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Preview: The Elder Scrolls Online’s High Isle Chapter Promises Political Intrigue and Card-Based Fun

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Easing off the fantasy in favour of a more grounded story full of political intrigue, High Isle Chapter, the next expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online, will be a breath of fresh air for some.

Trouble is afoot in High Isle. The Steadfast have organised secret peace talks that could end the Three Banners War, but there are those who are working against them. Lead by the Ascendant Magus and the Ascendant Lord, the Ascendant Order has taken action, throwing the peace talks into disarray. And of course, it’s you who’s got to clear the whole mess up.

We’ve spent some time progressing through the story presented in The Elder Scrolls Online‘s upcoming High Isle Chapter, and we have to say that we’ve been engrossed; we do like a bit of political intrigue. It also helps that the new story has got some mystery to it, as well as a likable bunch of characters. Chances are you’ll be hooked, wondering just what’s going to happen next.

But of course, there’s much more to the High Isle Chapter than just a new questline. There’s the whole of High Isle to explore, for one. Home to nobility, it’s a fairly snazzy place that’s welcome on the eyes. There’s another island, too: Amenos. Essentially a prison island, it’s home to many ruffians, with the prison itself being in a caldera surrounded by lush jungle rainforest. With both islands being in the previously unexplored Systres Archipelago, they’re totally new, with no previous lore. And so Zenimax Online Studios has been free to get creative.

So, what can players do aside from unravel a politically-charged story? Engaging in a smorgasbord of side-quests is a given: you’ll find quest-givers liberally spread across the islands, opening up new opportunities for you to gain valuable experience and loot. There’s also new world events in the form of Volcanic Vents. Will you shut down the volatile fissures spread across the islands that are causing havoc? The locals will be pleased if you do.

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And it doesn’t end there. High Isle offers two new companions to recruit: Ember and Isobel. But first you’ll have to find them, and then work your way through their questlines in order to win them over. Get them on your side, and they’ll accompany you beyond the Systres Archipelago if you wish. There’s a new trial, too; Dreadsail Reef. Similar in size to Rockgrove, you’ll need to get a solid team together if you wish master it.

The newest addition to The Elder Scrolls Online via the High Isle Chapter that might have the biggest impact on the game’s future, however, is a brand new activity that doesn’t revolve around questing or killing. Called Tales of Tribute, it’s a fast-paced card game that will have you aiming to collect decks to overcome your opponents.

Related: The Best Collectible Card Games on PC

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It might take you a while to get your head around its rules, but once you have, there’s an engaging card game to waste the hours away with. To win you’ll need to build prestige, and that means buying and drawing cards strategically to build power. Along the way you can try to curry favour with patrons – get them on your side and you’ll have the upper hand. But of course, your opponents can also try to win them over. Needless to say, it’s a card game with some depth, and some might become consumed by it.

You’ll be able to play Tales of Tribute against the computer or real players, and it even has its own storyline and leaderboards. Being victorious will ultimately lead to you acquiring new cards, allowing you to complete a number of decks. There are going to be eight themed decks available, each consisting of 29 or so cards. And each deck will have its own unique mechanics, giving Tales of Tribute even more depth. We reckon it will go down like a storm with players.

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The High Isle Chapter for The Elder Scrolls Online launches 6th June on PC and Stadia (in limited territories). Console owners have to wait a little later unfortunately, with the chapter launching on 21st June on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Aside from all the new content, the High Isle Chapter brings some new quality-of-life features as well, though most of them are PC-focused. Mundus Stones will finally be added to the Armory, for example, and the leaderboards are going to be more reliable. Throw in FSR support, and all players of The Elder Scrolls Online benefit in one way or another.

And if you’re not currently a player of The Elder Scrolls Online, the launch of the High Isle Chapter might be a good time to start. Like the chapters before it, it’s been designed so that you can jump in straight away if you want. You don’t need to have completed the base game or achieved an arbitrary goal to unlock its content; it’s for newcomers and veterans alike. Even better, if you buy the base or collector’s edition of the High Isle Chapter, you get all previous chapters as well. Those who already play The Elder Scrolls Online can simply upgrade, of course.

The High Isle Chapter for The Elder Scrolls Online launches 6th June on PC and Stadia, and 21st June on PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Discover more information about the High Isle Chapter for The Elder Scrolls Online on the game’s official website

Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!