Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Preview – Heart of the cards

Posted on April 15, 2022

We’ve had a first look at the new card game, intrigue based story, and the impressive area of the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Chapter. The early preview includes the below videos, a session with Rich Lambert, Creative Director at ZeniMax Online Studios, and hands-on with an early PC build.

The plot of this year’s Chapter centres on political intrigue, as revealed during the High Isle Preview stream, and is the ideal vacation place for alliance representatives to take on peace regarding the famous Three Banners War. While the honourable Society of the Steadfast is hosting the summit, participants should be wary of The Ascendant Order and its chaotic aims. Over 20 million Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) players will visit an island paradise rich in culture and architecture, along with gorgeous castles and thrilling tournament fields.

Additionally, adventurers will be able to crawl through the jungles of the prison island Amenos, just north of the High Isle. This lush place is home to political prisoners, criminals, and dissidents that have a mischievous part in the story. Exploring through these two spaces will certainly give players plenty to do with the extra content littered throughout.

Companions were introduced to ESO users last year with fans excited for more. So, the High Isle Chapter includes two more friends to get to know and take along the journey. Ember, a Khajiit who grew up on the streets and has a talent for magic, and Isobel, a Breton and aspiring knight who feels driven to do right by players. While we didn’t get to know them too well in our preview, we’re looking forward to diving into their backstory and seeing the twists and turns that make these characters engaging.

As you probably already know, a brand-new card game called Tales of Tribute will be playable within the ESO universe. This is a one-of-a-kind resource-building game featuring PvP and PvE that was created in High Isle. Through Tales of Tribute’s unique levelling system, players can earn tantalising rewards like furnishings, transmute stones, and even advancing a storyline by competing against specific NPCs around the world.

We’ve now got more detail about how this in-game card game will work. Opponents will develop their decks on the field during gameplay instead of preparing a deck outside the mini-game. These Patron Decks include a series of cards that are tied together, not dissimilar to a suit with traditional playing cards. With eight unique Patron Decks to collect, consisting of around 20 cards, and all with their own mechanics—there is a whole new game to learn.

There are four different types of cards; Starter, Action, Agent, and Contract. Starter cards are first played from each Patron Deck and set up your tactics for the match. Action cards are treated as a priority and are played first to move along the mechanics of each turn. They involve destroying cards, drawing cards, etc. Agent and Contract follow and make up the base of how many coins you earn and lose.

“Trials of Tribute is very different from Elder Scrolls: Legends or even Gwent…”

Each turn you can play as many cards from your hand as possible; play three cards and earn three coins. The more coins you earn and the better you perform, the more cards you’ll be able to play, the more actions you can make, and the more favoured you’ll be among the Patrons. There are two ways to win: One, a contested finish where the first person to reach 40 points wins. Two, Patron Victory which has all four Patrons favouring you at the same time.

Honestly, it’s not a very straightforward card game. Trials of Tribute is very different from Elder Scrolls: Legends or even Gwent for that matter. However, Rich explained to us that they are hopeful for the future of the new mini-game. Depending on its success in ESO: High Isle, standalone adaptions on mobile storefronts or even physical versions may be on the horizon.

For those who become experts of Trials of Tribute, there are brand new seasonal leaderboards to claim glory on. At the end of each season will be juicy awards for the top-ranking players. These may include extremely limited and one-off items that could be invaluable to diehard ESO players.

Finally, the new trial is also looking to be very impressive. Dread Sail Reef allows up to 12 players to play in normal or veteran mode against pesky pirates. These swashbucklers have grown bold over the years and the noble houses of the archipelago have finally decided to do something about it. That’s where you and your guild come in. Similar in size and scope to Rockgrove from last year’s ESO: Blackwood Chapter, you’ll know what to expect. It’s more exciting action for you and your friends.

Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle releases on June 6th for PC and Mac, and June 21st for Xbox and PlayStation consoles. For more information, visit the ESO store or platform of your choice. See you in Tamriel, adventurers!