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The Justice System Revealed

Elder Scrolls Online Previews - By Ryan Getchell on October 09, 2014

The Justice System Revealed

“By order of the Jarl, stop right there!” Even though I have not logged nearly as many hours as a lot of people, that phrase is one I know all too well. Anytime I’ve tried to be a sneaky thief, there was always a guard right near me ready to confiscate my stolen good. From what I saw at the Guild Summit, this phrase (or variations of it) will be playing a lot through my speakers as I play The Elder Scrolls Online.

As with the Champion System, this new addition to ESO isn’t something small. This system is going to change how we as players interact with the world. Making it a more believable environment. More lootable items, more dialogue with the NPCs, players taking on a role of Guards, and so much more.

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When I first heard about the justice system coming to ESO, I didn’t think much of it, I thought it’d be a simple addition to the game, but I didn’t take into account what they’d really need to do. Every guard in every city needs to be able to react to player actions; they need to be patrolling the cities vigorously; they need to be connected somehow to prevent players from stealing stuff in Daggerfall and quick traveling to Wayrest until their bounty has dissipated.  Zenimax is going to be changing the way sneak works as well. If I’m an Enforcer, and an Outlaw goes into sneak, it only makes sense that I should not be able to see him, same for Shadow Cloak, and invisibility potions.

If the world of Tamriel doesn’t have enough to deal with, with Molag Bal and other daedric forces roaming the country side, murdering and pillaging, now they’ll have to deal with the masses, murdering and pillaging. Let me tell you, I can’t wait to murder and pillage the citizens of Tamriel!

Unlike the other Elder Scrolls games where you only had to deal with mindless NPCs when you broke the law, Elder Scrolls Online is an MMORPG, you’re going to have to deal with real live players. As a player you can take up the role of the Enforcer, or the Outlaw, with the option of switching sides anytime you wish.

The Enforcer

This is one of the two roles a player can take on. This role is the Paladin, the do-gooder. As an Enforcer it is your duty to patrol the cities of Tamriel looking out for Outlaws who are only out for themselves. Stealing from the wealthy, from the poor, there is no regard for either.

In order to become an Enforcer you have to go to the Enforcer Towers, typically located just outside the city walls. Once there you’ll need to obtain your Enforcer tabard. This tabard is what will flag you as an “on duty” Enforcer. Allowing you to see acts of crimes and to engage with the outlaws in a battle to the death. Yes, that’s right you can engage in PvP combat with other players of your faction, if they are seen committing a crime. I can see this smaller scale PvP being utilized to test out builds and abilities before going into Cyrodiil. Using the filthy, no good, scoundrels of Tamriel as your target dummies.

If you do witness a crime, as an Enforcer you must stop the Outlaw from getting to the Outlaw den. These dens are safe zones for Outlaws and if they get to one of them, they’ll be safe from Enforcers, and have the ability to sell off their stolen items.

You can wear your Enforcer tabard at all times, you do not need to take it off. Having it on at all times will allow you to see if anyone you pass has a bounty on them. If they do it is your job to take that outlaw out, and confiscate his items and return them to the Enforcer Tower for your rewards.

As an Enforcer you’ll have access to a small aspect of the game not Outlaws won’t, that’s the PvE side of the system. As you travel throughout Tamriel you’ll come across clues, these clues will give you hints to the location of hidden Bandit Caves.

Inside these caves you’ll find chests that can have stolen items in them that you can return for rewards or random junk that might be worthless. However, this is a bandit cave, and they want to protect their stuff so some of the chests will be trapped. You can go into sneak to detect these traps, which if you successfully deactivate, you’ll have a chance of looting the item and using it against an Outlaw in a future encounter. Perhaps you looted a chest with a fire trap that went off when you opened it and you get hit with fire damage. As a result in the future you’ll be able to protect the citizens of Tamriel by placing these traps on the houses of the wealthy members of society, the high valued targets. It would definitely bring another aspect to the game.

While in these caves, you won’t be given a complete map like you are in all the other dungeon delves and caves in ESO. There are hidden secrets to be found in these caves that only those who fully explore will be able to find.

I really like everything they are doing with this system, except the tabard. I understand that they need a way to ensure that Enforcers stand out against the civilians of the world and have an “On/Off” switch for the PvP flag, but if I want to be an Enforcer, I can no longer represent my guild. On top of not being able to represent your guild, you also cannot wear a costume. What if I was a reanimated Skeleton that, in a previous life was a Lion Guard, and I want to uphold everything the Lion Guard stood for. With the Enforcer tabard taking the slot of the costumes, I can no longer role-play that aspect. Personally, I’m not a major role-player, but that sounds kind of fun.

There must be some other option that we as a community could suggest instead of them using the tabard/costume slot as the On/Off switch and the visual markers for the Enforcer.

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