If you're feeling overwhelmed at the start of the game, these Elder Scrolls Blades tips should help you out. It might not be a fully-fledged Bethesda RPG, but it’s complex compared to most mobile games, and it can take a while to get used to its combination of town building, combat, and looting.
To help you get started in the Elder Scrolls Blades, we’ve compiled a list of handy hints and tips that should make your first ten hours or so much less painful. And even if you’ve got past that point, we reckon there are some secrets here that you didn’t already know about. When you're up to speed with all of our Elder Scrolls Blades tips, why not take a look at how the Elder Scrolls Blades gems work?
Regularly check off your challenges
Challenges, which you can find in the quest menu, are a handy way of earning extra cash, and will reward you for completing basic actions such as dealing a certain amount of damage. However, you don’t get the reward automatically: you have to go back onto the challenge page and tap the ‘claim’ button. New challenges also won’t load until you’ve cleared old ones from the menu. For that reason, you should check the challenge page regularly to make sure you’re checking off any that you’ve completing.
Time your blocks—and unleash spells
Shields are vital in the early game, and can negate almost all incoming damage from low-level enemies. If you time your block just before an enemy strikes, you’ll stagger them. This gives you time to get in a few swipes, or—even better—charge up spells with a long casting time. Fireball is a powerful early-game spell, but it takes a long time to cast and you’ll set yourself on fire if you’re interrupted, so trigger it as soon as you stagger an enemy to get it off safely.
Hit the right, left, right combo
If you string successive attacks together you deal a lot more damage. Rather than just tapping with one hand, the best way rack up combos is to hold your phone landscape and attack with both thumbs. As soon as you’ve finished your attack with one hand, start your attack on the other. Keep alternating back and forth to tear through enemies—and always make sure you charge attacks until the circle is full to ensure you get critical strikes.
Grab healing abilities, such as Absorb and Adrenaline Dodge
Health potions are hard to come by until you unlock the Alchemist—and even then, you don’t want to glug a potion every time you get hit. It’s therefore worth investing skill points in healing spells and abilities to keep yourself topped up during missions. The Absorb spell is your best bet until you hit level 10, at which point you want to grab Adrenaline Dodge as soon as you can: it will both evade incoming damage and heal you up in one go.
Be patient with small animals
Sometimes, the hardest enemies in Blades’ are the smallest. Rats and wolves are annoying to fight because they stay out of range of your attacks and then come in for quick strikes. The best way to deal with them is to keep your finger or thumb held down, ready for an attack. Then, just as they leap forward, trigger the attack. Once you get the timing down, you’ll kill them easily.
Don’t buy armour and weapons early
Buying armour and weapons from the Smithy might seem like a good idea, but it’s really just a waste of money. You’ll find much more powerful items in chests—plus, items scale with you, which means the fancy new sword you just bought will be useless in a few hours’ time. Instead, save your money for upgrading your town.
Focus on town upgrades - specifically shops
When possible, you should pour all your resources into upgrading your town. Building shops and houses will raise the level of your town, which has all sorts of benefits: it will unlock new story quests, for example, and let you upgrade existing buildings so that you can access better gear.
Instead of building dwellings early on, focus on constructing shops, such as Smithies and Alchemy Laboratories. You’ll get more benefits out of them, and they’ll raise your town prestige quicker than houses will.
Leave space for bigger buildings
Some buildings, such as an Enchanter’s Towers or Workshop, take up two lots in your town rather than one. Make sure you leave space for them, preferably near the town’s main gate, where you’ll have the best access to them.
Build two Smithies
When you have the resources, build two Smithies. You’ll want to start upgrading your gear and crafting at some point, and both of those actions take time, putting a Smithy out of commission while they hammer away. Building two means you can use one for crafting and upgrades, and the other for selling weapons you’ve found.
Repairing items is cheap
As you use gear, it becomes damaged, which lowers its stats. Keep on top of its condition by regularly visiting a Smithy, who can maintain your items. You can do a bulk repair of everything at once, and it won’t cost you very much.
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to repair steel gear effectively when your Smithy is at level one—upgrade your Smithy once your town reaches level two.
Try out both horizontal and vertical control schemes
Blades switches seamlessly between portrait and landscape mode (we’ve had a few hiccups, but it generally works well). Both offer very different control options: in portrait, you’re tapping on screen to decide where you want to move, whereas in landscape mode you can use two virtual joysticks. Chances are that one or the other will work best for you, so try out both.
We like portrait for moving around—you can tap a faraway spot and then look around as you move—and landscape for combat, which lets you perform the side-to-side combos we mentioned earlier.
Save higher level chests for later
Chests scale with your level at the point of unlocking. It’s therefore a good idea to save your rare chests until you’ve pumped 10 hours or more into Blades—if you’re not struggling with enemies at your current level, you don’t need to worry about improving your gear. Patience can get you better items in the long-term.
Also, if you are going to open chests that are silver or better, then remember they take hours to unlock. Instead of opening them while you’re playing, try to save them for the end of your play sessions so that they’ll unlock in the background—that way, you can still open wooden chests as and when you find them.
Don’t forget to claim your free daily item
Understandably, many Blades players might want to steer clear of the store and its microtransactions, where packages of gems are going for up to $100. But it’s still worth visiting the store every day so that you can claim a free daily item. You’ll usually grab some building materials, and sometimes even a chest that can be opened instantly.