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Elder Scrolls Online: Bastian vs Mirri
Bastian doesn't necessarily command the love of the ESO community, but the Imperial knight has more to offer than players give him credit for.

ESO - Bastian and Mirri
The Elder Scrolls Online has been a genuine success story for Bethesda, as the fantasy MMORPG has carved out a strong player base thanks to its incorporation of the franchise's rich lore with the expansive and diverse environments fans expect. The series' reputation has only grown with the release of various additions, the latest being High Isle, the game's sixth major expansion pack. With Elder Scrolls VI still a long way away, the online platform is arguably the best way of getting one's RPG fantasy fix in the meantime.

With the entire game being offered for free until April 26 to coincide with the release of High Isle, there's never been a better time to step into Tamriel in search of adventure. Not only does the latest expansion bring in a raft of updates and a new realm to explore, but it also offers players two new companions: Isobel, the Breton knight and the Khajit sorcerer Ember. The two join the current duo of Mirri Elendis and Bastian Hallix.

The companion system is one of ESO's fundamental gameplay mechanics, allowing players to choose a buddy to accompany them on quests and in combat. These NPCs are vital to success, but picking the right one can be a tricky decision, especially when considering the pros, cons, likes, and dislikes each companion has

ESO - Bastian
While Mirri frequently appears to be the most popular choice for ESO players thanks to her moral flexibility, Bastian is often looked over as an inadequate and inferior alternative to his Elven counterpart. However, the lack of overall love Bastian receives isn't fully warranted. Sure, he may be a stick in the mud regarding issues of moral and ethical rationale, but those who dig a little deeper will find that his skills and ability make choosing him as a trusty companion and loyal charge a potentially savvy option.

Bastian is an exceptional warrior if used correctly, and considering that the primary reason for having a companion in the first place is for assistance in combat situations, this is hard to look past. A flexible fighter, Bastian boasts three class skill lines (Ardent Warrior, Draconic Armor and Radiating Heat) alongside the usual six weapon skills, armor skills across all three weights, three guild skills as well as the unique Imperial skill line.

Use of the Draconic Armor skillset, for instance, helps make Bastian into an extremely effective Tank, his Drake's Blood ability in healing for 25% of their Max Health and reducing their damage taken by 20% for eight seconds when below 75% health. Bastian's Insight, the knight's unique perk, grants players a chance that any potion consumed will be improved, a boon particularly useful for novice players or those with less experience roaming Tamriel's untamed wilds.

ESO - Bastian
Sometimes, however, it's simply a question of style and preference rather than stats and figures. While Mirri has drawn praise for her more clandestine approach to her business, Bastian is the go-to for those who like their companions to have a more brutish, gung ho attitude to a scrap. It certainly also doesn't hurt that the red-headed brawler is practically incapable of being incapacitated in a fight.

Another major criticism leveled at Bastian is that his noble outlook on life conflicts with players who want to be a little more morally ambiguous, damaging rapport when players perform an act his disapproves of. While this is perhaps understandable, the argument can be made for the fact that Bastian's most damaging moral outrage emanates from killing friendly NPCs (and pickpocketing), which hurts rapport by 25 points. The flipside, of course, is that multiple activities will gain the Imperial Dragonknight's approval, such as completing Mages Guilds or killing bandits, but it's hard to truly blame the noble sidekick for attempting to keep players on the straight and narrow.

Bastian's idealistic outlook (which stands in stark contrast to Mirri's more cynical worldview) is somewhat endearing, with fans citing his honorable way of thinking, loyalty, and pureness as his most likable characteristics, not to mention his frequent capacity to aid and heal players when needed. Mirri's more easygoing attitude has certainly enamored her with large swathes of the ESO community, but a few of her arbitrary dislikes, such as her hatred for bugs and reluctance to travel by boat, can be frustrating.

With many stats and attributes common to both parties, there's certainly no danger in picking a companion who isn't right for a player or who becomes an active hindrance over time. That said, if one has a personal preference for healing or tank classes, or simply wants an adventurer with a heightened sense of morality, Bastian has the edge over his Elven counterpart. But you will always need to buy eso gold no matter what class you choose.

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