The Adventures of San-daro: Chapter 0

  • This one does not to look in mirror to know that she is pretty

    One of the questions often asked is: ‘Does race matter in ESO?’. In most cases, what people mean by that question is whether the choice of race (which is made at character creation and then locked in) will negatively affect what a character can do much later in the game?

    You’ll get people arguing that, ‘Yes, race really does matter’. And it is true that, if you are concerned about gaining every little advantage for end-game content, a specific race (and more specifically, racial passives) will give a small – but crucial – edge. Then other’s will come along and argue that, ‘No, race doesn’t matter, just choose whichever race you like aesthetically’.

    As with many of these discussions, the truth is something in-between. Race does matter due to the passives that come with each race. But you won’t ruin your character by choosing the ‘wrong’ race, and you can do everything you want to do with any race.

    In ESO each race automatically unlocks its own Racial Skill line at Level 5. Immediately you will gain a passive (without spending a skill point). Three further passive skills – each with three ranks – become available as you progress through the levels. So, to unlock all of your racial passives you will need to invest a total of nine skill points.

    Let’s illustrate how all this stacks up against Skyrim by using our Khajiit as an example:

    A Khajiit in Skyrim inherits

    • Starting bonuses (in Sneak, Alchemy, Archery, One-handed, Lockpicking and Pickpocket)
    • Once-per-day racial power (the Night Eye ability to see in the dark)
    • Racial ability (claw damage) 

    A Khajiit in ESO gets

    • Bonus (15%) to medium armour unlocked at Level 5
    • Bonus (5%) to pickpocket unlocked at Level 5
    • Bonuses to health and stamina recovery, sneak and weapon critical progressively unlocked and improved by investing skill points 

    Of course San-daro is beautiful Khajiit. What other race would be comparable?

    Tips for choosing race in ESO

    • Any race can do anything – there are no quest, faction or alliance restrictions
    • You don’t get any bonuses to starting stats from races in ESO, so think about your race as a more long-term investment. You can’t actually ‘max out’ your racial passives until Level 50.
    • Think about synergising your race choice with other choices about how you want to play. For the most part these follow typical Elder Scrolls archetypes – Bretons or Altmer for Mages, Nord or Orc for Melee fighters, Bosmer for bow, Khajiit for thieves, and so on.
    • In the final analysis, you can make any archetype with any race, so feel free to choose the race that you like for RP purposes or aesthetic choice.


    So much for race choice, what about choosing a class?

    Long term Elder Scrolls fans will recall how choosing a class was part of the character creation process. Skyrim abandoned classes in favour of an open-ended character development through the use of perk trees, but all the earlier Elder Scrolls games allowed players to either choose a class from a pre-made list of templates, or create a custom class.

    Classes in the single-player Elder Scrolls games consist of

    • Specialisation in either Magic, Combat or Stealth
    • Boost to two ‘Attributes’ (which were completely abandoned in Skyrim)
    • Boosts to starting skills

    In Oblivion a class was suggested near the end of the tutorial. Remember Baurus with his ‘I’m guessing you are an experienced (fill in the blank)’ line? Although most players would likely create a custom class anyway, especially given that you were able to name the custom class. 

    San-daro was born for Nightblade

    Classes in ESO are quite different, and more restrictive than in previous Elder Scrolls games, since class choice makes certain skills unavailable. There are currently five classes in ESO

    • Dragonknight
    • Sorcerer
    • Templar
    • Nightblade
    • Warden (added with the Morrowind DLC) 

    In contrast to the earlier games, classes in ESO confer no starting bonuses. However, they do give access to skill lines – three for each of the archetypes. Whilst the class skill lines are not the only way to build a character – there are also skill lines connected with armour, weapon types, guilds and various other features – class skill lines are typically the basic ‘building blocks’ of character building.

    Watch YouTube videos or read web guides about ESO class choice and you’ll see a lot of people talking about roles – tanks, healers and DPS. And many people specifically choose their class with their role in mind. However, keep in mind that ‘role’ is relevant only where PvP is concerned – and since this is a guide about purely solo play, you don’t need to get hung up too much on ‘roles’. In effect the solo player needs to be able to adapt to all the traditional roles in PvP. In other words, there will be times when you need to ‘tank’ enemies – not least when cornered! You’re obviously going to need to have a way to self-heal. And a large part of getting through enemies is going to be about your ability to deal damage.

    That means that, when preparing for solo play, class choice is much more a matter of personal preference than it would be when trying to fit a group role. A good player can play any style of character in any class.

    Having said that, the specific skill lines mean that certain types of character will be considerably easier to play in a particular class. For example, a Sorcerer is going to be much more viable as a mage than a melee character. And if you want to play as a rogue, there are good reasons to go with a Nightblade. 

    This one does not understand 'nose'

    Think about your class by analysing the class skill trees and making the choice based on which skills appeal to your preferred playstyle.

    • Do you want to do mainly melee combat, or deal damage at range?
    • How are you going to ‘crowd control’ groups of enemies?
    • Are you looking to do burst damage or rely more on ‘Damage over time’ (referred to as DoT)?
    • How are you going to heal yourself during combat? 

    By thinking a bit about these sorts of questions, you’ll be able to choose a class which fits more organically with your preferred style of playing the game. Remember that class choice is permanent – once you hit that button in character creation you commit to your class skill lines –and lock out all the other class skill lines. The only way to experience the other skill lines is to make a new character!

    Many new ESO players make a character in each class and play the first few levels. Playing each class for a few hours, perhaps up to Level 10 or so, will give you a much better idea about which class ‘works’ for you.



2 Comments   |   Paws and 2 others like this.
  • ShinJin
    ShinJin   ·  December 26, 2017
    What an awesome resource for folks just getting into ESO! I don't play, but still find this a fascinating read--can't wait to start looking into the other chapters! :D

    A suggestion: I noticed you have a 'Sandaro' tag for this chapter, but non...  more
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  September 26, 2017
    Lots to think about Paul. I might have to restart.