No, I haven’t forgotten about Skyrim

I just… don’t want to play it.

Maybe with the exciting news of Last Seed nearing completion (I’ve been waiting for that longer than most of ya’ll have modded skyrim, ya noobs), I’ll crack it open again. My modlist needs to be redone from scratch… again… even if I do play on original, I kind of fucked it up big time messing around with stuff for various testing, mod picker, etc. and I like starting with a clean slate so I can actually remember what I did.

(Luckily, I documented what where I was going and how I was getting there heavily, last time around, so it won’t be hard to build it up again, especially considering some new thoughts I have about…. how many mods I really need. Not that I can ever say no to adding one more).

The biggest thing stuck in my craw right now is SSE vs. Original Skyrim. I just can’t decide.

Special Edition


  • Rain Occlusion
  • Better performance, particularly with regards to memory (not that I had issues with memory in original once I got crash fixes working, but y’know, it helps).
  • Some cool new mods I haven’t taken apart yet
  • Cool new water effects (flow and waves)


  • Some godawful godrays everyone goes on about (they’re seriously ugly)
  • No good choices for mod manager (After thinking it over I think I would end up installing mods with MO, taking the resulting folder, zipping it, and then dropping that into bash. Sounds… awkward.
  • Weirdass snow sparkles

Original Skyrim


  • Parallax
  • Subsurface Scattering
  • Search bar in inventory
  • Crafting UI
  • Grimy’s Utilities, various other mods that will never be ported
  • CK actually works right
  • MCM for easy mod configuration


  • Very few new mods coming out
  • Have to use heavy ass ENB for good AO and so forth.
  • Performance tends to chug a bit after I add my 15th new city mod/overhaul and 5th NPC-adding mod

So you see my problem.

Still, there are a few outstanding projects that I would like to get back to. Maybe if I put them here people will bug me to do them. I would be doing these in the original CK and then, if possible, porting to SSE.

The weapon and armor overhaul to end them all

I’m sick of finding cool new weapon and armor mods and being like “well, this is just more crafting station clutter.” Not what I need. Stuff like dragonglass armor should be earned with blood. So I put it on a leveled list. Dropping at level 50+ I think. It was cool. Bandit bosses could use it, so even if you didn’t want to use it yourself, you’d get to see it which is the whole point. Problems?

  • I never get past level 30 anyways, so kind of a waste of time
  • While the esp for that (and the other few I’ve finished) are available on the respective mod pages, making them into an all-in-one would be for-my-use-only.
  • Turns out this is the single most tedious thing I could ever have chosen to do. It’s awful.
  • Weapons cost nothing to exist, but calculating them on the leveled lists might actually have a minute performance cost.

The Botanist’s Guide to Skyrim Mods

I already drafted this. It’s a lot of mods to compare. Several of them aren’t even available anymore. Yay… Most aren’t on SSE. I already know the answer for my own information…


Poor forgotten Markarth. No good overhauls. Lots of good dwemer resources. I have ideas. Problem is, it would be like 40 hours just to learn how to implement them. Time I don’t really have. (In case you’re wondering it, it took all of 15 minutes to write this post while babysitting an experiment).

  • Greatly expand the market at the front of the town.
  • Add more shops and homes hanging off the walls of the canyon.
  • Do something with the abandoned house after the Molag Bal quest is done.
  • Weekly market outside the city gates? Maybe not possible. Maybe on hiatus due to the forsworn problem. Hmmm….
  • Expand the warrens
  • Basement in the inn
  • Expand the guard quarters
  • Use the space on the south side of town better….?
  • Add passage to High Rock?



Welcome to ESO: Part 3, Builds

Now that you understand a little bit about stats (if you read part 2 anyways), it’s time to think about what skills and gear you should use. These, along with your attribute and champion point distribution, define your build.

Don’t forget to unlock all possible skill lines!

Skill Line Unlocking
Newly-created characters will now have all skill lines hidden except for the 3 from their class, the goal being to improve a new player’s experience by reducing the initial number of skill line choices to a more manageable number.

  • Skill lines will now unlock when your character takes specific actions.
    • Armor skill lines unlock when you equip 3 pieces of a given armor type (light/medium/heavy).
    • Weapon skill lines unlock when you get a killing blow while the weapon is equipped.
    • Crafting skill lines are unlocked when you visit the appropriate crafting station.
    • Your racial skill line unlocks at level 5.
    • The AvA skill lines now unlock when you gain Alliance Points.
    • Other skill lines will continue to unlock as they did previously, such as the Mages Guild skill line when you join the guild.
  • Note: This feature only applies to newly created characters; all existing characters will be unaffected.

fucking zos.

(Oh, and mundus stone. Having the right mundus stone can give you a lot of free stats! There’s a list here… dps typically go for the Thief; Healers and tanks might prefer The Atronach).

In ESO, different builds have different strengths and weaknesses. You can be very tanky, but you won’t do any damage. You can be a pro at healing your allies, but all those healing spells don’t leave you a lot of space on your bars for damaging spells.

In solo play, you can pretty much do whatever you want and be successful. While you might kill things more slowly if you’re wearing heavy armor, than if you wore medium (stamina) or light (magicka), that’s ok!

For group content a degree of specialization is necessary to be successful. ESO group content is built for the “holy trinity” of MMOs – tank, dps, and healer. While you can do normal dungeons with 3 dps and a healer, or even 4 dps, veteran dungeons demand that you have one tank, one healer, and two dps in order to complete them, and vet trials require 2 tanks, 2 healers, and 8 dps to be successful, due to the various mechanics.

If you’re not sure what I mean by tanking, dpsing, or healing, this guide covers it fairly well.

In short, a tank’s first job is to taunt the enemies to attack him and not die, and their second job is to buff the group as much as possible to maximize group dps. If they have any resources left over, they might try to dps a bit. A healer’s job is to keep the group alive, buff the group, and if they have any resources left over they can dps a little. Dps job is to do as much damage per second (dps) as humanly possible, while not dying (and paying attention to mechanics that might cause the rest of their group to die, like totems, adds, etc.)

Figuring out what skills you need is also important as you level – you don’t want to get to max level and then realize you never leveled an essential skill or skill line! While it’s always possible to catch up later, it’s easier to level everything at once.

In ESO, you can have 12 different skills at once. 5 regular skills on each bar, and two ultimates.

(Confused about the “two bars”? At level 15, you unlock “weapon swapping” – weapon swapping lets you equip a second weapon that you can swap to at any time – even in combat. This weapon comes with its own ability bar that can have a totally different set of skills than your main one).

Therefore, the biggest differentiation between different builds is what skills you choose to take.

You’ll want to take skills that are cohesive. Running a magicka burst spell alongside a bow doesn’t make a lot of sense! They don’t scale with the same stats.

However, you may realize that in order to unlock skills and morphs that work for your build, you’ll have to use skills that don’t make any sense with your current stats. This is part of the leveling process. For example, even a stamina sorc build needs to use the pet (which scales with magicka) for a while in order to level daedric summoning and get the cool, stamina based, bound armaments skill.

When you’re questing and such, you’re at fairly low risk of dying horribly, so focusing into dps with a few self-healing or tank skills is probably the right way to go.

For group play, you’ll want to work on a build that suits a tank/healer/dps archetype. This will be different from your solo play build – using an addon that keeps track of different bar and gear setups, or writing the builds down, can be very helpful!

For PvP… well it’s a whole different beast. You can be very tanky – disrupting the enemy, preventing your opponents from returning to the keep or retreating… you can heal… but the different builds have very different priorities than dps builds, and end up looking different.

Skills come in two flavors – active and passives. You want to prioritize getting active skills that you know you’ll need first, then passives that buff those skills. If you have leftover skill points, you can put them into actives  you might want to try out, “just in case” passives, and lastly crafting (crafting might be a higher priority if you don’t have any crafter yet).

To level weapon and class skills, they must be on your active bar when you earn exp (like from killing monsters or quests). Many players put their most used skills on their front bar to kill enemies, then switch to their back bar when they turn quests in so that all skills level equally. It is also possible to put one or two skills you don’t use (for example, putting a resto staff ability on your destro staff bar) to help it level faster.

Usually your core skills will be from your class skill lines, and the appropriate weapons (DW/bow/2H for stam dps, sword and board for tank, destro/resto for healer and magicka dps). Fighter’s, Mage’s, and Undaunted guilds also provide crucial skills, as do the Alliance War skill lines. You can run any combination of these skills on your bars, although note that you must have the correct weapon equipped in order to use weapon skills!

(Note: There are two ultimates that give a third action bar: werewolf and overload. Note that these bars cannot have weapon skills on them!)

Here are some guidelines for skills you might want:

  • A spammable attack. For templars, this would be jabby jabs. For magicka sorcs, this would be force shock (not crystal fragments!) from the destro line. DKs might use flame lash. Stamina builds might use flurry from the DW line.
  • Two different ultimate abilities.
  • Buffs: If you’re a stamina build, you’ll want major brutality. Magicka wants Major Sorcery. Various other skills might buff you in other ways, increasing your stats (or decreasing the enemy’s!)
  • Survivability: For stamina this usually means self-healing… which usually means Vigor from the alliance war. Magicka can also heal themselves, but they also get access to powerful ward spells (from the light armor line, or daedric summoning for sorcs).
  • Damage over Time (DoTs) – Whether ground dots like elemental blockade or poison injection from the bow line, casting these, then going back to spamming your main attack, will greatly increase your damage.
  • Execute – Executes do bonus damage when the enemy is at low health. In some cases, executes don’t do more damage than your normal spammable (for example, even though Radiant Destruction does bonus damage when your enemy is below 50% health, it only does more damage than sweeps when your enemy is below around 25% health).

If you are healing, here’s a few crucial abilities (not the only ones of course).

  • The first resto staff ability. This is your group heal. You need it.
  • Combat Prayer (morph of the 3rd resto staff ability). This buffs your group by 8%.
  • Luminous Shards (Templar) or Necrotic Orb (Undaunted skill line). This restores your group’s resource pools so they can keep doing their thing.

If you are tanking, you must have (among other things):

  • An ability that provides major protection/major ward. All classes have access to one.
  • A taunt (there’s two in the game: the first ability in the sword and board skill line, and inner fire (undaunted).
  • Shields. Some stuff just can’t be blocked. Bone Ward from the Undaunted line works really well and buffs your allies too! Classes might have even better ones.
  • Other survivability tools and group buffs at your description (one really popular one: Aggressive War Horn from the alliance skill line).

Gear is the second part of your build. Superficially, armor seems simple. It has an enchant which gives health, mag, or stam (or other things for weapon and jewelry), a trait which can do anything from increase gold drop rate to increase your penetration by 5000, and the quality, which increases the magnitude of the enchant and the trait.

However, you may notice you get gear drops that are part of a “set”. There are over 300 sets in the game. Some can be crafted; others are received from overland content; yet others from dungeons, trials, or pvp. These sets give powerful bonuses that are crucial to end game builds, and different combinations of sets can greatly increase your power.

The leveling player shouldn’t worry about gear too much. Because of the way scaling works, your stats will be pretty boosted right up until the gear cap of cp 160 (you won’t be stronger, you’ll just not die as easily). Also, like with any MMO, you end up needing gear every few levels.

However, if you do want to farm or craft a nice set, keep in mind it can be used on your alts too!

You should be able to keep your gear updated through what drops for you. When replacing gear, consider:

  • Does it have the stats that boost my skills (stamina vs. magicka and so on)?
  • Could it help complete a set bonus, or is it going to break one and therefore actually decrease my stats?
  • Does it have a trait that is useful (sharpened on weapons, etc.)?

Once you hit 160 champion points… congratulations! you are now max level. Any gear you get could last you, potentially forever (at least until you decide you like a different set better). The gear cap hasn’t been raised in ESO for a year and won’t be raised for at least another year, quite possibly much longer.

At this point you have a bewildering number of choices. However, one thing narrowing it down is that the absolute best gear for PvE drops from dungeons, so you do need to get good enough gear that you can do dungeons and get the best gear. For PvP, since there’s more flexibility in sets, a wide array of gear is useable – most PvPers end up using a mix of PvP sets, dungeon sets, and overland drop sets… (hope you are ready to farm).

One thing to pay attention to is traits. Weapon trait is the most important. In order to do decent dps, you need sharpened weapons. Nirnhoned and Precise don’t even come close. dps also get the most benefit from Divines armor, but infused (on large pieces, aka head/chest/legs) comes very close, and if it’s in the set you want even prosperous is better than nothing.

Most healers prefer infused on large pieces and divines on small. Tanks prefer infused on large and sturdy on small (although some run divines). Healer and tank weapon trait just don’t matter as much as dps. Healers can use powered or precise, although for trials the meta is to run defending resto and charged destro (due to a rather complex aspect of the meta). Tanks run at least one infused weapon with the crusher enchant to debuff the enemy; the other is their choice, although defending is also popular.

Enchants can be changed. Quality can be improved. If the piece you want drops but it’s blue or green, that can be fixed!

Crafted gear is only a few percentage points worse in dps than dropped gear. Here are some good crafted sets:

Magicka dps or healer: Julianos, Magnus, Seducer’s, Kagrenac’s (Julianos and Magnus for dps, Seducer’s to be sure you don’t run out of mana ever, kagrenac’s for survivability or pvp).

Stamina dps: Hunding’s Rage, Night Mother’s Gaze, Twice Born Star (NMG is higher pure dps than Hunding’s, but Hundings is a little easier to use in different groups. TBS gives better survivability).

Tank: Tava’s Blessing, Armor Master, Hist Bark

If you can’t craft these yourself, do not despair! It’s fairly easy to find experienced crafters who can help you out. Keep in mind, you do want to provide the materials yourself to keep the cost down – you can use this to determine how many mats you need to craft the gear you need.

Some good overland drop sets (these can be farmed solo)

Magicka DPS (PvP) – Spinner’s (for PvE, spriggans would lead to over penetration in most group compositions)

Magicka DPS (Both) – Necropotence (for sorc and warden, this is Best in Slot), Queen’s Elegance, Silks of the Sun,

Stamina DPS – Spriggan’s (stam dps inherently have less penetration, so spriggan’s is good for all content), Briarheart

Healer: There really aren’t any overland sets worth farming.

Tank: Akaviri Dragonguard, StormKnight’s Plate (honestly these kinda suck compared to the crafted sets).

Dungeon sets:

  • The most important kind of dungeon set is the monster helm. Monster helms are special types of 2-piece sets that can only be worn on head and shoulders. They give powerful bonuses – better than most 5 pc set bonuses! The shoulders drop from chests in the Undaunted Refuge in the faction capital – these chests can only be opened with keys earned from undaunted pledges, a type of daily quest that sends you to different dungeons. The helms drop off the last boss in the dungeon where the helm namesake lives (for example, bloodspawn is the first boss in spindleclutch II… the last boss of spindleclutch II drops the bloodspawn helm).

Even in PvP, undaunted sets are crucial.

Some other important dungeon sets:

Magicka dps: Burning Spellweave, Lich

Stamina DPS: Er… there isn’t much.

Healer: Spell power cure. You need spell power cure. You can’t heal without it. Worm is also good.

Tank: Ebon

Trial sets:

Magicka DPS: Infallible Aether, Moondancer (pick one)

Healer: Mending, Twilight Remedy

Tank: Alkosh (yeah, it’s a medium armor set. You wear it in jewelry + weapons).

Stamina DPS: Vicious Ophidian; Alkosh (if your tank doesn’t have it),

Oh and maelstrom weapons.

Confused yet?

The last part of your build is Champion Points. Once you hit level 50, you start earning champion points which are account wide and can be spent on all characters (even level 1 characters!) Each character has their own independent build. There are up to 600 champion points in the game.

Blue tree: Focus first into increasing the type of damage you do (magic or physical), then into either direct damage or dots depending on which type of damage you do more (most end game builds do higher dps from dots).

Green tree: get some points into the appropriate regeneration asap, then kinda do what you like.

Red Tree: Split points between Hardy and Elemental Defender, then maybe into Bastion or Quick Recovery or Ironclad.

Too much?

Here are some good websites to go to for easy-to-follow guides for all kinds of builds:


Thoughts on ESO pts: Part 2, The New State of Healing

First of all: Thee changes were unveiled to the public less than 48 hours ago. ZOS does very large iterations on pts. Usually the initial changes are quite large and they renege or mitigate them very heavily in the weeks between pts and live

Not to say you shouldn’t speak out – feedback is crucial. Just… don’t make any decisions you’ll regret based on these changes. Wait until you actually play with it on live – that is, mid June is the earliest you should delete your Templar. 😛

Secondly: I haven’t even downloaded the pts. I’m basing my thoughts on the patch notes and vague statements by friends. Things don’t work on the pts the way they’re meant to, so obviously you’ll go “whut that’s just wrong go on the pts and try it out”. But on the other hand, things don’t work on the pts the way they’re meant to, so… I dunno. Point is, this is all based on publicly available information.

  • Major mending

Templars were the only class (besides DKs, but no one healed on DK anyways) with access to major mending. (Resto staff provides major mending for 2 seconds after heavy attack but anyone who has actually played the game knows why that is irrelevant). Major mending increases all healing done by 25%. It will be replaced by minor mending (which is currently available only through 5 pc set bonuses), which increases all healing done by 8%. So templars will be doing ~14% less healing than before (their healing is buffed by 17% less).

This is something that the community has asked for, or so I’ve been told. People were concerned about health “rubberbanding” – you’ve all seen it, where a tank or a dps can be down to 1k health and immediately full with one or two spells. Perhaps the nerf is overkill.

The real concern here is that wardens do have access to major mending, and with a pretty damn good uptime too. So we’re back to “new class is OP”. Which, like I said before, I think is necessary. But it might be overkill.

Of course, we’re early in pts yet. and guess what? Warden’s access to major mending will get nerfed. We’ll probably see those changes in a week or two.

I would like to point out that major mending isn’t necessary to heal well. Oooh, I know. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, try healing vet HM rakkhat without it, etc. etc.”

But let’s look at the numbers.

Breath of Life does 10k on tooltip with “typical” healer stats. This translates to about 14k once you take into account CP (and my argonian passives 😀 ). About 18k with major mending. About 22k crit without major mending/party buffs, and my biggest heal yet was 32k on a tank that had + healing percent stacked and all buffs and so on.

Keep in mind: DPS typically have around 18k health and tanks around 30k.

Is it a good design choice for a healer to be able to instantly heal all dps to full, and two heals for a tank? Is that necessary to complete content?

I don’t think so. Keep in mind, even without major mending you just need one BoL + a tick of a hot, and two BoL + a tick for a tank. It’s not that big a nerf, as it turns out – it might make hots a little more important since you can’t top people off with only BoL.

Now, I’ve been told that wardens have heals that are almost as strong (9k on tooltip), but still have access to major mending and all that. Soo…. there might be a consideration there.

If Major mending is essential to complete content, then all classes should have access to it. Easy fix – make the resto staff passive last for 10 seconds instead of 2.

If Major mending is too OP, perhaps it should be nerfed across the board. Make it only a 15% buff instead of 25%. Or even more interesting – Templars get “Major Cure” which increases direct healing by 20%, while Wardens (and nightblades pls) get “Major Remedy” which increases HoTs by 25%. Resto staff can give “Minor Mending” (the existing buff) for 10 seconds.

  • Positional requirements

I think this was uncalled for. While Wardens do have stricter positional requirements than Templars, one of the core features of templars was the ability to instantly save anyone, no matter how bad their allies screwed up their positioning (Ok one lie, I did have one pug that would constantly run behind a rock when I was trying to heal him, but there’s no saving that).

I was excited about this of course, because if you recall I’m a sorc main, and if you recall pet heal has no positional requirements (of course it does require you keep your bloody pet alive, but that isn’t that hard anymore).

Regardless I’ve been told this change isn’t actually on pts right now so who knows what’s up with that.-

  • Shards and Orbs

On top of the across the board sustain changes hitting stam dps and most particularly tanks the hardest, this is what hurt people the most. Of course, it had me cheering out loud because let’s be honest, restoring stam is the only thing templar had that made them the only possible healer, and like I said, I don’t think templars should be the only possible healer for all eternity. That’s bad game design. Now my sorc can finally do everything a templar can do, just not quite as well, which is as it should be.

This really brings it on par with other utility spells. My favorite example is surge/entropy. Surge is obviously a much better spell than entropy, but all classes can use entropy.

Shards is still obviously a much better spell than Orbs, but now it’s no longer utterly unique and the only thing that can play its role.

What’s interesting is that people are (mostly) not concerned about the fact that this makes templars no longer unique. They’re worried about it from a dps perspective – how will I be able to guarantee I get back the resource I need?

That’s obviously a learn to play issue. Just roll dodged? Maybe skip this shards and get the next one. Just cast surge? Wait until you’re at the point in your rotation when your magicka is back to full and then grab the shards so you can get stam.

If it really does become an issue that can’t be solved by l2p, then there’s a few things ZOS can do to ensure it doesn’t hurt groups. They can decrease the cooldown on the synergy – I think they should do this anyways, to be honest. It’s kind of painfully long, and they’re nerfing how much it actually restores quite a bit too.

The other thing I think this game really needs is minor stamina steal. That would bring stamina dps – which, let’s face it, don’t need the nerfs they’re getting – back into raids, I think. And we have a very convenient, never ever used ability to put it on – Quick Siphon. This makes a lot of sense to me – Ele Drain on the destro staff for minor magicka steal, quick siphon on the destro staff for minor stamina steal. Healer provides both to buff the whole group.


Are templars dead?

No, they still have the strongest burst heal in the game, a superior version of shards, and oh yeah they’re still fantastic magicka dps and tanks.

Are wardens gonna be stronger than templars? they certainly seem to be right now, but that’s extremely subject to change.

Can sorcs and NBs finally heal their little hearts out? Oh yeah. Finally.

Thoughts on ESO pts: Part one, where I’m coming from

People often like to split up gamers into “hardcore” or “casual” and I don’t fit in either of those groups.

I’ve been playing MMOs for 10 years. Everything from WoW to Aion to Warhammer Online (remember that?) among others. (Although I’ll admit, I haven’t played FF, GW2, or SWTOR). And while I often take hiatus, when I am actively playing it’s usually 30+ hours a week, doing all activities in game (questing, group PvE, PvP, etc) to varying degrees.

Not only that but I am active in the community – while I don’t post on the forums much, I have a posting history on reddit and I am always talking about the game on discord, in zone chat, online or offline.

I’m also pretty competent. I listen to directions well, I research everything, I’m a completionist, and I like improving my character.

So most people would say I’m a hardcore player.

Truth is, I’m not. I don’t really care about minmaxing – while I like making my build better, I’ll happily eschew fotm abilities I don’t like or use weaker abilities that I do. I also kinda suck – I should easily be pulling 30k dps on dummy with my build, but I’m happy if I hit 20k (and the actual number I hit is very variable). It’s mostly disinterest in practicing – something that has always been a defining trait. I’m also not particularly good at raiding – despite raiding through most of Wrath in WoW, I never did kill the lich king, and I have no interest in joining trials guilds in ESO despite offers to help me get in.

So I’m in this awkward place where I’m invested in the game enough to understand and care about end game progression without actually having any interest in doing it.

Anyways. Most of my group time is spent running dungeons with players who are assuredly in the top 25%, some of whom are in the top 2%, and every so often pugging groups that are most decidedly in the bottom 25%.

Just to give an example: In the course of two days I healed, on the same character, WGT twice. The first: normal WGT with a group of 3 pugged dps, none of whom had done a dungeon before, none of whom had any idea what their builds should look like or interest in learning, two of whom had no idea how to res other players, and one of whom didn’t have any soul gems anyways. The second: vet HM WGT, with a very very experienced tank and dps, a second dps who, like myself, had never been there before but knew his shit. Guess which run was easier?

Anyways. I’m not here to shit on pugs.

Here’s my main:

sorc healer.png

Healer #2:


And I also have a stamplar/tank.

To the point.

In my perspective there are a few important paradigms that are necessary to explain why my perspective on any given set of patch notes might be different (in some cases very different) than others.

Change is essential to a healthy game.

A lot of people are approaching these patch notes with the perspective that change is bad. And that’s understandable – change is scary, if nothing else. I don’t agree.

To explain this, let me lay out a few potentialities for any game of sufficient complexity:

  1. The game is perfectly balanced – all classes are equally good at all roles.

I don’t believe that this is possible. If the game is sufficiently complex, it becomes very difficult to give all the classes equivalent tools (while keeping them all different, which is important, because if they’re just palette swaps on the same tools, they aren’t actually different classes). While it is theoretically possible, I don’t think it’s actually possible. Anyone who expects this to be the case is inexperienced in game design at best.

  1. The game is unbalanced.
  • All classes have a niche – while no class can do all roles, every class has a role that is relevant in PvE and in PvP.
    • I think this is the best case scenario – while your class might not be the hottest dps/healer, at least they can do something.
  • Some classes are best at everything/ some classes have no suitable role in some content.
    • This is obviously not ok. ESO doesn’t do that, but…

All games are going to be in that latter category somewhere. In ESO, you have one class that is the only potential healer and one class that is the only potential tank. (That’s oversimplifying, obviously, but it’s what’s best). Every class has a good dps spec for pvp and for pve, although some classes (poor nightblades) are categorically worse in every case.

Now, this isn’t inherently bad, but keep in mind it means – if you want to be a healer, you only ever have to roll one character. (Now, most healers I know don’t only have one character, but they could get away with it). No matter what situation you’re in, that class is the best choice for healing.

I don’t think that’s good. Rolling alts is a central part of MMOs. It keeps people invested in the game, keeps them thinking, and the goal of a game designer should be to incentivize rolling alts.

(Now lots people don’t waaaannna roll alts, to which I answer: if this game is not good enough for you to play it twice, is it really good enough for you to play it once? Do you never read books twice? Play single player games twice?)

Also, it means that if you really would like to try healing on a different class – something that a core feature of ESO – you’re… just categorically worse. There’s no reason to ever be anything other than a templar.

Which brings me to: Change is good.

It’s not possible to make all classes equally good. One class will always be the best at something. There will always be a FotM.

If you can’t remove FotM, the next best thing is for the FotM to rotate. Changing which class/spec is the primo for any given role, while still ensuring that every class has at least one role that is playable (remember, that’s very important) does a lot of things. It gives every main a chance at the limelight, regardless of which class you want to play. It forces minmaxers to roll alts once in a while.

Obviously change overly often is bad. However, knocking the Fot-last-two-years off their pedestals, finally, with a major version change? That’s not too often.

New classes should be OP on release.

I honestly can’t think of a single new class release that wasn’t OP. I guess Monks in WoW weren’t that insane, but… I mean, even in LoL where there’s a new champion every few months, they’re pretty much always OP on release (the exception is of course, when the champion has a very high skill floor and takes several months for people to learn it and realize it’s secretly OP).


There’s no incentive for people to move out of their comfort zone otherwise. Like, yeah, you have the people who are going to roll a billion alts and have two of every class (Hi), they’re obviously gonna go for it. And the ones who really wanted a class just like the new release all along and are thrilled to finally get it. But most people just won’t bother – who wants to go through leveling an alt, gearing, getting used to all the new skills and rotation, if it’s the same or worse as what you had before?

And encouraging people to try new classes is essential. There is absolutely no reason to waste the vast quantities of dev time (New classes absolutely has to be the #1 use of dev time – it requires balancing, art, a huge amount of creativity, etc.) if people aren’t going to spend time on it.

Of course that doesn’t mean the new class should be OP forever. Almost every example I could think of got heavily nerfed ~2 months after release. To levels where they were balanced (although I’m sure the people who just spent a million gold gearing said alts didn’t see it that way). A bit of patience goes a long way.

Anyways. I’m rambling. I had more to say here but I’ve forgotten it (along with the bit to mention that I have 3 templars, so y’know). Next post will get into the specifics.

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.


  • 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.



Welcome to ESO! Part 1: Purchasing the Game

Should I buy this game?

Why are you asking me? I have around 1000 hours in this game, of course I think you should buy it.

More seriously:

  • Have you ever played MMOs before? Do you enjoy them?

If the answer is yes, you should pick up ESO. It’s a fantastic MMO. From a unique economy system (trading is done from guilds with a 500 player cap, more on that later), to massive open-world pvp (but only if you choose it – no ganking noobs!) to fully voice acted quests in a beautiful, explorable world, to challenging end game content for all levels of skill (from the normal dungeons and trials that anyone can faceroll with enough time, to the veteran hardmode trials that something like 1% of players have completed), this really has all the crucial features.

  • Do you enjoy TES lore?

This game doesn’t really have TES gameplay. The gameplay is much more similar to an MMO – while it has very strong exploration elements, and important aspects such as the ability to use any armor and weapons on any class or race, people who really liked the dice rolling in morrowind or the casting system in Oblivion will be disappointed. But most people don’t really play TES for the gameplay – they play it for the story.

ESO has story in spades. Want to explore Elsweyr, Blackmarsh, and Valenwood? You can get lost for hours on end there. Want to revisit your favorite locations from the single player games? See them re-imagined in the second era. Want to experience hundreds of hours of quests ranging from simply helping a pair of dying lovers re-experience their courtship, to knocking apart some crystals for the billionth time (it’s not TES without a fetch quest), to some of the most epic daedra-slaying that Oblivion has ever seen? It has that.

I know that a lot of people are worried about the time commitment, but the truth is ESO is very friendly towards players who have limited time or play for bursts at a time. New content comes about once a quarter, but with the way they’ve set up the scaling, you can experience it at any time. You never have to worry about falling behind your friends on levels or trying to catch up to them in the first place. With the buy to play system, you’re not paying for a game you might not be playing all the time like with WoW.


What version of the game should I buy?

First of all, don’t buy the game on Steam. Steam causes no end of troubles for this game, especially on patch day. There is no benefit to having this game on Steam – it doesn’t keep the game up to date. Also, when Steam has a sale, so does the main website, for the same price.

Usually the best place to buy the game is on Greenmangaming, which usually has good prices and is a legitimate reseller. The website itself is good of course. There are often other legitimate resellers with good prices so look around. When you buy from these places you simply put the code on the official game website and download from there.

Keep in mind that most key sellers are selling keys for the website, not for steam. However, some, like humble bundle, are selling steam keys. Keep in mind what you’re purchasing – while most people don’t have any trouble with steam, on patch days I only see people who have the game through steam having trouble.

Now, there’s a few versions of the game and a few upgrades.

The cheapest version is just “Tamriel Unlimited” or if they have old keys just “Elder Scrolls Online” or maybe they’re calling it “One Tamriel” now (seriously ZOS  you’re just hurting yourself with the box rebranding). The lowest price I’ve seen this is around $10 and you can usually get it for around $15-20.

This includes the base game – hundreds of hours of content, including most of the end game stuff.

It does not include:

  • Imperial Race. Imperial race comes from an “upgrade” – you might see imperial edition for sale still. Imperial upgrade can also be purchased in the crown store for 2100 crowns (this is $25 full price and around $10 on sale).
  • Any race, any alliance. The base game has all races locked to their alliances. This doesn’t really matter because all alliances can play together for all content except PvP, so you can roll an AD altmer and still play with your DC friends if you like. However, if you are devoted to a particular PvP faction, you may want to get this upgrade. This upgrade is 1,900 crowns. It can still very rarely be found on grey market sites sold as “explorer’s pack” or “adventurer’s pack”. Note that the bonus maps and such are not a selling point – they’re actually a complete waste of time. Only get this if you want any race, any alliance.
  • Any DLC
  • Morrowind

The next cheapest version is Gold Edition. If you can, this is the best edition to buy – it is a fantastic deal for the price, particularly when there’s a good sale.

Gold Edition is the same as Tamriel Unlimited, but includes the first four DLC and a free mount.

  • Imperial City: Imperial city is a new PvP zone in the heart of Cyrodiil. Full of daedra, enemy players, and two challenging four man dungeons, this is an important DLC for both PvE and PvP players.
  • Orsinium – Visit Wrothgar, the ancient home of the orcs, and help rebuild Orsinium. This is the largest DLC in terms of single player story content and has a solo trial which is the most challenging solo content in the game.
  • Thieves’ Guild – Join the Thieves Guild as they fight their way to supremacy (again). Interested in sneaky heists, parkour, and making a massive profit on the backs of others? This is the ~20 hours of solo content for you. Also includes the game’s fourth 12-man trial, Maw of Lorkhaj.
  • Dark Brotherhood – Hail Sithis.

Gold Edition does not include later DLC, nor Morrowind, nor imperial edition or adventurer’s upgrade.

All told Gold Edition is worth around 5500 crowns (price of the four dlc bundle + mount), which is $40 to buy it separately if you already have the Tamriel Unlimited version of the game. Gold edition has gone on sale for as low as $25.

The additional DLC are:

  • Shadows of the Hist –  two four-man dungeons which are the most difficult in the game, focused on Argonian lore
  • Horns of the Reach – two four-man dungeons with interesting new mechanics, focused on the reachmen and their conquest of Western Skyrim
  • Clockwork City – a new quest DLC, also includes a big trial. Trainwiz approved!

There is also an ESO plus subscription, which gives access to all DLC (not including Morrowind), as well as a crafting bag, costume dying, 1500 crowns per month,  double bank space, double housing decorations, and some other stuff. Pretty nice for the hoarder.

Morrowind is a separate purchase and cannot be made with crowns, nor does it come in any of the other bundles. You can buy Morrowind and Tamriel Unlimited in a bundle for $60, or add a Morrowind upgrade to any other edition for $40 (again, check for sales).

Now that you’ve gotten the game, starting your character will continue in the next post.


This is just a quick list of resources that have been made available for skyrim. By “resource” I mean “new meshes and textures that can be used to create a new mod”. Good for building new structures, cluttering existing ones, and so on. This list is not exhaustive nor detailed.