Content Type: Gaming Guides
Follow this method to level your thief skills fast in The Elder Scrolls Online.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article outlining five essential tips to follow to become the best thief ever in The Elder Scrolls Online (in case you missed the post you can read it here). To summarize, aspiring ESO thieves need to:
- Advance their Legerdemain Skill line,
- Be aware of outstanding bounties,
- Know their escape routes,
- Sell or launder stolen goods with caution,
- Concentrate thieving efforts in the capital cities where the action is.
But what if you simply want to level your thief skills as fast as possible? Is there a way to gain crazy amounts of Legerdemain quickly without a lot of fuss?
MUST READ: Stealing In ESO Just Got Nerfed
Level Your Thief Skills Fast
There is a way to level your thief skills fast in The Elder Scrolls Online, but I should caution that the play style isn’t for everyone. This leveling “trick” is basically a method to grind Legerdemain, and with grinding comes repetition and weariness. Still, if you want to level Legerdemain to 20 as fast as possible, this is the way:
1. Find Yourself Some Goats Yes, I’m being completely serious. You can level your thief skills fast, but you’re going to need some livestock. Most regions in the game have farmsteads or plantations with goats, etc. The trick is to find a location with lots of goats — the more the better. Veteran level players can find a great little farm right outside Craglorn’s Dragonstar Wayshrine for example.
2. Kill The Goats Players could always kill goats in The Elder Scrolls Online, but with the release of the Justice System, slaughtering goats is now a crime. This is actually great news if you want to level your thief skills fast.
3. Harvest The Goats Once you clandestinely kill the goats, you can harvest their bodies for Game, Guts, and Hide. Like any crime, just be careful not to be caught in the act! If an NPC witnesses your poaching efforts, you’ll rack up a bounty, so be sure to go into stealth mode.
4. Rinse And Repeat Because killing goats in now a crime, each item (Game, Guts, Hide) is considered “stolen,” and stolen items can be sold or laundered to a fence for valuable Legerdemain experience. Each slaughtered goat usually gives up a generous 3-4 items, and you can level your thief skill fast by simply killing an entire herd, looting their bodies, and waiting for the goats to respawn. In a relatively short period of time, you can fill your bag space with stolen goods at a much faster pace than skulking around town looting barrels and picking pockets.
MUST READ: ESO Recipe Conversion List For Update 1.6
5. Added Bonus Not only can you level your thief skills fast, but you can profit monetarily from this grind as well. At the time of writing, the average Guild Store price for Game is 39 gold and Guts is 8 gold — it may not sound like a lot, but when sold in stacks you can make some decent money while leveling. And this doesn’t even include the Hide you can sell or refine at Crafting Stations. Level your thief skills fast AND make money? Sounds like a win-win to me.
Do you have any tricks to level your thief skills fast in The Elder Scrolls Online? If so, please share your thoughts and experience in the Speak Your Mind section below. Until next time fellow travelers!
Goat killer!!! Jk, do you find better stuff to steal as ur skill line goes up? Slightly tired of only stealing 30 gold worth of stuff
Hi Drew, thanks for posting 🙂 Actually, your joke isn’t too far off. I kinda felt bad killing all those goats. Prior to Update 1.6, there really wasn’t much profit at all in harvesting livestock — definitely not worth it. Now that it’s a crime, things have changed. ESO even has an Achievement for it — Livestock Slaughterer, or something close (forgot to mention the Achievement in the article).
From what I can tell, the level of loot doesn’t correspond directly to how high your Legerdemain level is. For the record, I think it should — it would be a real incentive for players to level. You can craft better armor at a higher level, so why not steal better stuff?
Realistically though, (and I suppose it makes sense), just because I’m a better thief doesn’t mean that barrels, NPCs, etc. would have better loot. I think rare loot drops are still determined by chance, and the more you steal the better your odds of striking it rich. It’s a numbers game with the added thrill of running afoul of the law.
Most of the rare drops I’ve come across are valuable recipes — some worth thousands. I don’t Provision much, so I’ve sold them all off in the Guild Stores for good money. I was ony level 5 when I found the most valuable one in an NPC house (unlocked trunk). I’m still hoping to find one of the rare motifs (Primal, Barbaric, Ancient Elf, Daedric, Imperial). That’s where the serious money is, but so far no luck. I know they’re out there though, so I keep picking pockets and unlocking every safe box I find.
ps.. I predicted P2W as soon as B2P was rumored. They treat loyal subscribers like crap, ignore input/requests from longtime players, have laid off so much staff, including customer service (derp) which is a HUGE tell (and as you know, as the expert, went FAR beyond the usual post-launch numbers)…etc. etc. etc. Yet the game itself is amazing. I wish corporate greed weren’t …well, corporate greed.
I’m hoping the devs really stay true to their vision for ESO. Update 1.6 was just released, but we probably won’t be receiving new content until after the console launch (which is two months away yet). Even then, the buzz on the ESO forums is that new stuff won’t be coming until September, with the exception of a DLC release or two. I’m looking forward to DLC, but I’m REALLY looking forward to player housing, Spell Crafting, and the enhanced PvP Justice System they teased us with. I’m a realist though, and I know it takes money to bring these things to Tamriel. Just hoping the money is there, and the B2B business model works out (I’d truly hate to see P2W).
Helloooo! i think this method is a good idea, But id like to suggest another..
When stealing, at a low level this is beneficial, but when you’re above level I think 30, you can make way more money, and steal way faster and fill your loot bucket much quicker.
As you level up, when yous teal gear – the gear level goes up with you. So at level 3, the gear i steal is level 3. at level 30, the gear I steal is level 30. The value of lvl 3, might be like 15 gold, but at level 30 the face value is 30 (52 for me at lvl 42).
The core concept is knowing where to steal. I for one, Will go into davons watch – and all the marketplaces, have gear out. I take all 2h gear (staves, Greatswords, bows, ) and large equipment (curiass, jack, other chest and pant pieces) as these sell for the most.
At the same time, i am aware of the rotation of respawn for both Davons watch, and Riften of all the safebox locations in the town. Each run makes a huge circle. I do one complete circle, then circle back, turn in, repeat. Every 50 items = 5k if just common goods, Ive made out with 20k for a full 110, and 25k for the next tier.
Thieving is about knowledge, and where to make the best heist. Not just standing around killing goats! 😛
Thanks for posting 🙂 Your ideas spot on and will absolutely help the intrepid thief level fast. I haven’t personally visited Davon’s Watch to practice my stealing yet, but I’m going to follow your advice and start a major crime spree.
There is more than just davons watch! Riften is another good location, especially with a very very close refuge to the end of the city circle. So far the best spot ive found, but with smaller increments.
it also differs based on what youre looking for – the higher level maps you are in, the higher level loot that you find – due to higher amount of safeboxes. Ive tested this theory, and so far I barely find green loot in davons watch housing, but in riften I find greens, blues, and so on. (similar to unlocking a chest thats master in bleakrock – still only gives you level 3-8 gear.) – rarity chances go UP the higher level maps you are in. (tested in coldharbor but there isnt really any routes for loot picking there, seems – “dead” huehuehue) —
good luck to all my fellow theives! (its always a race to the safeboxes in riften!)
Good point, however, Shane’s tips are great for getting your live stock achievements at the very least.
Nice walk-through and thanks for the guide :)!
Could you please post a map location or write where to find these spots for farming sheeps/goats?
I’ve been looking around diffirent map locations but cant find any… Im in Ebonheart pact. Thanks!
Hi Shane and thanks for the great advice. Do you happen to know any locations for goats for Ebonheart pact?
Lol guys….the best way to lvl up legerdemain is whatever the lvl you are go on high lvl map like i’m actually lvl 11 and i’m in windhelm lvl 30 camping like hell on npc. I got really nice stuff like green and sometimes blue stuff. My legerdemain lvl so quick than i’m actually at lvl 19 close to lvl 20 legerdemain. The best way is add all the skills points you get in legerdemain in light finger and trafficker. Than go outside of windhelm keep (next to kynestgrove wayshrine) there is some houses and boat next to it with npcs, steal them. If npc attack you and you are low lvl just flee far a little for they can’t reach you. And then come back and steal again. Do this until you get full inventory than go in the outlaw refuge outside of windhelm. Sell all your stolen item in fence and directly add your money in the bank. Me actually i’m at 64000 gold in two weeks of stolen stuff. I will get more gold soon but i need to max my fence stolen item that i can sell. Another npc you can steal is npc in windhelm there is wayshrine Inside spawn there and steal people next to the house you spawn near wayshrine in windhelm. Be careful, guard is everywhere in the city, know your way when you are stealing safely. Again if npc attack you and you are low lvl, flee safely. When your inventory is full in windhelm and you are in safe spot next house of the shrine go at the right of the house go in front of the wall a little away of the central door prepare your skills of running and then run like hell and fall down of the bridge at the left directly when you pass the door the guard can’t reach you when you fall. Than run to the outlaw refuge trap. Follow these steps and you will lvl quick and get rich like hell in few times. Good luck.
Here is my grinding routine for the Legerdemain skill line (this is for my Daggerfall toon since he’s the thief. Modify for your own alliance):
First go to Glenumbra and then down to the docks where the Daggerfall Outlaw Refuge is. There are some guards that patrol in this area so familiarize yourself with their patrol routes and be aware of where they are at all times.
When standing outside of the entrance to the refuge and looking north you will see three NPCs (all three are easy marks) on the boardwalk (2 standing and 1 sitting with her back against a piling). Sneak up behind the sitting NPC and you can pick her pocket without being caught. You can pick pocket any NPC 3 times before their pockets are empty. Once you have emptied her pockets, sneak behind the NPC to her immediate left. When you pick his pocket, you will be successful, but the sitting NPC will see you and attack you. Do not worry about getting a bounty for doing this and I’ll get to why in a moment.
Once the sitting NPC is attacking you, lead her away (behind the crates to the east of this location is best) then kill her. Again, do not concern yourself with your bounty, besides, you should be able to kill her behind the crates without being seen, but it really doesn’t matter. With her out of the way go back to the NPC that she caught you stealing from and empty his pockets. Next is his buddy whose stands in front of him. Each time you pickpocket him the other one will see you, but will not attack. He does alert the other NPC to your presence though, but if you just wait there his awareness will go away and you can pickpocket him again. Once these two have empty pockets, kill them. I know it seems senseless, but trust me I’ll tell you why in a moment.
Next, just to the east of this location is a lone lady. She is a hard mark. Sneak up behind her. Be careful though because there is a guard who patrols there and will sometimes be standing behind her a few yards looking in her direction. If he is there, wait for him to leave. Once in the clear, attempt to pickpocket her. She is hard, so she may catch you. When and NPC catches you trying to pick their pocket (as opposed to catching you picking someone else pocket) they become aware of you and their awareness takes much longer to go away. If she catches you, kill her. If you are successful, wait and attempt it again. Always kill her when she catches you or when her pockets are empty.
Next, just to the east of her location is another NPC that is usually carrying a box. There is also a guard that patrols here (probably the same one, never paid enough attention). She is an easy mark, so empty her pockets then kill her.
The next 4 marks are all easy and there are no guards around. The first is fishing off the long dock that is just east of the last mark. He is about halfway up the dock to the north. Empty him then kill him. Backtrack south along that dock and then turn right at the first ramp you come to. There is a guy looking like he is taking inventory of some crates. Pickpocket and kill him. Go back up that ramp (be sure to only go up the first ramp because there is a guard that patrols at the top of the second). Turn right (south again) and go all the way to the end where you will see another ramp leading down to the right. There are two marks at the end of the dock; one is fishing and the other looks like he is standing guard to the ramp that leads to the ship. Take the guard first and the fisherman second. It’s best to get right behind him, you might have to jump to position yourself. Steal then kill. Do the same with the fisherman.
Next, back track up the ramp. You will see another ramp leading up close by. Go up that ramp as well. Be aware of the guard that patrols this area. When he is out of sight there are three NPCs to the north of the top o the ramp you just came up. They are huddled together and it’s rather hard to pickpocket them the way they are positioned, but you can easily kill them (trust me, I’m getting to the reason). With them taken care of head east to the stable looking structure that is next to the Refuge entrance. There is a lady there sweeping or some such. Empty her pockets and kill her.
By this point you have made a complete circuit starting and ending at the Outlaw Refuge. Also by this point the NPCs that you killed should have respawned with fresh loot in their pockets, so repeat the process until your inventory is full. Once your inventory is full go down to the refuge and sell all your stolen goods to the fence. You can repeat this process as many times as you wish. If at any point you get caught by a guard, choose flee then use any skill that will immobilize him for a few seconds. While he is immobilized run to the refuge. Once inside just wait a few seconds and exit again. Be sure to exit in stealth mode incase he is still nearby.
So what’s with all the killing? Well the reason I say not to worry about the kill or the bounty you gain is because there are achievements tied to them. The Serial Killer achievement requires you to kill 1/50/100 citizens. Felonious Recompense requires you pay a total of 100,000 gold to a guard or a fence. Yes this is a hefty price and it might be an achievement that you might want to save for later in the game when gold is easier to get, but this grind can get you up to 10,000 bounty in just a few cycles, so even if your Legerdemain is maxed, you can still come back here and grind out that achievement very quickly. By the way, the Felonious Recompense achievement also unlocks the color Shadowfoot Gray at the dye station. You can also easily get your Escape Artist 1/100 down in this area while you are at it. Just get caught by a guard very near the Refuge entrance and escape as described above over and over again. If you are right near the entrance it is super easy to escape.
If you could careless about these achievements, you can forego the killing, I think the NPC pockets will respond fresh loot doing this circuit anyways, but I haven’t tested that theory. You will still work up a bounty from the times you get caught pickpocketing, but waiting out a bounty is a simple thing. I have verified that your bounty does go down when you are logged out, so when your bounty gets too high and you don’t want to pay it, logout until the next day or go play another toon (if you have one) for a while. Run this a bit before you plan on logging off and you shouldn’t have a problem with it.
I had to leave a reply to my own reply (lol) because I failed to check the Notify check box. I’d like to read any replies or further discussion on this topic.
Shane: you should default that one to ‘true’, just my two cents.
Oh and EDIT: I said there is an NPC to the east of the lone lady that is usually carrying a box, I meant west not east. 😉
Uh your brilliant plan won’t level it any faster than normal. The goats don’t raise your skill and there’s an easily reached limit of sales to the fence per day.
Uh, Emma this post is from early 2015, uh, when the goat grind actually did work. Uh, so uh, your brilliant reply is uh, irrelevant. Uh.
If you can still launder the guts and hide and such, this could still be quite convenient. Far easier to keep a stack of stolen guts in my bags while leveling than several handfuls of other items.
Remember that bag/bank slots and costs need to be factored into any economic decision.
Hope it’s not too late to post, but here goes. I have found one trick that keeps me from far less worry in regards to getting caught stealing or using the blade of woe. I have a CP350 character so I have had plenty of time to train my horse. But, to boost it even more. I went into Cyrodiil and did the siege weapon training quest to unlock the rapid movement skill. If i am caught, one block and i activate the skill and they have no chance of catching me. Combine this with the Edicts from the TG and you’re pretty much never going to have a problem with the law.
2018… did th goat run a few times… only paid 1gold for each for like guts… but it did raise my skill… So not a good way to make money… So i turned around in used the guts a bait…. the fish i cought sold for 3gold.
I did find it any very easy way to get Hide scraps. you can craft with stolen items.
Is that online play cause ps4 and xbox dont pay gold for these items
Is that online play cause ps4 and xbox dont pay gold for these items
You’re right indeed. Actually, in consoles you have other ways to play. But in PC, you can even buy a power leveling service to help you out with your character.
you can use the laundering exploit on any stolen items.
launder to get xp, sell to merchant make your gold back.
Hi Dimi, thanks for posting. You’re absolutely correct, and the more stolen items you launder and sell, the more your Legerdemain Skill increases.
I explored laundering and selling in a prior article, but I should clarify the fencing process here:
Either laundering or selling a stolen item with a fence will gain you the same amount of XP. If you launder though, you can keep the item for personal use, or sell on your own in Chat or a Guild Store for big bucks (if the item is rare).
If you decide to sell stolen loot to a fence, he or she will pay out face value for an item (great for 30, 100, or 250 gold “junk” you come across picking pockets and looting containers, but not great for recipes, motifs, certain ingredients and rare items). With the new Justice System, crime really does pay, both in XP and money.
Shane, I love your site so far. I can’t stay long, as I don’t want to get booted (again) …it’s been happening too much as is since the Justice System began. That said, I’m having SO MUCH fun with it, it’s almost worth the pc issues! Your guide is simple, easy to follow and all I can say is THANNNNK YOUUUU!!! <3
Hi Chelle, glad you like the Skyrim Fansite 🙂 I really appreciate your kind words, and I’m pleased you’ve found this article useful. The Justice System really is addicting, isn’t it? My character just can’t stop stealing and avoiding the guards. I’m starting to worry about him…