Now that The Elder Scrolls: Blades is out on Nintendo Switch, you might be jumping into the game for the first time. Originally released as a mobile game for iOS and Android in 2019, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is a much more linear take on the beloved series. It adds elements you’d expect to see in mobile games — real-time building, simplified combat, and a heap of microtransactions. The Nintendo Switch version is optimized for using buttons, instead of touch controls and feels more like a game designed for consoles. Like the mobile version, it’s free and you can download it right now.
Even if you’re familiar and well-versed with games in the Elder Scrolls series, learning the mechanics of Blades might not come as easily as you’d expect, as it’s so different. In this guide, we’ve got you covered with all the tips and tricks you’ll need to get started with The Elder Scrolls: Blades.
Throughout your journey in The Elder Scrolls: Blades, you’ll be doing quite a lot of attacking. During the early stages, you can get by with simply button mashing, but it is recommended to learn the ins and outs of how combat works as early as you can. When you attack with a melee weapon, you’ll notice a circle that appears on either side of the screen, depending on which hand you’re leading with. The goal here is to make sure the circle fills with white by holding the attack button and letting go at just the right time. If done correctly, you’ll execute a critical attack.
If you hold your attack too long, the circle will be yellow and you won’t do as much damage. If you’re too early, the circle will be red, so make sure you aim for that sweet spot to inflict maximum damage. Sometimes, you’ll have to change up which side you attack, depending on how the enemy is guarding. Keep this in mind when attacking.
Certain creatures will be difficult to attack, due to their distance from your character. There are some that are hard to reach, even when they’re sitting still. You’ll need to hold your attack and let go right as they lunge towards you, in order to reach them. Alternatively, you can use long-ranged attacks like spells to deal damage at any point.
Blocking & parrying
Like the combat, you can probably get by without blocking, at least at first. But as you encounter tougher enemies, blocking becomes essential, so it’s a good idea to start practicing early on. There’s a certain rhythm to blocking, and doing it properly will give you a leg up when battling against an enemy. If you hold your shield up and wait for an attack, it’s moderately effective, but there’s a better way to do things.
Quickly press up on the stick at the peak of the enemy’s strike to stun them temporarily. This leaves them open for an attack in which you can deal massive amounts of damage, much like a parry. It takes some getting used to, but once you learn the rhythm of each enemy’s patterns, you’ll be parrying like a pro.
You’ll find that using spells is not only a great compliment to regular melee attacks, but in some cases, it’s the best way to damage specific enemies. Make sure you pay attention to which spells work best on certain foes. You’ll want to focus on this much more in the latter stages of the game, but again, learning the ropes as soon as you can is useful.
Head to your Skills tab under the Character menu to assign your spells. Here, you’ll be able to spend your skills to acquire and upgrade spells. Keep in mind you can have three spells equipped at any given time. Use the directional buttons to unleash them upon your enemies and be sure to experiment with various combinations. For example, if you’re going up against a high-level enemy that’s weak to fire, a good combination might be to use Absorb to take less damage, followed by Fireball to exploit their weakness.
Don’t forget to upgrade your spells from the Skill menu once you’ve reached the required level. This will come in handy as you rise through the ranks.
It’s smart to get in the habit of checking your challenges while you travel through dungeons. This not only gives you something to do, but it rewards you for your efforts. You can find the challenges under the Quest Details section of the menu. Here, you’ll find a plethora of tasks like finding food, executing critical strikes, dealing a specific amount of damage, and others. Most of them will reward you with gold, but the more difficult ones will grant you with green gems. These serve as a form of currency to buy building materials, decorations, equipment, and can be used to speed up the building process.
Many of the challenges can be completed without even trying, but it’s still a good idea to keep track of which ones are active to ensure you’re finishing them all. They replenish frequently, as well, so be sure to check them often.
One of Blades‘ defining characteristics is its building mechanics, which allows you to essentially customize your town to your liking. Some of the customization is purely aesthetic, but you can also construct useful stores like a Smithy, where you can buy, sell, and upgrade equipment.
However, constructing these buildings requires resources, time, and gold, all of which you’ll acquire as you complete quests. Pay attention to the requirements of each structure, as they need various resources to finish being built. At first, it will be quite easy to find the resources you’ll need, but as you progress through the game, each construction will require more parts.
The other thing to consider is your town’s level. Certain quests will only let you start them if your town is a specific level. To level up your town, you’ll need to continue building, decorating, and upgrading as you gain more money and resources. The more complicated a structure is, the more time it takes to build. You can use gems to speed this process up, or you can simply wait. It’s recommended to focus on adding functional buildings like the Smithy, or Alchemy lab.
Daily rewards, chests, and store
This is a fairly straightforward tip — don’t forget to check your daily rewards each day you play. To do so, open up the menu and head to the in-game store. Here, you’ll be able to claim free items, which can be anything from building materials, to other useful equipment to make your life easier.
It’s tempting to spend real money in the store, but we recommend to avoid this. The prices for some items are egregious, anyway. You can absolutely get through the game without spending a dime, especially if you’re patient and you focus on completing quests, jobs, and challenges, you won’t need to spend your hard-earned money.
You’ll often be rewarded with chests for completing quests, but it’s recommended to sit on some of them until you’re a higher level. The reason for this is that the chests scale with your character’s level, so it’s best to keep a few of them for later. It’s relatively easy to find low-level gear at first, but as you gain more XP, the high-level items are much more valuable.
As with the Elder Scrolls games of the past, exploration is a huge aspect of Blades. However, it’s not as open as the other games in the mainline series, but you’ll still want to be thorough when making your way through an area. Many dungeons feature at least one secret section that contains a chest or other useful items. It’s recommended to search through every nook and cranny, which isn’t too tough, since much of the game is straightforward and linear. Though it does open up a bit more as you progress.
Also, if you get lost, Blades features a nifty path you can follow by clicking in the left stick. This will point you in the right direction, which especially comes in handy when making your way through some of the complex dungeons. The exploration doesn’t have to end when you complete your objective, either. After you finish a quest’s requirements, you can continue to explore the area to grab any items you might have missed.
Quests and jobs
Always keep your eyes peeled for quests. Quests are where the bulk of the game’s action will take place, so be on the lookout for NPCs with exclamation marks above their heads. You can get a sense of a quest’s difficulty by its recommended player level. Steer clear of quests that are far above your level to avoid inevitable death. Typically, a quest will require you to run through a dungeon while defeating enemies, or collecting certain items. At the end, you’ll usually gain some sort of reward like XP, resources, gold, or equipment.
Jobs also work the same way. You can find a list of jobs from a bulletin board in your town, each with a variety of rewards, difficulty, and level requirements. We recommend you try to complete as many jobs and quests as you can, to get the most out of your time with The Elder Scrolls: Blades. This will get the ball rolling when enhancing your town and leveling up your character. If you’re having trouble finding quests, go around to the NPCs in town and talk to them to see if they have any work for you.