Which Armor Is BEST For YOU?

by Hack The Minotaur

Picking the RIGHT type of armor is a big deal in The Elder Scrolls Online. Whether you pick LIGHT, MEDIUM, HEAVY, or a mix of all 3, your armor types determines many of your defensive AND offensive traits. Do you want more critical chance or more Weapon and Spell Damage? More Offensive Penetration or more Health and Armor? Believe it or not, all of these differences are amplified further by your choice of Armor Weights.

MANY Armor Passives have changed in ESO’s Waking Flame DLC, Update 31 so make sure to read through this entire guide to stay up to date!


Armor Weight in The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online features 3 basic Armor Weights or Types of Armor: Light, Medium and Heavy. Each Armor Weight comes with different bonuses (and sometimes penalties) as well as Passive Skills and one Active Skill. We’ll cover all of these further in this guide.




Armor Bonuses And Penalties

Light, Medium and Heavy Armor pieces give your character specific bonuses for every piece of that weight your character has equipped. Some Armor weights also have penalties per piece equipped. All penalties and bonuses are outlined below:

All Armor Types in ESO have Bonuses for each piece worn. Some armor types also have Penalties.

All Armor Types in ESO have Bonuses for each piece worn. Some armor types also have Penalties.

Light Armor

Each piece of Light Armor equipped does the following:

BONUS PENALTY
Reduces damage taken from Magical attacks by 1% Increases Damage taken from Martial attacks by 1%
Reduces the cost of Roll Dodge by 3% Increases the cost of Block by 3%
Reduces the Movement Speed penalty of Sneak by 5% Decreases damage done with Bash by 1%
Reduces the cost of Break Free by 5% -
Reduces the cost of Bash by 3% -
 

Medium Armor

Each piece of Medium Armor equipped does the following. Note: Medium Armor currently has no penalties.

BONUS
Reduces the cost of Sprint by 1%
Reduces the cost of Sneak by 5%
Reduces the cost of Block by 3%
Reduces damage taken from Area of Effect attacks by 2% for 2 seconds after you use Roll Dodge
Increases Movement Speed by 2% while immune to crowd control
 

Heavy Armor

Each piece of Heavy Armor equipped does the following:

BONUS PENALTY
Reduces damage taken from Martial attacks by 1% Increases damage taken from Magical Attacks by 1%
Increases the amount of damage blocked by 1% Reduces Movement Speed bonus of Sprint by 1%
Increases damage done with Bash by 3% Increases the cost of Roll Dodge by 3%
Reduces your damage taken while immune to crowd control by 1% Increases the size of your detection area while Sneaking by 10%
 

In most cases, the corresponding bonus or penalty from using a specific armor weight is fairly small - often only 1%. This means Armor bonuses and penalties will usually not make or break your build with a few exceptions. As you are building your character you will want to avoid some of the bigger penalties for certain playstyles. For example, if you want to play as a Stealthy character that utilizes Sneak, it would be a BAD idea to equip Heavy Armor. Or if you want to Block the most damage in the game, don’t wear Light Armor.

 

Armor Passives In The Elder Scrolls Online

Each Armor Weight in The Elder Scrolls Online can also benefit from 5 Passive Skills. Similar to Penalties and Bonuses above, the more of that armor weight you have equipped the stronger that Passive Skill becomes. Armor Passives only improve your character further.

 

Light Armor Passives

PASSIVE DESCRIPTION
Grace
Grace
Reduces the effectiveness of snares applied to you by 4% for each piece of Light Armor worn. Reduces the cost of Sprint by 3% for each piece of Light Armor worn.
Evocation
Evocation
Increases your Magicka Recovery by 4% for each piece of Light Armor equipped. Reduces the Magicka cost of your abilities by 2% for each piece of Light Armor equipped.
Spell Warding
Spell Warding
Increases your Spell Resistance by 726 for each piece of Light Armor equipped.
Prodigy
Prodigy
Increases your Weapon and Spell Critical rating by 219 for each piece of Light Armor equipped.
Concentration
Concentration
Increases your Physical and Spell Penetration by 939 for each piece of Light Armor worn.
 

Medium Armor Passives

PASSIVE DESCRIPTION
Dexterity
Dexterity
Increases your Critical Damage and Healing done rating by 219 for every piece of Medium Armor equipped.
Wind Walker
Wind Walker
Increases your Stamina Recovery by 4% per piece of Medium Armor equipped. Reduces the Stamina cost of your abilities by 2% per piece of Medium Armor equipped.
Improved Sneak
Improved Sneak
Reduces the cost of Sneak by 7% for each piece of Medium Armor equipped. Reduces the size of your detection area while Sneaking by 5% for each piece of Medium Armor equipped.
Agility
Agility
Increases your Weapon and Spell Damage by 2% for each piece of Medium Armor worn.
Athletics
Athletics
Increases the Movement Speed bonus of Sprint by 3% for each piece of Medium Armor equipped. Reduces the cost of Roll Dodge by 4% for each piece of Medium Armor equipped.
 

Heavy Armor Passives

PASSIVE DESCRIPTION
Resolve
Resolve
Increases your Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance by 343 for each piece of Heavy Armor equipped.
Constitution
Constitution
Increases your Health Recovery by 4% for each piece of Heavy Armor equipped. You restore 108 Magicka and Stamina when you take damage for each piece of Heavy Armor equipped. This effect can occur once every 4 seconds.
Juggernaut
Juggernaut
Increases your Maximum Health by 2% for each piece of Heavy Armor equipped.
Revitalize
Revitalize
Increases the Magicka or Stamina your Heavy Attacks restore by 4% for each piece of Heavy Armor worn.
Rapid Mending
Rapid Mending
Increases your healing received by 1% for each piece of Heavy Armor worn.
 

Active Armor Skills In The Elder Scrolls Online

In addition to Passive Skills, Bonuses and Penalties, each Armor Weight also has it’s own active skill, each with two morphs. In order to cast an Active Armor Skill you must have at least 5 pieces of that Armor Weight equipped.

 

Light Armor Skills

SKILL DESCRIPTION
Annulment
Annulment
Convert a portion of your Magicka into a protective ward, gaining a damage shield that absorbs 3624 damage for 6 seconds. Damage shield strength capped at 50% of your Maximum Health.
Dampen Magic
morph arrow
Dampen Magic
Convert a portion of your Magicka into a protective ward, gaining a damage shield that absorbs 3650 damage for 6 seconds. Damage shield strength capped at 60% of your Maximum Health. Each piece of Light Armor worn increases the amount of damage absorbed by 6%.
Harness Magicka
morph arrow
Harness Magicka
Convert a portion of your Magicka into a protective ward, gaining a damage shield that absorbs 3659 damage for 6 seconds. Damage shield strength capped at 50% of your Maximum Health. While active, whenever the shield absorbs damage, you restore 229 Magicka. Each piece of Light Armor worn increases the Magicka restored by 33%. This effect can occur up to 3 times.
 

Medium Armor Skills

SKILL DESCRIPTION
Evasion
Evasion
Shroud yourself in mist to gain Major Evasion, reducing damage from area attacks by 20% for 20 seconds.
Shuffle
morph arrow
Shuffle
Shroud yourself in mist to gain Major Evasion, decreasing damage from area attacks by 20% for 20 seconds. Each piece of Medium Armor worn removes and grants immunity to snares and immobilizations for 1 second.
Elude
morph arrow
Elude
Shroud yourself in mist to gain Major Evasion, reducing damage from area attacks by 20% for 20 seconds. While this effect is active, when you take damage from a direct area of effect attack you gain Major Expedition, increasing your Movement Speed by 30%. Each piece of Medium Armor worn increases the duration of this ability.
 

Heavy Armor Skills

SKILL DESCRIPTION
Unstoppable
Unstoppable
Intensify your physical presence to gain Major Resolve, increasing your Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance by 5948 for 20 seconds. Also grants you immunity to knockback and disabling effects for 6 seconds, but reduces your Movement Speed by 65% for the duration.
Immovable
morph arrow
Immovable
Intensify your physical presence to gain Major Resolve, increasing your Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance by 5948 for 23 seconds. Also grants you immunity to knockback and disabling effects for 6 seconds, but reduces your Movement Speed by 65% for the duration. Each piece of Heavy Armor worn increases the amount of damage you block and the potency of the snare by 5%.
Unstoppable Brute
morph arrow
Unstoppable Brute
Intensify your physical presence to gain Major Resolve, increasing your Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance by 5948 for 20 seconds. While this effect persists, each piece of Heavy Armor worn decreases the cost of Break Free by 5%. Also grants you immunity to knockback and disabling effects for 6 seconds, but reduces your Movement Speed by 65% for the duration.
 

Undaunted Armor Passives In The Elder Scrolls Online

The Undaunted Skill Line in ESO also has some interesting passives related to Armor Weights that are worth unlocking for most builds. With the possibility of more Armor Weights being used by all builds in 2021, both Undaunted Mettle and Undaunted Command are now more useful that ever.

PASSIVE DESCRIPTION
Undaunted Command
Undaunted Command
Activating a synergy restores a percent of your Maximum Health, Stamina, and Magicka.
Undaunted Mettle
Undaunted Mettle
Increases your Maximum Health, Stamina, and Magicka by 2% per type of Armor (Heavy, Medium, Light) that you have equipped.
 

Mixing Armor Weights In The Elder Scrolls Online

As we’ve seen from reviewing the Armor bonuses, penalties and passives, each type of Armor offers different benefits and drawbacks. Keep in mind that you are not forced to wear just one type of Armor weight in The Elder Scrolls Online. You can mix two or even all three weights together to come up with the best benefits and least amount of drawbacks for your build as possible. Here are some tips for mixing Armor Weights:

  1. Consider using Crafted Sets, as these can be crafted in any weight that you need.

  2. If you want to use a specific set, but it doesn’t come in the Armor weight that you want, you can still use set pieces on your weapons and jewelry. This way you can still use the set without having to use its weight.

  3. Monster Sets come as head and shoulder armor pieces and are available in all three weights. Make sure to get Monster Set pieces in the ideal weight for you build.

  4. Feel free to mix and match weights. In 2021, there is no longer a requirement to use 5 pieces of any weight to unlock the most powerful Passive Armor skills in the game - those that give you best the best bonuses such as Agility or Concentration. This means that the only time you would need to wear 5 or more pieces of a specific weight is if you want to use the Armor Skill for that weight.

Crafted Sets like Heartland Conqueror can be crafted in any weight.

Crafted Sets like Heartland Conqueror can be crafted in any weight.

 

Build Ideas for Different Armor Weights and Roles

Here are some common and uncommon Armor Weight distributions that create very effective builds in The Elder Scrolls Online.

  • TANKS: 7 Heavy Pieces (most armor & health) or 5 Heavy, 1 Light, 1 Medium (most raw stats due to Undaunted Mettle passive)

  • STAMINA DPS: 5 Medium / 2 Light or 4 Medium / 3 Light - remember light gives Ppenetration and critical chance

  • MAGICKA DPS: 7 Light (best cost reduction and critical chance) or 4 Light / 3 Medium (higher critical damage and spell damage)

  • HEALER: 7 Light (best cost reduction and recovery)

  • HYBRID: 1 Heavy, 3 Medium, 3 Light (best max stats and bonus distribution)

 

Leveling Up Your Armor Skill In The Elder Scrolls Online

Players in The Elder Scrolls Online earn experience for their Armor Skill Lines any time they gain general experience in the game, including experienced gained from killing enemies, discovering new locations, and completing quests, while ALSO wearing that specific Armor Weight.

In addition to this, each piece of the SAME Armor Weight gives you an additional experience multiplier towards leveling up that Armor Skill Line. For example, if you wear 2 pieces of Medium Armor and one piece of Light Armor the Medium Armor Skill Line will increase in level at twice the rate of the Light Armor Skill Line.

Keep this in mind because you can “Power Level” a specific Armor Skill Line by wearing more of it, and wearing the full 7 pieces of that Armor Weight will level it up as fast as possible.

Reading bookshelves can also be a quick source of leveling up your Armor Skill Lines.

 

More Guides For The Elder Scrolls Online

Hack The Minotaur (HTM) is a professional Gaming Blogger and Youtube Creator with decades of experience in Gaming. Hack is the owner of HackTheMinotaur.com - an Elder Scrolls focused site for character builds and guides, and now RPGDOJO.com - your source for News, Builds And Guides for the latest and greatest Role Playing Games in the Universe.

Hack loves gaming content, particularly Traditional RPG's, Action RPG's and MMO's. Go check out his YouTube Channel for even more builds and guides on popular series like the Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Cyberpunk and make sure to check out his Twitter for updates on what content is coming next!



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