How do you make gold in ESO?

There are many activities in ESO that generate gold. In fact, there really isn’t anything in ESO that won’t turn a profit one way or another. (the only truly poor people I know do nothing but roleplay, and even they manage to make gold through begging).

That said some activities are obviously more profitable than others, and if your goal is to make money now or start saving for that big thing you want, this is the guide for you.

Common activities used to make gold:

  • Selling things to other players. These things come from one of two ways:
    • Specifically farming items to sell
    • Buying items at a low price and reselling at a higher price (taking advantage of the decentralized nature of ESO trading).
  • Stealing from NPCs
  • Farming gold
  • Doing quests

You can combine all of these activities, of course. Perhaps you’re leveling your next alt? Take him through a prime gold farming zone like Razak’s Wheel in Bangkorai or the Vile Manse in Reaper’s March. Or perhaps in a place that has a chance to drop rare motifs. Stealing from NPCs or questing? You’re certain to get drops that other players will pay a pretty penny for.

Doing quests is probably the least gold per hour, but it’s steady income at no cost, and fun to boot. Quests award leveled gold but the gold is fairly substantial even at low levels. At high levels you can get up to 664 gold per quest, which can stack up fairly quickly. Even doing dailies can help – if you turn in 6 writs every day, that’s nearly 4000 gold not even counting the other goodies you get.

Farming gold is probably the most tedious, and it’s not that efficient. Certain NPCs drop large sums of cash (notably imperial NPCs in the two dungeons mentioned before), and if you kill them endlessly in a large loop you can make a fair amount of money per hour.

Stealing from NPCs is fun, although the amount of gold you can make is limited per day, and it’s not very efficient. For advice on stealing and making a profit this way, check out this excellent website.

Selling things to other players is then the most efficient way. Let other people worry about vendoring stuff and grinding quests – you can just get them to send their gold to you!

The first step in selling to other players is figuring out how you’re going to get your stuff to other players. This article on trading in ESO will help there. Most players will opt to join a trade guild, either from a recruitment message in zone or on the forums. (Or if you have friends that have already established themselves in the game, they may be able to snag you an invite as well).

The second step is figuring out what you want to sell, and at what price. There’s no bidding system and the decentralized auction house makes it hard for new players to figure out going prices. Addons like Master Merchant and Tamriel Trade center can help, as well as simply looking at stores to see what similar items are priced at, but if you’re in a small-town trader these addons may not be that accurate, and they still don’t help you figure out what to sell.

Typically, materials sell the fastest and the most consistently, even at low levels. Farming materials for an hour or two a week may not be the most interesting thing ever, but it’ll meet your guild dues and keep the gold flowing in.

Alchemy mats are the best to focus on at all levels. They sell better than the crafted potions, and since they’re the same for all levels it’s easy for new players to farm.

Raw materials also sell for high prices. A stack of raw iron ore will sell for 6k gold; a stack of iron ingots will sell for only 1k. This is because refining also drops tempers, including a chance at gold tempers. The drop rate of tempers increases with skill points in the refining passive. Therefore, if you don’t have max points in this passive, you should always sell raw mats rather than refined. If you do, then you have a choice to make. Take the gamble for gold tempers, or sell the raw mats and let someone else roll the dice? In the end it doesn’t really matter because the market is so well defined that you’ll come out about the same either way. If you refine 500 or 1000 raw materials, you’ll probably come out a few thousand gold ahead of just selling them, but you’re only making like 5% profit. (However if you wish to keep some mats and sell others, this is the best option).

Enchanting runes typically don’t sell that well. In fact this is one of the places where the crafted item sells better – a gold cp 160 jewelry rune will sell for around 4.5k gold, and almost as fast as a kuta for 3.5k gold. However this is a place where low levels can make a good profit. There’s no way for high level players to get consistent amounts of the square runes – the ones that define the level of an enchant – for low levels. Therefore, those of us who want to enchant gear for our alts or new players are forced to buy them. I often see these sell for 100g apiece or more.

The items that drop in your normal adventures also have value. Intricate gear and runes sells for ~200 g apiece, more than the mats you’d get from deconstructing them. Most zones have at least one gear set that sells for 5kish gold if it’s the right trait (and max level). Some overland gear sets sell for 20kish gold in the right trait, and weapons for 200k. Motif pages such as Celestial and Xivkyn sell for a few thousand gold apiece; rare motifs like bouyant armiger can sell for 200k gold apiece.

Many players find a niche that compliments what they like doing already. Exploring? Pick up the mats and sell them. PvP? Farm tel var in imperial city and buy sets or mats to sell, or buy motifs and sets with AP. Dungeons? Deconstruct that useless off trait gear and sell the mats, or simply sell the intricates and other random stuff that drops unbound. Farming motifs for yourself? Sell your extra pages for a large profit.

Playing the economy itself is where the biggest (and some say the easiest) profits lie. Buy low, sell high. It’s common to find items that are priced much lower than people will pay for them – maybe a new player doesn’t realize how much Kuta is worth, or someone priced that necropotence sash low so it’d sell fast, or even someone made a typo.

I don’t find it all that easy to find items that are certainly underpriced – but it is kind of fun and satisfies that “gotta find a deal!” urge without wasting a bunch of gold. And if you’re going to guild stores to buy what you need anyways, you may as well look for things you can flip.

Doing this requires a good understanding of the economy and the meta. For example, my MM currently says that essences of health are worth 20 g per. This is because some idiot bought them at 110g per thinking they were crafted tripots, and I don’t have enough data to overrule that outlier, because essences of health actually sell for about 5g (same as the price to the vendor). On the other hand my MM has no data at all for a reinforced werewolf hide shield – one that I sold for 40k in less than a week to a tank looking for a buff set.

That said you can make easy money. Today I:

  • Purchased two green divines necropotence pieces at 6k gold; improved them to purple; and sold for 12k and 18k gold respectively. (Improving them to purple cost about 500g and the higher quality can help guarantee the sale. If they were heavy armor it would have cost more like 2000 gold and may not have been worth it).
  • Purchased a bunch of green alchemy mats for about 10 g per lower than they were selling in my guild. Rapidly sold them at the higher price.
  • Purchased a few kuta for 2.5k gold, crafted some gold runes, and listed those runes at 4.5k gold.

Those are just some examples of the kinds of deals you can look for. I usually have a search set up in awesome guild store with parameters All > green or better profit range > 500 or more gold profit, and I run it when I’m bored and visiting guild stores. It’s possible to flip within your own guild, but the best thing to do is to visit guilds in places that aren’t visited very much. They may only have a page or two of listings but here is where you’re most likely to see low priced items.

Keep in mind the guild store cut! If you’re making less than 7% profit by flipping, you’re actually losing money.

If you’re unsure if something is worth selling, or at what price… ask! People in trade guilds are happy to help you out with advice, since you selling well is healthy for the whole guild. And zone chat often has some idea as well.

Happy trading!







How does trading work?

Trading in ESO is a bit different than other games. As in every MMO you can trade directly with players. You can advertise what you wish to sell or buy in zone chat, and meet up in person (using the f-wheel to open the trade window) or mail the items cash on delivery (to which the game adds a 7% fee, which disappears into the aether).

Unlike other MMOs there is no centralized auction house. Instead, offline/impersonal trading is done through guilds.

Every guild over 50 players has a guild store. Items can be listed in this store for a set price. Everyone in the guild can view this store from any banker in Tamriel and purchase items. The items are mailed to the buyer and the gold gets mailed to the seller, minus a 7% cut (3.5% of the cut is deposited directly into the guild bank and 3.5% disappears into the aether, which is still better than CoD).

Needless to say selling to only people in your little social/raiding/PvP guild isn’t very efficient. There’s a better way… trade guilds!

So the way trade guilds work – if you want to sell to anyone outside your guild, you have to hire an NPC (non player character) trader. If you want to purchase something from a guild you aren’t a part of, you have to visit their NPC trader.

If you want anyone to actually visit your npc trader, he has to be in a place people go. There are a set, limited number of traders, and guilds compete to hire them every week (on Sunday at 1 am GMT (8 PM EST), in case anyone cares). The hiring is done as a secret bid. Basically, you place what you’re willing to pay for your guild, and if it’s the highest amount, you get the trader; if it’s not, you get the gold back in mail.

In order to get a trader in a decent spot, most guilds have to bid at least 1 mil per week; in the best spots it’s more on the order of 10 mil per week. (The traders in shitty spots might be more like 100k).

If a guild makes sales of 40 mil, they only get 1.4 mil in taxes; a bid for a spot where your guild actually makes 40 mil in sales might cost 3 mil or so, so the rest has to be made up somehow. Most guilds are set up so that you either have to sell a certain amount, or donate/buy raffle tickets worth a certain amount (not both) usually it’s set up so that each member is contributing around 1-3k per member, which makes up the difference in sales and is enough to keep the trader.

Guilds in cheaper cities should be requiring less, whereas guilds in the most expensive cities may require as much as 15k per member. (So if you have to contribute 1k per the guild, you can donate 1k, buy 2k worth of raffle tickets, or sell 28k, is pretty much how the math works).

Location is everything! Traders close to wayshrines in cities people go to a lot get the most sales by far. Traders in outlaw’s refuges and zones that most people don’t go, do not get any sales. People are lazy and are willing to pay a premium for getting their item faster. I can set prices 20% higher on commodity items in my trade guild on top of the wayshrine in Mournhold and have them still sell faster than the same items at a lower price in my trade guild far from the wayshrine in Wayrest.

The top locations on PC-NA are:

Rawlkha (Reaper’s March) – typical trader fees 10 mil+, typical dues 15k+

Mournhold (Deshaan) – typical trader fees ~5 mil, typical dues ~3k

Wayrest (Stormhaven) – typical trader fees 3-4 mil, typical dues ~2k

Elden Root (Grahtwood) – typical trader fees ~ 1 mil, typically no dues (~1-2k recommended)

Belkarth (Craglorn) – typical trader fees ~ 1 mil, typically no dues (~1-2k recommended)

Other good cities (in no particular order) include Clockwork City, Vivec, Windhelm, Shornhelm, Baandari trading post, Skywatch, Daggerfall, Ebonheart. Stuff won’t sell as fast as in the major cities but it will move eventually, and guilds here typically charge no dues.

Knowing your market is important. In Rawlkha, Mournhold, and Wayrest, people are looking for end-game mats and items. In Daggerfall and Skywatch, they’re more likely to pick up low level crafting items. If you have something fairly rare, people may come specifically to your trader looking for it.

Keep in mind that trade guilds are not social guilds. They’re there to make you, and them, very rich. Don’t join “just because” if you have nothing to sell and don’t intend to farm things to sell.



What’s the difference between 2H and DW

Shamelessly stolen from Discord for the purposes of preserving this lovely comparison for posterity

How much of a dps loss is 2H compared to DW for stamDK?

You lose a significant amount of stats, a set bonus, and the 2H skills are flatly worse.

HatchetHaro Today at 1:02 AM

while the dps difference is kinda large, i can say that it can still be viable for vet dungeons
i’m theorycrafting it up right now, will have some results and parses in a moment
HatchetHaroToday at 2:29 AM
Here’s a parse in a quick 2H build
currently at 250ms ping in my conditions, so i think i might be able to reach 36k when i get back to the US with 100ms ping instead
in comparison, here is a parse in my typical DW/bow setup, same conditions
esostamdkparse19would probably be 43k in better ping
here’s my build and CP for my parse
2H bar: Venomous Claw, Brawler, Razor Caltrops, Rearming Trap, Executioner, Flawless Dawnbreaker
Bow bar: Molten Armaments, Poison Injection, Endless Hail, Noxious Breath, Flames of Oblivion, Standard of Might
Rotation: HA > Venomous Claw > HA > Brawler > LA > Razor Caltrops > LA > Rearming Trap > barswap > LA > Endless Hail > LA > Poison Injection > LA > Noxious Breath > LA > Flames of Oblivion (> LA > Molten Armaments) (> LA > Standard of Might)
When you refresh Molten Armaments or cast Standard of Might, replace a Heavy Attack with a Light Attack
At 25%, start replacing Brawler with Executioner. At 15%, start replacing Venomous Claw with Executioner. At 5%, replace Heavy attacks with LA > Executioner > LA and drop Flames of Oblivion
Just a quick setup without much maths going into the execute phase, so if you find better timings, do let me know.
So, do I actually recommend doing this? Hell no
But if you want to, it’s definitely viable.

What should I spend my crowns on?

A common question from the new player, particularly one that has 500 crowns (which every player gets when they make their account).

The answer is most likely “Nothing”.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s available in the crown store and why it’s not useful to you.

Most players go straight to the “Upgrades” section. Here can be found the adventurer pack, Imperial upgrade, and inventory, riding space, and skill lines tokens. The adventurer pack is only worth it if you want to PvP as a certain race in a different faction than that race can normally play. For PvE players, or if you are flexible in faction, it is worthless. Imperial edition is only worth it if you want to play an imperial race. Both are fairly expensive.

The inventory, riding skill, and skill lines tokens are a complete waste of gold especially for a new player. All of these things can easily be obtained in game. To expand your inventory space find a bag merchant in any major city (For example, you can find one in Vivec, Daggerfall, Vukhel Guard, and Davon’s Watch). The first few upgrades are incredibly cheap and it is only when you get to around 150 slots that they start to get expensive, at which point most non-hoarders don’t need more space. Riding skill can be upgrade every 20 hours on each character for 250 gold. While there’s a timelimit, which the crown store can skip, it costs ~$1 full price. For a 250 gold value. Next!

Vampire and Werewolf are the biggest scam. Just go to The Rift, Reaper’s March, or Bangkorai and ask. You will quickly find a player willing to bless you with these curses completely for free. Or if you join a guild there will be players there who can help you.

The “Crafting” Section is also a scam. The motifs that are being sold for 5000 crowns can be purchased in game for much less. For example mercenary can be had for around 10,000 gold; glass is more expensive around 150k, which is still not worth 5000 crowns. People literally give away the non-imperial racial styles for free.

Ok how about Utility?

Here you find consumables. All of these consumables have equivalents that are easily acquired in game. Soul gems? I literally vendor those. Food? I give it away for free. DO NOT BUY THESE. Same thing with respec – you can respec for 50 gold per point in Elden Root, Mournhold, and Wayrest. That means ZOS is trying to get you to pay 700 crowns for something that, for a new player, only costs like 3k gold.

Experience scrolls are somewhat expensive to get in game, but a new player should not get experience scrolls… the early parts of the game go by too fast anyways. Enjoy it!

Somewhere in here you can buy more character slots and the DLC. Each DLC goes on sale once per year on its anniversary. If you aren’t a subscriber it may be worth getting them then. You start with eight character slots (which is a lot) and can buy more for 1000 crowns each. If you’re an altaholic, these may be helpful.

Everything else? It’s all cosmetic. The mounts are not any faster than the one you can buy for 10k in game. The non-combat pets and costumes only look pretty. Houses have no in game function other than being fun to decorate and a convenient place to travel to. Most houses can also be acquired for gold.

So what should you do with your crowns?

If you don’t have a mount, it may be worth getting one. The sooner you get a mount the sooner you can start riding training.

You should probably grab the DLC you want if you are not an ESO+ subscriber.

Other than that you should spend your crowns on whatever you want. None of it has any in-game usefulness, so just pick what looks pretty. (or if getting your mount to max speed faster is what matters to you, do that!) However don’t expect us to tell you which house is the best or which costume is the prettiest – it is entirely up to you. The best one is the one you like.





Champion Points

“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:

For the red tree:

For the green tree there is no calculator, but the choices are much simpler.

Good luck!


How do stats work?

Before you get into gear and skills, it’s important to know how basic stats work in this game.

Like all elder scrolls games, this game is based on the holy trinity of Health (warrior), Magicka (Mage) and Stamina (Thief). All abilities cost either Magicka or Stamina, while Health, well… keeps you alive.

There are several secondary stats: weapon and spell damage, weapon and spell critical, resistance to physical or magical damage, and regeneration of magicka, stamina, and health.

All spells that cost Magicka scale with both Magicka and Spell Damage. They crit based on spell critical rating. Light and heavy attacks with staves scale based on magicka and spell damage, and heavy attacks with staves restore magicka.

All spells that cost Stamina scale with both Stamina and Weapon Damage. They crit based on weapon critical rating. Light and heavy attacks with non-staff weapons scale based on stamina and weapon damage, and heavy attacks with these weapons restores stamina.

A critical hit does 50% more damage, although this damage can be increased by various sources such as mundus stones and buffs.

Stamina/Magicka/Health share a pool. You increase these stats by spending attribute points in them (which you get from leveling), through enchantments, and from set bonuses on gear. For the most part, that means that any increase in one of these stats is a trade off with the others. For that reason dps attempt to stack as much as possible into their core stat, keeping just enough in the others to stay alive, as there is no cap on the damage increase you get from your core stat. Tanks, on the other hand, need more health to stay alive, and since their utility spells tend to cost magicka and stamina, they split their points.

Are Writs Worth it?

Honestly I think writs are the most important reason to level crafting. You can get other people to craft stuff for you, but free mats and gold? Only you can earn that!

I’ve tracked all my max level writs for the last month and a half (approximately) – I do woodworking/blacksmithing/tailoring on one character (that has all traits and most of the styles learned), and alchemy, enchanting, and provisioning on two characters (of which, I have all the achievements but a rather pitiful number of purple/gold recipes learnt). (PS: Number of traits/styles completed/achievements/recipes learned influences the drop rate of master writs, although not their quality. Since master writs are a substantial part of the value of doing writs at max level, this is relevant. It does not influence other portions of the results).

The results are analyzed here.

A quick statistics lesson, if you’re not familiar with expected value calculationsĀ  – expected value is the value of an event occurring, multiplied by its probability to occur. Another way to put it is, if you do writs 1000 times, and you add up all the returns and divide it by the number of writs you did, that’s your expected value for each writ.

I’ve used the probabilities gained from my data, and values based on MM values (plus a hefty dose of experience thrown in) to determine expected values for each possible reward from a writ. I then added these expected values together to create a total profit. You’re not going to make a 2k profit on provisioning writs most days – most days you will only get 30 food (two stacks of 10 food each and two stacks of 5 food each, plus the 664 gold for turning it in!) and a green recipe worth 25 gold. But the days when you get a master writ worth 10k or a psijic ambrosia fragment make the average value per writ around 2k.

Provisioning and enchanting are always the most consistent reward – no matter what you do you’re putting less than 50 g worth of mats in and getting (even at low level, 300 g quest reward, at high level, 664).

Alchemy, woodworking, tailoring, and blacksmithing are a good bit more variable. The average alchemy writ actually barely makes a profit as you put 3 expensive nirnroot in and get blue entoloma and wormwood out. But when you do get a survey, a single survey is worth around 4,500 gold, making it worth! Clothier is the most risk/reward – an average clothier writ costs 1,700 gold to do at the current insane prices for ancestor silk (driven almost entirely by writs). But I got an average of 8.8 master writ vouchers per crafting writ done – and at 1,300 per voucher I’ve made quite the profit. Your luck may vary of course – especially if you don’t know many traits or motifs. Still, at a 25% chance for a gold improvement item, a 6% chance of a survey, and a guaranteed 664 gold + an item worth around 200 gold, clothier, blacksmithing, and woodworking writs are certainly worth your time and materials.

Now, at low crafting levels the math is a little different. You can ignore master writs – you won’t get any. And your probability of gold items, psijic ambrosia fragments, and so forth, are a bit lower (survey probabilities are about the same, but are less valuable when done at low levels as well).

However, low-level writs are much cheaper to do! For alchemy, instead of it being a 72% chance of nirnroot, you have an equal chance of it asking for any classic alchemy ingredient – wormwood, bugloss, corn flower, lady’s smock… all of which are much cheaper. And refined mats at lower-than-max-level tend to run at around 5-10 gold apiece, instead of 15 to 65.

All of this is a fancy way of saying – certify in all your professions and do your writs every day! It only takes around 5 minutes – less if you have Dulgobon’s Lazy Writ Crafter (although be warned, don’t run it on April 1).

Also do your surveys (if you can, transfer them to a max rank/maxxed crafting character to do them). Those things are worth a loooot.