Could ESO's Tales of Tribute become an esport? - Upcomer

Could ESO’s Tales of Tribute become an esport? Interview with Rich Lambert

Could this deck building game become a standalone game or esport?

Tales of Tribute is a card game in Elder Scrolls Online, released with the latest High Isle expansion and involves building your deck whilst playing the game. Each card game requires players to gather resources and purchase better cards. There are eight decks to unlock, and players can dive into the game as soon as they complete the Tales of Tribute tutorial. The card game includes some competitive play in the form of leaderboards and multiplayer. This got us thinking; if there are leaderboards, and you can challenge others, could this card game become an esport? We spoke with Rich Lambert, the Creative Director at Zenimax Online to get his thoughts on the matter. He also gave us some top tips for playing the game.

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Could Tales of Tribute be an esport?

To understand if Tales of Tribute should be an esport, we wanted to first know if it could be a standalone game. Elder Scrolls, for example, has a standalone card game called Elder Scrolls Legends, played at some tournaments and has a competitive scene. Lambert told us the “focus has been on [launching] the game and [seeing] what people think of it”. He and the team at Zenimax said Tales of Tribute has been really well received. This means it will continue to get a lot of support. Lambert admitted whilst he’s not sure if the game will head down the esports route, many people have talked about it. He confirmed the team are “exploring all avenues”. This includes the potential for the card game to become standalone, and even the possibility of physical versions of the cards.

Tales of Tribute definitely has the potential to be an esport. It comes down to whether the community wants this, and whether there’s value in Bethesda allowing it to become an esport. We already see plenty of card games in esports — Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon TCG, Heartstone, Shadowverse, and many others. Tales of Tribute definitely has the right elements for an esport; the dynamic of building your own deck in game would set Tales of Tribute apart from other card games in the scene. It would be really exciting to see this in the future.

Hosting tournaments in game

Elder Scrolls Online already has person vs. person (PvP) gameplay — players can now challenge one another to Tales of Tribute within ESO. Like most Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs), ESO includes guilds. Players can join a team, or guild, to raid, complete quests, and more together. Having played with several guilds myself, I thought the possibility of guilds challenging one another to Tales of Tribute would be fun. Guilds could also host internal games for their guild members. The game already allows for players to challenge one another. We spoke to Lambert about the idea. Lambert said he’s seen Tales of Tribute tournaments already been held but none between guilds. ESO doesn’t support this type of game of tournament style gameplay between guilds however.

Players can challenge NPCs and other players to Tales of Tribute (Screenshot by Upcomer).

After reading various posts on social media, Lambert said he and the team are now thinking about new possibilities. Lambert said he even “found the first tribute only Guild […] which was really cool”. Whilst guild tournaments aren’t a thing yet, players can still challenge one another. Maybe we’ll soon see guilds battling one another for bragging rights. Don’t forget, the Tales of Tribute leaderboard is not only prestigious, but gives you lots of rewards.

Tips for playing the game

Speaking of rewards, we thought we’d ask Lambert some top tips for playing Tales of Tribute. This would allow us to move up the leaderboard and get better rewards! Lambert’s top tips for playing Tales of Tribute is that you need to remember it’s “very much a game of strategy”. Players can choose how to counter, attack, and even how to win. Lambert’s favorite deck is the “Hlaalu deck [because of] the coin generation […] and patron power.” In Tales of Tribute, you need to collect coins to buy better cards. Favor from a a patron like that allows you to get better cards.

Tales of Tribute is a very different card game than most standard turn based games. The yellow highlights show what moves are currently available. The counters in the middle are points: gold for coins, blue for prestige, and red for power (Screenshot by Upcomer).

Lambert told us the most common way they are seeing players win the game is through Victory points. There’s a “wide range of how you earn them” and you can get a lot of them on a “good turn”. He also said it’s important to remember that there’s no advantage in “saving cards” each turn as your whole hand is discarded at the end of the turn. Five new cards are drawn each turn which makes for really dynamic gameplay.

If this sounds like your kind of game, grab the High Isle expansion in Elder Scrolls Online and check out Tales of Tribute. Players will need to head to Gonfalon Bay and complete the card game tutorial quest.

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Michelle Mannering
Michelle is a Content Producer in the realms of innovation and technology. Known as the “Hackathon Queen” 👑 you'll often find her on stage MC’ing or speaking on a range of topics from artificial intelligence, to business, community engagement, the future of work, and esports. With a background in both science and arts, Michelle writes extensively on a range of topics including innovation, startups, corporate culture, esports, business development, and more. She has a passion for gaming and combines this with her experience in a range of industries. Michelle brings a unique insight into esports innovation and draws many parallels between the physical world of sport, and the digital world of esports.