The Imperial City Celebration opens up all of the Imperial City DLC Content for players from September 5-16th, offers a maximum of 2 Event Tickets per day, and makes the Imperial City DLC free for all players through the Crown Store!
The Imperial City DLC consists of two portions of content:
1. Two PVE Dungeons: White Gold Tower & Imperial City Prison
2. Imperial City, a Player vs Player vs Environment (PvPvE) zone with a main quest, patrolling bosses, dailies, and fully-enabled PvP.
2 Tickets can be earned once per day from one of the following activities:
Make sure you have less than 12 tickets before you do either of those activities!
- Defeating the final boss of either the Imperial City Prison dungeon or White-Gold Tower dungeon (PVE-Only group content)
- Slaying a patrolling monster in the Imperial City streets or mini-boss within the Imperial City sewers. (PvPvE content)
If you don't want to do PvP at all, you can run the two PVE dungeons, White Gold Tower and Imperial City Prison.
But if you want the Imperial City zone rewards, you are going to have to enter a PvP-enabled zone during the busiest time of the year.
I'm going to assume that the PVE-only option of completing either of the Imperial City Group Dungeons is well-covered by a plethora of better dungeon-oriented guides, wikis, and youtube videos, so I shan't try to cover that ground again.
Instead, I'd like to focus mostly on the aspect of Imperial City that I see most players struggling with during past events: playing in a PvPvE zone.
What is a PvPvE zone?
Imperial City has a variety of threats. Some are NPCs: the wandering district or sewer boss monsters, the minibosses and mobs scattered about, and the enemies you'll fight while questing. Some are enemy players: anywhere outside of your home base, the safe area when transiting, and a few quest or crafting related buildings, you can be attacked or attack enemy players.
Imperial City is a part of the PvP Alliance War, just like the rest of Cyrodiil, so Alliances do matter. You will gain AP and can complete "Kill X Players" style quests by killing players who are not of your alliance, just as they can do the same to you. All three Alliances have home bases in the Imperial City Sewers with two districts each that have passages that are closer to their home base if you need to escape. Like objectives in Cyrodiil, Imperial City districts are "owned" by certain alliances via control of the flag at the innermost point of the district. If your alliance owns the district, you receive a buff to Tel Var gains and you can respawn at your safe point there. If you alliance does not own the district, you will be attacked by the NPC flag guards if you get too close to the flag.
Tel Var is the special currency of Imperial City. It can be obtained from killing NPCs, opening chests, turning in quests, or taken from players you have killed. The amount you gain increases by a multiplier based on how much Tel Var you are currently carrying, but is also split evenly between the members of your group or the players who attack the boss. When you die to either an NPC or another player, you lose half of your current load of Tel Var and get the choice of where to respawn. If you kill a player, you gain half of their currently carried Tel Var. (Note: when Imperial City launched, this used to be an 80% loss to a player and 10% to an NPC, but that led to an obvious tactic for Tel Var farming, and so it was changed. Learn more about the original design here: https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/news/post/25395
As an Alliance War zone, Imperial City does not allow normal fast travel methods. There are no wayshrines. To enter, you need to queue up via the Alliance War tab. To leave, you need to return to your home base in the Sewers either by traveling there through the sewers or. When you die, you cannot respawn in place; instead you will be given options for where to respawn or an ally can resurrect you. You can buy a "Sigil of Imperial Retreat" from your home base for AP that is a one time use item that will teleport you straight to your Alliance Home Base - ideal for getting a large haul of Tel Var to the bank safely without having to brave the Sewers.
In short, if you queue up for the Imperial City, come prepared for these things:
Be prepared to fight enemy players and Alliance War NPCs
be prepared to fight tough daedric minibosses and mobs
Be prepared to fight both at once
Be prepared to gain and lose your Tel Var
Be prepared to try, and die, and try again, and die again, and keep trying.
General PvPvE Tips for players who aren't experienced PvPers
Imperial City PvP is built around the risk/reward mechanic of Tel Var Currency and the close quarters combat of urban fighting. There are lots of choke points and spots that reward players who are willing to patiently wait for weaker, isolated players to come to them - i.e. IC is a ganker's paradise. Ganking is a playstyle of PvP that is entirely playing as intended, allowed, and encouraged by the design of the Imperial City.
In addition, Imperial City attracts a lot of small and large groups who farm during its Celebration, and most won't think twice about running down solo players or other groups of enemy alliances. Again, its a PvPvE zone, and that's intended, allowed, and encouraged behavior.
What can you do about that?
Come prepared. Just like you would prepare for a tough bit of PvE content, prepare for the unique challenges of the Imperial City. Here's some specific ways:
- DO NOT assume or hope that enemy players will let you pass unharmed. Imperial City is a Player v Player v Environment zone and you are a fair target, just like they are a fair target to their enemy alliances. There is NO safe conduct for anyone in the Imperial City. Treat it like the War Zone that it is. You must be prepared for enemy players (or you must accept that by not preparing, you are preparing to die miserably.)
- Team up with other members of your alliance. There is strength in numbers. - fortunately, Imperial City is very busy during the Celebration, so you should be able to find other members of your alliance. Options for finding groups include: forming your own group before you queue for IC, ask if your guilds are running an IC group, asking in zone chat within your home base, or asking in zone chat in the sewers or districts. Having other players around makes you a less likely target for gankers or small groups and gives you a better chance of defeating the larger groups that come to farm the bosses or Molag Bal.
- Read up on the mechanics and maps of the Districts and Sewers beforehand like you would prepare for a new dungeon or trial. Going in blind can make for a great challenge, but it also makes things a lot harder than they need to be. If you need to refresh your memory, find an out of the way spot and sneak before you check your map.
- Build Tanky and Heal Proactively. Its tempting to build for the sort of PVE DPS you need to take on the bosses, but in reality, the enemy players are the greatest danger you will face. Building tanky will make you less of an obviously weak target for gankers and make fights more forgiving when you make mistakes. Healing proactively keeps you out of execute range. If you can, a cheap set of impenetrable gear can help against critical attacks and it will keep your gear repair needs low.
- If you are helping to capture a flag, hold block and be alert for bombers.
- If you are just standing around or need to check your map or bags, sneak and find an out of the way spot first.
- If a player keeps killing you or you see a large group coming, moving to a different area is often the better part of valor, unless you really like banging your head against a wall.
- Bring Invisibility Potions. If you can't fight the enemy, the best thing to do is sneak by them.
- Bring Detect Potions. Detecting a ganker or a bomber can give you precious reaction time in a fight.
- Bring Repair Kits. Your armor won't take damage from PvP deaths, but you'll fight enough daedra that your armor will get battered. Remember, you need to return to your home base to find an NPC who can repair it otherwise.
- Clear your inventory of unnecessary stuff. When I farm Tel Var, I pick up a bunch of useless junk in the process of killing NPCs, and its dangerous to have to stop in the middle of farming to clear space in my inventory if I decide "Oh, I actually want that motif I just got with a chest."
- Buy Sigils of Imperial Retreat. Especially if you want to farm Tel Var, Sigils are crucial to making it back to your base without having to run a gauntlet of hunters in the sewer. They can also be amazing for escaping a zerg of enemy players sweeping through a district - just duck into a building out of sight and use the Sigil.
- For further general PvP tips, I have yet to find a better guide that @Joy_Division 's https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/427360/joys-2018-advice-for-midyear-mayhem-event
Finally...look, this has to be said.
You won't survive every battle. Even experienced PvPers don't survive every battle.
Sometimes the odds aren't in your favor.
Sometimes the other guy(s) are just better.
Sometimes you make a mistake and it costs you dearly.
The real key to PvP is perseverance and practice. Its the acceptance that you will die, you will lose progress, and yet you will get up and try again.
If that's not your cup of tea, I highly recommend that you approach Imperial City PvPvE with care. The whole zone is built around the risk/reward of losing progress if you die. If that's going to be immensely frustrating, be aware of that and don't make yourself miserable trying to do content that you just don't find fun. The above advice can help, but it cannot guarantee that you will be successful.
Okay, now I hate PvPvE. Can I still get Event tickets?
Yes, as long as you are okay with defeating the final boss of the group dungeon White Gold Tower or Imperial City Prison. Those are DLC dungeons, so they are more mechanics-intensive than the base game dungeons. If you aren't familiar with them, its worth looking up the basics of the mechanics with whatever style of guide you prefer.
Hint: have extra lockpicks on hand for White Gold Tower.
I hate dungeons and PvPvE. Can I still get Event Tickets this event?
Nope. Gotta do one or the other. Or buy them. Welcome to ZOS' wonderful world of events, where they get you to do all sorts of content in pursuit of shiny rewards. You'll have to wait till the 4th event of Quarter 3, and hope its not the PTS-tested Dungeon Event.
Now for the Imperial City PvPvE Event Ticket Activities:
ZOS' official post says "Slaying a patrolling monster in the Imperial City streets or mini-boss within the Imperial City sewers."
ZOS has now clarified that this means killing a Patrolling Horror or one of the Coldharbor Elite Guard.
According to players, the marked bosses in the sewers ALSO drop Event Tickets, but you MUST loot the tickets.
These bosses are marked in the sewers by Crossed Sword symbols.
The closest ones to your Alliance home base are:
EP - Wadracki
DC - Gati
AD - Hsu-hakan
As with other bosses, I recommend a group. Personally, I could solo most of the marked bosses, but you'll want protection from enemy players.
Slay a patrolling monster within Imperial City
Kill a Patrolling Horror. Each of the Imperial City Districts has a patrolling boss called a Patrolling Horror with a difficultly equal to or greater than a base game World Boss. There are two specific to each district, but only one will patrol at a time in that district. As with many world boss types, the difficulty varies. Unlike world bosses, the Patrolling Horrors are not leashed, so if one begins chasing you, you cannot escape by outrunning it (though you can have great fun by aggroing the Patrolling Horror and leading it to a large group of enemy players). They are designed to be defeated by groups, but of course players can solo them. During non-Celebration gameplay, its typical to tackle them in a rotation through the districts, but in my experience that goes out the window during the Celebration.
List of Patrolling Horrors: https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Patrolling_Horrors
Slay a mini-boss within the Imperial City sewers.
Kill a member of the Coldharbor Elite Guard. The Sewers have their own version of wandering, unleashed bosses in the form of the Coldharbor Elite Guard. These are Xivkyn Generals of Molag Bal who wear large Blue or Red banners on their backs and can suppress stealth in their vicinity. Blue banners indicate stamina-based generals, while Red banners are the more powerful magicka-based generals. They are about the same difficulty at the Patrolling Horrors. There are 9 generals up at any one time, 3 in each alliance territory. Be prepared to fight these generals in very close quarters in the sewer tunnels.
List of the Coldharbor Elite Guard and their Locations: https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Coldharbour_Elite_Guard
Special Note:The Patrolling Horrors and the Coldharbor Elite Guard split their large Tel Var reward between everyone who attacked them, just like every other mob in IC. So if you've jumped in to "help" someone fighting one of the bosses and they get angry with you, understand that its because now the Tel Var reward is split between you. Now, I'm of the opinion that during an Event, people jumping in to kill the bosses is to be expected, but not everyone may feel that way. So if someone does get angry, at least you know why.
Other Imperial City Activities
The Main Quest starts when you talk to the Drake of Blades in your Home Base and agree to help her uncover Molag Bal's plot. You will complete quests in each other six districts. Be prepared that only a few locations in buildings are safe areas while you talk to quest NPCs - most of the places you need to go are completely open for PvP. You will also need to return to the your Home Base after each quest, so its wise to buy Sigils of Imperial Retreat, or else brave the journey back through the districts/sewers.
In my opinion, this is an excellent quest that serves as a fitting end to the Planemeld arc.
The Temple District quest has a daedric titan boss who may prove difficult to solo.
The Arena District quest has a multistage boss fight that may prove very difficult to solo. In addition, there is an achievement for killing enemy players within the Arena, so be prepared to deal with enemy players at the same time.
Alliance War Quests
You can pick up Scouting Quests in your Home Base that ask you to travel to the district and mark your symbol on the wall of your rally point and return. If you already own the district, its as easy as popping out at the respawn point, marking the wall, and then heading out to fight.
You can pick up Killing Quests in your Home Base that ask you to "Kill 20 Players" or "Kill 20 Nightblades" etc.
Once you have completed the Main Quest, a daily quest becomes available in each District. These quests involve the war against Molag Bal and Legion Zero, but since they take place in the PvPvE zones of the districts, you will likely fight enemy players as well.
Defeat Molag Bal's Simulacrum within the deepest reaches of the Imperial City Sewers.
The Barathrum Centrata event in which your group summons and kills the Simulacrum of Molag Bal takes place at the center of the Sewers where all three Alliance paths converge. You will need to close portals, the final wave of which will summon more of the Coldharbor Elite Guard and then kill Molag Bal's Simulacrum.
You will want a group to do this with you as the portals do have a timer and enemy alliances will also be trying to defeat the Simulacrum to get tickets and the rewards.
Important Note: due to how ESO' loot rules work, only 12 players will get loot
. From past events, players have found it doesn't matter how much DPS you do as long as you do at least 3% to get credit for the fight as the loot appears to be random between the group members present. If there are more an 12 players present, be prepared that not all players will get loot rewards from the event. (Yes, this sucks. No, ZOS hasn't changed it.)
Tel Var Farming
Many players focus on farming Tel Var during the Imperial City Celebration since Tel Var gains are doubled. There's no one way to go about it, only whatever way you think best.
Farming in districts you own grants a 33% bonus to Tel Var drops.
NPCs and Players split their stones between the attacking group. Groups are good for protection, but the larger the group, the less Tel Var each individual will get.
Gankers and Bombers will often focus on groups capturing the District Flags, since the risk/reward is very much in their favor even if they die.
If someone keeps killing you, move to another area. Sending toxic messages or begging them to leave you alone doesn't usually help. If you want to improve, asking them for advice sometimes works.
Sigils of Imperial Retreat are amazing if you don't want to carry your gains through the sewers each time you want to return to base.
In general, I would recommend that inexperienced players group up and return to the home base often to bank their rewards.
Other Useful Bits of Info
The nearest Districts to your Home Base, with the map of your sewer route back to base:
AD - Temple, Arboretum https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Irrigation_Tunnels
DC - Elven Gardens (much closer), Nobles District https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Lambent_Passage
EP - Arena, Memorial https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Harena_Hypogeum
District Info: https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Imperial_Districts
Sewer Info: https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Imperial_Sewers
I like PvP. I like PvE. I like PvPvE. I also recognize that learning to PvP or PvPvE is a steep learning curve that doesn't appeal to every player. Not every player is going to enjoy the Imperial City and that's okay.
If you know that the Imperial City is content that frustrates you, my advice to you is that you conquer the "Fear of Missing Out" that ZOS constantly leverages with these events and give the Imperial City portion of the Celebration a miss. If you are able, just don't subject yourself to something you don't enjoy in pursuit of some fleeting rewards. Leave Imperial City to those who enjoy it and run the PVE-only dungeons for your tickets. If you show up anyway, I'm going to ask exactly what result you expected from forcing yourself to do content you know you dislike.
On the other hand, it you aren't sure or you think you might enjoy Imperial City, give it a shot! The best thing you can do is come prepared for PvPvE, accept that you will die along with the rest of us and that's okay, and do your best to have fun as you experience what a busy, active Imperial City is like when its full of players!
I hope this helps players have fun in the Imperial City and to prepare for PvPvE!
And as always, if you spot an error or a correction that needs to be made, let me know! (Note: I'll be changing the section on IC Event Tickets once we either get clarification from ZOS or the IC event starts and we start killing things.)