The Ultimate Elder Scrolls Online Beginner Guide
The Elder Scrolls Online is an absolutely massive game! So much so, that’s extremely easy to get lost, especially as a new player. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! This complete Beginner Guide for ESO will walk you through tons of great Rapid Fire Tips designed to get you into the game and playing smart from the start. Here we go!
1) Picking your class skills
After you complete the initial tutorial for ESO you'll get access to three skill points. Now each class in the game also has three unique skill lines, so the best thing to do right off the bat is to place one skill point into each of those 3 class skill lines. That will let you unlock the first active skill in each. Not only will this give you three basic abilities to use right away, but it'll also ensure that you're leveling each skill line equally which is also important.
2) Travel to a starter zone
Tip number two is to fast travel to one of the three starters zones right away. These are the zones of Bleakrock Isle, Kenarthi’s Roost, and Stros M-kai. These islands have some basic quests and easy to defeat enemies that will help you get a good feel for the game without getting overwhelmed or confused, plus there’s no world bosses or group encounters like Dolmens or Harrowstorms to beat you down in an instant. I recommend you pick one of these Starter Islands (Kenarthi’s Roost is my favorite) and complete all the starting quests there. This should get you a few levels under your belt in a relatively safe environment.
Each Island represents a different faction, but it doesn't matter which island you choose. So just find a way Shrine, move your map to one of those three starter locations, fast travel there and start exploring.
3) Picking your starting weapon
Tip number three is to pick up a primary weapon skill. ESO has plenty of weapons skills from Bows to Swords to Staffs. All weapon skills are unlocked by equipping a weapon and then defeating an enemy with that weapon equipped. So decide which weapon skill you want to focus on first and then unlock the first skill in that skill line by killing off an easy, nearby enemy. Don't worry, you can always level up multiple weapon skills at once which we'll talk about later. You should notice a big increase in power though once your character combines both their unique class skills with a weapon skill line.
4) Don’t forget Food and Drink Buffs
Tip number 4 is to keep a food or drink buff active on your character at all times. Now buffs in ESO are extremely important, but one of the most important and often overlooked buffs for new players is the passive buffs that food or drink consumables can offer. These are typically long-lasting buffs of at least an hour that you get by eating or drinking a consumable buff item, and these can increase your overall max attributes like health, magicka and stamina, your health, magicka and stamina recovery, or some combination of max stats and recovery.
Pro-tip: as a brand new player with limited gear the best consumable buff is usually drinks because they offer stat recovery instead of just flat stats. The more recovery you have, the more consistently you’ll be able to use all of your abilities to defeat enemies quicker.
5) Boost your experience
Tip number 5 is to boost your experience gain, helping you to level up even faster. Now, there are two main sources of experience gaining consumables in ESO, that being XP Scrolls and XP Potions. First, it’s important to understand that these two bonus experience modifiers do not stack with each other - they both offer the same bonus.
XP Potions can be bought from or given by other players and XP Scrolls can be obtained from the daily login rewards or level up rewards. Like I said, either version is fine because they offer the same buff, but try to keep one up as often as possible, especially when you know you are about to kill lots of enemies or turn in a major quest.
Finally, throughout the year there are several double XP events that happen. This gives you yet another consumable XP buff, but this one DOES stack with either an XP scroll or XP potion. So whenever those events come around make sure to use both the double XP bonus and either a scroll or potion to maximize your total experienced gained while leveling.
6) Upgrade your skills
As you gain experience in ESO, each active skill line on your character will improve from Level 1 to level 50. Around every 5-10 skill levels or so you will unlock a new ability in that skill line which can improve your character's overall power, utility or survival. Once your previous ability has maxed out in skill, which happens at Rank 4, replace that with a new ability from the same skill line. This way you're constantly improving and progressing your skill line, leveling up each skill one at a time. You also have the option to morph the previous skill once it's maxed out as well, but I recommend unlocking the next skill instead to fill out more of your skill line over time.
7) Unlock your armor skill lines
Tip number seven is to unlock your armor skills. There are three armor skills in the game that correspond to the three different armor types of light, medium and heavy. Now the type of armor you choose as your main armor is going to depend on the role that you want your build to play in ESO. Characters that use magic for example will want light armor while characters that use melee weapons or bows want to focus more on medium armor and heavy armor is typically reserved for tanking. But regardless, it is important to unlock and start to level up all three armor skill lines because the passives you can get through each skill line are actually pretty good.
To unlock one of the three armor skills in the game all you need to do is equip three pieces of that armor that have that same weight, so three pieces of light, medium or heavy. Doing so will add that skill line to your list of skills.
If you’d like to learn more about Armor Types in The Elder Scrolls Online, we also have a great Beginner Guide here.
8) Explore the world to unlock ‘Marked’ locations
Tip number 8 is to explore as many locations as possible and unlock them on your world map. Not only is the world of ESO amazing and beautiful to explore, but doing so also helps you level up faster. This is because as you explore new marked locations on your map you get free experience! Obviously this is also VERY important when it comes to unlocking Wayshrines as this will give you new locations to fast travel to any time you want.
9) Find Skyshards
Tip number 9 is to find as many Skyshards as possible. In The Elder Scrolls Online, every three Skyshards will convert into one skill point and the more skill points you have the more options you get to customize your character which is incredibly important. Clues for every Skyshard location can be found through the in game menu if you need help finding the multiple Skyshards hidden in each zone or of course there are maps online or PC add-ons that make it even easier.
10) Unlock your Passive Skills
On to tip number 10: unlocking your passive skills. Each skill line in the game has passive skills which, once you unlock them, are always active on your character. Passives in this game or what truly makes your character powerful because they can do things like increase your healing increase your armor or increase your damage done without you having to press a button so look for the passive abilities that you think will make the most impact on your characters progression and unlock those first.
11) Start the Main Story
Tip number 11 is to begin the main story for ESO. This Quest can be found in your main faction City and can be started by talking to the hooded figure and the benefactor. Now, I'm not going to spoil the quest here but it's well worth your time, has a great cast of characters, a great storyline and the game just isn't the same without it. You can also start the main story quest at any level, but I recommend starting it early because it will reward you pretty well with free skill points and extra gear you can actually use to level up easier.
12) Pick up a Free House
Tip number 12 is to unlock the free starter home in ESO as soon as possible. To do this, head over to the crown store menu and select Quest Starters, then begin the “Room To Spare” quest. This will send you off to talk to the Innkeeper in your main faction city and accept a free room. This is actually a Starter House!
Why would you want to do this? Well, not only can you use this for basic storage, trophies and such, but it’s also always free to fast travel to your home, even when you’re not traveling via Wayshrines. So no matter where you are, you can travel to your home base, then step outside to use a nearby Wayshrine to continue traveling anywhere else for free.
13) Join NPC Guilds
Tip number 13 is to join the three NPC Guilds in the ESO, those being the Fighters Guild, the Mages Guild and the Undaunted Guild. Each Guild has its own series of story quests as well as some pretty good skills and passives so you’ll want to unlock them early on and luckily unlocking them is extremely easy! Just go to their respective Recruiters in your main faction town and tell them you want to join. It's that simple!
14) Level up a second Weapon Skill
Tip number 14 is to add more weapon skills to your skill bar, but from a different weapon than you are currently using. Now this tip may seem strange at first, especially if you’ve never played ESO, but basically the way it works is that most Skill Lines in the game level up by having at least one skill from that skill line on your active ability bar as you gain experience. So if, for example, I’m using a two handed weapon with two-handed abilities slotted then I’m of course leveling up that 2H skill line - but if I were to replace one of those two-handed skills with something from another weapon, let’s say dual wield - well, now I’m leveling up both my two handed skill line and my dual wield skill line at the same time. You can actually level up about 6 total skill lines at the same time if you really want to maximize this trick! Check out the video below for more help with this.
15) Don’t forget that Mundus Stone!
Tip number 15 is something that even Veteran ESO players such as myself forget when starting a new character, and that’s to add a Mundus Stone. In ESO, Mundus Stones give you stat bonuses in a specific area like resistances, damage or healing. When you’re first starting the game any bonus to stats can make a difference, so make sure to pick up one of these free stat bonuses as soon as possible. Most zones in the base game have at least 3 of them for you to find.
16) Complete Delves
Tip number 16 is to complete delves. Delves in ESO are basically mini dungeons that can be easily completed in just a few minutes and are literally all over every zone in the game. Delves typically have just a few enemies and a pretty easy boss at the end that you can usually defeat by yourself. The reason why you want to find and complete delves is because each one has a Skyshard to grab and you also get bonus experience for defeating the final boss for the first time to finish the Delve and mark it off your map as completed.
17) Upgrade your Riding Skills daily
Tip number 17 is to upgrade your Riding Skills every day. Now, there are many mounts in the game including a free horse you can get at level 10, but none of these will be faster than your normal Sprinting Speed until you actually train your character’s riding ability. There are other riding stats you can train as well including riding Stamina and Carrying Capacity, but Speed is what I usually recommend doing first. There is a small cost for this as well as a 20 hour timer per upgrade so it's important to start training early and be consistent if you want to eventually ride faster, ride longer or have extra carry capacity unlocked for your character.
18) Ready every bookshelf
Tip number 18 is to read every bookshelf. Almost every bookshelf in ESO has a book you can actually interact with and read. Most of these contain interesting stories and Elder Scrolls Lore but some actually give out a free skill increase in a specific skill line just by opening that book. This includes weapons skills, armor skills, class skill lines and even crafting skills. Note too that you don't have to read the whole book or flip through every page to earn that skill increase. All you have to do is interact with the bookshelf and if a book is tied to a skill increase you should see it pop up immediately.
19) Update your Combat and Gameplay Settings
Several great options are found in the game settings that can make this game even easier - don’t miss these!
Ability Bar: Always Show
Attribute Bars: Always Show
Resource Numbers: Number and Percent
Active Combat Tips: Automatic
Ultimate Number: On
Buffs And Debuffs
All - Always Show
Quickcast Ground Abilities - On
Prevent Attacking Innocents - On
20) How to reset Skill, Morphs and Attributes
Tip number 20 is how to reset your skills, morphs and attributes. In most major faction cities you should find a Rededication Shrine where you can reset all skills, skill morphs or attributes on your character. This is helpful if you want to respec your build from a tank to a DPS role, a DPS to a healer, or whatever you want to do!
Similarly there should be another shrine here where you can reset your skill point allocations and morph choices. Chances are you will want to do this at least a few times especially if you’re brand new to the game. Keep in mind each change does require a gold cost.
21) Join a Player Guild
Joining a player guild in The Elder Scrolls Online is much easier now than it used to be in the past. Now you can browse through hundreds of potential guilds using the in-game guild finder. This system lets you browse and sort guilds by activity type including things trading, trials guilds or PVP as well as by Play Style, so you can browse more casual or hardcore style guilds. To apply, just click on a guild that you like and use the built-in application feature.
Obviously guilds are great for the social element of grouping up with others. You can also use the guild chat to ask questions or get help. Also, something that new players may miss is you can always fast travel to any of your other online guildmates for free by browsing the roster and then choosing travel to player.
22) Upgrade Your Bag Space
Most major towns in The Elder Scrolls Online include a Bag Merchant. This vendor can sell you bag space upgrades, letting you carry more items on your character. The first few upgrades are the cheapest, while subsequent upgrades will continue to get more and more expensive.
23) Join The Alliance War
Once you reach level 10 you will be invited to join the Alliance War taking place in Cyrodiil. This is a PVP-only zone, and I don’t actually recommend you try fighting other players quite yet because it will be quite a challenge to face other fully-leveled players. However, the initial Alliance War quests are easy enough to do and don’t require any combat, plus they’ll give you free experience and skill points for completing!
24) Complete Public Dungeons
Public dungeons are a step up from Delves in The Elder Scrolls Online in terms of difficulty but can offer even greater rewards! Public Dungeons are some of my favorite XP Grinding locations because they have so many more enemies and those enemies can drop lots of gold! Not only that, but each Public Dungeon also contains a “Group Boss” which rewards you with one full skill point the first time you defeat them. This boss is only slightly more difficult than a Delve Boss, so don’t worry if you don’t have a group with you. You may be able to defeat them anyway!
For more information on some of my favorite Public Dungeons in ESO check out the video below:
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!