The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Imperial City DLC Review – Into the Grinder


We go put The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited‘s new DLC Imperial City to the test.

When it comes to any updates or expansions to something the scale of an MMO, it will always be difficult to be able to offer something that will make everyone happy as well as have enough content to keep people busy till the next release. The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited‘s new Imperial City DLC is a great example of this, in that it offers a significant amount of content, but its player versus player focus can make it more difficult for those who aren’t as competitive. On top of this, the long awaited update 7 released at the same time, making a number of significant changes to the foundation of the game’s mechanics. Both of these additions make for a significant amount of content for new and returning players, but for this review, only the content added by the Imperial City DLC will be taken into account.

Having spent a significant amount of time with Imperial City, I think it is a great offering for those who are comfortable with all of the mechanics that the base game has to offer. If you are a user who is only interested doing PVE content, you may find the integrated mechanics of PVP a bit difficult to grasp as they are almost impossible to avoid outside of the two new dungeons. Imperial City Prison and White-Gold Tower as both play out very much like the original set of dungeons, each with their own bosses, required strategies and loot.


While the dungeons are both balanced and well designed, the main draw for Imperial City is actually its integration of PVP and PVE. Taking place in the Imperial City, a topside location consisting of six different districts that sit in the center of Cyrodiil. This is an interesting design in that it forces each of the three factions to fight over control over neighboring keeps as to try and cut off players from accessing the city. If you are interested in the ebb and flow of the faction war, this is fantastic, but if you are simply trying to achieve your own goals, this can become a major pain. This is also only amplified by the ability for opposing sides to try and cut off access to the area, making it difficult to reach the actual content you paid for.

This is also exemplified inside the city as Imperial City‘s newest currency Tell Var Stones are lost upon death. If a player is killed by an enemy, they lose 10% of their stones, but if they killed by another player, that player will take 80% of the Stones they have on them. This can feel like a daunting penalty, especially considering the more stones you carry, the more you earn. Thankfully, this ultimately works out incredibly well, as long as you stay in a group and don’t wander too far into enemy territory. At times this will not be an option, as you will have to fight to gain access to certain areas just so you can open one of the chests for gear corresponding to each stat type.


Gear is ultimately the biggest reason to be doing anything in the Imperial City, as it is the only way to obtain the new veteran 16 gear, as well as reach the new crafting locations. This of course does mean that most of the original armor sets are becoming obsolete, but with over a dozen new options added, players will find a significant amount of new options to choose from. But, this does mean players will have to grind, and grind a lot.

Anyone not picking up the DLC will still be able to pick up the new gear, but only when it is listed by guild traders and won’t be able to access the bound drops. But, given the number of changes from update 7, and that many of the new sets are designed to work with some of these changes, many users are going to want to at least keep an eye on what has been added. Players with the DLC who are looking to craft the vet 16 gear, they are going to need 130 materials of the new tier per item and those are only obtained by either deconstructing gear or purchasing them with Stones. On top of the new crafting items, there are new items for alchemy and enchanting, so regardless of which side role you want, there is new content out there.

While players who aren’t interested in taking on the opposing factions may find the delivery method of this new content a bit off putting, I think there is a great amount of content here for just about everyone. While on the conflicted servers may mean you run into more than hostile players than wanted, there is always the option of playing on a faction controlled server that can mitigate the interaction and guarantee that help is only around the corner. So, if you want to take on players, or just fight one of the numerous new bosses wandering around, Imperial City offers something for everyone, as long as you know where to look.


Dan Oravasaari

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