Elder Scrolls Online: Thieves Guild DLC Review

By Megan Walton, 8 months ago
For me personally, the Thieves Guild was one of my favourite questlines back in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and I even went as far as to restart the game to finish the questline when it glitched on me. Sneaking around trying to steal objects without being seen was obviously a favourite pastime of a lot of other Elder Scrolls fans too, which is why the latest DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited was announced to be the "Thieves Guild". Giving you a new area to explore and quest line to follow, would updating the thieves guild for the online iteration of the game be a success?

Now you see me....Now you see me....


As with the last DLCs, "Thieves Guild" can be bought through the in-game store using the crown currency. This time around there's the option of the normal or collector's edition, with the difference being that the collector's edition is slightly more expensive, of course, and offers you the addition of a new mount and pet with the purchase. Whilst mere novelties, it is slightly amusing to see yourself riding around on a camel with a frog bouncing after you. Once it's bought and the first quest has been accepted, you can begin your journey as a thief. This introductory mission invites you to find a thief named Quen, who needs a partner for a mission. From there, you will eventually join the thieves guild and begin the rather expansive quest line which sees you pilfer items, trespass through buildings, and sneak past guards. The story of this DLC covers all the usual facets of theivery in Tamriel -- intrigue, betrayal, death, fights and player choices for certain quests, which is a highlight of the DLC. The variety between sneaking, stealing, and fighting quests is generally well balanced, but sometimes the largely fetch-based quests can get a little repetitive.

A fair amount of the quests will see you breaking and entering a number of houses or trespassing into forbidden areas in order to find people or steal items. Once you trespass into an area, a small HUD will pop up in the bottom corner which you'll want to keep your eye on. This will tell you whether you have a bounty or not, which means you'll know whether you have been seen whilst sneaking or not. Both guards and civilians seeing you will raise your bounty if you are in an area you aren't meant to be in, but while a civilian will simply make a comment and nothing more, a guard will come and attack you relentlessly until you either manage to escape and hide, or die. The guards cone of vision seems to be a little hit and miss, with you sometimes standing right in front of them and being unseen, while other times you'll be standing far away and they'll manage to spot you. This means some missions will only be completed without being seen with some factor of luck.

I'm just going to help myself here if you don't mindI'm just going to help myself here if you don't mind


The DLC naturally focuses a lot on stealth, and by the end you'll probably have mastered those mechanics to a point. The game offers you some help when it comes to sneaking though, by placing the odd barrel about which works as a hiding spot, which you can happily hide in until the approaching guard has walked past. They also work as very unrealistic helping hands with your escape, as when a guard is chasing you, jumping straight in one of these causes them to forget where you are. This may make it sound easy, but the amount of guards walking about coupled with the annoying routes they seem to take means you'll probably be struggling to get through most quests without being seen. To make it that little bit harder still, some of the guards have an invisible cone around them which means when you walk close to them you can't crouch, and consequently, sneak. This gets more and more irritating the more quests and sneaking you have to do, but challenges you to be more creative with your routes and encourages you to plan out your path before you start.

If you manage to finish the main questline and fancy some more questing and adventuring, then Hew's Bane has plenty to offer you. The thieves guild themselves have their own various quests from members, which unlock as you upgrade your thieves guild skill level. To do this, there are daily quests and heists to pick up from three different locations. The daily quests can range from stealing items from lockboxes to pickpocketing civilians, and you'll come across more fetch quests to complete as well. The heists offer you something a little different, and present you with a task of finding some treasures in a new smallish location, scattered with guards and traps. These are something different and are fun to complete, but to get the top rewards you'll need to complete them without being seen and in a time limit. These reset everyday, so there's always a chance to pick up a new heist to partake it, and they can be based in all sorts of locations such as sewers and mines. Another addition, the hit list in the Thieves Den, challenges you to find a number of special items scattered about the world, with only minimal clues as to where and what they might be.

Come face to face with three guards, and it's unlikely you'll walk awayCome face to face with three guards, and it's unlikely you'll walk away


The thieves guild itself, based in Hew's Bane, is a new hub for you to get acqainted with, too. There's everything you could need for your upcoming adventure, with boards to pick up quests, fences to which you can sell your stolen items, and merchants from whom you can buy new items as well. It's also where you'll be coming back to after most of your main quests are done to pick up your next, and it's easily accessible via a short journey from a nearby wayshrine. Hew's Bane itself is a new area to explore as well, and has new delves for you to explore in addition to group bosses to take on. Although small in comparison to some of the other cities in the game, you'll still be able to spend a fair few hours here before you complete everything, especially if you pay attention to the in-game DLC achievements. There is grand architecture to look at but a large desert-based area surrounding the city, so the colours and overall look of the DLC are fairly bland. There are also a few problems with the textures of certain areas loading, and it isn't uncommon for you to run into the city and be met with blurred walls and stairs around you.

The DLC also seemed to suffer with some lag issues from time to time, and I often found myself loading into an area full of black silhouettes as the players and NPCs hadn't loaded. While not a game-breaking problem, this was annoying when it happened as often as it did. The other main issue that seemed to occur was the white arrow marker for the quest sometimes seemed to be pointing to the wrong place or kept jumping about. This happened mainly whilst I was doing heists, and there were a lot of white arrows appearing at areas where treasure were before moving, disappearing and sometimes not even pointing to areas with treasure at all. Whilst it only happened in one main quest to memory, this was especially annoying in the heists that you try to complete silently and quickly.

Grab some friends, and take on Hew's Bane with the Thieves GuildGrab some friends, and take on Hew's Bane with the Thieves Guild


In terms of achievements, the DLC adds an extra six for you to unlock. The first achievement you'll get is from simply joining the Thieves Guild. Once you get to the conclusion of their questline and complete that, you'll get another achievement. After that, you'll want to find all the items on the hit list and do quests for all the various people in the guild. Finally you'll want to explore all of Hew's Bane and complete all the delves and bosses, and then you'll need to try and complete a heist without being seen, which may provide you with quite the challenge.

Summary

With plenty of players running about the DLC area, "Thieves Guild" offers a fun new addition to Elder Scrolls Online. The questline will keep you busy for a fair few hours, and the extra quests and heists mean there's plenty offered here even after the main quests are finished. Unfortunately, the expected lag and bugs related to the textures in the game and the quest arrow can get very annoying, and the quests eventually might get a little repetitive by the time you have finished. Overall, the Thieves Guild have been updated nicely, and will be enjoyable for anyone who has had fun among the sleuths in past Elder Scrolls games. There's more of the same on offer here, so if you enjoy Elder Scrolls Online then it's probably worth a purchase, but if you don't, this offering isn't going to change your mind.
4 / 5
Positives
  • Exciting questline with addition of extra quests and heists
  • New area to explore with mini bosses and delves
Negatives
  • Expected bugs and glitches throughout
  • Problems with lag and the textures loading especially in Hew's Bane
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent approximately 15 hours failing to sneak past people and being the most unsubtle thief in Hew's Bane, but managed to unlock all 6 of the DLC's achievements. A pack of 3000 crowns was provided to purchase the DLC for the purpose of this review.
Megan Walton
Written by Megan Walton
Megan is a TA newshound and reviewer who has been writing for the site since early 2014. Currently working in catering, she enjoys cooking extravagant dishes, baking birthdays cakes for friends and family in peculiar shapes, writing depressing poetry about life and death, and unlocking every achievement possible.