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How To Level Your Thief Skills Fast In The Elder Scrolls Online  

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Shane Scarbrough
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Follow this method to level your thief skills fast in The Elder Scrolls Online.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article outlining five essential tips to follow to become the best thief ever in The Elder Scrolls Online (in case you missed the post you can read it here). To summarize, aspiring ESO thieves need to:

  1. Advance their Legerdemain Skill line,
  2. Be aware of outstanding bounties,
  3. Know their escape routes,
  4. Sell or launder stolen goods with caution,
  5. Concentrate thieving efforts in the capital cities where the action is.

But what if you simply want to level your thief skills as fast as possible? Is there a way to gain crazy amounts of Legerdemain quickly without a lot of fuss?

MUST READ: Stealing In ESO Just Got Nerfed

Level Your Thief Skills Fast

There is a way to level your thief skills fast in The Elder Scrolls Online, but I should caution that the play style  isn't for everyone. This leveling "trick" is basically a method to grind Legerdemain, and with grinding comes repetition and weariness. Still, if you want to level Legerdemain to 20 as fast as possible, this is the way:

1. Find Yourself Some Goats Yes, I'm being completely serious. You can level your thief skills fast, but you're going to need some livestock. Most regions in the game have farmsteads or plantations with goats, etc. The trick is to find a location with lots of goats -- the more the better. Veteran level players can find a great little farm right outside Craglorn's Dragonstar Wayshrine for example.

[caption id="attachment_4907" align="aligncenter" width="575"]eso goats You need goats for this grind to work.[/caption]

2. Kill The Goats Players could always kill goats in The Elder Scrolls Online, but with the release of the Justice System, slaughtering goats is now a crime. This is actually great news if you want to level your thief skills fast.

[caption id="attachment_4902" align="aligncenter" width="575"]level legerdemain eso Sneak up and kill the goats.[/caption]

3. Harvest The Goats Once you clandestinely kill the goats, you can harvest their bodies for Game, Guts, and Hide. Like any crime, just be careful not to be caught in the act! If an NPC witnesses your poaching efforts, you'll rack up a bounty, so be sure to go into stealth mode.

[caption id="attachment_4904" align="aligncenter" width="575"]level eso thief skill Harvest the goats for stolen items.[/caption]

4. Rinse And Repeat Because killing goats in now a crime, each item (Game, Guts, Hide) is considered "stolen," and stolen items can be sold or laundered to a fence for valuable Legerdemain experience.  Each slaughtered goat usually gives up a generous 3-4 items, and you can level your thief skill fast by simply killing an entire herd, looting their bodies, and waiting for the goats to respawn. In a relatively short period of time, you can fill your bag space with stolen goods at a much faster pace than skulking around town looting barrels and picking pockets.

MUST READ: ESO Recipe Conversion List For Update 1.6

[caption id="attachment_4906" align="aligncenter" width="575"]level elder scrolls online legerdemain Launder or sell Game, Guts, and Hide for crazy amounts of Legerdemain.[/caption]

5. Added Bonus Not only can you level your thief skills fast, but you can profit monetarily from this grind as well. At the time of writing, the average Guild Store price for Game is 39 gold and Guts is 8 gold -- it may not sound like a lot, but when sold in stacks you can make some decent money while leveling. And this doesn't even include the Hide you can sell or refine at Crafting Stations. Level your thief skills fast AND make money? Sounds like a win-win to me.

Final Thoughts

Do you have any tricks to level your thief skills fast in The Elder Scrolls Online? If so, please share your thoughts and experience in the Speak Your Mind section below. Until next time fellow travelers!

25 Replies
drew
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 drew
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Goat killer!!! Jk, do you find better stuff to steal as ur skill line goes up? Slightly tired of only stealing 30 gold worth of stuff

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Shane Scarbrough
 Shane Scarbrough
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Hi Drew, thanks for posting 🙂 Actually, your joke isn't too far off. I kinda felt bad killing all those goats. Prior to Update 1.6, there really wasn't much profit at all in harvesting livestock -- definitely not worth it. Now that it's a crime, things have changed. ESO even has an Achievement for it -- Livestock Slaughterer, or something close (forgot to mention the Achievement in the article).

From what I can tell, the level of loot doesn't correspond directly to how high your Legerdemain level is. For the record, I think it should -- it would be a real incentive for players to level. You can craft better armor at a higher level, so why not steal better stuff?

Realistically though, (and I suppose it makes sense), just because I'm a better thief doesn't mean that barrels, NPCs, etc. would have better loot. I think rare loot drops are still determined by chance, and the more you steal the better your odds of striking it rich. It's a numbers game with the added thrill of running afoul of the law.

Most of the rare drops I've come across are valuable recipes -- some worth thousands. I don't Provision much, so I've sold them all off in the Guild Stores for good money. I was ony level 5 when I found the most valuable one in an NPC house (unlocked trunk). I'm still hoping to find one of the rare motifs (Primal, Barbaric, Ancient Elf, Daedric, Imperial). That's where the serious money is, but so far no luck. I know they're out there though, so I keep picking pockets and unlocking every safe box I find.

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Dimi
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 Dimi
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you can use the laundering exploit on any stolen items.
launder to get xp, sell to merchant make your gold back.

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Shane Scarbrough
 Shane Scarbrough
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Hi Dimi, thanks for posting. You're absolutely correct, and the more stolen items you launder and sell, the more your Legerdemain Skill increases.

I explored laundering and selling in a prior article, but I should clarify the fencing process here:

Either laundering or selling a stolen item with a fence will gain you the same amount of XP. If you launder though, you can keep the item for personal use, or sell on your own in Chat or a Guild Store for big bucks (if the item is rare).

If you decide to sell stolen loot to a fence, he or she will pay out face value for an item (great for 30, 100, or 250 gold "junk" you come across picking pockets and looting containers, but not great for recipes, motifs, certain ingredients and rare items). With the new Justice System, crime really does pay, both in XP and money.

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Chelle_Taylor
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 Chelle_Taylor
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Shane, I love your site so far. I can't stay long, as I don't want to get booted (again) ...it's been happening too much as is since the Justice System began. That said, I'm having SO MUCH fun with it, it's almost worth the pc issues! Your guide is simple, easy to follow and all I can say is THANNNNK YOUUUU!!! <3

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Shane Scarbrough
 Shane Scarbrough
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Hi Chelle, glad you like the Skyrim Fansite 🙂 I really appreciate your kind words, and I'm pleased you've found this article useful. The Justice System really is addicting, isn't it? My character just can't stop stealing and avoiding the guards. I'm starting to worry about him...

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Chelle_Taylor
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 Chelle_Taylor
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ps.. I predicted P2W as soon as B2P was rumored. They treat loyal subscribers like crap, ignore input/requests from longtime players, have laid off so much staff, including customer service (derp) which is a HUGE tell (and as you know, as the expert, went FAR beyond the usual post-launch numbers)...etc. etc. etc. Yet the game itself is amazing. I wish corporate greed weren't ...well, corporate greed.

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Shane Scarbrough
 Shane Scarbrough
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I'm hoping the devs really stay true to their vision for ESO. Update 1.6 was just released, but we probably won't be receiving new content until after the console launch (which is two months away yet). Even then, the buzz on the ESO forums is that new stuff won't be coming until September, with the exception of a DLC release or two. I'm looking forward to DLC, but I'm REALLY looking forward to player housing, Spell Crafting, and the enhanced PvP Justice System they teased us with. I'm a realist though, and I know it takes money to bring these things to Tamriel. Just hoping the money is there, and the B2B business model works out (I'd truly hate to see P2W).

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