The Adventures of San-daro: Chapter 2


    During the course of the tutorial you are going to start levelling up – you will go from level 1 to level 2 by something an innocuous as picking the lock on the slaver hut on Firemoth Island. This will give you your first major choice after starting the game – namely where to put your attribute and skill point. 


    I’ll get to that momentarily, but firstly let me give a little piece of advice – and that is to stick around on Firemoth long enough to get to Level 3.  There’s plenty of slavers to bump off – and, apart from any other reason, it’s good practice in the combat mechanics. 


    The reason for this course of action is that by completing the Siege at Firemoth quest you will almost certainly level up once again – taking you up to Level 4, and additionally you will gain an extra skill point just for completing the quest. This means by the time you leave the Census and Excise Office in Seyda Neen you will have four skill points to spend. Why this is useful will become clear below… 


    This one thinks the architecture in Vvardenfell in not as impressive as Elesweyr


    So what do you do with attribute and skill points?


    First of all ...ATTRIBUTE POINTS


    Well, the attribute system is actually identical to Skyrim. You can spend your points to boosts your Health, Stamina or Magicka pool.

    Now, here’s the thing. You need to decide – and deciding right at the start of the game saves wasting time and gold later – whether you are going to be a Stamina-based character or a Magicka-based character.


    • Magicka is crucial for magic-based characters (doh!) The damage caused by your staff scales from your maximum Magicka. Furthermore, the damage caused by Magicka abilities and the frequency with which you can use them directly relates to your Magicka pool.
    • Stamina is vital for melee or sneak-type characters. The damage caused by swords, axes, bows, daggers etc scales from your stamina pool. You also consume stamina when you sprint, bash, dodge roll or sneak. 


    Note: At the start you won’t have any stamina abilities but later you can ‘morph’ some abilities so they consume stamina rather than Magicka. So, a stamina character is not only viable but extremely powerful once you morph abilities. (We’ll talk more about morphs in a later guide – just trust me on this point for now)


    Now, putting an attribute point into stamina or Magicka only raises that attribute by 110. Is it even worth it? Well, by the time you are fully-levelled you will have 64 points to spend. Put all 64 into either Magicka or Stamina and the total boosts is 7040, which suddenly looks a lot more beneficial.


    So, why not just lump your attribute points into Health? Because even 64 points in Health won’t make that much difference against enemies that might be throwing spells at you that cause 9K of damage! And, as you will find, you can scoff food that will actually give you a much greater benefit. In fact, you can pick up loaves of bread on Firemoth Island that will boost your Health by more than 6000 for 35 minutes per loaf!


    Bright Moons! An imperial in land of Dark Elves! This one wonders if this man's family will settle in Seyda Neen?


    Most experienced ESO players eschew putting attribute points into health, preferring to use buffs from food or gear to get health to a reasonable level. In practice, so long as you have enough health points not to get one-shotted, then you are better off focussing on health recovery via gear and buffs.


    All of this is a somewhat long-winded way of saying that your best plan is to make the decision right from the start as to whether you are going to be Magicka or Stamina based. Then stick to that choice for ALL your attribute points. Not only will you – over time – build up nice bonus to your maximum stamina or maximum Magicka, remember that your maximum damage (be it from staff, axe, bow or whatever) is also going to start scaling up – and you definitely need that extraattack damage as you level up.



    San-daro might as well take this whilst he is here


    And now something about ... SKILLS


    This is actually a bit simpler to explain – although it’s easy enough to mess things up quite badly.


    Each skill point can be spent in either purchasing or – later – ‘morphing’ abilities in skill lines. There are not enough skill points in the whole game to buy every skill, so you have a choice to make about priorities. In the early game, skill points are at something of a premium, later you will find that they are in plentiful supply.


    Skyrim players should view skill points as closely analogous to perk points. They enable ‘power ups’ to your chosen skill set, as well as a high degree of character customisation and specialisation. 


    Once you have ‘learned’ a skill line you can start purchasing the skills with skill points. 

    • Killing any enemy with a certain type of weapon ‘learns’ that skill line:
    • Wearing three or more pieces of an armour type ‘learns’ that skill line
    • Joining a Guild opens up that guild’s own unique skill line
    • Harvesting resources or making stuff ‘learns’ the crafting skill lines
    • Just getting to Level 5 opens your unique racial skill line


    That’s all for later guides – the most important thing you need to know right at the start is this: Spend your first three skill points on your class skill line.


    Each class has three skill lines that are unique to that class and cannot be accessed by the other four classes. Think of these as your ‘bread and butter’. You are going to be doing much of your damage, crowd control and healing via your class skills for most of the game, and early on – before you get to join guilds, become a vampire (or werewolf) and join the Alliance War – you are pretty much going to be dependent on class skills. 


    So you NEED to start levelling those class skill lines pronto. How do you level skills? By having at least one skill from that skill line ‘slotted’ on your ability bar. It doesn’t even matter whether you actually use that ability – just get that baby on your ability bar, it will start levelling up.


    This is why you need at least three skill points before you starting doing much in the game. Spend those first three skill points on the first ability in each of the three skill lines. Just do it.


    So for San-daro, who is Nightblade, the first three skill points go into Assassins Blade (Assassination Skill); Veiled Strike (Shadow Skill); Strife (Siphoning Tree).


    Don’t be tempted to think, ‘Oh well, I don’t really want to use (for example) Veiled Strike. I’ll wait until I can get Shadow Cloak’. Not gonna happen. Without a Shadow Skill ability ‘slotted’ you won’t level up that skill line and you won’t ever get to unlock Shadow Cloak.

    At the risk of repeating myself: First three skill points into the three class skill lines.


    So what about that fourth skill point that you got just by completing the tutorial? (I bet you thought I’d forgotten that, eh?) Well, that one goes into your Weapon skill. By this point, you really need to have chosen whether you are going to be a sword-and-board dude, or an archer sniping from the shadows, or a fireball-hurling mage, or whatever. When you get to Level 15 you can choose a second specialisation, but for now you need to pick one. And the skill point goes into the first ability in that skill line.


    For San-daro, he’s going to dual-wielding his way around Tamriel, so it’s a simple choice – that next skill point goes into Flurry, the first skill in the Dual Wield skill tree. Simply replicate that principle for your chosen weapon preference.


    A quick note about passives. You will see that each class and weapon skill has five ‘active’ abilities, but also a number of ‘passive’ skills. Later on in the game you’ll want to be investing in passives – as they can be extremely powerful for your character. But for now, leave them alone – you have more important things to do with your skill points.


    Khajiit is not welcome here. This one's story will indeed begin far away from this damp squat


    As in all Elder Scrolls games, skills level up faster when you use them. Yes, the skills will level just by being on the ability bar. But they’ll level a lot faster if you actually use them, so be sure to keep using whatever is on your ability bar, and the strength and impact of those skills will level as you go.


    The other way to level skills, again this will be familiar to Elder Scrolls veterans, is through skill books, scattered around Tamriel and usually sitting there in bookshelves. So, take time to read all the books you see, every skill book you find will boost that skill by one point the first time you read it.


    "Alliance territory.. why would you want to go to one of those places?" San-daro thinks that Dunmer would not ask that question if he hadever set foot on the warm sands of Elesweyr. Praise Baan Dar! 


    To summarise: San-daro has now jumped ship from Vvardenfell and landed back in Elesweyr. By taking his time, he’s got four skill points, which means he’s already starting levelling up his three class skills (Assassination; Shadow; Siphoning) and his main weapon skill, which is Dual Wield. He’s a stamina-based guy, so the three attribute points are spent in stamina – giving a boost to his stamina pool and simultaneously boosting the damage from his weapon attacks and his ability to sneak, roll dodge and block.



2 Comments   |   Paws and 1 other like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 26, 2018
    May I suggest change 'scoff food to 'wolf it down'.  Also....  vampires (werewolves)? Shouldn't werewolves be first? 
    On a serious note.   Just started ESO and I have already found this guide to be very pawful. Thanks Paul.....  more
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  September 29, 2017
    Again, Paul, I love the mix of fiction and humour while still be informative and easy to digest. Innovative and fun, I cannot help but absorb it all :)