A PTS Report – Imperial City DLC

  No Comments   August 5, 2015

Hi all, this is just an overview of some of my experiences (and also some community experiences) while testing out the new Imperial City DLC on the Public Test Server. You can also test out the new content if you play on the PC/Mac by opening the Launcher Settings and selecting Show Public Test Environment. You will have to download a complete separate copy of the game in order to play on the PTS.

You should also note that the purpose of the PTS is to test the game content so there will be bugs and it’s important to submit any bugs that you find and provide some feedback if possible.

For information about the actual mechanics of Imperial City and all of that you can take a look at the following links.

What is the Imperial City?

Imperial City – New Item Sets

What are Tel Var Stones?

Interactive Imperial City Map @


All in all the Imperial City was a good experience. It will be very different on the live servers – so we can’t really make any judgements from the PTS. There will be a lot more players and different dynamics when people enter the city with their own characters and when they actually want to keep their Tel Var Stones. The landscape, music, daedra, animations and all of that seem really good. The DLC provides lots of content and lots of different or unique things like the Trophy Vaults, Tel Var Stones, wandering bosses and random PVP encounters.

The balance of certain skills and abilities still needs a little work but this is not really connected to the DLC itself. The debuff to damage, healing and damage shields (with the Battle Spirit changes) has made a noticeable difference to combat. As with all major changes there might be room for more tweaks. The double debuff to abilities like Funnel Health and Blazing Shield (where the 50% reduction is applied twice) is a bit of a problem. Edit: Looks like ZOS is on to it (here on the forums) and have recognised the problem and will work to fix it!

It will be hard for most players to collect lots of Tel Var Stones but also not impossible. Going into the Imperial City with a group is very beneficial and helps a lot! If you run solo you will find it hard (unless you are really good) to get Stones, fight anything, or participate in the PVP. The dynamic of PVP and PVE together is well done in my opinion and makes for a change to Cyrodiil where the combat is predominately PVP and large open battlefields.

The other changes of Update 7, like skills changes and other tweaks, were mostly good. It remains to be seen how the blocking and roll dodge changes are received when they go live as these are quite major!

Imperial City DLC Cover

Enter The City

So, the first thing that I did when I opened the PTS was create a new character using one of the testing templates. I made a Templar Orc. There is only one campaign on the server, Haderus, so I made that my home campaign and joined. The map of Cyrodiil was silent and dormant as I assumed that everyone was inside the Imperial City. I opened the Crown Store and purchased the Imperial City DLC for 2500 Crowns. On the PTS you are supplied with 5000 Crowns to test.

I talk to an NPC to get the quest which tells me to go to the Imperial City. You don’t actually have to do this to enter, but it will probably be worth it to complete the quests inside as you’ll receive Tel Var Stones, XP and some other items – not to mention the quests themselves are pretty cool.

My character was on the Aldmeri Dominion so I travelled to Castle Allessia and began to run towards the Imperial City entrance. I only saw one member of my Alliance on the way and no enemy players. When IC goes live I’m sure this will be a different story. There will probably be fights for keeps and I’m sure there will be numerous players around the three entrances to the Imperial City.

We don’t yet know the plan for the entry requirements for the IC are yet, either. It could be that your Alliance will need all of its home keeps in order to enter. There are a few other scenarios that the developers want to test in regards to entry requirements and keep ownership requirements. Some players argue that keep ownership should have nothing to do with entering the Imperial City and others say that entry requirements will help to balance players between the city and mainland Cyrodiil. On the PTS right now an Alliance needs 6 home keeps in order to enter.

The entrance itself looks like a sewer drain – which it is – and I just walk up and go inside. I get a nice new loading screen. 🙂

I spawn inside the Imperial City Sewers – in my Alliance safe area – near to merchants, NPCs, bankers and other players. The map is quite large here and it looks like there is a lot to explore. There are also ladders here that go up to the actual Imperial City. I hurry off and join a group of other players leaving the safe area and head inside the sewers.

The Sewers

The Imperial City Sewers are a large sprawling network of tunnels, stairs, daedra and ladders. The group of players that I was with ran into the first room and started attacking the daedra inside. There were a few scamps and Xivkyn. They were Veteran Rank 16. With a group we didn’t have any trouble dealing with them. I was acting a bit like a tank with heavy armor and a taunt slotted. The others were mostly dealing damage while a healer was also with us. A good mix, really!

The Imperial City Sewers

The Imperial City Sewers – Aldmeri Dominion

The combat was pretty cool. We were just sort of rushing around from one mob to the next and there were a lot of things happening at once. We didn’t really know what we were attacking, either, and in the close confines it was easy to get left behind or stuck warding off half a dozen daedra by yourself. I was also testing out different abilities at this time too and getting to grips with not regenerating Stamina while I was blocking.

There are a few different levels inside the Sewers and I din’t get to explore it all. We came across a banner boss which took a long time to deal with and involved several deaths. There are lots of different bosses and stuff down in the sewers and plenty to do. There are also some areas which look like they are for the quests.

The City

The group eventually wandered up to a ladder which lead to the Temple District above, and we all climbed up. There was a loading screen here and the music changed to a new soundtrack developed for the IC. It was great, and arriving on the surface of the city itself is a pretty cool experience. When you look around you see enemies – mostly daedra – everywhere. The sky is dark and stormy like around a Dolmen (Dark Anchor). The White-Gold Tower rises above everything in the center of the city and a huge Dolmen is above it. The music really fits in and adds to the experience.

The White Gold Tower

The White Gold Tower

There were a number of bosses scattered around – all doing various tasks like setting things on fire or taking NPC prisoners away. The group of us attacked various groups of daedra here and there. The combat up here is also different to combat anywhere else due to the close confines and urban terrain of the city. It is easy to accidentally attract more mobs into your fights. It can also be hard to just focus on one monster as it chases different targets and you hit other targets accidentally. The mobs up here hit quite hard and have a lot of Health – it feels designed for small groups of players (which it is).

The districts of the Imperial City are quite large and they all have a different feel to them with slightly different enemies to fight. I love the Arena District. There is a huge colosseum like structure in the middle which is surrounded by daedra cheering. Access to the middle is through a gate and inside there is waves of different daedra bosses to fight. I haven’t seen the start of this sequence as I have always arrived half way through but it is pretty cool. The sounds are awesome here as well and it is not organised like a Group Dungeon so people can come and go as they like.

One time I arrived to see an enemy player in the arena, fighting a huge Clannfear type of daedra. I jumped in with them and we didn’t attack each other and instead took turns attacking the boss while letting the other recover their Health and resources. It was pretty cool, even though we both ended up dying in the end. We also accidentally hit each other with AoE attacks as well along the way…


So in our exploration of the city we did come across enemy players soon enough. The first group that we came up against was a group of EP which seemed to just come out of nowhere. There were about 5 of them and 5 of us. A battle ensued and lasted for a good 5 minutes before even the first death. There was a lot of running away, running into monsters and then charging back into their midst. I think people were being cautious as well and perhaps wanting to test out a few things.

Spawning in Imperial City

We respawned on the second floor of a building.

Soon our AD group was overrun when more EP arrived to finish us off. We died. We lost our small gathering of Tel Var Stones to them and respawned nearby on a ledge which was safe from attack. In another district we respawned in a building on the second floor. The respawn points are safe and are often on a higher level of building and you have to jump off to get down.

In the distance we could still see the EP so we jumped down and attacked them again. This time we had a few more players and the fights lasted quite a long time with deaths on both sides.

The TTK (time to kill) seems to have dropped as planned and it is hard to kill anyone without help (at least for me). There was still a lot of “shield stacking” and Steadfast Ward (Restoration Staff) is still very strong. I did head that a bug caused it to not be properly effected by the 50% reduction from Battle Spirit so maybe this is why.

Nightblades are quite good in the Imperial City with their ability to stealth away and leave you alone with some boss. Then they can come back and finish you off. I also noticed that Biting Jabs (Templar) was doing a lot of damage and a few players were spamming this all over the place. These could be isolated issues and it definitely needs more time to test!

Tel Var Stones

In my time on the PTS I only really managed to gain about 100-200 Tel Var Stones before losing them. I wasn’t really trying to gain them, so I wasn’t being that careful. It takes a while to gain any large amount of Stones. A group was good, as it allowed us to take on some of the bosses which give out more Stones but this also splits up the loot between us. A group of two, three or four is probably ideal for the lesser bosses (even some of the harder ones if your group does well). I didn’t get that many Stones through PVP as all of my kills were with help from my group. Solo players, gankers and 1v1 battles will probably reward the most if you can manage it but they might be hard to come by (and win).

The PTS is not the best place to make judgements on the Tel Var Stone system as everyone knows that there is no real point in trying to protect any Stones you earn. On the live servers I imagine that people will be more cautious and take the time to bank their Stones. The Sewers look like they will be a good place to get some Stones as there were less enemy players down there (although still some).

The End

So, to me the Imperial City DLC looks good and I will be purchasing it for 2500 Crowns. I won’t be in the IC all of the time but the new content, new crafting gear and styles and the new PVP experience make it worth it for me.

View of Imperial City

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