The Elder Scrolls: Legends beta gets a "Chaos Arena" event next week

In honor of the Mad God Sheogorath, Bethesda's will bring a Chaos Arena special event to its card battle game The Elder Scrolls Legends next week, adding a new, alternative PvP mode to the game where "random and surprising rules" will take effect. As you'll discover further down the page, that mostly means some wacky changes to the way the game's lanes work.

Chaos Arena will only be available from December 14-19, during which time Bethesda will also roll out a out a new card set called the Madhouse Collection that will be available for purchase with either in-game gold or cash.

The Madhouse Collection promises "a fresh set of strategic options for players," and will be added immediately to all Arena modes, including Chaos. Players who purchase it will be granted three copies of each card and an Arena Ticket granting immediate entry to the Chaos Arena. 

This is what the Chaos Arena has in store: 

Current Scenarios for PvE  

  • Duel – Both players start with a 2/1 Gladiator in opposite lanes
  • Shields Up – Both players start with 0/4 Guards in opposite lanes
  • All Out Brawl – Both players start with Broken Bottle, which strikes a random enemy for 1 damage at the start of your turn

    New Scenarios for Chaos Arena 

  • Hero’s Call – Before the game, shuffle three unique creatures into each player’s deck
  • Your Own Worst Enemy – Players switch decks at the start of the game
  • Sheogorath’s Game – Both players start with Wabbajack
  • On a Roll – Players start with a Sweet Roll in each lane
  • Power Unleashed – Players start with 3 additional magicka
  • To the Death! – Player one starts with a Gladiator Arena in play
  • Spawning Pool – Both players start with a Slaughterfish in different lanes

Current Lane Conditions  

  • Mage Tower – After you play an action, summon a random creature in this lane with the same cost
  • Renewal – Creatures in this lane have Regenerate
  • Siege – Creatures in this lane have Breakthrough
  • Killing Field – Creatures in this lane have +1/+0
  • Fountain – Creatures summoned to this lane that have 2 power or less gain a Ward
  • Library – While you have a creature in this lane, actions cost 1 less
  • Campfire – When you summon a creature in this lane, friendly creatures gain its keywords
  • Barracks – When you summon a creature with 4 or more power in this lane, draw a card
  • King of the Hill – Whenever a creature with cost 5 or greater is summoned in this lane, give it Guard
  • Blitz – All creatures in this lane lose Guard
  • Ballista Tower – At the start of your turn, if you have the most creatures in this lane, deal 2 damage to the opponent
  • Hall of Mirrors – If there are no friendly creatures in this lane when you summon one, copy it
  • Temple – When you summon a creature in this lane, gain 1 health
  • Lucky – Creatures summoned in this lane gain a random keyword
  • Fortifications – Guards in this lane have +1/+1
  • Warzone – When you summon a creature in this lane, deal 1 damage to your opponent
  • Graveyard – When a non-Skeleton creature in this lane is destroyed, summon a 1/1 Skeleton
  • Surplus – When you summon a creature in this lane, reduce the cost of a random card in your hand by 1

New Lane Conditions for Chaos Arena  

  • Zoo – When you summon a creature in this lane, transform it into a random animal
  • Flanking Lane – When a creature is summoned in this lane, give friendly creatures in the other lane +1/+0

It feels a little reminiscent of Hearthstone's Tavern Brawl mode, with "serious" gameplay set aside in favor of some competitive goofing around. But launching a card expansion, even a small one, also seems a bit of an odd move for a game that still hasn't left beta. 

It's great to have some off-the-wall new toys to play around with, and the game could certainly use fresh content, but if Legends still isn't ready to be released, shouldn't that be the focus? That said, the reaction on the Legends subreddit appears quite positive overall, but that's coming in the wake of some fairly persistent dissatisfaction about what's happening with the game.

Bethesda's Pete Hines told us in September that Legends could launch there and then but for the lack of tablet support; yet as far as I can tell, it remains in soft launch on the Canadian App Store, and is entirely unavailable for Android. Expansions like this may be great for the existing player base, but finishing, releasing and marketing the game is what's needed to grow it.

More information about the Chaos Arena and the Madhouse Collection card set will be released as they come closer to launch. For now, you can find out what's what at bethesda.net.