All You Should Know about the Theft, Bounty and Justice System in ESO

Game: The Elder Scrolls Online
Time: 2016-04-11 23:01:09
Views: 1700


"How to be a successful thief?", you may wonder as stealing is a part of The Elder Scrolls Online. And to achieve that goal, to be cunning and some luck is needed.


Bounties in Elder Scrolls Online is the system in place to control thievery. You can steal either by picking something up that doesn't belong to you or by assassinating NPCs and looting their corpses. This triggers the justice system, in which if caught you'll be chased by the guards and player Enforcers until your notoriety is cleared. This creates sort of a cops & robbers dynamic. 


Let's get started with the basics: 

You can steal with two methods. The first is to pick an item up that's marked as owned by someone else. The other is to slay an NPC and then loot their corpse or to pickpocket them. The stolen goods then become your property, temporarily. At the point that you steal or murder an NPC, if a witness spots you in the act, you become wanted immediately. It doesn't matter if a guard is or isn't around, ESO doesn't use Skyrim's witness system. 


If you are caught, you'll become wanted and gain notoriety that has three levels: fugitive, notorious, and disreputable. Fugitives are attacked on sight, notorious means guards will chase you with the intent to arrest you, and disreputable means that guards will only engage if you get close enough for them to notice you (i.e. afking in town). 


Pickpocketing is its own special snowflake system, which we'll discuss below. 


Notoriety & Bounties

Once you become wanted, you'll need to lay low and let your notoriety decrease over time. Slowly, over time, if you will. Once the guards have taken chase, you'll need to run and run fast to get away from them. Once you've lost aggro, you'll have to stay away until you're no longer wanted. Once in the wilderness, you'll need to lay low for awhile while your notoriety goes down. 


As a note, it does go down while offline, so feel free to log off if the heat is rather severe. 


If you want a fast and easy method to get rid of it, simply be apprehended by a guard and hand over your stolen goods and pay a bounty. If caught, you can flee, but you'll go through the chase phase again. 


Guards are immortal and cannot be killed, fleeing is your only option. 


You can view your notoriety status in the lower right hand corner (see above) including your bounty amount.


Outlaw Dens

Once you've successfully escaped, go to any outlaw den in most major cities to turn in your wares for cash. The fencer will only accept so much loot in a day, but realistically that's alright since one is to assume that you can't really get that much since only so much notoriety will come in a day. 




A simple enough task, crouch and then come up from behind on most any NPC. You'll get a prompt with success rates. 


Tips and Warnings

1. Witnesses cannot be killed to remove your notoriety. 

2. Fighting guards gets you nowhere, fleeing is the only option. 

3. You can get away with any crime if no one sees you. Much like other Elder Scrolls games, someone has to be looking at you commit the crime. 

4. Enforcers are not in the game yet, but when added, will allow players to hunt down other thieves. 

5. To be successful in your crime, you should have an escape plan. 

6. As previously mentioned, you can log - off and reduce your notoriety over time.