Going Deep: ESO Dungeon Guide
Any good MMORPG features a host of dungeons for its players to traverse and conquer. The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), being a good MMORPG, is no exception. There are plenty of deep, dark places to explore in Tamriel, both while you’re leveling up and after you reach the endgame, and we’re here to help you keep track of them all. So strap on your armor and follow us: it’s time for the ESO Dungeon Guide!
What is a Dungeon?
Unless ESO is your first MMO ever, you probably have some idea of what a dungeon is. Generally, an MMO dungeon is an instanced map in which a player or, more commonly, a group of players fights through multiple succeeding waves of tough but surmountable enemies (known as “trash mobs”) followed by a much more challenging boss at the end. This is the general approach taken in ESO, as well, but let’s unpack ESO dungeoneering in detail.
In ESO, dungeons are tackled by teams of four players who must work together effectively in order to clear the dungeon and collect the enviable, unique loot at the end. These dungeons are differentiated from similar single-player content, called delves, by their increased difficulty. Because the dungeons contain stronger enemies, most teams will need a tank, a healer, and one DPS. This conforms to the long-standing “golden triangle” of Player vs. Environment activities in MMOs (the golden triangle is the tank/heals/DPS archetype). However, ESO is unique in that players can create a team of alternate composition if their levels, gear, and skill at the game allow it.
As with most other MMOs, the dungeons in ESO are primarily populated with enemies that are much stronger than those encountered in the overworld, but which should still be easily dispatched by a team of players working together. However, ESO dungeons also contain multiple bosses each, and each has special mechanics to be overcome in addition to their stronger attacks and bigger health pool. If the team is able to defeat a boss, it will drop a unique set item. Each dungeon has three unique sets, and also contains other rewards not available elsewhere in the game. Each zone in ESO has at least one dungeon, so keep an eye out!
Like other MMORPGs, dungeon difficulty in ESO depends on a variety of factors. The dungeons in early, low-level zones are intended for lower-level players and can be completed by groups of minimal skill. However, as you move into more difficult areas, the dungeons become more difficult, as well. Dungeons that were added to the game as part of DLC are considered to be especially difficult. On top of the general progression of dungeon difficult as you move through the game, you’ll also notice that many dungeons have a second part that continues the lore of that dungeon and includes new enemies. These second levels of dungeons are more difficult than the first.
Another feature in ESO that won’t be unfamiliar to MMORPG veterans is Veteran Mode. Once you reach level 50, you have the option of ramping up the difficulty of a dungeon by making trash mobs and bosses even stronger than before, in return for a better loot table. This can breath challenging new life into dungeons that have long since been beneath the player in terms of difficulty.
Finally, the final boss of a veteran mode dungeon can be made even more difficult (and rewarding) by fighting it on hard mode. Activating a bosses hard mode requires the players to be attempting the dungeon in Veteran Mode, and then performing another prerequisite. The in-game achievements menu contains details on exactly what you need to do for each hard mode boss.
How to Attempt Dungeons
A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, and so does the journey through a dungeon in ESO. In order to take that first step, you must locate and enter the dungeon, which can be accomplished in a few different ways. First, you can actually walk right up to the dungeon where its located in the world. Second, you can use your map to fast travel to the dungeon’s entrance. Finally, you can simply teleport to another player in your group who is already there.
However, you can’t take on a dungeon alone once you get there (unless you are massively over-leveled for it and only clearing it for fun). Therefore, you’ll need to find a party. One way to fill out a party is to simply invite your friends. If your friends aren’t online or are busy, then you can use the Group & Activity Finder. This tool is designed to help you find people with whom to clear in-game content. Simply open the tool and select your role and the type of content you’re looking to join for. The options of content you can queue for are:
- Random Normal Dungeon: Does what it says on the tin – queues you for a random veteran dungeon. Choosing to clear a random dungeon will reward you a bonus since players queueing random help fill groups faster and keeps the game exciting.
- Random Veteran Dungeon: Exactly the same as Random Normal Mode, only now you’ll be doing the dungeon in Veteran Mode.
- Specific Dungeons: Allows you to choose exactly which dungeon (or dungeons) you want to queue for so that you can only get matched with people for your favorite dungeons. When queueing this way, you can select to look for either Normal or Veteran Mode for each dungeon.
What are the Dungeons?
A complete list of dungeons in ESO, both the base game and DLC, is included below
Base Game Dungeons
Accessed by anybody with ESO:
- Fungal Grotto (I & II)
- Spindleclutch (I & II)
- The Banished Cells (I & II)
- Darkshade Caverns (I & II)
- Elden Hollow (I & II)
- Wayrest Sewers (I & II)
- Arx Corinium
- City of Ash (I & II)
- Crypt of Hearts (I & II)
- Direfrost Keep
- Tempest Island
- Blackheart Haven
- Blessed Crucible
- Selene’s Web
- Vaults of Madness
Imperial City Dungeons
Can only be accessed with the Imperial City DLC game pack:
- Imperial City Prison
- White-Gold Tower
Shadows of the Hist Dungeons
Can only be accessed with the Shadows of the Hist DLC game pack:
- Cradle of Shadows
- Ruins of Mazzatun
Horns of the Reach Dungeons
Can only be accessed with the Horns of the Reach DLC game pack:
- Falkreath Hold
- Bloodroot Forge
For more ESO, check this out: Taking on Tamriel: A Beginners Guide to ESO