eso thief

Game: The Elder Scrolls Online
Content Type: Gaming News
Date: March 9, 2015

Follow these five essential tips to be the best ESO thief ever.

With last week’s release of Update 1.6, players in The Elder Scrolls Online can finally pursue a life of crime with the new Justice System. Ever since the game’s launch, there’s been a lack of real thieving opportunities. Unlike Skyrim, players in ESO were never given the chance to skulk around picking pockets and the like. That is until now.

So if you want to be an ESO thief, my fellow traveler, read on and take heed of these five essential tips.

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

Under the Justice System, players now have the ability to level a new Skill set known as Legerdemain (found under the World Skill line). To be an ESO thief, you need to work at increasing your Legerdemain skills, and this takes practice, practice, practice.

The Legerdemain skill line has a total of 5 passives with 4 skill points possible in each:

[table]

Passive, Description

Improved Hiding, Reduces sneaking stamina cost

Light Fingers, Increases pickpocketing chance

Trafficker, Increases number of daily fence interactions

Locksmith, Improves chance to force locks

Kickback, reduces amount of bounties willingly paid

[/table]

Budding thieves need to focus on three things to increase Legerdemain:

  1. Picking Locks
  2. Picking Pockets
  3. Fencing Stolen Goods

Becoming an ESO thief involves dedication and risk taking.  With the Justice System, chests aren’t the only thing with locks to be picked. Thieves can now pick locks on NPC houses and safe boxes to score valuable loot. Like in Skyrim, thieves can now sneak up on NPCs and pick their pockets (try not to get caught!). Stolen goods can then be sold for gold, or laundered. All three activities increase your skills. The more you practice, the faster your Legerdemain skill will advance up to level 20.

ESO Thief Picking Locks
Pick every lock you can to gain valuable experience.
eso thief safeboxes
Crack safeboxes to gain more valuable loot.
eso thief
Picking pockets involves risk, but you’re rewarded with loot and experience.

In The Elder Scrolls Online, crime doesn’t always pay for an ESO thief. When a witness sees you attempting to pick a lock or if you fail in your attempt to pick a pocket, you’ll immediately be assigned a bounty — a monetary fine placed on your head. Once you have a bounty, every town or city guard you come in contact with will stop you, demanding payment. If you don’t pay your fine (and escape), your bounty will increase. Before too long, the guards won’t be too understanding about your life of crime, and will simply attack you on site.

Bounties can quickly escalate, and it’s important for an ESO thief to know the price on their heads at all times. Bounties are tracked by a running meter in the lower right corner of your screen. The meter will show how much gold is owed, as well as a metered bar depicting how long your bounty will last. You can also check your bounty level by pressing C to get to your Character screen.

There are three ways to get rid of bounties:

  1. Pay the bounty to the guard who catches you.
  2. Pay the bounty to a fence.
  3. Wait until the bounty decreases over time.

Paying off your bounties is fairly straightforward. Just remember that when you pay a guard, he or she will also seize all your stolen loot. You don’t want to be like this guy who lost out on a rare Imperial motif when it was taken from him by a guard!

If you’d rather not pay, you can wait it out. Your bounty will decrease over time as shown in the meter. Red shows a rapid decrease, while white shows a slower decrease. In general, your bounty will decrease by 20 gold approximately every 3 minutes or 6,300 gold every day. Thankfully for the ESO thief, bounties continue to decrease even when logged out of the game. If the heat is really on, hole up somewhere in town (or preferably out in the wilderness where there are no guards) and wait. If need be, log out and play The Elder Scrolls Online later. Your bounty will be smaller the next time you play.

eso thief bounty screen
The bounty meter is in the lower right corner of your screen.
eso thief bounty meter character screen
Press the C key to bring up your Character screen to view your bounty.

Paying your bounty to a guard may not be in your best interest — especially if your pockets are stuffed with stolen goods (remember, just like in Skyrim, the guards will take any stolen items away from you, thus costing you profits and experience). This is why an ESO thief should always keep an escape route in mind. Know the lay of the land before you start your crime spree.

Sometimes you can outrun the guards and lose them, but you should always know where the entrances to the local Outlaw Refuge is. Guards can’t follow you into the refuge after all, so it’s best to scurry away to one post haste. Besides, once in the refuge, you’ll be able to sell your ill gotten goods and pay off your bounty to a fence if need be.

Here’s a few hints for the ESO thief when it comes to the guards:

  1. Shor’s Bones! Fighting the guards is darn near impossible. They’re super tough, so fleeing is typically your best option.
  2. It’s much easier to flee a guard outdoors than it is inside a building. Be extra cautious about having a bounty on your head if you’re in a building where guards may be present.
  3. If you’re going to make a run for it, use Block to stun a guard first. Stunning may give you the few precious moments you need to make your escape.
eso thief
Have an escape route in mind before you flee a guard.
eso thief outlaw refuge
Know where the Outlaw Refuge is before you begin your crime spree.

You can sell or launder your stolen goods in any Outlaw Refuge. Both selling and laundering will give an ESO thief the same amount of Legerdemain experience, but there’s an important difference:

  1. Selling stolen goods will give you gold.
  2. Laundering stolen goods will allow you to keep and use the items.

Be careful! Unlike selling items to Merchants, you can’t buy items back from a fence. If you want to keep the item for yourself (weapon, armor, food ingredient, motif, etc.), make certain to launder the item — not sell it.

MUST READ: Stealing In ESO Just Got Nerfed

eso thief fence
Know whether you want to sell or launder your stolen goods.

Great opportunities exist in The Elder Scrolls Online for a thief to make money and gain experience. That said, an ESO thief should practice their art in populated areas teeming with NPCs and buildings. True, an ESO thief can (and should) engage in thieving wherever they can, but why plan a crime spree where the pickings are slim? Instead, concentrate your efforts in the game’s capital cities for maximum gains.

The best thieving action can be found in:

  1. Elden Root (Aldmeri Dominion)
  2. Wayrest (Daggerfall Covenant)
  3. Mounhold (Ebonheart Pact)
eso thief capital city
A life of adventure awaits you in one of the capital cities.

What do you think about the new Justice System in The Elder Scrolls Online? Are you living a life of crime as an ESO thief? If so, what have you learned? Be sure to share your thoughts and experiences in the Speak Your Mind section below, and help your fellow gamers become the best thieves ever. Until next time!

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ghostmourn
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ghostmourn

Great read thanks. The justice system makes the game for me, I cant stop stealing…I’m reading this while waiting for my bounty to lower so I can get out of town with my pilfered rare item! Nice to know the 20 gold ever 3 min rule.
(We need an add on to convert to exact times)

Shane Scarbrough
Guest
Shane Scarbrough

Thanks for commenting, ghostmourn. When I first created my main ESO character last April, I envisioned him as a “lawful good” Templar. Now with the Justice System, he ain’t so good anymore 😉 He can’t stop stealing from every crate, barrel, and safe box he sees. It definitely adds a whole new dimension to the game.

A bounty count down addon is an excellent idea. I’d definitely see myself using it. With the wide array of addons developed for ESO, I think it’s just a matter of time.

josh gonzalez
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josh gonzalez

What is ths 20 gold per min rule ?

Shane Scarbrough
Guest
Shane Scarbrough

Hey Josh, thanks for your question. If your character racks up a bounty, the total fine will decrease by 20 gold about every 3 minutes. This gives you a rough idea when your bounty will expire.

Hello
Guest
Hello

You also can log off and than you’re bounty Will be gone after the amount of time it needs to clear 🙂

Owlgen
Guest
Owlgen

Within 20 Minutes of starting ESO I became a Kleptomaniac and Murderer!

Yes, I was still on the boat Level 1. Took everything I could get my hands on. Killed twice and was killed once. Then I run off the boat and did some slash and grabs. THEN the guard grabbed me. I saw that I could run away and ran I did like a Banshee on Crack. THEN another Guard kept throwing this Chain thing on me and hooking me back to him. I escaped, ran out of Town to gather my Wits. Logged off and found this site and others with SUCH good advice.

I immediately located on the old handy Map system the safe house for all of us Crim/s and boy did I bank Cashola! I had copped a Silver Flask and other goodies. Arrived at the Thieves Den and after selling all of my thieved items got to my first Thief level.

How much fun! I even met another Player in this Den of Sin, and we spent the next three hours just raping the Town financially. This is the BEST DEGENERATE past time I have ever engaged in online! LOL. She showed me all of the in’s and out’s around town AND I picked my First Pocket!

Good Times!

Oooh, I even brazenly robbed the Fine Wine shop and escaped the Guards!

Thank you for your tips!

Owlgen, Any Thieves out there Just look me up!

simpozion
Guest
simpozion

what if u dont have money or the stolen goods on you, will the guards will only kill you?

Shane Scarbrough
Guest
Shane Scarbrough

Hi simpozion. Yes, the guards will still attack you onsite if your bounty is high enough or if you try to flee. If you’re broke and have no gold, they’ll still try to kill you, but they can’t collect the bounty. Actually, some players will deposit all their gold in the bank prior to starting a major crime spree to avoid having to pay any fines.

Cory
Guest
Cory

Is there any way to get stolen goods back once the guards have seized them?

Shane Scarbrough
Guest
Shane Scarbrough

Hi Cory, unfortunately there’s no way to get back seized goods. In Skyrim you’re able to immediately pickpocket guards to get your money back, but not in ESO. This adds to the excitement and danger of a life of crime, so be careful out there 🙂

Kotaro Atani
Guest
Kotaro Atani

Kotaro here, Master Khajiit thief, yes…. this one looks fine in Contraband Violet,

Link-

And in order to get that color you will have needed to Fence 1 million in gold,
My advice to those new and upcoming thieves, get Retreating Maneuver (morph of Rapid Maneuver from the Alliance War) and if you get a bounty use it to escape or to quickly get to a Outlaw refuge if needed, also once you reach VR6 go and buy/find a three piece Nightshade set, this one uses a Necklace and two daggers, the set’s abilities are here, http://elderscrollsonline.wiki.fextralife.com/Nightshade Set
wear, and use the three piece set while stealing, it Decrease’s detection radius by 2 meters and Reduces Sneak cost by up to 25% (at Legendary) this gives you a extra buffer zone while stealing, if you are a fellow Khajiit and have maxed out your Stealthy Passive you can be almost be on top of them while stealing with this set.

Good luck my fellow thieves and may you always walk on warm sands…

Shane Scarbrough
Guest
Shane Scarbrough

Thank you Kotaro. We can all learn from a Master Thief such as yourself.

Adam
Guest
Adam

If you keep getting caught but pay off your bounty each time, will the guards begin to automatically attack you when entering the town?

Shane Scarbrough
Guest
Shane Scarbrough

Hi Adam. As long as your bounty is completely paid off, the guards won’t attack you. You can keep paying off your fines indefinitely, and they won’t go after you at all if your bounty is zero. They have a short memory, and don’t remember past crimes 🙂

Darcy Flood
Guest
Darcy Flood

Use your way shrines! I successfully brought up my map and ported out b4 I got killed. This works good inside buildings or if you get turned around(lost) or being chased by multiple guards.

Hello
Guest
Hello

In skyrim and oblivion you could also choose to be in prison. Is that also possible in ESO?

Shane Scarbrough
Guest
Shane Scarbrough

Unfortunately, there’s no prison option in ESO. Basically, you either have to pay your bounty, or fight/attempt an escape.

Hello
Guest
Hello

Pity, I love the way it worked in skyrim that one lock pick system was really fun and I think it would work really well in eso.

Tyler Smith
Guest
Tyler Smith

Hey guys i loot alot for my guild and i hate to give this tip away but alot of merchant tents you find that have lock boxes in them will allow you to actually pick the lock through the tent walls. Try not to just run up and pick a lock or pickpocket someone use obstacles to your advantage. Alot of the blacksmithing stations in towns will have lock boxes in them if you just hug the outside railing and aim at the lock box you can actually pick them from a distance… YOUR WELCOME!!

Shane Scarbrough
Guest
Shane Scarbrough

Hi Tyler, thanks for the tip. I never realized you could pick the lock through the tent wall. I’ll give it a try.

Rain88
Guest
Rain88

Thanks for this guide it was very helpful . I was looking to start an outlaw game play since I will be headed to covenant zones soon and looking forward to steal from those rich snobs… Down to the king lol

Ful
Guest
Ful

Hi Shane nice article!. Just wanna ask about the cd of the max stolen goods that you can sell. I already sold 50 items and now im just waiting. do you have any idea? thanks in advance 😀

Me and my girl!, we’re addicted to stealing stuff XD it helps alot for your inventory upgrade, bank upgrade and mount upgrade lol!

Grimne
Guest
Grimne

Is there a guild for thieves? Outside of the quest line, I mean. I would really like to go out thieving together, have a sensei, gossip about good spots, have a pickpocket event and set each other goals/have competitions. I haven’t been able to find one so far that specializes in thieving.

flannan
Guest
flannan

The only kind of player guild that cares about stealing is housing guild. Because you find the best furniture recipes in other people’s pockets.
Maybe you should make your own guild?
Of course, there is NPC Thieves Guild in the DLC, and it’s quite popular, so Hew’s Bane might be a good place to recruit like-minded people.

Michael
Guest
Michael

OK I was just curious has anyone ever gotten a gold items from Stealing I have I believe they go for 10k gold et Dwemer lockbox something was one of them the other was sun god sword

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