The Elder Scrolls Online has changed massively since its launch. With the One Tamriel relaunch followed by year-long seasons and new expansion-like Chapters all adding to the mix, ESO has defied the odds to become one of the truly great MMOs.
This is obviously wonderful for the game as it’s never been in better shape, but it can be overwhelming for players. Especially new players, and that’s why we’re here. To help lost Khajiits cut through the noise, help wandering warriors defeat misinformation, and help meandering mages make magic.
With our Elder Scrolls Online Beginner’s Guide we aim to get you ready to start a journey you won’t forget through danger, fire, and wonder.
Which version of ESO should I buy?
There are several options when it comes to starting The Elder Scrolls Online, and what you buy depends greatly on what you want to explore and experience during your time in the game. You may end up buying it all, but here’s a rundown of the three main options:
This version of the game contains both the original game (with the One Tamriel update) as well as the Morrowind chapter. This means you can dive right in and start playing through any of the main areas included and the plotlines included in the original game and Morrowind, but if you want more, you might want…
When you pick up this version you’ll get all the above plus you’ll be able to explore the Summerset and Elsweyr chapters, storylines, and areas. You’ll also have access to the Necromancer class. That should get you up to date with what’s out now, but what if you want to play what’s next? In that case you’ll need…
The next chapter for The Elder Scrolls Online is launching in June 2020. Greymoor will see dark secrets emerge from areas of Skyrim not explored in the base game, with players delving deep into the heart of Nirn unearthing long forgotten mysteries. For a full rundown of what’s coming, you can check out our What’s New article
Those are the three main options available for purchase outside of the game, with special and collector’s editions also being available so you can get your hands on more cosmetic items. However, there’s one big question to ask yourself when you start playing The Elder Scrolls Online.
Should I Subscribe to ESO Plus?
Ultimately this is up to you. Many players get many hours out of the game without ever paying a penny, but there are several different perks that mean subscription, if you have the money for it, can be a tempting idea. Here’s what you get:
- Access to all DLC packs
- Unlimited crafting items storage
- Double bank space
- Free in-game currency every month
- Bonus gold and experience
- Crafting bonus
- More storage for furniture
- Dyeing for costumes
- More transmutation crystals
The big one there is of course access to all DLC. Buying DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online can be expensive when done piecemeal, and it can be much cheaper to subscribe to ESO Plus for a month, play through DLC, then unsubscribe. Some of these give permanent benefits even when not subscribed, such as the Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood, so dipping in and out is a valid tactic if you’re short on money. That said, if you’ve got the spare cash, a subscription is the perfect way to supplement your ESO journey.
What races can I play as?
There are ten races you can choose from in The Elder Scrolls Online, each with their own perks and benefits. Whilst we recommend choosing any that suit who you want to be during your adventure rather than focusing on stats, here’s a quick rundown of what each race is best suited for.
- Orcs – Excellent at both stamina-focused DPS roles or as tanks, with their bonus to heavy armour.
- Redguard – These warriors get a huge bonus to stamina so any tank role or any stamina DPS role is perfect for them.
- Breton – With extra magicka and ways to regain lost magicka, they’re perfect for any role needing that resource like a sorcerer or necromancer.
- High Elf – With bonuses to magicka and spell damage, they’re perfect for any magicka DPS class or build.
- Wood Elf – Stamina, dodging, and stealth-breaking are the three pillars of being a Wood Elf so if you want a perfect Nightblade class, here it is.
- Khajiit – A great all-rounder with a bonus to everything, Khajiits work best with medium armour and when dealing damage.
- Nord – With huge amounts of health, stamina, and defensive stats, Nords are the perfect tanks for any Ebonheart Pacter.
- Dark Elf – Dark Elves get a bonus to both stamina and magicka, making them a good fit for any role that requires them both.
- Argonian – Great health and magicka and an affinity for restoration staffs make them perfect healers in any situation.
- Imperial – Imperials are a premium race requiring a specific purchase so many won’t play as them, but they can join any of the three factions and with a great health and stamina stat line, they make excellent tanks.
What classes are available to me?
Currently there are six classes in ESO and whilst they align roughly to the DPS, Healer, Tank archetype of many MMOs, they allow a little more freedom and flexibility than most. You can choose your own weapons and customise your skills to a great degree, making sure that no matter what class you choose, it becomes your class. Here’s a rundown of what they are:
- Dragonknight – A primarily warrior class, you’ll see these as tanks or damage dealers most often. Their three skill trees are Ardent Flame, Draconic Power, and Earthen Heart.
- Nightblade – Great for burst-damage and general sneaking about. Their three skill trees are Assassination, Shadow, and Siphoning.
- Sorcerer – The mage class for ESO, sorcerers are primarily damage dealing spell-flingers, though with some effort they can heal too. Their three skill trees are Daedric Summoning, Storm Calling, and Dark Magic.
- Templar – Templars make the best healers in the game, though as they are similar to Paladins in other MMOs they can be a true hybrid class. Their three skill trees are Aedric Spear, Dawn’s Wrath, and Restoring Light.
- Warden – Added during the Morrowind chapter, Wardens are masters of nature. Another truly flexible class their three skill trees are Animal Companions, Green Balance, and Winter’s Embrace.
- Necromancer – Added during Elsweyr, the Necromancer use corpses to cast their spells on the battlefield. Their three skill trees are Grave Lord, Bone Tyrant, and Living Death.
Now you should have some idea of what you’ll be buying and who you’ll be playing when you start your Elder Scrolls Online journey. If you have any questions, feel free to hit us up in the comments below, or ask our wonderful community over on our forums.