Tamriel Infinium: Massively OP’s guide to The Elder Scrolls Online’s cash shop

    
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Ah, the crown store: the third leg of the business model (along with buy-to-play and subscription) that’s powered The Elder Scrolls Online to one of the more profitable MMOs currently in existence. Love it or hate it, there are some handy purchases available within it, as well as some that leave us scratching our heads. In this edition of Tamriel Infinium, I’ll be running down what’s available in the cash shop, what you should focus on with your money – and what you should avoid. Let’s dig in.

ESO Banker

The cash-shop must-haves

Assistants

These are a little pricey, but the bang-for-the-buck is still hard to beat. For 5000 crowns (about $50) each, you can have your own portable banker, merchant, or fence NPC available at your beck and call. The first two are especially useful when your pockets get full while delving the depths of ESO’s dungeons and raids.

Likewise, if you’ve been on a thieving spree and you don’t think you can get out of town without being accosted by a guard, simply pull out your pocket fence and sell all of your stolen goods before Johnny Law can relieve you of them. It should be noted that these assistants don’t provide all of the services that a regular bank/merchant/fence NPC can. For example, your portable merchant does not repair your armor, and fencing items with your personal NPC will cost you a hefty 30% gold fee. Still, considering the amount of use they get, I’d judge it’s worth grabbing the assistants as soon as you can.

Cosmetics

One of the major reasons we play MMORPG’s is for the RP aspect if for no other reason than that we want a character that makes us feel unique among a sea of other rogues, wizards, and knights. The ESO cash shop provides many appearance customizations including costumes, hairstyles, and adornments. One piece of advice that I give to new players is this: Don’t put a permanent skin/facial marking or adornment on your character during creation. These types of things are available via in-game unlocks and cash store purchases and are easy to swap out when you get tired of the look. Choosing facial markings or permanent earrings for your character during creation can result in the purchase of an appearance change token (available for the low, low price of 1000 crowns!) once you get tired of the look.

Personalities

Like cosmetics, personalities are an interesting way to give additional flare to individual characters. From knife-flipping assassins to dainty duchesses to staggering drunkards, individual personalities are fun for roleplaying, guild events, or even everyday use.

Situational cash-shop stuff

DLC

If you’re a buy-to-play player, it’s worth saving your crowns for additional in-game content. Purchasing these upgrades from the crown store guarantees that you’ll have access to the content forever. However, if you’re a constant ESO Plus member and subber, there isn’t much reason to spend crowns on DLC, as everything but chapters is included in your subscription.

Mounts

I used to buy mounts from the store before I had many to choose from. The dire wolf and cave bear are a nice change from the standard horse mounts, but the senche (big cat) mounts are my personal favorites. The longer you play, the more mounts you’ll collect via events, pre-orders, and special rewards, so the purchase of mounts via the store becomes less and less attractive. But if you’re looking for a little variety early on, mounts can be a fun way to spend your crowns.

Cosmetic pets

These little furry (and scaly) friends provide surprising moments of fun with their antics and animations. But even more so than mounts, players will eventually find themselves drowning in cosmetic pets. They show up often in daily logon rewards and can even be earned via festival currencies and through preorders. I’d hold off spending crowns on these unless you’ve had your eye on a certain one for a very long time.

Imperial Upgrade

The Imperial edition was originally a special version of the base game that unlocked the ability to create a character with the Imperial race. It’s now available as an upgrade in the crown store, but at 2100 crowns (a little over $20) it seems a little steep for a race and a mount. Unless you’re a huge fan of Imperials or you just want to make sure you’ve got all of the game options unlocked, it may be best to wait for this bundle to go on sale.

Houses

When the Homestead DLC dropped, many gamers said housing in ESO was just a gold sink, and of course it is, but that’s not the point. That point is that housing in ESO is well done, there are a huge variety of housing options available, and players enjoy it. Entire Twitch streams are dedicated to housing customization in ESO. I have purchased one large house in ESO myself; it’s a nice place to retreat to when I’ve got the itch to chill out and rearrange furniture. But generally, housing is not something I look to buy. There are situations when you might, though, such as if you are a collector, if housing is your endgame, or if you just have too many crowns saved up from years of subscribing and nowhere else to spend them.

Crown Crates

You know those mystery-flavor Doritos? Hate them. Random mystery hot wheels car? Nope. Loot crate subscriptions? Not for me. I like to know exactly what I’m getting for my money, so I’ve never purchased a single crown crate. I don’t mind if a studio gives me a few for free, but that practice has really tailed off over the past year. ZeniMax does put exclusive items in the crown crates, so I guess I do understand people who buy them for the chance at that one special item. Never mind, no I don’t. Buy these if you like to gamble.

Skyshard zones

One of the most recent additions to the store, players are allowed to purchase the skyshards (roughly equivalent to skill points) for an alternate character/s once all zone skyshards have been found on one character. I can’t recommend avoiding these, since I could see how they could be considered a convenience item, but something about them just feels wonky. I will not be spending crowns on these, but it’s reasonable that some people might want to.

Avoid avoid avoid

Werewolf/vampire bites and cures

Most players will tell you, don’t pay for these. Bites are available from certain NPCs in game and from other players. The afflictions can be cured by NPCs for a very small amount of gold. Any guild member worth his/her salt will offer their once-a-week bite for free, but even if you insist on playing an MMO without friends, it’s possible to just show up at one of the shrines and find another player just waiting for a victim to ambush. My werewolf bite happened in just this way!

Experience scrolls

Experience boost scrolls are great for leveling. They stack with other XP buffs such as the Anniversary Event cake or the Jester’s Festival pie. But they are readily available via login rewards. I’ve got a stack of these things that I can’t seem to use fast enough. I’m honestly surprised that they’re still in the crown store.

Traverse the troubled land of Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls Online! Larry Everett and Ben Griggs will be your guides here in Tamriel Infinium on Wednesdays as we explore together the world created by ZeniMax and Bethesda in one of the biggest MMOs in the genre. Larry and Ben welcome questions and topic ideas!
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Stormwaltz

*slams hands on table*

*stands on chair*

PERSONALITY ANIMATION SETS ARE THE NEATEST AND MORE MMGS SHOULD SELL THEM!

*clears throat*

*sits down*

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Sorenthaz

Tbh the only things that really strike my fancy are the personalities and then occasionally a mount or pet. The Jester personality from the April Fools event for example is top notch – I love how goofy the running animation is.

Godnaz
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Godnaz

The first purchase I made aside housing, was storage. With multiple characters, lots of items I obtain that I don’t have time to use right away, like treasure and writ reward maps, I found storage to be a great first purchase asset. Don’t forget, you get one at lvl 18 (30slot) free.

Really pleased to see more ESO and GW2 coverage on the site now.

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Sorenthaz

Fairly certain you can increase your inventory/bank storage through gold purchases.

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McGuffn

I think he might be talking about housing storage.

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Eliandal

You forgot potions and poisons;)! That should be a never ever EVAR! I’d also recommend not purchasing bag upgrades. Gold is not scarce. Good guide otherwise :)!

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I’ve got to admit there isn’t really a lot in their cash shop that makes me get excited about pulling out my wallet, perhaps if they took their mounts and sold them all individually or even in a GW2 Mount License type of thing then I’d be more inclined to spend more than my $15 sub. Occasionally there are costumes, the odd pet like the Siamese looking cat, or the recent Treasure Hunter personality (which amused me in a few creep screen shots like one recently where I’m standing looking for treasure while waving my torch around a room with a John and a Prostitute).

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McGuffn

Now that’s an emote/idle animation!

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I posted a screenshot in the One Shots article last weekend.

Theryl
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Theryl

Crowns go on sale about twice a year for up to 40% off. If you’re patient and know you’ll be around for a while, you can save yourself some money.

Most things in the Crown Store also go on sale about once a year. Again, patience can save you some money.

Skyshard packs aren’t worth it for the smaller zones, but might be worth it for places like Cyrodiil since the skyshards in enemy areas can be a PITA to get. They might also be worth it if you have a bunch of alts and just can’t face doing a zone for the umpteenth time.

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Darthbawl

Is there a cooldown on using those Assistants? Those seem rather $$$, do they ever go on sale?

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Sylkesh

Nice guide Ben thanks! <3

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terminallynerdy

I just picked up the Elswyr bundle thanks to MJ (I watched her stream) last weekend, so now I am trying to get my footing as a Kajit Warden (I throw birds and beetles at people which is hilarious and amazing)

Articles like this are super useful, thank you :D

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McGuffn

Didn’t the fence come with Thieves Guild?

Here’s an alternative guide to the cash shop. It has Paul Anka’s guarantee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlKao_Pox5A