Ultimate ESO Class Guide For Beginners
Interested in joining the action in The Elder Scrolls Online? This Ultimate Class Guide for Beginners can help you get started picking your first character!
In The Elder Scrolls Online, there's 6 total classes to choose from, each with their own unique theme and abilities as well as their own strengths and weaknesses that set them apart from each other. The Six Classes in ESO are:
Necros are ESO’s newest class, added to the game just last year in 2019. This class is extremely fun to play and very versatile, but if you’re set on mastering the dark arts in ESO, you’ll discover that playing a Necromancer can be a bit more challenging than some of the other classes available in the game. One big reason for this is that necromancy is still frowned on in most major cities and if a guard sees you raising up a corpse, even just for a second, they will immediately hunt you down and attempt to kill you outright. Don't worry, you can run away and your bounty or threat level will slowly go down to where you can enter town again but you'll want to be careful about which spells you cast and where.
Necromancer abilities can also be slightly more challenging to use than those of other classes because some skills require corpses being on the ground in order to use that skill such as Mystic Siphon and Detonating Siphon which restore resources and do AOE Damage Over Time. This creates opportunities for unique and highly skilled gameplay if you can manage all the mechanics of using corpses on the battlefield.
Necromancers have a wide range of abilities that can fulfill any role in the game, including tanking, healing or damage dealing. In fact, each of the classes 3 unique skill lines is focused specifically on one of those traditional group roles. The Bone Tyrant skill line focuses primarily on damage absorption and tanking, allowing you to cast Beckoning Armor for more protection, bone totems for defense and harvest corpses with the Necrotic Potency skill for healing and ultimate regeneration.
The Gravelord skill line deals mainly with doing damage, through summoning undead minions like Stalking Blastbones and Blighted Blastbones, or a Skeletal Archer and Skeletal Arcanist for ranged damage.
Finally, the Living Death skill line focuses on healing skills. allowing you to heal yourself and your allies at the expense of health regeneration while Restoring Tether can turn any corpse on the ground into a heal over time effect for you and your entire group.
Necromancers have some of the strongest class ultimates in the game which also makes them one of the most powerful classes in the game, both for solo and group play, inPVP or PVE. You can for example summon the massive Pestilent Colossus or Glacial Colossus, you can resurrect multiples players instantly or even transform into the mighty Bone Goliath! If you're interested in a summoner style build that has access to plenty of heals and damage over time effects then definitely check out the necromancer class.
Check out the great Necromancer Class Builds below!
Next we have the Warden class, a defender of nature that can summon animal companions as well as cast frost spells that debuff the enemy or empower themselves or their group. The Warden’s strong healing and burst damage potential make it a great class if you are interested in PVP or even a bit of solo PVE. And much like the Necromancer, the Warden has one class skill for each of the traditional MMO playstyles of tanking, healing or dealing damage, making it a very well balanced class that can fit into any role in ESO. Though keep in mind that the Warden's jack of all trades skill set also means that it will generally not be the best at any one thing.
The Animal Companions skill line allows the Warden to summon Cliff Racers, Shalks (Subterranean Assault / Deep Fissure), and Fetcher Flies to damage their opponents with direct damage, timed burst damage and damage over time. Many of these summoned creatures also provide secondary debuffs like reducing your enemies armor or making them take more damage from your attacks.
The Green Balance skill line focuses primarily on healing both the Warden and their group by summoning healing vines (Leeching Vines), flowers (Green Lotus and Lotus Flower), trees and even fungus. Soothing Spores in particular is one of the few stamina-based group heals in the game meaning if you want to play a bow-wielding healing, druid thing, then you can with the Warden class!
Winter's Embrace is the Warden's tanking skill line which is focused on frost effects. Warden's have access to a great armor buff in this line in the Ice Fortress skill, as well as a reflective shield, an area immobolize and a heal over time skill that stuns enemies.
Warden's have one very powerful ultimate in Permafrost / Northern Storm, a pretty good heal ultimate, and a crazy bear ultimate that looks cool but has trouble finding it's target (Wild Guardian). All in all, the Warden is one of the most fun and flexible classes in the game and is definitely recommended for newer players looking to fill in any role or play any style at any point in the game.
Check out the great Warden Class Builds below!
Next we have the Nightblade class, one of ESO's most popular classes at launch thanks to its thematic characteristics of being a stealthy rogue or assassin class. Nightblades specialize in direct damage and escape tools like invisibility and teleportation - though they have a great many unique skills which also let them do well as tanks and even healers in group situations. In terms of solo gameplay, the Nightblade’s ability to cloak with invisibility as well as teleport across the battlefield to avoid combat situations makes it a top class for surviving and surprising your enemies in PVP. In many cases you can use invisibility in PVE dungeons to avoid enemies and hunt down interesting locations or even treasure chests with greater ease.
Generally speaking, the Nightblade class does have one skill line per focused role (tanking, healing and damage) as we saw with Necromancers and Wardens though there is some overlap between skill lines for the Nightblade. The skill lines for the Nightblade have a greater focus on thematics than build style.
For example, The Assassination skill line, just like it sounds, is focused mostly on hurting your target. In this skill line you will find an offense teleport skill, Lotus Fan, which allows for great mobility especially in PVP. In this skill line we also have the ability Relentless Focus / Merciless Resolve which allows you to build up stacks or charges which can be conserved for increased critical damage or unleashed at 5 stacks for a big burst of damage and a heal. The Impale / Killer’s Blade skill does bonus damage to your enemy once they reach low health, and the Mark Target skill reduces their resistances, making them take more damage from your attacks.
Nightblades also have the Shadow skill line has many different utility focus abilities as well as some damage and healing. Here is where we have the Shadow Cloak skill which can turn your character invisible for a few seconds as well as the Dark Shade skill which lets you teleport away from your enemy. We also have the Nightblade’s main melee ability Surprise Attack / Concealed Weapon.
Finally, Nightblades have the Siphoning skill line. Most of these skills cost Magicka, rather than stamina so this skill will primarily be used by magic-centered Nightblade builds. In this skill line we have Swallow Soul which damages your enemy and gives you a percentage back as a heal. We also have Sap Essence which does area damage in circle around while also healing you and your group. Nightblades also have the Malevolent Offering which can heal a group member at the expense of some of your own health.
Nightblades have an interesting set of ultimate abilities in these skill lines, including one ultimate for direct damage (Soul Harvest / Incapacitating Strike), one ultimate for group defense and one ultimate for group healing and crowd control (Soul Tether).
Check out the great Nightblade Class Builds below!
The theme of the Templar class centers around bringing the power of the sun to the battlefield, whether that's for offense or defense. Templars also excel at both self-healing and group healing, and remain one of the strongest classes in the game since its launch due to their strong healing potential. In PVE raids, healers will often be highly desirable for their strong burst heal and their ability to restore resources to the group with skills like Blazing Spear, while PVP Templars still remain one of the most difficult classes to defeat due to their strong defense buffs, constant self healing, and their ability to cleanse enemy negative effects from themselves and their group with the powerful skill Extended Ritual.
Templars have a blend of abilities throughout all 3 class lines, with one line specifically devoted to healing and defense. In the first skill line, Aedric Spear, you will find most of their offensive abilities including Puncturing Sweep / Biting Jabs, which is a channeled spear attack which does multiple hits in one action. They also have a Javelin Throw ability which can launch a spear at range to knock your enemy down, which is very strong in PVP.
In the Dawn's Wrath skill line is mostly offensive as well with some utility thrown in. For example, Templars have the Radiant Glory skill here which will do bonus damage the lower your enemies health bar is. Templars also have access to a solar flare in this skill line, which can debuff your enemies or empower your own attacks as well as a burst damage skill called Backlash. Both forms of Backlash (Power Of The Light / Purifying Light) are very unique in that it charges up damage based on how damage you do to the target during a short window of time and then explodes that damage onto them.
Finally, Templars do have access to a very strong healing skill line in the Restoring Light skill tree, which as I mentioned earlier, has made them one of the best healing specs in ESO since launch. In this skill line we have arguably the best direct heal in the game, Breath Of Life / Honor The Dead, which can provide an instant and massive burst heal for yourself or another group member. Templars also have numerous group heals and buffs in the skill line which place effects on the ground surrounding you and your team, essentially making you stronger for stand in them.
Templars have powerful ultimates as well. For example, Crescent Sweep can do a massive burst of upfront damage with your spear, making it espeically strong in PVP. Remembrance channels a massive group heal while making you nearly invulnerable for the duration, and Solar Prison / Solar Disturbance does a massive AOE debuff on your enemies while also potentially giving your team a gravity crush synergy which can explode for massive damage spike in both PVP and PVE encounters.
All of this accounts for Templars being an extremely strong class in ESO with a strong class identity. If you want to play something similar to a knight or paladin, a cleric or a healer, then Templar is the class for you. Their consistent healing and strong defenses also make them a very good class for any beginner getting into ESO for the first time.
Check out the great Templar Class Builds below!
Like most of the 4 base game classes, skills for the Dragonknight are mixed between all 3 skill lines with less focus on specific group roles (tanking, healing or damage) and a greater focus on thematics.
Ardent Flame for example focuses on harnessing the power of fire (or sometimes poison) to deal damage, to debuff enemies or even to heal. For example the ability Burning Embers / Venomous Claw which you unlock first in this skill line is one of the strongest single target DOT or damage over time skills in the game, dealing massive damage to one target. Engulfing Flames / Noxious Breath deals area of effect damage overtime while also causing your enemy to take more damage from specific sources like fire or physical damage types.
The Draconic Power skill lines does just what it says by unlocking some amazing and unique dragon themed abilities. In this skill line you have Volatile Armor to increase your defense, Burning Talons to immobilize and debuff your enemy, Dragonfire Scales to absorb damage, and Deep Breath which does AOE damage while also healing.
The Earthen Heart skill lines offers a strong combination of tank, healer and damage dealing abilities. Stone Giant is a unique damage ability that can be used at range on stamina based builds. Obsidian shard can give you or your group a damage shield and Petrify can both stun and immobilize enemies at the same time, making for a very powerful PVP skill.
Dragonknight ultimates are some of the strongest in the game including Standard Of Might which damages enemies in an area while also increasing your own damage, while Magma Armor is the ultimate tanking skill, reducing your total damage received to just 3% per hit. And of course we have Ferocious Leap / Take Flight, an extremely impressive and deadly ultimate, which adds dragon wings to your character allowing you to leap through the air from max range, eventually come down with a huge burst of AOE damage that also knocks up into the air and stuns theme.
Check out the great Dragonknight Class Builds below!
Last but not least we have the sorcerer class. Sorcerers represent the classic caster archetype but with a unique Elder Scrolls twist. Sorcerers in ESO are connected with elemental damage, specifically lightning damage skills but also have access to some darker magic types including Deadric Summoning to call on creatures from other planes of existence. And just like any Class in ESO, there are even some stamina based variants of these skills meaning if you want to be a Sorcerer tank using a sword and shield or a Sorcerer damage dealer that uses a big two hand sword you can do that too!
The Sorcerer's Dark Magic skill line offers a lot to the class in terms of damage and utility. Crystal Fragments / Crystal Weapon can do big damage, while skills like Encase and Rune Prison give your character access to an immobilize and stun respectively, which are great for tanking in PVE or group centered PVP. Dark Deal is one of the best sustain abilities in the game which lets you restore either magicka or stamina based on the morph choice you've picked.
The Storm Calling skill line has that elemental magic we talked about earlier. Skills like Endless Fury and Liquid Lightning do strong shock damage - either single target with an execute function or AOE respectively. Boundless Storm / Hurricane lets you turn into an elemental form with bonus movement speed and armor. Finally, Streak shoots you forward on the battlefield instantly damaging and stunning all enemies in front of you - making for an amazing PVE or PVP focused skill.
Deadric Summoning focuses on summoning Daedric objects or creatures in order to empower your gameplay. In this skill line, sorcerers can summon deadric scamps, twilights and clannfears to do damage or heal. They can also summon deadric armor and weapons including the unique Bound Armaments for Stamina Sorcerers which can summon four spectral daggers to burst down an enemy. Sorcerers also have one the strongest damage shields in the game from this skill line called Hardened Ward. This shield gets stronger the more magic your character has, though it is capped to 60% of your characters total health.
Sorcerers have some pretty impressive ultimates as well. Greater Storm Atronach is the Deadric Summoning ultimate which not only looks cool but does great damage and is actually one of the longest lasting ultimates in the game and one of my favorites for soloing bosses. Then you have Negate which is a pivotal PVP ultimate as it can negate other ultimate effects cast by the opposing team. Overload is a bit more of a niche ultimate as it increases the damage done by light or heavy attacks, definitely good in some situations though you won't be using very often.
All in all, sorcerers can be one of the best solo or group classes in the game depending on which play style you prefer. Their access to strong damage shields and summoned creatures makes them particularly powerful on a magic focused character while there defense capabilities and built in speed make them just as strong to use a sword or bow wielding stamina focused build. If you want a class that improves with you as your own skill level and experience in the game improves then definitely check out the sorcerer class.
Check out the great Sorcerer Class Builds 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.
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