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Shadows of the Hist – Exploring the Cradle of Shadows

William Murphy Posted:
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On August 1st, Elder Scrolls Online will launch its 5th DLC since becoming Tamriel Unlimited: Shadows of the Hist (for the XB1 and PS4 the date is August 16th). Focused on adding two new big 4-player dungeons, a new style parlor, costume dying, and loads of changes in the base game patch, Shadows of the Hist is poised to bring a bolt of dungeon-crawling goodness into the game.

We caught up with the Zenimax team to bring you an exclusive look at the two new dungeons being added with Shadows of the Hist. Last week we took a delve into the Ruins of Mazzatun, and this week we’re pulling back the curtain on the Cradle of Shadows. Cradle of Shadows, unlike Ruins of Mazzatun, is tied into the Dark Brotherhood though you won’t need to own the DB DLC to play it.

What’s great about both new dungeons is that they each feature three brand new item sets to obtain, new achievements that come with an appearance reward, and a new monster mask set to earn as well. Rewards are strong in these dungeons, and I’m betting my guild will be one of the first to tackle these new places from August as they come in normal and Veteran modes of difficulty. You can enter the dungeons at any level too, as part of the base game’s leaning towards “One Tamriel” this fall. They scale to the group leader’s level so bear that in mind.

So, with all of that info, what exactly makes the Cradle of Shadows stand out from ESO’s other dungeons? Let’s ask the Zenimax Online Studios dungeon team for a little info.


A Brotherhood Argonian assassin named Hides-the-Ashes is needs your help. She came to the Cradle of Shadows to assist a flock of Shadowscales, but arrived too late. The Silken Ring, a cult governed only by a bloody and fanatical devotion to Mephala, has kidnapped her former mentor, Tsatva-Lan (or so she thinks.) The players slaughter their way through the Cradle, learning that Tsatva-Lan has actually joined the Silken Ring, and a Daedric lieutenant named Velidreth is the true power behind the cult. The players must destroy the Silken Ring and help Hides-the-Ashes punish Tsatva-Lan for his treachery.

For this dungeon designed very distinct areas and wanted to push area wide mechanics. The entrance area has statues of Mephala which fire orbs of destruction at you. We meant to convey that the Silken Ring was worshipping these statues but it also doubles as a telegraph mechanic for a future boss in the dungeon. The Spider Caves, forever shadowed in darkness, also foretell mechanics later in the dungeon. Darkness was a prominent design in the dungeon and fighting against that was something we wanted to push throughout.

There are five new bosses in Cradle of Shadows too, and while we don’t want to spoil too much about them, here’s a taste of what you can expect. Needless to say, arachnophobia sufferers beware:


The Spider Daedra was designed as a lighter encounter to get players used to fighting in the dark and lighting the braziers. She doesn’t have a ton of things to learn but, especially in Veteran, the darkness is as much an enemy as she is.

Khephidaen the Spiderkith

This boss is the ruler of the Spider Caves. She uses all the mechanics players have dealt with up until now and then turns it to eleven. She teleports, channels a very high damage interruptible attack, summons monsters form the darkness and extinguishes the flames in her room which must be relit. This has definitely proven to be a challenging encounter so far.

Votary of Velidreth

As with Sithera, this fight is on the lighter side of mechanics to figure out. Pacing is something we as developers always keep in mind when developing dungeons. There is an ebb and flow and this boss, though light on mechanics, provides a good bump in difficulty to keep up the pace.

The last two bosses are both special to the lore, and a culmination of the dungeon’s mechanics. Dranos Velador and Velidreth, the Lady of Lace are going to be two of the toughest fights you’ve faced as a group in Elder Scrolls Online. And that means we won’t spoil them here. Just remember… work as a team, and you might make it out alive.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.