Follow these five essential tips to be the best ESO thief ever.
With last week’s release of Update 1.6, players in The Elder Scrolls Online can finally pursue a life of crime with the new Justice System. Ever since the game’s launch, there’s been a lack of real thieving opportunities. Unlike Skyrim, players in ESO were never given the chance to skulk around picking pockets and the like. That is until now.
So if you want to be an ESO thief, my fellow traveler, read on and take heed of these five essential tips.
Tip #1: Advance Your Legerdemain Skill
Under the Justice System, players now have the ability to level a new Skill set known as Legerdemain (found under the World Skill line). To be an ESO thief, you need to work at increasing your Legerdemain skills, and this takes practice, practice, practice.
The Legerdemain skill line has a total of 5 passives with 4 skill points possible in each:
Improved Hiding, Reduces sneaking stamina cost
Light Fingers, Increases pickpocketing chance
Trafficker, Increases number of daily fence interactions
Locksmith, Improves chance to force locks
Kickback, reduces amount of bounties willingly paid
Budding thieves need to focus on three things to increase Legerdemain:
- Picking Locks
- Picking Pockets
- Fencing Stolen Goods
Becoming an ESO thief involves dedication and risk taking. With the Justice System, chests aren’t the only thing with locks to be picked. Thieves can now pick locks on NPC houses and safe boxes to score valuable loot. Like in Skyrim, thieves can now sneak up on NPCs and pick their pockets (try not to get caught!). Stolen goods can then be sold for gold, or laundered. All three activities increase your skills. The more you practice, the faster your Legerdemain skill will advance up to level 20.
Tip #2: Know Your Bounties
In The Elder Scrolls Online, crime doesn’t always pay for an ESO thief. When a witness sees you attempting to pick a lock or if you fail in your attempt to pick a pocket, you’ll immediately be assigned a bounty — a monetary fine placed on your head. Once you have a bounty, every town or city guard you come in contact with will stop you, demanding payment. If you don’t pay your fine (and escape), your bounty will increase. Before too long, the guards won’t be too understanding about your life of crime, and will simply attack you on site.
Bounties can quickly escalate, and it’s important for an ESO thief to know the price on their heads at all times. Bounties are tracked by a running meter in the lower right corner of your screen. The meter will show how much gold is owed, as well as a metered bar depicting how long your bounty will last. You can also check your bounty level by pressing C to get to your Character screen.
There are three ways to get rid of bounties:
- Pay the bounty to the guard who catches you.
- Pay the bounty to a fence.
- Wait until the bounty decreases over time.
Paying off your bounties is fairly straightforward. Just remember that when you pay a guard, he or she will also seize all your stolen loot. You don’t want to be like this guy who lost out on a rare Imperial motif when it was taken from him by a guard!
If you’d rather not pay, you can wait it out. Your bounty will decrease over time as shown in the meter. Red shows a rapid decrease, while white shows a slower decrease. In general, your bounty will decrease by 20 gold approximately every 3 minutes or 6,300 gold every day. Thankfully for the ESO thief, bounties continue to decrease even when logged out of the game. If the heat is really on, hole up somewhere in town (or preferably out in the wilderness where there are no guards) and wait. If need be, log out and play The Elder Scrolls Online later. Your bounty will be smaller the next time you play.
Tip #3: Know Your Escape Route
Paying your bounty to a guard may not be in your best interest — especially if your pockets are stuffed with stolen goods (remember, just like in Skyrim, the guards will take any stolen items away from you, thus costing you profits and experience). This is why an ESO thief should always keep an escape route in mind. Know the lay of the land before you start your crime spree.
Sometimes you can outrun the guards and lose them, but you should always know where the entrances to the local Outlaw Refuge is. Guards can’t follow you into the refuge after all, so it’s best to scurry away to one post haste. Besides, once in the refuge, you’ll be able to sell your ill gotten goods and pay off your bounty to a fence if need be.
Here’s a few hints for the ESO thief when it comes to the guards:
- Shor’s Bones! Fighting the guards is darn near impossible. They’re super tough, so fleeing is typically your best option.
- It’s much easier to flee a guard outdoors than it is inside a building. Be extra cautious about having a bounty on your head if you’re in a building where guards may be present.
- If you’re going to make a run for it, use Block to stun a guard first. Stunning may give you the few precious moments you need to make your escape.
Tip #4: Sell or Launder With Caution
You can sell or launder your stolen goods in any Outlaw Refuge. Both selling and laundering will give an ESO thief the same amount of Legerdemain experience, but there’s an important difference:
- Selling stolen goods will give you gold.
- Laundering stolen goods will allow you to keep and use the items.
Be careful! Unlike selling items to Merchants, you can’t buy items back from a fence. If you want to keep the item for yourself (weapon, armor, food ingredient, motif, etc.), make certain to launder the item — not sell it.
MUST READ: Stealing In ESO Just Got Nerfed
Tip #5: Go Where The Action Is
Great opportunities exist in The Elder Scrolls Online for a thief to make money and gain experience. That said, an ESO thief should practice their art in populated areas teeming with NPCs and buildings. True, an ESO thief can (and should) engage in thieving wherever they can, but why plan a crime spree where the pickings are slim? Instead, concentrate your efforts in the game’s capital cities for maximum gains.
The best thieving action can be found in:
- Elden Root (Aldmeri Dominion)
- Wayrest (Daggerfall Covenant)
- Mounhold (Ebonheart Pact)
What do you think about the new Justice System in The Elder Scrolls Online? Are you living a life of crime as an ESO thief? If so, what have you learned? Be sure to share your thoughts and experiences in the Speak Your Mind section below, and help your fellow gamers become the best thieves ever. Until next time!