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Update June 20th: ESO is now live and launched, and while the pre-order bonuses are gone you can check here for discounts still available.

The official unboxing of The Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Edition was revealed just yesterday through a ZeniMax Online Studios via a YouTube video. (Its funny how unboxing has become such a thing that official sources are now doing it themselves – much better to present the messaging yourselves vs some random kid on YouTube, I’m sure).

The lead Loremaster for ESO Lawrence Schick first touched on the digital additions in the Imperial Edition, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on today: comparing the Digital Imperial Edition vs Standard Edition, and what preordering both copies gets you.


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The Explorer’s Pack Pre-Order Bonus


Pre-ordering The Elder Scrolls Online on both the Imperial and Standard Edition will net you the “Explorer Pack” bonus. There’s three specific goodies in this pack:

  • Scuttler vanity pet (shown above, a dinosaur/lizard-ish creature)
  • Four bonus treasure maps (picture shows one but you get four)
  • Play as any of the nine races in any Alliance (races are confined to a specific of the three Alliances, getting the Explorer Pack negates that)

Early-Access For Pre-Orders of ESO

Both pre-orders of Standard and Imperial Edition in either PC/Mac versions will get you early access to the game, prior to the 4/4/2014 release date. Big difference is that the Standard and Imperial Edition gets different dates:

  • Imperial Edition: A five (5) day early access bonus – start playing 3/30/2014
  • Standard Edition: A three (3) day early access bonus – start playing 4/1/2014

Update: Apparently prepurchasing straight from official store gets you 5 Days early head start on the standard edition vs the 3 days offered at all other retailers out there. You’ll have to decide if the potential savings from other retailers on preorders (from 20% to 25% off) is worth the 2 days in head start.

Digital Content in Imperial Edition


If you pre-order the physical or digital version of the Imperial Edition, you’ll receive all the digital-content pictured above.  (These digital content will also be available in the Imperial Edition for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4). Here’s exactly what you’re getting:

  • Imperial Race: Play as an Imperial in any alliances. The extra tenth race in ESO is an exclusive to those who’ve purchase the Imperial Edition. While ZeniMax has stressed that the exclusive race has no advantages vs other races, you will of course gain unique bonuses, crafting style, and gear> (You’ll be able to craft/transform any gears into Imperial style)
  • Imperial White Horse: ZeniMax has clarified that this in-game mount will have the same stats as any other horses in ESO, so no advantages here.
  • Rings of Mara: Receive the blessing of Mara, the goddess of Love, who will bless your union with a partner of your choice (aka friend). You’ll gain significant experience buffs when playing together with your partner (or friend). This bonus seems to make sense if everyone and their mom will be playing with their girlfriend/boyfriend but maybe a bit more weird if just with a good friend?
  • Mudcrab Vanity Pet: Funny enough the Loremaster spend all three seconds describing this vanity pet in the unboxing video, these are the mudcrabs we all love to stomp on in Oblivion and Skyrim. You’ll get one to follow you around. Yay?

Are these bonuses worth the extra money? If you were already dead set on playing as an Imperial, then the answer is probably clear. If you’re definitely planning to skip the grind to receive a mount in-game and get faster XP boost with a friend, this seems like the best way to go too.

As with all things exclusive, controversy of course will follow. Locking an entire race into a more expensive version of the game got gamers riled up when details of the Imperial Edition was revealed last Wednesday, though thus far Zenimax has been carefully dealing with the backlash by stressing the non-advantages with the exclusive race. Time will tell if this will be a factor (or non-factor) in the game’s success.


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