The Adventures of San-daro; Chapter 9

  • There are a few different types of dungeon in Elder Scrolls Online – but since this a guide about playing solo there is just one that we will talk about…. Delves.


    What are delves? A solo delve in ESO is a small cave, ruin or dungeon that is specifically designed for one person. They are not ‘instanced’ – which means that other players will sometimes be in the same delve at the same time. This can come in handy if there is a particularly tough boss in there! In many ways, a solo delve is similar to the smaller caves or dungeons that pop up with radiant quests in Skyrim. Go there - kill whatever is in there, pick up everything that's not nailed down, and get the hell out of there...


    San-daro has heard of the Ayleids and would very much like to meet one. Perhaps this delve will reveal clues about what happened to them?


    A delve can be spotted on the map as a torch symbol. Note: there is a group delve which has a ‘+’ symbol next to the torch, these are designed for small groups and are ‘instanced’. Typically, a delve can be completed in about 15-20 minutes if you explore everywhere and kill everything. You can blast through in less time, but I advise you to take your time – read everything, open everything, search everywhere. It’s surprising what you can find in some of the delves in Tamriel.


    Each Alliance zone has six delves scattered around the landscape – and there are more in Cyrodiil, Craglorn, Wrothgar, Morrowind and so on. There a quite a variety of ‘styles’ – delves can be Ayeleid ruins, Bandit caves, Daedric shrines, abandoned mines, Dwemer ruins and a few other types. However, they have similarities that should be noted. Note that the symbol for delves (the torch) won't appear on the map until you happen to explore in the vicinity - they aren't on the map to start with. So be ready to explore the zone, there are definitely six in the zone, even if they are tucked away in the corners!


    Ah, so it seems like the Daggerfall Covenant are doing something dastardly in this delve, yes?


    Delves usually come with a small quest attached. This can be given by an NPC just outside, or insider. Some quests are given in nearby towns. And in some cases there is a note found within the delve that asks you to return a treasured possession to a family member somewhere in the area. Many delves will additionally have a ‘backstory’ that can be followed through notes, books or scrolls left around in delve. Whilst they are not mandatory, they often provide interesting immersion and, sometimes, lore. If you are roleplaying (and this guide is about roleplaying) you really should take your time going through the delve. Ignore the crowd of players that are just blasting through, and seek out every backpack, table, container in those nooks and crannies!


    Every delve has a Skyshard which can be drawn from. Some skyshards are easily visible in open areas, but many are tucked away in remote corners, alcoves, ledges or platforms. They are all too easy to miss! But – trust me – there IS a Skyshard in every delve. Or at least I have yet to find a delve that doesn't have one...


    San-daro will always find the shard of Aetherius, no matter how cunningly it has been hidden away in a dark corner


    Delves are a particular rich source of food and drink items, as well as potions. They are ‘unowned’ – just help yourself! It's not uncommon to find food and drink that number into double figures, especially if the delve is a bandit hideout. For some reason bandits have a larger food supply than necromancers!


    There will be a tough boss somewhere in the delve, usually in the farthest extremity. Sometimes they are in splendid isolation, but often they have a gang of goons hanging around with them. You need to kill this boss to have that delve marked as completed (marked white on the map). They drop decent levelled loot that can be used or sold to local merchants. As I mentioned earlier, if you get into difficulties, there will often be other NPCs showing up periodically who can help with the boss battle - but, to be honest, with care you can usually handle them. Bear in mind, that if someone else has killed the boss ahead of you you might need to wait for him to respawn!


    Khari was no match for Baandari sneaky archer


    There is an achievement (10 points) for killing the boss in a delve, plus a further achievement (15 points) for killing the boss in every delve in a zone. 

    Don't forget the quest that was triggered just outside or inside the delve. Sometimes it will mean trudging to some distant town simply to hand over a family posession to a grieving mother or a note to a bandit partner. If you're lucky it will simply mean turning in the quest to the NPC hanging around outside the delve.


     This one expects Cirmo to reward Khajiit with shiny things, yes?


    You should always look to take on a delve when you see one. They are quite varied and often have interested stories attached to them.


    Delves are a cool way to accumulate:

    • Skill points (complete all the delves in a zone for two skill points from collecting the Skyshards)
    • XP from killing the many enemies and, of course, the boss
    • Free alchemy, food and drink items, plus harvesting ingredients and other loot



2 Comments   |   Paws and 1 other like this.
  • Paul
    Paul   ·  December 31, 2017
    I've been pondering this, and - you know what - I honestly don't really have a favourite. Because, I really like ALL of them. Each one of them has individual quirks, both in the layout, the design, the ambience. I love the fact that they didn't just 'copy...  more
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  December 31, 2017
    Have you a favourite or most memorable Delve, Paul? The thing I like most is, as you point out, the hidden story most of them contain in the form of journals and the like. Sometimes a quest in a Delve is only partially related to the Delve's boss, and som...  more