“cp” or champion points is a term you’ll see everywhere in relationship to ESO. As a new player you might be super confused by these, as you will not encounter them yourself until you hit level 50. Here’s a briefing on how they work for players below level 50 that are confused and players who have just hit level 50 and need more information.
Level 50 is the level cap in this game. Once you’ve hit level 50, you no longer receive any attribute points or skill points as you gain experience. In addition, level 50 characters can enter veteran content (which are a harder mode of all the existing dungeons, but with more health, damage, and harder mechanics, as well as better rewards).
That doesn’t mean that experience is useless at level 50… quite the opposite. Your leveling journey has just begun! For one thing, the gear cap is at cp 160.
On a level 50 character, any experience earned goes towards champion points.
Champion points are a unique account-wide leveling system. You can think of them as Diablo III paragon points if you are familiar with that. All level 50 characters on an account earn cp instead of levels when they gain experience. The cp are shared across all characters. CP can be spent on unique buffs in the champion point menu, even on characters below level 50. (Before you ask – the way you spend them is unique per character).
The reason the gear cap is cp 160 is there used to be veteran levels which were character specific and were capped at vet 16. Since 10 cp is supposed to be approximately 1 vet level (it isn’t, not since they made the experience requirements much lower), when they got rid of vet levels they decided to make the max gear level cp160.
Earning CP is done the same way as leveling normally – killing things, completing quests, and everything else that grants exp counts. It is affected by buffs that increase experience gain, same as leveling. It also has one additional unique experience buff – enlightenment. Enlightenment is an account-wide buff that increases experience gain towards champion points by a factor of 4. It lasts for 100k experience earned. Enlightenment is refreshed every 24 hours. The time at which it refreshes is completely unique to you – it refreshes at the exact time every day that you first hit level 50 on your first character! In addition, it stacks up to 12 days, so if you can’t use your enlightenment every day… don’t worry, you’ll just have more the next time you play.
Spending champion points is surprisingly rewarding. Champion points come in 3 colors – red, green, and blue – and you get an equal amount of each color. Each color can be spent in one of three trees with different buff choices. You may spend up to 630 total champion points; while you can earn cp indefinitely, you cannot spend beyond that. Each champion point spent gives a % increase to the matching stat. If you spend 10 blue points, you get a 1% increase to magicka. If you spend 210 blue points, you get an approximately 20% increase to max magicka. This is one of the reasons cp is so important for completing difficult content. (note that there is diminishing returns, so a 300 cp character is approximately 75% as strong as a cp 630 character, not half as strong).
Where you choose to spend the cp also matters. You should spend the cp on nodes that improve your character’s build. However, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Diminishing returns. The first 3 cp spent in a node gives maybe 1% buff. To get from 14% to 15%, however, requires 25 cp spent.
- Breakpoints: For any cp that’s a %, the number is truncated. So if you spend one cp and go from 12.3% to 12.5%, the actual buff is still only 12%. You’re better off spending that cp somewhere else where you can get an improvement right away.
You can reset cp at any time for a cost of 3k gold (flat fee).
If you wish to experiment and figure out the best distribution for yourself, go for it. Otherwise, there are two calculators that can tell you the optimal distribution based on your current stats and the typical combat conditions (such as various group buffs).
For the blue tree: http://solinur.de/AsayreCP/CPOptimisation.html
For the red tree: http://solinur.de/AsayreCP/WarriorCPOptimisation.html
For the green tree there is no calculator, but the choices are much simpler.