Scrolls online recently launched the Blackwood Chapter, offering a whole new area to explore along with a variety of quests, team activities, and collectibles. The biggest addition, however, is the innovative new Companion System – giving you a regular follower to aid you on your adventures.
Only players who have purchased the Blackwood Chapter will be able to take advantage of this feature, but it’s arguably one of the biggest – and most exciting – changes we’ve seen. ESO in years. If you’re just starting to explore the powerful Companion System, here are some tips and tricks to help you on your way.
Like the Pet System already available in ESO, The companions will stick with your adventure and follow you wherever you go. However, there is one big difference – Companions can interact with the world and react to your decisions. They’ll be by your side on quests, help in combat, and can even be customized with a variety of skills and outfits.
As you walk through Tamriel with them, Companions can also level up and grow stronger. And – depending on how you act – they can become a trusted ally or become a hater of you and your behavior.
There are some locations that don’t allow companions – including PvP and housing situations – but if they don’t, they’ll tag them until you eliminate them.
The Companion System launched with two Companions available, although it is possible that ZeniMax will add more features in the future. For now, you’ll have to do with Bastian Hallix and Mirri Elendis.
Recruitment Mirri Elendis
Mirri Elendis is a Dark Elf Nightblade that can be found near the Doomvault Vulpinaz in the northern part of Blackwood. Head to that location, look around for notes, and you’ll begin the Shattered and Scattered quest. This will see you help Mirri rescue her kidnapped crew members. Complete the mission excellently and Mirri will be happy to join you on your adventure.
Recruiting Bastian Hallix
Bastian Hallix is an Imperial Dragonknight found at Deepscorn Hollow in Blackwood. This is a bit southeast of Leyawiin, on a small island just offshore. Here you’ll find Bastian tied up in a cave – talk to him to start the Competition and Contract quest. He will ask for your help to investigate the remains of Deepscorn Hollow. Once you have solved all the troubles lurking in the depths, Bastian will become a faithful Companion.
If you’ve ever done a quest that an NPC follower tagged, you’ve got a good idea of how the Companion performs during combat. While they are not the main source of DPS, they are more likely to act as a tank or a healer – depending on how you assign them.
Companions have a unique skill system that is vaguely reminiscent of your own. There are only a few slots available for you to equip different skills, and your Companions will automatically trigger attacks that move from the first to the last tile. If the first skill in the squad is currently on cooldown, the second skill will activate. If the first and second positions are on cooldown, the third skill will be activated – and so on.
Because Companion activates skills in a certain order, it is important that you plan exactly where the skills are positioned. For example, if you wanted your Companion to use a healing skill as often as possible, you wouldn’t want it in the last available slot. Instead, placing it near the front of the formation will ensure it is used regularly.
There are a few other pieces of information you’ll want to know when you bring Companions into battle:
- You can direct Companions in battle by pressing L3 + R3 button and Left side or Right Buffer or press Y on PC.
- If you do a heavy hit on a target, your Companions will automatically change their focus.
- Companions will automatically activate their Ultimate Ability, but you can also force use it by pressing L3 + R3 or click Icon on PC.
- Companions can be revived with Soul Gems, but they will also respawn at the end of the battle.
Currently, there are several different ways to customize the look and feel of your Companion. When it’s just Mirri and Bastian, you’ll want to take a few minutes to change their appearance – otherwise, they won’t stand out from the crowd of Mirris and Bastian running around with other players.
One way to customize your Companions is to simply equip them with your own cosmetics. ZeniMax lets you use a variety of mounts, skins, and outfits on your Companions, and it’s an easy way to change their appearance.
You can also head to Outfit Station to create an exclusive outfit – just like you can with your own character. Not all of your devices are compatible with the Companion and it should be noted that the helmet will never show up on your Companion. Many other restrictions apply to both Mirri and Bastian, but there are dozens of unique ways to customize their appearance.
As for equipment, Companion equipment is completely separate from the player’s equipment. New Companion Equipment can be purchased from various shopkeepers throughout Tamriel, and the ultimate high level gear will drop as much as you bring them into combat.
Just because they will stand by you in battle, don’t assume that the Companions are your friends. Nearly every action you take will affect how they see you – too much crap, and they might even ask for a short break.
Mirri and Bastain have different views on life. While Bastian is an excellent citizen, Mirri takes up a bit of the gray area. For example, steal an object in front of Bastian, and your relationship will slowly decline. On the other hand, Mirri doesn’t mind when you’re stealing – in fact, stealing certain items like food can actually improve your relationship.
In addition to the request for temporary dismissal, the relationship also changes the dialogue options with your Companion. It won’t affect how they perform in combat, but a bad relationship is something you still want to avoid.
Like your own character, Companions will level up as you engage in combat with them. They will eventually max out at level 20, improving their HP and combat strength and learning new skills and abilities. The Companion skill comes in several different flavors, including:
- Weapon skills: Requires specific weapon to use.
- Armor Skills: Requires specific armor to use.
- Guild Skills: Level up by completing some daily quests for your current Companion.
- Race skills: Applies based on your Companion’s race.
- Class skills: Automatically level up based on your Companion’s level.
Mirri and Bastian have different available skills, so you should unlock both to see which one better suits your playstyle. Regardless of which tag you choose on your adventure, you’ll have plenty of ways to customize their skills and performance as you slowly level up.