Welcome to ESO! Part 2: Character Creation

What character should I roll?

ESO has four classes (five with Morrowind) and nine races (ten with Imperial Edition Upgrade). Each class can easily fill the four different roles that exist in this game: Tank, Healer, Stamina Damage Dealer, and Magicka Damage Dealer, although they all have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to each role.

Like in other TES games, race also plays a big role. As you might expect, Altmer, Dunmer, and Bretons make superlative spellcasters, while Bosmer and Khajiit make good sneakthiefs, Nords, Orcs, Redguards, and Imperials make good tanks and warriors, and Argonians make excellent healers or just all-around-pretty-good.

Many players of TES games make an idea for a character – a nord frostcaster. A bosmer archer – and build around that. That works pretty well in this game too, and certainly won’t hold you back from completing the hardest content. However, if you’re more interested in maximizing your potential, read on.

Briefly, if you aren’t familiar with the trinity of roles in MMOs, tanks’ jobs are to keep the mobs attacking them, survive those attacks, position the enemies to maximize group damage, and buff the group; healers’ jobs are to keep the group alive, particularly the tank, and maximize group dps; dps’ job is to do as much damage as possible while doing what they can to make the tank’s and healer’s life easier. Some games split dps in to melee and ranged; in ESO Stamina and Magicka are more common splits; while stamina are generally melee (as bow is pretty weak in ESO), Magicka can often be melee as well.

While all classes can tank, Dragonknights are the best tanks. They have a superlative amount of group utility and crowd control, particularly the ability to move enemies around the battle field with chains. This enables them to greatly simplify pulls, especially since line of sight works poorly in ESO even when there are good positions to do it in.

However, nightblade sap tanks, warden buff tanks, and templar tanks are also very strong. And sorc tanks are certainly viable for most content (although I haven’t yet heard of one progressing through hard mode veteran Maw of Lorkhaj, I wouldn’t be surprised).

Likewise, while all classes can heal, Templar is the strongest – they have an entire skill tree devoted to healing, although their most iconic skill is actually shards, which restores a lot of stamina/magicka to the person who uses it. Wardens have a full healing line as well, although they don’t have shards. Nightblades and Sorcs also have a few healing skills, and dragonknight’s utility could also be turned towards a healing role.

I had a line in here for the strongest dps classes, however it keeps changing so it’s impossible to keep up to date. You can do good dps with almost any class/race combo, it’s all about your skill and build.

In terms of theming, Sorcs have summoning skills, shoot things with magic good, or if you like turn into little balls of lightning-ey death. Nightblades sap health and curse their opponents. Templars are proper little paladins with glowing spears everywhere, and dragonknights use flame and earth to protect themselves and slay their opponents. Wardens summon animals to slay their opponents, use nature magic to heal their allies, and frost magic for protection.

You can read more about the skills available to different classes, as well as the differences between races, here. http://elderscrollsonline.wiki.fextralife.com/Skills


  • I want to be a stealth archer
    • This isn’t skyrim. Stealth archery will never be good. You can kind of make a gank build with it in PvP. For that go Bosmer Nightblade. But for questing, PvE, and so on, you are wasting your time.
  • I want to light things on fire.
    • Any class can light things on fire using a destro staff, but DK is best at it. Dunmer and Altmer are good choices as they both get bonuses to max magicka and fire damage (both of which makes your fire more burney). Breton isn’t bad either as their additional sustain will make you able to light more things on fire before you run out of magicka.
  • I want to use a big 2H sword and heavy armor!
    • Again, this isn’t skyrim. This is a great PvP build, but in PvE you’ll be gimping your damage so much you’ll wonder wtf you’re doing wrong. Yes, you can use it for questing and so forth, but in dungeons you will not pull your weight.
      • But Thallassa, isn’t that a tank build?!
        • No. Tank builds have sword and shield, not 2H.
    • Anyways, if you’re going to do this build, go for: Imperial, Redguard, Nord, maybe Argonian, maaaybe orc.
    • Any class can do this build.
    • (If you’re wondering what is a good build for PvE: DW and medium armor. You can do 2H and medium armor, and I recommend it for questing and so on, but for group dungeons DW is best).
  • I want to stabby stabby things.
    • Great! Any class can stabby stabby. Nightblades and Templars are the most stabby-stabbiest, but sorcs actually do the most damage with it.
    • Best races for stabby stabbing: Redguard and Bosmer are best. Khajiit, Imperial, Nord, Orc, and Argonian are all pretty ok.
    • You’ll want to level bow as well.
    • Er, minor addendum: You can be super stabby stabby with a magicka DK or Templar. Best races for that are Altmer, Breton, or Dunmer. You’d use staves, but stabby stabby.
  • I want to protect others with a sword and shield.
    • Great! The world needs more tanks. The best tank classes are DK and Warden. Sorc, Nightblade, and Templar can do it but are missing some utility that makes it looot easier for DK and Warden.
    •  Best races for tanking: Argonian, Imperial, Nord. Orc and Redguard can also do it.
  • I want to heal.
    • Templar has far and away the most healing utility. Warden is pretty good too. You can heal on a NB and Sorc fairly well; DK has almost nothing for it at all.
    • Best healing races are Altmer, Argonian, and Breton.
  • I want to be a powerful mage.
    • Sorc! The other classes can do it too but sorc is the best.
    • Pick Altmer, Breton, maaaybe dunmer.




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