This page of our The Elder Scrolls Online game guide explains exactly how the Justice System works, that is the system of applicable laws and penalties for breaking them. You will find out what can happen after a crime has been committed in TESO and how best to react when you find yourself in front of a law enforcement officer.
Crimes - types
In TESO, the game notes that a crime is committed only if you have been caught or simply performed a prohibited act while you were in the field of view of at least one NPC. Crimes in the game are divided into minor (Petty Crimes) and major ones (Major Crimes).
Petty Crimes include:
- Theft of items lying in plain sight or in containers - occurs only if you were not hidden at the time of the theft.
- Pickpocketing - only if the percentage chance of successful theft has shown a negative result.
- Killing farm animals and livestock.
- Lockpicking and breaking into containers, locked spaces or buildings.
- Entering locations that the hero is not allowed to enter.
Major crimes include:
- Attacking the inhabitants of the land (this refers to NPCs, it does not apply to an attempt to attack another player, which would fail anyway by default).
- Killing innocent people (NPCs).
- Use of necromancy in public places (this applies only to selected spells associated with necromancy).
Committing (detectable) crimes leads to two things:
- The Infamy Meter gradually fills up, which appears in the bottom left corner of the screen. It may start to decrease slowly if you don't break the law again for a long time.
- Increasing the amount of the Bounty for catching your character.
Encounters with the guards
Filling up the bar of infamy and the appearance of a bounty for a hero's head are of real importance - you can expect a reaction from every guard you come across. There are two main types of guard reaction:
- Trying to stop your hero - this can happen if infamy meter and bounty are at a lower level.
- Immediately attacking your hero - this will happen if infamy meter and bounty are at a high level.
If you have been stopped by a guard, you can pay a fine and additionally return all stolen items from the hero's inventory to the guard. This will reset the infamy meter and bounty. You will no longer be stalked by further guards (of course, until you commit another crime). Note - in TESO, there is no option to serve time in prison just like in Skyrim.
The chase can happen not only if you have high Infamy Meter and Bounty, but also if you decide to escape (Flee option) after being stopped by a guard. Don't try to kill the guards. They're immortal. The only chance is to lose them, either by getting far away from them or by getting to the hiding place of Outlaws Refuge (the headquarters of the criminal world - they're available near every larger city). While escaping, be ready to quickly press the buttons indicated by the game if the hero is temporarily disarmed by a guard.
After you lose the chase, you will be informed every time that Infamy Meter has decreased. This will allow you to easily determine when the risk of an attack from a guard will disappear and when you may be able to return to towns and villages without the risk of a hero being detained.
In The Elder Scrolls Online, stolen items have a special marking (red hand icon), as a result of which you cannot put them up for sale (they can be taken away from you when a guard stops you). You can solve this problem in three main ways:
- Store stolen items in a crate in your home while you have active conflicts with law.
- Visit Fences. Most of them reside in Outlaws Refuge locations in large cities of the game world. During a meeting with a fence you can sell him a stolen item or pay him to "wash" it so it becomes legal. This is a good idea if you want to equip some valuable stolen items.
- Use stolen items - this applies only to disposable items (like potions).