The Adventures of San-daro; Chapter 10

  • In this part of the Adventures of Sandaro we are going to talk about levelling. The purpose of levelling changed in Elder Scrolls Online with the release of the One Tamriel patch in 2016. Up to that point, game content was levelled in the various zones in the game. So, for example, Auridon was for Level 5-15 players. Beneath that level you were underpowered, above that level and everything was too easy!


    So you needed to level in order to ‘keep up’ with the content for the zone that you were in at any given point. Indeed, there was a lot of talk about how to ‘get the jump’ in the game by becoming over-levelled for an area. That’s why you’d see players ‘grinding’ in Coldharbour in the tutorial section (pre-Morrowind, obviously). I remember a guide here in the Vault suggesting that you stayed in Coldharbour until Level 5, so as to have an easier time once you got to Tamriel – and, frankly, that was great advice for new players.


    After One Tamriel, ALL game content was levelled to the player character. What does this mean? Quite simply that you can go anywhere – even to previous high-level areas – and the content will scale to your level, and provide a challenge quite independent of your level. As you go through the levels, the enemies will become bigger and badder – but their toughness will be in proportion to your level at any given point in time.


    This one likes to entertain as well as dazzle people with beauty


    With that in mind, you might ask – why even bother levelling? Of course, the answer to that question is about the skills – and therefore character customisation – that come from the levelling. Every level gives you a skill point (with bonus points at levels that end in a five or a zero) with which to make your character truly your own!


    So you can’t really ‘over level’ by grinding anymore. However, you can get ahead of the game by making sure to collect every skill point that you possibly can. Let’s have a look at how you can accrue skill points


    1. Levelling


    As you travel around Tamriel, you’ll get experience points (XP) by killing enemies, completing quests, even for exploration. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:


    Firstly, the amount of XP required to level up grows exponentially. It only takes 500 XP to go from Level 2 to Level 3, but it then takes 1,324 XP to get to Level 4. By the time you get to Level 10, you’ll need 7,659 XP to jump up to Level 11. That’s why ‘grinding’ in an area doesn’t really make sense. Repeatedly killing the same respawning enemies is going to be affected by the law of diminishing returns – and it will take you longer and longer to level up by that method.


    Secondly, you get a lot more XP from turning in completed quests than you do from killing enemies. Typically, be level 10 or so, you’ll be getting 100-150 points for killing an Alit or Bandit, but 2K-3.5K for turning in a quest. Of course, you’ll generally kill plenty of enemies on the way to completing the quests, so it’s a win-win situation anyway.


    TL:DR DO THE QUESTS!!! It’s better for immersion, its better roleplay – and frankly, the quests are really well written and fun as well…



    San-daro finds quests in the most surprising places


    2. Quest Points


    This refers to skill points that you will get simply for completing a quest. Of course, not every quest gives you a skill point, but there are well over 100 quests in the game that do.


    How do you know which quests give you a skill point? Well, for a start, every quest in the main quest (accessed via the Harborage) gives you a skill point. It’s well worth kickstarting the main quest as soon as your approached to go and see ‘the mysterious benefactor’ – the first couple of quests involve little more than listening to a load of exposition, but give loads of XP, good loot and a skill point!


    You’ll also get a skill point for completing a section of your Alliance questline – in other words the ‘main’ questline that you become embroiled in as soon as you get to one of the Alliance territories. You’ll be twisting and turning through this lengthy questline throughout all the zones in your Alliance (and ending up in Coldharbour – again…) so there are quite a few skill points that you’ll pick up as you journey onwards.


    There are other quests – in DLC areas, Coldharbour, Morrowind and Cyrodiil – keep doing quests and you’ll eventually find them all!


    Khajiit finds that the one who called himself 'Prophet' can be quite useful for advancing


    3. Skyshard points


    Every time you collect three skyshards you’ll gain another skill point! This is a reward for those of us who like to explore. According to Google there are a total of 381 skyshards in the game currently – that’s 127 skill points just sitting there waiting to be picked up!


    Where are the skyshards? Well, as we discussed in Chapter 9, there is one in every delve you discover. Delves are a ton of fun anyway – but they are worth exploring for the skyshards if for no other reason. There’s also a skyshard in Public Dungeons. These are harder to acquire for a solo player, but with a bit of sneaking around and maybe a bit of relying on other players who are battling the enemies, you can usually get in and grab the skyshard – even if you are too squishy (as San-daro is) to complete a public dungeon quest playing solo.


    There’s an Achievement for collecting all the skyshards in a zone. Once that notification pops up you can stop looking - you’ve got them all!


    Classy woman! Nothing delicate about this one...


    In the ‘starter islands’ (Khenarthi’s Roost for Dominion players) there will be 6 skyshards – all are placed in overland areas, as the starter island has no delves. Note: Pact and Covenant starter islands each consist of two smaller islands; each has three skyshards.


    The Alliance zones each have 16 skyshards. This will be made up from

    • 9 skyshards located overland in towns or out in the countryside
    • 6 skyshards in delves
    • 1 skyshard in a public dungeon


    This means that by the time San-daro has fully explored Auridon he has actually gained 8 ‘free’ skill points, simply by collecting the 24 available skyshards up to that point. FYI these are made up as follows


    • 1 skyshard in the Census Office in Morrowind (in the place where Fargoth’s ring in found in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind – surely not a co-incidence?)
    • 6 skyshards found from fully exploring Khenarthi’s Roost 
    • 1 skyshard from escaping Coldharbour, having been approached by the messenger chick immediately on arriving in Vukhel Guard
    • 16 skyshards from exploring and delving in Auridon (including a sneaky visit inside Toothmaul Gully dungeon!)


    You can see from this somewhat detailed explanation that San-daro is EIGHT skill points better off by the end of the Auridon quests than a player who simply blasts through the main Queen Ayrenn quests and then hops off to Grahtwood.


    And when you add on two or three skill points for getting cracking with the main Harborage quests, plus all the extra XP from questing, exploring and generally ‘doing stuff’, then it is not hard to see that San-daro is going to have significantly more skill points to spend than a lot of players will tend to have at the same point.


    In general terms, I find that it’s perfectly feasible to be at Level 11 or 12 by the time you have completed the starter island(s) (if you are sticking on Vvardenfell, it’s obviously a somewhat different scenario). By the time you get to the end of the first main zone (Auridon, Glenumbra or Stonefalls) – if you follow these principles and do everything – you are going to be somewhere around Level 22 or 23.


    And remember that is simply from exploring everywhere, doing quests, collecting skyshards and enjoying the rich and diverse content in the game…


    Khajiit misses warm sands of Elsweyr, but has to admit that Valenwood is beautiful


    Here is the ‘build’ for San-daro at Level 23, with most of the Auridon story finished – just a few side quests and some skyshards to finish up and hit Level 25 before moving onwards…

    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)

    Level 10.1                    Nimble (Khajiit)

    Level 10.2                    Stealthy (Khajiit)

    Level 10.3                    Master Assassin (Assassin)

    Level 11                       Soul Shred Ultimate (Siphon)

    Quest Point                  Wind Walker (Medium Armour)

    Level 12                       Dexterity (Medium Armour)

    Skyshard Point              Refreshing Shadows (Shadow)

    Level 13                       Persuasive Will (Mages Guild)

    Level 14                       Improved Sneak (Medium Armour)

    Quest Point                   Whirlwind (Dual Wield)

    Skyshard Point              Dexterity II (Medium Armour)

    Level 15.1                    Wind Walker II (Medium Armour)

    Level 15.2                    Master Assassin (Assassination)

    Skyshard Point             Snipe (Bow)

    Level 16                       Soul Tether (morphed from Soul Shred)

    Level 17                       Nimble II (Khajiit)

    Level 18                       Lethal Arrow (morphed from Snipe)

    Skyshard Point              Cripple (Siphoning)

    Quest Point                   Shadow Barrier (Shadow)

    Quest Point                   Long Shots (Bow)

    Level 19                       Death Stroke (Assassination)

    Quest Point                   Pressure Points (Assassination)

    Level 20.1                    Scatter Shot (Bow)

    Level 20.2                    Accuracy (Bow)

    Level 20.3                    Stealthy II (Khajiit)

    Level 21                       Ranger (Bow)

    Quest Point                   Refreshing Shadows II (Shadow)

    Skyshard Point              Controlled Fury (Dual Wield)

    Level 22                       Arrow Spray (Bow)

    Level 23                       Draining Shot (morphed from Scatter Shot)


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