The Adventures of San-daro; Chapter 8

  • Back in Chapter 5 of this guide, we discussed how to spend those first few precious skill points to make your character viable in combat and adventuring around Tamriel. Essentially, my recommendation was that the first ten or so skill points should be spent in acquiring the class skills and chosen weapon skills – and then morphing those skills – so that your character has survivability. It’s no fun playing ESO if you’re getting absolutely wrecked every time you run into a group of enemies!


    By the time you get to about Level 10, you’ll have around 15-16 skill points to play with – not only your skills from levelling up, but also a couple from completing quests and two or three from collecting Skyshards. At this stage, you are going to start getting skill points that you don’t actually need to spend just to fill up your skill bar. You’ve a few choices at this point:


    • You can spend points to acquire skills to replace the skills you already have. Unless those skills give you a significant upgrade, there’s probably no point in doing this. If you are handling the enemies that you are running into, why waste skill points getting abilities that you simply don’t need?


    • You can start investing in crafting. By this point you’ll probably have just arrived in the first main city of your Alliance – and there you can get crafting certification, start doing crafting writs and so on. We’ll cover crafting in much more detail in a later chapter!


    • You can spend points in ‘passive skills’. That’s what we will cover in this guide…


    Oooh, this one thinks something shiny might be hidden under this dig


    So what are passives?


    Passives are skills that apply at all times – in the background, so to speak. The important thing to note is that they do NOT have to be slotted on the skill bar – so you can have as many passives buffed as you like, without worrying about taking up precious slots on your skill bar.


    As they act passively, they are ‘always on’. As such, they can be extremely powerful! We’ll come onto some of the choices in a little while, but first let’s look at the different types of passives


    • Class Passives – each class skill has four passive skills, which start to unlock at Level 8 and become progressively available as you level up.


    • Racial Passives – each race has a unique set of passive skills that start to become available at Level 5. These enable you to roleplay your race more effectively as they tend to reflect the particular racial tropes of the races within the Elder Scrolls universe.


    • Weapon & Armour Passives – each weapon and armour type comes with five passive skills, unlocking from Level 5, and providing a variety of buffs to that weapon or armour.


    • Guild Passives – these passives obviously relate to progression in that particular guild, and largely only become useful if you slot guild skills. There are two extremely useful passives to consider here – Intimidating Presence (Fighters Guild) and Persuasion (Mages Guild) open up new dialogue choices and can be really good to enhance roleplay.


    • World Passives – enhancements to Vampire, Werewolf and so on. You’re probably not going to be thinking about those until much later.


    There are many options for passives, far too many for one character to grab – especially given that the passives typically have two or three ranks that will become available as you level. You will need to do your research and think carefully about which passives you think will best develop your character.


    Khajiit wants to be nimble at all times


    Picking passives


    San-daro is a sneaky assassin – so my choice of passives is geared towards staying undetected, getting the jump on enemies and conserving stamina. I took a look at the available Nightblade, Medium Armour, Dual Wield and Khajiit skills and detected the following likely candidates:


    • Master Assassin (Assassination) increases damage whilst attacking from sneak or invisible. As I invariably start combat from sneak, and use invisibility (Shadow Cloak skill) within combat, this was a no-brainer.


    • Wind Walker (Medium Armour) helps with stamina recovery. Since sneaking, dodging and combat all drain stamina, this really helps


    • Improved Sneak (Medium Armour) reduces the stamina used in sneaking and also reduces the ability of your enemies to see you. Sweet!


    • Nimble (Khajiit) increases both health AND stamina recovery. That’s never a bad thing!


    • Stealthy (Khajiit) buffs your damage from stealth, and reduces your detection radius. Again, this has to help with this kind of character!



    San-daro needs to not be seen when looking for things


    These are the passives that are on my own personal ‘wish list’ for San-daro. As ‘spare’ skill points become available, these are going to be my first picks. There are, of course, plenty of other passives that are worth having – that will increase health or buff spell critical, for example. So, the odd spare skill point will always find a useful passive to invest into…


    All-in-all, passives are powerful enhancements – and sometimes overlooked by new ESO players. Choose wisely – you can’t buff everything – and you will find that they can give you the edge in combat situations.


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