The Elder Scrolls Online recently launched the Blackwood Chapter, offering a whole new region to explore along with a variety of quests, group activities, and collectibles. The biggest addition, however, is the innovative new Companion System — which gives you a permanent follower to assist on your adventures.
Only players who have purchased the Blackwood Chapter can take advantage of the feature, but it’s arguably one of the biggest — and most exciting — changes we’ve seen to ESO in years. If you’re just beginning to explore the powerful Companion System, here are a few tips and tricks to get you on your way.
Much like the Pet System already available in ESO, Companions will tag along on your adventures and follow you wherever you go. However, there’s one big difference — Companions can interact with the world and react to your decisions. They’ll stick by your side while questing, help out in combat, and can even be customized with a variety of skills and outfits.
As you trek across Tamriel with them, Companions can also level up and grow stronger. And — depending on how you act — they might grow to be a trusted ally or come to loathe you and your behavior.
There are a few locations Companions aren’t allowed — including PvP situations and housing — but otherwise, they’ll tag along until you dismiss them.
The Companion System launched with two available Companions, although it’s possible ZeniMax will add more in the future. For now, you’ll have to make do with Bastian Hallix and Mirri Elendis.
Recruiting Mirri Elendis
Mirri Elendis is a Dark Elf Nightblade that can be found near Doomvault Vulpinaz in the northern portion of Blackwood. Head to that location, look around for a note, and you’ll start the Shattered and Scattered quest. This will see you helping Mirri rescue her kidnapped crew members. Successfully complete the mission, and Mirri will be happy to join you during your adventures.
Recruiting Bastian Hallix
Bastian Hallix is an Imperial Dragonknight found at Deepscorn Hollow in Blackwood. This is located a bit southeast of Leyawiin, on a tiny island just off the shore. Here, you’ll find Bastian tied up in a cave — speak with him to start the Competition and Contracts quest. He’ll ask for your help investigating the rest of Deepscorn Hollow. Once you’ve cleared out any trouble lurking in the depths, Bastian will become a loyal Companion.
If you’ve ever gone on a quest where an NPC follower tags along, you’ve already got a good idea as to how Companions perform during combat. While they won’t be a major source of DPS, they’re more than capable of working as a tank or a healer — depending on how you spec them out.
Companions feature a unique skill system that is vaguely reminiscent of your own. There are only a few available slots for you to equip different skills, and your Companion will automatically trigger the attacks moving from the first slot to the last slot. If the first skill in the lineup is currently on cooldown, then the second skill will trigger. If the first and second slots are on cooldown, the third skill will be triggered — and so on.
Because Companions trigger skills in a set order, it’s critical that you plan out exactly where skills are slotted. For example, if you want your Companion to use a healing skill as often as possible, you won’t want it in the last available slot. Instead, putting it near the front of the lineup will ensure it’s used frequently.
There are a few other bits of info you’ll want to be aware of when taking Companions into battle:
- You can direct Companions in combat by pressing the L3 + R3 buttons and Left or Right Bumper or pressing Y on PC.
- If you perform a heavy attack on a target, your Companion will automatically change their focus.
- Companions will trigger their Ultimate Ability automatically, but you can also force its use by pressing L3 + R3 or clicking the Icon on PC.
- Companions can be revived with a Soul Gem, but they will also revive at the end of combat.
As of now, there are a few different ways to customize how your Companion looks. With only Mirri and Bastian available, you’ll want to take a few minutes to change up their appearance — otherwise, they won’t stand out from the crowd of Mirris and Bastians running around with other players.
One way to customize your Companion is to simply equip them with your own cosmetics. ZeniMax allows you to use various mounts, costumes, and outfits on Companions, and it’s an easy way to switch up their looks.
You can also head over to an Outfit Station to create an exclusive outfit slot — much like you can with your own character. Not all of your gear is compatible with Companions, and it’s worth pointing out that helmets will never be visible on your Companion. Various other restrictions apply to both Mirri and Bastian, but there are dozens of unique ways to customize their appearance.
As far as equipment is concerned, Companion equipment is completely separate from player equipment. New Companion equipment can be purchased from various shopkeepers throughout Tamriel, and high-level gear will eventually drop the more you bring them into combat.
Just because they’ll stand by your side during combat, don’t assume your Companion is your friend. Nearly every action you perform will impact their view of you — pull one too many shenanigans, and they might even request a short leave of absence.
Mirri and Bastain have different views on life. While Bastian is an upstanding citizen, Mirri occupies a bit of a gray area. For example, steal an object in front of Bastian, and your rapport will slowly decline. Mirri, on the other hand, doesn’t mind when you steal — in fact, stealing certain objects such as food can actually improve your rapport.
Beyond asking for a temporary dismissal, rapport also changes dialogue options with your Companion. It won’t impact how they perform in combat, but bad rapport is something you’ll still want to avoid.
Much like your own character, Companions will level up as you venture into combat with them. They’ll eventually max out at level 20, improving their HP and combat power and learning new skills and abilities. Companion Skills come in a few different flavors, including:
- Weapon Skills: Require specific weapons to use.
- Armor Skills: Require specific armor to use.
- Guild Skills: Level up by completing certain daily quests for your current Companion.
- Racial Skills: Applied based on the race of your Companion.
- Class Skills: Level up automatically based on the level of your Companion.
Mirri and Bastian have different available skills, so it’s worth unlocking both to see which is a better fit for your playstyle. Regardless of which you choose to tag along on your adventures, you’ll have plenty of ways to customize their skills and performance as you slowly level them up.