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The Elder Scrolls Online adding Champions and Justice in January

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The Elder Scrolls Online

Big changes are on the way to The Elder Scrolls Online. ZeniMax Online Studios says Update 6 will go live on the public test server in January, bringing with it both the Champion System, which will change how the game handles post-level 50 player progression, and the Justice System.

A more detailed breakdown of the Champion and Justice systems can be found in our July look at the future of The Elder Scrolls Online, but the short version is this: The Champion system will replace the current Veteran Rank system with one that rewards passive abilities via Skyrim-style constellations, while the Justice system will enable killing and robbing NPCs, which will result in bounties that other players can collect. ZeniMax began phasing in the Champion system with update 4—the third stage of that rollout will be included in the January update—and the Justice system will be implemented the same way.

"The first iteration of the Justice System will include Skyrim-style PvE elements—you’ll be able to steal from vendors, pickpocket NPCs, kill NPCs, have justice meted out to you by guards—but not with the PvP Enforcer part of the system," Game Director Matt Firor explained in the latest TESO update. "The most important reason to do this is to make sure that the Justice System has a solid foundation before adding the extra PvP elements. As most of you know, PvP is by its very nature extremely difficult to predict. We want to have a stable system in place to build on before we add more unpredictable elements."

Firor said the Justice System will include "huge updates to the very fundamentals of the game," and will be so large that the studio has decided to hold back the Imperial City PvP, which Firor talked about all the way back in April, for a separate, future update.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.