The new Thieves Guild DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online is not the RPG Hack and Slash you thought you were playing just seconds before you cashed in your 2,000 crowns for it.
Trading in the hacking and slashing for sneaking and slithering, Thieves Guild has more in common with “Assassin’s Creed” than any of the previous DLC installments. While the map isn’t nearly as large as the massive Orsinium, the quests are aplenty and the new larceny system makes sure you always feel a bit out of your element. This makes the “Thieves Guild” DLC feel like almost different game entirely.
With a focus on slippery behavior, those that enjoy duking it out with their battle axes and swords won’t have the same affinity for the DLC’s gameplay. That’s not to say that you can’t fight and that the combat isn’t enjoyable, though. You just don’t have to fight as much as you normally would and you probably shouldn’t. You’ve got to adapt or pay the consequences.
Either way, you’ll die a lot.
The initial jump into the Thieves Guild DLC is a cool, nice glimpse of what the future holds. You’ll meet up with a thief who needs help on a robbery that involves sneaking into a castle-like structure and stealing some nifty loot. Allowing you to take whatever you want along the way as well, it seems like a good way to earn some cash, right? Not exactly. Flooded with badass guards and other NPCs, getting inside is no easy task. Luckily, with plenty of hiding spots along the way (which will immediately remind you of “Assassins Creed), patience and surreptitious maneuvering will be your best friend.
Once inside you’ll get to experience some more story and from there on in, you’ll have to adjust even further from the combat-heavy RPG the ESO experience is known for. Escaping spider and enemy-covered catacombs, you won’t be able to fight your way through. You’ve got to play this one differently; you’ve got to be smart. Or else you’re going to drive yourself crazy.
Even though the game feels incredibly different from a gameplay point of view, the look is just as pretty as some of the offer DLC offerings. While it’s not as vast as Orsinium and there’s not nearly as much snow and mountains, everything from the musky catacombs at the start of the game, to Hew’s Bane and Abah’s Landing are as lush and well-designed as you’d expect. It all fits. It just feels different. The new score as well adds another layer of the depth you’d expect from the series as well.
Luckily, for those who feel a bit out of place, there’s plenty to do here. There’s new items, two new world bosses, passive skills exclusive to the Thieves Guild, a new 12-player Trial: The Maw of Lorkhaj, with scalable difficulty and plenty of new quests that’ll allow you to visit some iconic locations on the map. But this time, you’ll have to play them a bit differently. Those thinking the gameplay gets repetitive simply have to fight through the difficult moments in order to get to the juicy parts.
In the end, while the game plays unlike any other Elder Scrolls Online DLC, it’s an experience that can cater to both hardcore fans of the series looking for something new and stealth-action gamers who wish to experience something new in the ESO universe. Either way, it’s a win-win, but it requires more thought than any other installment in the series. For that, it’ll be a mixed bag for some and a revelation to others.
Beautiful: The land isn’t nearly as vast, but it’s still got that “stop and look around” feel the main game has.
Tons of Do: There’s a plethora of small quests and a fun story that’ll keep you busy for more than a few hours.
Not For Everyone: Think first, combat second? That concept alone may be enough to deter some old-school Elder Scrolls fans, regardless of how much the DLC has to offer.
Smaller Map: The fact that it sends you back to older locations proves that it’s not nearly as ginormous as the last DLC.
The Thieves Guild DLC for Elder Scrolls Online is unlike any other add-on content you’ve played on the series and as a result, it’s going to cause some disconnect among hardcore fans. Regardless, it’s an interesting side street on the series that’ll give you hours of new content and reward you with plenty of cool new items and abilities if you have the patience to muster through it.
Bethesda provided Examiner with a Download Code to Facilitate This Review.