • Teamwork is essential to win!
  • ESO PvP Tips, Tricks and Hints – written guide and YouTube video
  • The Best PvP Ultimates in The Elder Scrolls Online – YouTube video
  • The reasons you’re dying too much in ESO PvP – YouTube video


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