The abilities of ESO's new vampire

I stuff my lockpicks into a chest and pull out my fangs. I had never thought much about becoming a vampire in The Elder Scrolls Online, but now that the Greymoor expansion has redesigned vampires with eye-catching animations and new skills, my theft khajiit is considering a career change.

Since the Thieves' Guild was added to The Elder Scrolls Online, I've become a casual gamer - I come by to steal and fight or to do a daily raid after a few story missions. I hadn't thought much about becoming a vampire in ESO. I got bitten early in my first TES IV: Oblivion play through years ago and remember that it was a big trouble. Unlike in Oblivion, growing fangs in ESO doesn't force you to stay indoors in daylight. It just wasn't that interesting. Zenimax Online has fixed this with new skills, an ultimate ability and an incentive to actually play like a hungry vampire.

Bite your hand. It feeds you.

Since I wasn't ready to try my luck and wait for a bite from a random NPC or a generous player, I took the quick route and bought my way into the blood cult of ESO's cash shop, which got me straight into the action could get in. I made my way to Morthal, part of the newly added western Skyrim area, and thought I would give TES V: Skyrim an indication of the city's vampire problem.

Being a vampire is pretty much my favorite role as a thief at first. I crouch down and approach a lonely NPC from behind without witnesses being able to see him. Instead of jumping to steal their bags, I treat them to a deadly nibble on their throats. Doing this gave me my first surprise.

When Zenimax Online said it improved animation for feeding NPCs as a vampire, I was expecting a nice new animation that I would be repeating dozens of times soon. I thought it would be similar to the last animations for the Blade of Woe in the Dark Brotherhood DLC. They are similar, but even better after my book. I've counted at least four individual feeding animations and frankly they're cooler than what the contract killers have access to.

Seriously. Tell me it's not intense.

I don't want to overdo these snappy new interludes as groundbreaking movie theater recordings, but they're elegant by MMO standards. The cinematic action shots remind me of the excessive, enjoyable combat combinations in Yakuza 0, although the bite can get a little shaky depending on the obstacles that you and your victim are close to.

Zenimax has turned the vampire paradigm of the ESO past upside down to meet some people. You didn't have to do anything to become a more powerful vampire. Players became more powerful by not feeding on NPCs. Many would become a vampire and then continue playing as usual. You may have used some of the special active vampire skills, but it was just as easy to take advantage of some of the passive damage reduction skills while sticking to the combat skills relevant to your class.

Now you have to keep feeding to keep your bloody powers up, which makes more sense and is much more fun. Every poor fool you bite increases your strength to a total of four. At this point, your pimped vampire power will slowly decrease over the next few hours. Now that maintaining these perks requires a little maintenance, I will probably develop a feeding route that is as reliable as my old theft routine. Or maybe I'm opportunistic and eat on the run.

The other big kicker for bloodthirsty players is Blood Scion's new ultimate ability that turns you into a Lord of the Night. As a true master vampire, I am growing a bit in size, horns and some serious abs. I heal instantly, increase my maximum health, magics and stamina, and heal for 15% of the total damage I cause. I can also see enemies through walls. Blood works in a mysterious way.

Zenimax's makeover has a downside if you were an occasional bloodsucker before - the new design requires you to focus entirely on vampirism. If you feed and your strength increases, the magicka and endurance costs for your vampire skills will ultimately decrease by as much as 24 percent. To make up for this, all non-vampire skills cost 12 percent more once you reach fourth level. Oh, and you won't get automatic health recovery at all at the highest level of vampirism. So bring some normal snacks with you to heal yourself.

I'm not a combat analyst, but it seems like a high price. If you become overzealous with your feeding, you will get stuck for the hours required to drop to a lower vampire rank without health regeneration and with increased costs for all of your non-vampire skills. For players like me, this probably means keeping a full bar of blood-sucking abilities, constant fourth-rank vampire status, and all of their non-vampire abilities.

I don't think I'll give up being a thief forever. After all, the passive vampire ability Dark Stalker reduces the movement penalty I get when sneaking and makes my vampire / thief combination a match that was made in hell. After getting my wings under me as a freshly formed Tamriel terror, I imagine I will pick locks and bags again. I just have to stop for a snack on my route every now and then.


Contact US

Social Networks