The Adventures of San-daro; Chapter 5

  • ‘Where should you spend your skill points?’ It’s one of the most common beginner questions that gets asked on ESO forums. There no hard and fast ‘right’ answer, but there are a few principles that should be born in mind.


    Without a grasp on these foundational concepts, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up spending those hard-earned and precious points in a scattergun or haphazard way. Certainly that was what I was doing when I first started in ESO. I made numerous stupid choices, and ended up having to start over. Read on to avoid those rookie mistakes


    Note: You don’t actually need to ‘start over’ if you screw up your Skill Points. There is a way to reset your points. To do so, you’ll need to go to the capital city of your faction – for San-daro this means Grahtwood (as he is Aldmeiri Dominion). You’ll get there at some point in your questing, but you can do there at any time by travelling via the boat system. Simply head to the docks. When you get to the city, find the Temple, where there will be a Rededication Shrine. You can ‘respec’ either (or both) Skills or Attributes for 100 gold per point.


    Having said that, it is better not to have to waste money by getting things (more or less) right in the first place.


    OK, the first point to consider is that you have five ‘action buttons’ on your action bar. That means, quite simply, that you can only have five skills active at once – at least until you get a second action bar at Level 15. So it’s pointless having six, seven or more upgraded (‘morphed’) skills – you’ll be wasting points on skills that you aren’t going to be using.


    You’ll also want to make sure that you are investing in a variety of skills – in other words, skills that you can pull out in a variety of situations. Quite often you’ll see skills that closely replicate other skills. You don’t need both! Let me explain. Here are some of the ‘types’ of skill that you’ll want to consider:


    • ‘The Finisher’ – an attack skill that you will use to deal the fatal blow. San-daro uses Killers Blade in this slot – notice how it deals 300% more damage to enemies at less than 25% health. In most cases that’s curtains for a foe! I can’t count the number of times I’ve pulled out a finishing move with Killer Blade when San-dro’s health bar is close to being depleted!


    • ‘The Gap Closer’ – this is bread and butter for a sneak character, a skill that enables you to close the gap and instantly attack. Ambush is San-daro’s ‘gap closer’, this morphed version adding a stun effect to the attack. Lesser enemies can be dispatched with by surprising them with Ambush, swiftly followed by Killer Blade to finish.


    • ‘The Damage over Time attack’ – when dealing with multiple enemies, you’ll want to have a way to deal ‘damage of over time’ – an attack that has an initial burst of damage, with more damage over the next few seconds. This will often be what is termed ‘bleed damage’. San-daro uses ‘Blood Craze’ as part of the ‘rotation’ of attacks in a melee fight.


    • ‘The Self-Heal’ – it’s a well-known ESO maxim that Stamina Nightblades are ‘squishy’. They aren’t going to last long in the hurly-burly of combat without a way to heal. We’ll talk more about healing in a later chapter, but a decent ‘self-heal’ is incredibly useful, and for a Stamblade there’s nothing better than ‘Swallow Soul’ – which ‘steals’ an enemies’ health …. and gives it to you!


    Those are just a few of the types of skill that you’ll find available – and obviously when you roll another class you’ll have many variations. However, whether it is Warden, Dragon Knight or whatever, most ‘types’ have their examples in the options that you’ll have. There'll always be those 'special' skills that synergise what how you want to play. For example, San-daro is a sneaky 'scaredy cat' character. So it obviouly I'd want to invest in Shadow Cloak. What Baandari Khajiit doesn't want to disappear into the shadows (only to emerge with a knife at some unsuspecting Altmer throat)?

    Going back to my earlier point, you don’t want or need to have two ‘Gap Closers’ or two ‘Finishers’. All that would happen is that you’d have two precious slots on your bar taken up by skills that essentially do the same thing. You don’t want that.


    Whichever class you choose, do a bit of research on the skills – and select your preferred skills ahead of time. That way you will fill up your action bar with the skills that suit your preferred playstyle.


    One final point: don’t spend your early skill points on passives. Your first priority is to get your chosen skills to attack, deal damage, heal and control enemies. And that means morphing those skills as quickly as possible to boost their effects. There’ll be plenty of time later, once you have made yourself viable and ‘survivable’ to start buffing up those passives.


    To be clear: Your first priority is to get to a point where your character can 'hold his (or her) own'. It's no fun playing ESO if you're getting your ass handed to you everytime you step outside town. You need to be able to handle yourself in combat as you're going to be doing a LOT of combat when questing or just exploring around. Once you've got to a point of viability - and Level 10 seems to be about that point, THEN you really start building your character according to the nuances and choices about roleplay. We'll be going more into this in future installments. But at this point (just arrived in Auridon at Level 9) this is my skill point allocation for San-daro:


    Level 2                         Assassins Blade

    Level 3                         Veiled Strike

    Quest Point                 Strife

    Level 4                         Twin Strikes

    Skyshard Point            Teleport Strike

    Level 5.1                      Killer Blade (morphed from Assassins Blade)

    Level 5.2                      Swallow Soul (morphed from Strife)

    Level 6                         Surprise Attack (morphed from Veiled Strike)

    Level 7                         Shadow Cloak

    Skyshard Point            Blood Craze (morphed from Twin Strikes)

    Level 8                         Ambush (morphed from Teleport Strike)

    Level 9                         Shadow Disguise (morphed from Shadow Cloak)


1 Comment   |   Tenebrous and 2 others like this.
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  November 24, 2017
    More good advice, Paul. Even now after about eight characters, I still end up needing to respec at level 50 :D I'm a bit more relaxed now than I was, knowing that major quests give you skill points and that Skyshards are plentiful, but even so it's better...  more