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The Elder Scrolls: Blades nixes chest timers and adds PvP in one big update

The biggest Elder Scrolls: Blades patch notes just got rid of the worst feature ever: chest timers. The microtransaction-pushing mechanic was excised from The Elder Scrolls: Blades in version 1.5 which dropped today, and the same update added other player-friendly changes to the way Blades awards loot as well as new social features. If you liked Blades but bounced off of it as soon as the timers started stacking up, you may want to give it another shot.

By far the most important change in The Elder Scrolls: Blades version 1.5 is the death of chest timers. The way they worked before, you would either need to wait hours between unlocking the most lucrative loot-filled chests or pay up with microtransactions to skip the timer. Worse still, you could only hold on to a certain number of chests at a time, so either you had to pay to skip the timers, pay to increase your chest storage, or resign yourself to missing out on rewards you earned. Or you could just stop playing.

On top of letting players instantly open their chests, Bethesda is also refunding all of the gems players spent on increasing their chest storage (sounds like you won't get any of the gems you may have spent on skipping timers back). Defeated enemies and more breakable objects will drop bigger quantities of loose loot while you're questing, and every job you take will have a boss at the end who could drop Legendary equipment. And you'll even have more room to put some of that stuff, because each player is being awarded 20 free inventory spaces.

Hesitantly setting treasure aside for a moment, Bethesda also added the Arena mode to the game. Arena lets players take each other on in 1v1, best of three matches. You'll have three times as much health and extra-effective high blocks while fighting your fellow adventurers, which should make for some nice and meaty back-and-forth exchanges between players.

Lastly, there are guilds now! Each one can hold up to 20 players, all of whom can chat and share materials if they wish, and you can even visit their towns to go shopping. Hopefully all of these changes will spell good things for Blades as it approaches its second year - and that it will stick around longer than The Elder Scrolls: Legends, which just ended development on new content.

Curious for the future of the franchise? Check out everything we know about Elder Scrolls 6. 

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.