The Elder Scrolls Online - Class Guide for New Players
There are not many different ESO classes, but each one is unique and carefully crafted. Our guide will help you choose yours!
The Elder Scrolls Online stays true to the franchise’s progression system – what you use is what you earn XP for! And since this is an MMO, there are actual classes too, each one offering 3 separate Skill Lines for your character. All the rest of the Skill Lines, are unlockable by any class, and that’s the main reason ESO classes offer so much flexibility, and can adapt to your unique needs and playstyle!
What’s even more interesting, is that each Class Skill Line, corresponds to a main Group Role. Therefore, every class offers one Tanking, one Healing and one DPS focused Skill Line. Of course expect a lot of variation between them, you don’t just “choose the tanking skill line and start tanking”.
Similarly – for the min-maxers out there – don’t expect that every class can perform the same in Healing per Second, or Damage Mitigation numbers. What’s more, even your ESO race will play its part, since each one offers its own passives and buffs.
There are 4 classes included in the base game, Dragonknight, Sorcerer, Nightblade & Templar, while you can buy Warden from the in-game Crown Store, and unlock Necromancer by owning the Elsweyr expansion, making for a total of 6 different ESO classes.
Let’s see more information about each class, and hopefully help you decide what you are going to main in Elder Scrolls Online! Keep in mind that all classes can be built with either Stamina or Magicka based damage, so it’s up to your preference!
Table of Contents
- 1 Dragonknight
- 2 Sorcerer
- 3 Nightblade
- 4 Templar
- 5 Warden
- 6 Necromancer
You can think of Dragonknights, as the “Dragonborn” class in ESO. It’s the most “Skyrim-like” experience if you will, if that even makes sense. 😁 They are definitely tanky, and their Skill Lines are based around the “Warrior” MMO class archetype.
I wouldn’t easily suggest new players to start with a Dragonknight – unless of course you are super hyped, as I was back in launch – since they can feel too slow in solo content, especially when you have no gear whatsoever.
In the first skill line, you will find a few bread & butter DPS skills of the Dragonknight, that can also prove essential when you are trying to keep aggro as a tank.
There’s a lot of Fire & Poison based damage, as well as extremely important CC skills for PvP. Ardent Flame will also help you a lot with solo content, helping you clear enemies faster.
Draconic Power is what makes you a.. Dragonknight! Damage Reduction, Heals, AoE Crowd Control, you have everything you need in your arsenal, to become an unstoppable undying force!
It’s a crucial Skill Line for Tanking Dungeons, and supporting your team in PvP, while offering important buffs to your overall tankiness and Health attribute.
There are a lot of buffs and debuffs in the Earther Heart tree, with a great impact in group content, whether PvE or PvP.
Damage Buffs, Shields & Slows with Area of Effect capabilities, you don’t want to overlook these, since group play is where Dragonknight truly shines!
These are the mages of ESO. Sorcerers & sorceresses utilize the power of Frost, Flame and Shock better than all the other classes, and their Skill Lines focus on devastating Magicka spells, buffs and summons.
They can handle PvE dungeons and solo play with ease, though survivability needs kiting skills, potions and patience. Their flexibility in PvP is hardly rivalled, since they can dish out a ton of burst damage, while.. shielding themselves to Oblivion!
The Dark Magic skill line focuses heavily on providing you with a lot of Crowd Control skills, as well as many ways to replenish your own Health.
Each single spell can have a paramount impact in PvP, so if you’re finding survival hard, you won’t be dissapointed by the wealth of options Dark Magic provides you with.
As is obvious from the name, Daedric Summoning revolves around summoning pets, that can help you deal more damage, heal yourself or incapacitate your enemies.
There are also 2 powerful shields offered, making it the most versatile Skill Line, for all 3 Group Roles. Playing with pets is arguably one of the easiest times you can have with solo PvE play, so make sure to level it early.
You will find most of Sorcerer’s raw damage hidden in the Storm Calling tree, with several powerful AoE and single-target spells.
If you want more DPS – especially in dungeons – look no further! Shock staffs are pefectly complemented & buffed here, so if you’re after AoE damage, this is one of the best class skill lines you can find!
If you are the stealth / dagger / bow – I just want to murder and steal people – type of Skyrim player, then Nightblade is made for you!
Positioning & timing will be your two most important weapons with this “Rogue” class, as well as dealing with one target at a time.
Debuff your enemies, slice them, and once their low enough execute them! The Assassination tree is at the core of Nightblade’s playstyle, arming him with the essentials.
Your single target damage output can become insane, with various buffs and debuffs being applied on each of your hits. 1v1 situations are always beneficial to Nightblades, so never underestimate them. 😉
The shadows should become your second nature, with surprise attacks and quick escapes playing a vital role to your survivability.
You can turn invisible, and of course gain buffs from attacking in this state. Enhancing your movement speed, while lowering your opponents’ and being able to cause Fear to them, will make you a menace to deal with!
Invisibility and insane burst damage are not enough, so Siphoning will fill the survivability hole of Nightblades, granting them various lifestealing abilities.
You can actually achieve some insane tanking & healing builds with this skill line, or just stick to an undying DPS murderer.
Templars are probably the best class choice for new players, and especially players new to MMOs alltogether! That’s not to say they are not one of the most powerful classes, merely that the skill level entry is low.
They are true Warrios of Light, capable of dishing immense damage, tanking their ass off, or healing with no tomorrow! Unline some classes that are substantially weaker at tanking or healing roles, Templars excel in all 3 of them – while not being the best at any of them.
This is the main “easy-mode” DPS tree of Templar, containing all your bread & butter damage spells, as well as a strong Health shield.
It will help you solo content blazingly fast, as well as provide a great DPS soure for any kind of group content.
Dawn’s Wrath is all about AoE DoT destruction! The mechanics get quite more complex than Aedric Spear, and quite more rewarding!
It’s very important to get acquainted with the build possibilities this Skill Line offers, and especially if you are looking for the most versatilve PvP class in ESO.
As is apparent from the name, Restoring Light is a pure healing tree, that excels in group PvE or PvP content.
Apart from powerful AoE Heals, you can also restore Magicka to your allies, as well as Cleanse negative effects from them.
Wardens are another exceptional addition to ESO’s lore-rich classes. They are one with Nature, and use it as a weapon against their enemies.
Excellent tanks / healers, as well as offering a wealth of different DPS builds, the one thing for certain is that you won’t grow bored playing with a Warden! They overally provide a great amount of support in group content, while they can also easily become the stars of their team.
Summon various creatures of nature to buff you and your allies, or incapacitate and curse your enemies.
You can cast a wealth of spells from a safe distance, and turn the tides of every battle under your own control. There’s a useful skill for any role in the Animal Companions tree, so make sure you invest early in it.
Offering a wealth of AoE healing spells, Green Balance can turn you into the best sustained healing class of ESO.
While you might struggle at dungeons with a squishy group, your over time heals will mean the difference of victory or death in Trials (raid content), as well as give you far more options in PvP modes.
Even more heals, and a great amount of tanking abilities, make Winter’s Embrace another reason Wardens are so versatile.
The skill line is full of shields, crowd control effects, buffs & debuffs, making it the ideal last piece of the Warden puzzle!
The most awaited and relevant addition to the Elder Scrolls lore, is none other than the Necromancer class! However, don’t expect your “typical MMO necro” – if you want Summons better look at the Sorcerer.
Necromancers in ESO truly embrace the occult art of Death, with all of their spells incorporating communication with the deceased. Keep in mind that several of these abilities are illegal in Tamriel, and can get you in real trouble if publicly witnessed by the law.
Create and consume corpses to unleash AoE, CC and Damage Over Time terror on your enemies, as a proper Grave Lord!
Utilizing various schools of magic – Poison, Disease, Frost and Shock Damage – it will be hard for your enemies to defend against all of them, making you a versatile caster, and Spell Penetration that more important!
Bone Tyrant offers you AoE buffs and debuffs, as well as many ways to make you hard-to-kill, with a great choice of survivability tools.
Positioning will make or break your potential, so make sure to use the right weapon combinations depending of your chosen spells’ range and mechanics.
Necromancers can utilize a wealth of healing & protecting abilities through the Living Death skill line, either to help their group, or just themselves!
It’s the most important skill line for Healer Necros, and actually makes Necromancers one of the most versatile healing classes.