Gather your party for Blackrose Prison, an all-new four-player arena coming with The Elder Scrolls Online: Murkmire. Learn about this deadly new group challenge in our preview article.
Enter the Arena
A former Imperial penal colony situated deep within Murkmire’s treacherous marshy coast, Blackrose Prison was built centuries ago by the mage Pelladil Direnni and his army of Stone Atronachs. It is said that the prison housed the Empire’s worst (or most inconvenient) criminals and monsters, and over time, the site earned a reputation for brutality. While rumors speak of countless atrocities performed within its walls, few inhabitants suffered more at the hands of their jailers than the indigenous Naga, a tribe of fearsome Argonian warriors.
Show your worth at Blackrose!
Centuries later, the descendants of these Naga captives reclaimed the ancient prison, and, calling themselves the Blackguards, they now use it as both a base for their strikes into the surrounding area and as a testing ground for new recruits. You, however, find yourself at the former prison for a different reason: a rescue mission.
“You and your group enter Blackrose Prison in order to help the thief Erilthel free her master Seeks-the-Dark, who has been captured and forced to run the arena,” says Mike Finnigan, ESO’s Dungeon Lead. “Erilthel has tracked him down (she’s kind of a super sleuth) to this location, but in order to save him, she needs you to face the gauntlet of Drakeeh’s making.”
Fight for Drakeeh
In Blackrose Prison, you and your three teammates will take on waves of enemies in five separate arenas, including Imperial deserters, monstrous beasts of the swamp, hordes of vampires, and of course the Blackguards themselves. Each of the five arenas consists of five rounds, with the final round featuring an especially challenging boss fight.
When designing Blackrose Prison, the team wanted to build upon the success of both the Dragonstar and Maelstrom Arenas.
“With Blackrose, we wanted to incorporate the kind of environmental traps or dangers that Maelstrom Arena has, but at the same time, we didn’t want to use the same ones players had already experienced,” says Finnigan. “So, we varied the ways you can avoid or mitigate their effects while also integrating some of them mechanically into the boss battles, too.”
In each of its five arenas (and in addition to the hordes of monsters and tricky bosses) you’ll contend with unique, deadly environmental elements, and while you can simply avoid some, you can also find ways to use others to help you survive the fight.
Face the Blackguards and Drakeeh himself
To help you deal with Blackrose Prison’s deadly arenas, you need powerful new tools, so in each fight you also have an opportunity to use four new Sigils. Similar to the ones you can find in Maelstrom Arena, Sigils can be activated to grant powerful boons to you and your party:
- Sigil of Resurrection: Resurrects dead team members and protects the activating player
- Sigil of Shielding: Reduces incoming damage to all team members and reflects projectile attacks for a limited time
- Sigil of Sustain: Gives Magicka and Stamina boosts to all team members for a limited time
- Sigil of Healing: Heals all team members for a limited time
“While Dragonstar Arena was great, it was also binary: you could either do it or you couldn’t. But with the Sigils introduced in Maelstrom Arena, we gave players a gradient of difficulty they could manipulate,” says Finnigan. “So with Blackrose Prison, we also wanted players to have a way to customize the difficulty that is tied to its mechanics.”
Because you can only use a specific Sigil once per arena and points are deducted from your Veteran Leaderboard score when you do, activating Sigils is a tactical choice, and you can tailor how hard your experience will be in Blackrose Prison simply by choosing whether to make use of these boons or not.
Greater Dangers, Greater Rewards
It won’t be easy, but those who survive Blackrose Prison will enjoy ample compensation for their efforts. For starters, each boss in Blackrose Prison will drop parts of one of the three zone sets found in the Murkmire DLC. This includes sets such as Bright-Throat’s Boast that increases your Max Magicka and Magicka Recovery while you have a drink buff active.
Blackrose Restoration Staff (exclusive to Blackrose Prison)
While these new sets can give you an edge, should you complete Blackrose Prison, you’ll also earn a unique Blackrose Weapon. These new weapons, like those found in Maelstrom Arena, Dragonstar Arena, and Asylum Sanctorium, buff weapon Abilities. For example, the Blackrose Restoration Staff (pictured above) grants your allies Major Vitality when you shield them with Steadfast Ward, giving you a simple-but-effective boost to your healing. Even better, if you complete Blackrose Prison on Veteran difficulty, you’ll earn a Perfected version of the weapon, giving it a unique stat bonus.
Stand out with the Marshmist Palescale Skin
Upon completing Veteran Blackrose Prison, you will also earn a brand new collectible: the Marshmist Palescale Skin. This new skin can give your characters a remarkably reptilian resemblance, helping them both stand out AND fit in when roaming the swamps. Finally, complete Veteran Blackrose Prison within 40 minutes without using a Sigil or dying, and you’ll earn the unique title “The Unchained.”
Shut Down Blackrose for Good
Blackrose Prison once served as the Empire’s most brutal penal colony, but now it is the base of operations for the vicious Blackguards. You and your team must enter this new four-player challenge, fight your way through its five arenas, and face the monstrous Drakeeh the Unchained. Are you ready to test your mettle in the new arena? Let us know on Twitter @TESOnline and Facebook!
The Elder Scrolls Online: Murkmire is coming soon for ESO Plus members and to the in-game Crown Store. In addition, it will also be available as a Daily Reward for the month of November. This new DLC game pack will arrive with Update 20, a free base-game patch for all ESO players.