Imperial City Survival Guide For Non-PVP Players

Not a PvP player? No worries! Follow these 5 steps to survive the perils of the Imperial City.

Let’s face it. The Elder Scrolls Online Imperial City DLC is geared towards Player vs Player (PvP) conflict. Yes, I know the game’s first expansion has PvE elements as well, but to access the storyline and quests you’re going to have to hoof it through the mean streets of Imperial City at some point.

So what’s a non-PvP player supposed to do?

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Imperial City Survival Guide

Now before you completely write-off Imperial City and get angry with the devs, there’s something you should know: non-PvP players can survive and thrive in Imperial City AND have a blast doing so.

To help you on your adventure I’ve outlined a few helpful hints. Follow the suggestions in this Imperial City survival guide and you’ll do just fine 🙂

You need to realize from the outset that you’re going to die in the Imperial City. Not once. Not twice. But lots of times.

Whatever you do though, don’t get upset! Sure, it’s frustrating (and a tad embarrassing) having players from a different faction monkey stomp you on the cobbles in the Memorial District for all the world to see, but death is absolutely unavoidable. In PvP death happens to the very best players with the very best gear and the very best skills, so don’t sweat it. Better players than you have died, so keep your cool and realize that death is a part of the game.

Note: Unlike PvP in Cyrodiil, when you die you’ll reanimate in a safe zone relatively close to the action. No more riding a mount for endless miles just to get back into the thick of it.

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Death is certain in Imperial City. Thankfully, you reanimate close to the action.

In Imperial City you have to be aware of your surroundings. Not only do you have to worry about enemy players jumping you from the shadows, there’s also a ton of powerful Daedra just waiting to deep six you.

So what do you do? Unlike most PvE zones, you’re going to need to:

  1. Be on constant alert.
  2. Sneak and hide as much as possible.

Walking down the middle of the street or blindly stumbling into a building without checking it out first is a recipe for disaster. You might as well wear a neon sign around your neck that reads “Kill Me Now.”

Remember Survival Rule 1 where I say you’re going to die? Well, there’s no cause to die needlessly. Being aware of your surroundings will give you a much better chance at survival.

Note: Sneaking and stealth is actually a lot fun, reminiscent of playing a thief in the Justice System. Being forced into this play style can be exhilarating, adding a layer of excitement to the game.

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Use sneak and stealth to survive the mean streets of Imperial City.

If you’re a non-PvP player you need to come to the cold, hard realization that Imperial City is filled with lots of hardcore gamers. You can’t swing a dead Skeever in the Zone without hitting a skilled Veteran Rank 16 player.

Should this depress you because your skills aren’t up to par? Absolutely not! PvPers in your alliance are your new best friends. One of the best rules for survival in Imperial City is to run with a crew of these guys (a group of players working together is called a “zerg”). There’s definitely strength in numbers. Not only will your life expectancy increase dramatically when in a zerg, but you can learn from the better players in your group, watching how they roll.

Note: Small groups of 3-4 players can survive quite well in most areas of Imperial City. Often times you don’t need to officially band together with the grouping tool, but can simply tag along and stick to the pack. That said, much bigger groups are necessary for the Arena and the Sewers, and you really need to group together. You can usually find groups forming for Sewer runs, etc. in your alliance’s base. Pay attention to Zone Chat for open invites or simply post a message that you’re looking to join a group.

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Join with others for the best chance of survival in Imperial City.

Your emotions are already keyed up in Imperial City. Between the sneaking, the fighting, and the dying, you’re in a constant state of edginess, and it’s easy to overreact to a situation. Whatever you do, though don’t panic. Freaking out can cause a whole lot of hurt.

Let me give you an example…

Last night, I was running the Sewers in a group of 12. We were doing fine, when we were suddenly bull rushed in a tunnel by a rival faction. About half our group wasn’t following Survival Rule 2 (staying on alert), and completely lost it. They panicked and fled faster than a group of underage drinkers hearing the wail of police sirens. The end result wasn’t pretty, and our group got completely demolished. Sadly, we actually outnumbered our attackers. If our group wouldn’t have freaked out, we could have easily won the battle.

Note: Overreacting to a situation can be disastrous. The action is hot and heavy in Imperial City, but it’s important to keep your wits about you. When you get jumped by enemy players, your first reaction shouldn’t be to flee (although fleeing may eventually be what’s called for). Think defensively at first: dodge roll, put up shields, etc. until you can see what you’re actually up against. Then you can counter-attack or flee if necessary. Remember, you’ll do much better in Imperial City by keeping your emotions in check.

Imperial city survival guide 4
The fighting in Imperial City is intense. Whatever you do, don’t panic!

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Some PvE players are completely dead set against PvP. That’s OK. The Elder Scrolls Online caters to several different play styles, but if you want to participate in Imperial City you’ll need to be open-minded. Play within your abilities, but don’t be afraid to learn new things and try new skills. Some of the things that work well in PvE may not work as well in PvP.

Take my main character for instance: an Imperial Templar. My Templar is a Magicka based healer, and I’ve always done an admirable support job in PvE dungeons, etc. True, I can still offer a great deal of support in whatever zerg I’m rolling with in Imperial City, but it didn’t take much time to realize that I needed to give more thought to offensive capabilities. Watching other Templars in action, I quickly added the Radiant Destruction skill to my bag of tricks in order to deal a little damage (actually, quite a bit of damage if truth be told). I still tend to play my character in a support role, but I can do my bit fighting as well, which has definitely helped me survive.

Note: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try new skills or a new play style. Watch other players, ask questions, and don’t hesitate to experiment. Change can be good. Not only will your survival rate increase, you just might find yourself having more fun in The Elder Scrolls Online.

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Imperial City offers a world of possibilities. Don’t be afraid to try new skills and play styles.

Here’s a quick recap of the Imperial City survival guide for non-PvP players:

  1. Realize that you’re going to die often, and don’t get mad about it.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings and use sneak and stealth.
  3. Run with a zerg.
  4. Don’t panic and overact to in-game situations.
  5. Play within your abilities, but don’t be afraid to learn new skills and play styles.

In the end, Imperial City may not be your cup of Psijic Ambrosia, but you’re really doing yourself a disservice if you shut yourself off completely from the DLC. Truthfully, I’ve never considered myself a PvP player, but I’m having great fun in the Zone. I’ve had my butt handed to me more times than I care to remember, but I’ve done my share of damage too. By adhering to the rules I’ve outlined above, I’ve gone from a noob PvPer to a capable player able to survive the rigors of Imperial City.

Good luck fellow travelers! And please be sure to share your Imperial City survival tips in the Comments section below.

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Shane Scarbrough
Shane Scarbrough

Shane Scarbrough is the founder of the Skyrim Fansite. He's a business owner, video game journalist, and role playing game aficionado. When he's not working he enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games. He's currently on his third playthrough of Skyrim, and is playing as a Templar in The Elder Scrolls Online. You can find Shane on Google+ and FaceBook.

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8 years ago

I know.Death doesn’t matter that much in Cyrodil.It’s PVP.