During today’s High Isle Chapter Preview Event, the development team behind The Elder Scrolls Online’s next big adventure had the chance to share more about Tales of Tribute, the new card game taking the taverns by storm. from Tamriel. For some insider information, we reached out to some of the Tales of Tribute designers for a breakdown of this new system.
Why a card game?
“The team is always exploring potential new features and quality of life improvements for ESO, and we have historically added a major new gameplay element with each annual Chapter release,” explains Rob Garrett, ESO Gameplay Lead. “We’ve been interested in exploring the idea of a tavern game for a long time. Something that the people of Tamriel play for fun and, like Antiquities, could serve as a fun activity for adventurers looking to take a break from their usual escapades.”
The result was the creation of a completely new card game system, fully integrated into ESO, that anyone with High Isle can pick up and play.
Tactical deckbuilding with a twist
Tales of Tribute is a two-player deck-building card game that can be played against NPCs and other adventurers you meet within ESO. Secure victory by collecting enough Victory Points or winning the favor of all four Patrons at once.
Patterns are a unique type of mechanic in that there are four in play at once, and each pattern is associated with a specific type of card (like suits in a normal card game). And each of the patterns, you earn their favor by performing various tasks: some require gold, while others require certain actions or combos to play. This is a big part of the game’s strategy where players have to decide if they want to focus on trying to curry favor with a single Pattern type or focus on multiple Patterns. If players don’t want to pay attention to Patterns, they should be aware that their opponents can curry favor with Patterns in order to win.
“Tales of Tribute plays casual but tactical turns, alternating with your opponent,” explains Irenio Calmon-Huang, one of the system designers behind the new game. “Each deck is based on a story in Tamriel that helps form the backbone of its theme and mechanics. The game is all about getting the right cards to form a deck that synergizes with itself and the Patrons, so you can achieve victory before your opponent.”
During a match, you’ll acquire cards from the Tavern that grant boons such as coins, power, and other special abilities, allowing you to continually upgrade your deck to play and ultimately outmatch your opponent. How you upgrade your deck will depend entirely on the choices you make on your turn and what cards are available in the shared pool of taverns.
“There are two paths to victory in Tales of Tribute,” says Irenio. “The most common path is to gain 40 prestige before your opponent and then stay ahead for one turn. If you are beaten, whoever can stay above 40 and ahead in prestige after their opponent’s turn wins. The other way to win is to have the favor of all four Patrons at the same time. Accomplish this and you will immediately claim victory!
Choice has always been a central pillar for ESO, and in Tales of Tribute, how you play and how you win is entirely up to you.
Casual or competitive, you decide
Make no mistake, High Isle will have no shortage of opponents to challenge you and your strategic deckbuilding skills. To get started though, all you need to do is access the High Isle chapter and complete the tutorial quest.
“You can play against anyone from the High Isle Chapter who has finished the Tales of Tribute tutorial with at least one character on their account,” says Irenio. “You will be able to challenge them to a match from your friends list, the guild list or in person through a new option in the interaction wheel. There are also numerous NPCs around the world that can be challenged…although some won’t just be waiting for a friendly match at the local tavern.”
Like Tamriel itself, your Tales of Tribute collection will grow as you venture into the High Isle and new content is added to the game.
“Additional decks are earned by participating in a variety of activities including quests, public dungeons, world bosses, and zone events,” Garrett explains. “It is also possible to upgrade specific cards within each deck by advancing your Tribute rank, completing specific achievements, and acquiring clues that help you locate hidden Tribute stashes in the world.”
In addition to earning new decks and upgrading your cards, you can earn exclusive rewards for winning games, completing decks, raising your Tribute rank, and completing quests throughout the story, including crafting materials, gold, transmutation crystals, furniture for the home, pets, guests, emotes, and more!
Coming soon to a tavern near you
For the first time in The Elder Scrolls Online, the next High Isle chapter will allow you to discover a new set of cards in the game. With its staggering variety of decks, cards, and playstyles, Tales of Tamriel promises to be a tactical yet accessible experience for long-time card game enthusiasts and casual players alike.
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle launches on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on June 21. Also, as part of The Elder Scrolls Online Free Play Event, available now, you can download and play the ESO base game for free until April 26 at 7am PT/3pm BST. With access to the base game, you can play the High Isle Prologue quest chain and begin your year-long Legacy of the Bretons adventure. We can’t wait to see how the community learns and plays this new game within the game.
Check out a gallery of concept art for the upcoming Tales of Tribute card game below: