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.
“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.
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.
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 calculations – 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.
People are always asking for this. I don’t understand why… I thought experimenting and figuring stuff out is the most fun part of the game. And you cannot, at all, fuck up your character beyond repair. It’s not possible.
(People will argue that choosing the wrong race and/or class for your desired playstyle is fucking up your build beyond repair. I completely disagree. Now, if you want to be the very best (like no one ever was), you’ve got to go look up some end game build guides to see what the FOTM class and race is for any particular playstyle, and to see what playstyles actually work for which classes and races (hint: orc DK isn’t going to be the very best at anything, sorry). But if you just want to play the game, and and you want to be a good character but doing what you like is more important – you can do all content in the game (except vet trials) with an Orc DK healer. It’s up to you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise).
Oh, and if you’re looking at this build you probably already chose the race and class you’re going to level next.
In case you haven’t, and that paragraph about how class and race does matter for vet trials and so on scares you, here’s a quick overview on how to choose.
Here’s what a leveling build looks like.
- End goal for this guy is tank. However, I’m having fun with the magicka playstyle, hence the staves. And I get to actually use flame lash and so on when I am magicka style.
- At end game I’ll put all points into stamina because that makes tanking easiest. That means my off spec (dps spec for soloing and so on) will have to be a stamina spec. To that end I’ve got DW and 2H abilities on my bars – I need to keep these leveled even though I’m using staves right now. I can’t use these abilities, but they continue to earn exp (although a smaller amount) towards those skill lines.
- My goal is to keep all of my class and weapon skill lines at equal or higher level to my character level. So far, so good.
- The gear is all dropped gear. I’ve tried to put on stuff that has magicka bonuses – the wyrd tree gives magicka regen, whereas the bloodthorn is giving spell power. I also try to keep at least one piece of each armor type so that they all level up. The exact number of pieces of each armor does not matter because I don’t have the armor passives specced anyways. My armor skill isn’t high enough level for it to matter!
- You’ll notice I have a resto staff skill on my destro bar. This is because I kill things with the destro staff bar more often, and I want to keep resto leveled. Only your active bar gets exp! Like with the DW stuff, I can’t actually use this ability.
- This gear is 100% drops. I have a lot more skill points for my level than most people, as well. This lets me spread my points out between so many different skills – you might struggle a bit more.
- Why do I have so many more skill points? I’ve been leveling this guy by collecting skyshards. So I’m not doing quests. I’m only killing things that are between me and my next skyshard (although I’m killing all of the ones… no running past mobs!). This means I’m leveling pretty slowly but I have a lot of skill points to play with.
- Just for kicks I haven’t spent any cp. Except I really wanted that 50% faster harvesting speed node, so I spent 75 points in magicka regen just to get that.
- Food is crusty bread. You can find this basically everywhere – any NPC camp full of bandits, necromancers, etc. etc. will have some sitting on the table.
If you know or can pay a crafter, here’s what you could be wearing.
This is a lot better for a lot of reasons:
- Training – 8 training pieces times 8% more exp each = 64% faster leveling.
- It’s all coordinated sets, making my max stats a looot higher.
- It’s all blue quality with blue quality enchants, making my max stats a loooot higher.
- Ideally I’d run sharpened weapons rather than training – 12% more damage is worth more to me than 8% more exp – but this is what I’ve got.
- I’m currently eating some magicka/magicka regen food. I chose this because it’s cheap to make and scales to all levels. Health/mag food would be better but there is no health/mag food that scales to all levels. There is Witchmother’s Potent Brew, which is health/mag/magicka regen and scales to all levels, but that is worth around 120 gold apiece… a stack would be 12k and while it would last me past level 50 that just seems like a bit much.
This gear cost about 3000 gold worth of mats to craft and I’ve valued the ability to craft it at around 2000 gold.
Ideally you’d get a set like this once every 10-15 levels. It should cost about the same at every level; making it purple or in a cooler style (this style was originally crafted for my argonian, who used it til level 50, and it does look a bit odd on my poor imperial) will cost a lot more.
This isn’t a build Thallassa!
It’s a guide. And it’s generalizable to any class and build.
Here’s how you level:
- You pick a playstyle.
- You pick gear and weapons that match that playstyle.
- You put abilities on your bar to level all of the skill lines you could ever possibly need for that playstyle (all three class skills, and any relevant weapon skills).
- You go play. Minmaxing and shit really just doesn’t matter.
- If you want to do dungeons and so on, you should proooobably take the skills you can’t use (those DW skills) and replace them with something useful – another damaging ability or a group buff. Other than that, there’s really not much you can do to optimize your build at low level. Your gear is what you’ve got, and there’s no point in grinding for gear that will be obsolete in a few more hours of play. You don’t have the skills to make the optimal rotation. You’re still low level, and what you’re going to do will reflect that. It shouldn’t prevent you from doing any dungeons anyways.
How do I level?
Do whatever you like. It all earns exp.
Here’s the list of things that you can do to earn exp from most to least.
- Skyreach runs. Skyreach is a group instance in craglorn (that means it’s available to everyone, regardless of game upgrade status). It’s full of skellies. You can pull massive groups of these skellies at once. If you kill them before they kill you, it’s a lot of exp. You will not be able to do this with a leveling build. But, you can pay or sweettalk a high level character into running you through if you’re desperate to get to max level for some reason.
- Dolmens – There are three dolmens in a zone. You can do them in a perfect rotation so that there is no downtime and minimal travel time. Alikr desert is the best for this. This is pretty good exp and there are always groups running that you can join, making it basically impossibly simple and boring.
- Public dungeons – you can go to public dungeons like Razak’s Wheel, Old Orsinium, and so on, and pull massive groups of mobs and kill them very quickly with little downtime. While it’s not as good as skyreach, it’s easier to solo.
- Questing – Questing is pretty good exp, and you get skill points and gear and achievements to boot.
- Running around collecting skyshards – you end up killing a lot of mobs doing this, but it’s still slow.
- PvP – this is really slow. Don’t pvp if your goal is to get exp.
We recently received news (via screenshots of a reddit private conversation) that Windows devs have confirmed a patch for the dx9 VRAM allocation bug in Windows 8/10 and that it will be in the next insider build.
What this means is … if you were on Windows 7 (where it worked correctly), TESV.exe could access all your VRAM, and ENBHost.exe could access up to 192 GB of memory (RAM and VRAM). ENBHost.exe could hold things that TESV.exe could use, freeing up VRAM and generally making the game run more smoothly.
If you were on Windows 8/10, TESV.exe could access up to 4 GB of VRAM (I think). and ENBHost.exe could access up to 4 GB of memory (RAM and VRAM). This generally decreased the total amount of memory available to hold things for both ENB and TESV to use, lessening the benefits from ENBoost (those benefits being less stuttering and smoother loading, potentially preventing missing texture bugs, particularly when using a high percent of your video card’s total VRAM).
The reminder is that
- This fix will take a long time to be widely available – probably not until next year. Windows does a loooot of testing, as they must (remember they’re forcing us to download these patches whether they work or not!). It’ll be amusing to see if it comes out before or after SKSE64.
- This fix only matters if you
- Have more than 8 GB of VRAM on your card, and used it all
- Or are happy using RAM instead of VRAM for video things (which is slower, mind you) – and again, used more than 8 GB total for video stuff (that is, you would see: skyrim allocating up to (VRAM of your card or 4 GB, whichever is lower), and ENBoost allocating (all the rest of your VRAM and RAM up to 4 GB total). If you didn’t see that, you aren’t benefiting.
It’s not going to do anything for your crashing. It’s not going to make the game perform better. It’s not going to make grass look good.
It might help stuttering, frame drops, and other things that impact how ‘smooth’ the game feels. That’s it. and only if you were actually hitting the limit before.