Before you begin reading this guide, I would like to start by saying welcome, and thank you for your time. I encourage you to read through every section, because there is a lot that can be said about what it means to be a Healer in the Elder Scrolls Online. If you are coming to ESO from another game, or even if you have been playing ESO for a while and are curious about making a Healer, I really encourage you to leave behind everything you thought you knew about the “Healer role” because, in the Elder Scrolls Online, there is so much more to it than “just healing,” which I am excited to share with you here and now.
Table of Contents:
- What is Healing & How does it work?
- How allies take damage
- Different Types of Healing Abilities
- Which Race should I pick?
- Which Class should I pick?
- Other useful Healer Skills
- More on Non-Class Passives
- Leveling your Healer
- Attribute Points Distribution
- Champion Points Distribution
- Buff Food, Drinks & Potions
- Mundus Stone
- Gear for Beginners
- Gear for CP 160+
- Now that all that is sorted… How do I heal?
What is Healing in ESO?
To start out, I would like to define what group PvE healing is at its very basic level in ESO:
Healing is the act of using your abilities to restore the health of your party members, yourself included, to help them survive through taking a combination of avoidable and unavoidable damage.
How does Healing work in ESO?
In ESO, both healing and how your allies take damage is unique compared to what you will find in other games. You can effectively heal with any race, any class, and with a variety of different skills within lots of different skill lines, though some choices are more effective than others depending on the type of playstyle you are interested in. Damage dealers and tanks can even slot their own self-heals, and in some cases be self-sufficient in healing themselves.
There are a variety of different ways to care for your allies, some of which are more suited for certain situations than others. Throughout your healing adventures, you will undoubtedly find yourselves in encounters where you must choose the best method to do so.
In group PvE content, Magicka-based healers are most effective because most skills used in PvE healing cost Magicka. As we will see later, the following can be selected favorably: Attribute Points, Champion Point distribution, Gear, Skills, Food, and Potions.
How Allies Take Damage
Unless you or your allies make a big mistake, there is no damage that cannot be healed through, and no reason for allies to die in ESO. This probably sounds really daunting, so let me go into a bit more detail:
In lots of fights, your allies will take unavoidable damage, be it sustained damage over time or large singular bursts of damage. This type of damage isn’t going to kill anyone, so long as you make sure to heal through it, and so long as your allies don’t take more of it than they have to.
If your allies take unnecessary damage which forces you to focus them, you may have trouble sustaining through future damage events or miss healing someone else. Additionally, in some instances, someone might make a mistake and take avoidable damage that almost kills them, but they survive with a sliver of health. In this case, it is your job to react to the situation to the best of your ability and try to save them. This is called “reactive healing”.
There are other kinds of damage that is avoidable, which CAN kill if you aren’t careful. For example, if you fail to block, dodge, or move out of a mechanic, or if you stand in a ground AoE for too long, or if a tank loses taunt on the boss and it goes on a rampage, then you might and probably will die.
These are the kinds of things you will have to look out for as a healer and learn to differentiate between. That way you can ask yourself the question: Did this person die to something avoidable, or unavoidable? Learning this will not only make your job easier but will be a huge help to your teammates. It will come with time and practice, and over the course of many mistakes. Nobody is perfect, especially not right away, so don’t be afraid to ask for help, experiment and make mistakes, or watch videos or look up guides about fight mechanics. Once you are familiar with mechanics from dungeons or trials, you will also be able to react way better to difficult situations.
Different Types of Healing Abilities
There are several different types of healing abilities in ESO:
Area of Effect Heal over Time
Some of the most potent healing skills in the game are Area of Effect (AoE) Heal over Time (HoT) abilities which you can place on the ground or activate near your allies. These provide a generous amount of healing over time for everyone in the area, and you should use them to do most of your healing. How long it lasts will depend on the skill and will be indicated in its tooltip. These kinds of HoTs are most effective when everyone is stacked together. It is good practice to preemptively activate your HoTs before your allies begin taking damage, and keep them rolling while damage is incoming, in order to output enough healing.
There also exist single or limited target HoTs, some of which you can target and place on an ally of your choosing, and some which reach out to an ally (or allies) most in need. On paper, these single-target HoTs are stronger than their AoE counterparts, though it is important to note that this does not necessarily mean that they are better. They are stronger because they target fewer people. If your goal is to do a lot of healing on multiple allies, you will find that it is better to cast one or more AoE HoTs rather than casting your single target HoT multiple times.
Area of Effect Burst Heal
If allies around you take sudden heavy hits of damage, casting an AoE burst heal will get them back up to or near full health immediately. These skills cost more (with very few exceptions) than HoTs because they are stronger and heal instantly. Generally, these kinds of skills should be used only when needed.
Single Target or Limited Target Burst Heal
If you notice that one or just a few allies are in need of burst healing but you aren’t quite sure where they are, one option is to cast a single target or limited target burst heal on them. These are the most resource intensive of all (with very few exceptions) because they are very powerful and heal instantly, but only effect one or a limited number of allies at a time. Just like AoE burst heals, these should be used only in emergencies.
A majority of healing abilities in ESO are considered “smart healing” skills. This means that they will automatically target the ally or allies most in need (lowest health). It is important to note that some burst heals, while they are “smart heals,” also require you to be facing the target/s you wish to heal. AoE HoTs also require your target to be within the radius/range of the HoT to receive healing. There are very few healing skills in the game that require you to target a specific ally, and their usage in PvE content is infrequent.
All AoE healing skills in the game have a cap of 6 allies. To go into more detail:
Let’s say you are in a group of 7 people, and they all take damage at the same time. You go to heal them with the skill Illustrious Healing, which is an AoE HoT that ticks once per second. The HoT will only hit 6 of the 7 people in your group per tick, and it will prioritize those with the lowest health. The next second that it ticks, it will then choose another 6 people to heal, and one of those 6 will probably be the person who did not receive healing during its first tick.
This is one reason why two healers are generally used in raid groups, which have a total of 12 people. When you are playing, the healing cap is not something that you should worry about, or really even think about or notice, but it is good knowledge to have.
Which Race should I pick?
When selecting your healer’s race, you should ask yourself a few things first. Do you plan to play the game casually? Are you interested in doing the hardest content in the game? Are you interested in competitive raiding? If you see yourself as a casual player, then you should go ahead and pick whatever race is the most appealing to you, regardless of the passives. As previously stated, in ESO, you can effectively heal using any race. If you see yourself as more of a competitive player, and are interested in end-game raiding, score pushing, etc., then these races will be the most effective to use:
A Breton’s passives are powerful, and extremely well suited for PvE healing. As a Breton, you will have the best sustain and survivability compared to any other race. You will also be able to easily spec for dealing damage should you so choose, which will be important in competitive play. I strongly recommend that everyone choose this race for their first healer.
Altmers have more passive spell power than Bretons, though it comes at the cost of some sustain and survivability. If you do not have issues with sustain or survivability, an Altmer is an excellent choice for a PvE healer, and in this case would be the slightly better option.
Argonians have an interesting passive which restores a bit of each of their resources whenever they drink a potion; this, however, is the only passive tool that they have for sustain, and it is not as potent as what a Breton offers. They also have a small boost to their healing power, though it’s important to note that this passive only affects healing, whereas Bretons’ and Altmers’ passives influence not only healing, but damage as well. This would be my third choice for a healer race, after Breton and Altmer.
Nords are an interesting choice due to their passive which can grant them Ultimate when they take damage. They also have powerful passive boosts to survivability, making them tankier than Bretons, but their other passives are suited for Stamina rather than Magicka. This would be my fourth choice for a healer race.
If you want to analyze all the races you can take a look at the Racial Guide for all races.
Which Class should I pick?
This choice will involve the same thought process as selecting your healer’s race, but with much more depth. To start, you must again ask yourself: Do you want to play casually, or competitively? If the answer is that you want to enjoy the game casually, then pick whatever class looks the most fun to you (choose more than one and make several healers, if you really want!), because all of them can heal extremely well. You will find that how well a healer can complete content is more to do with the person behind the wheel than the class itself, though some classes are a bit more “user-friendly” than others, which I will discuss more below.
If you are interested in being a competitive healer, then the answer is: There is no single “best” class. The class you should play will depend on the content you run, and your group’s composition. Therefore, you may at some point need to play different classes. In competitive raiding, healers (and tanks) build themselves around the damage dealers, and their primary purpose is to make their damage dealers shine. This holds true even with class selection. If you are interested in learning more about this, you should head over to the Advanced Healing Guide (soon) for more information.
Now, though, here is a breakdown of each class, and their unique skills that will be most interesting to you as a healer:
Class Skills & Passives
Templars are by far the most user-friendly healing class, with a theme of bright light and holy magic. They have an entire skill line dedicated to healing, within which are several burst heals that require minimal positional awareness. They also have passives which grant them increased healing power. An excellent choice for those just starting out, and very powerful in competitive raiding.
Rushed Ceremony – A powerful single-target burst heal, and the very first healing skill you unlock. The Honor the Dead morph refunds part of the ability’s cost when used to heal an ally, and the Breath of Life morph also heals one other injured target for half the amount.
Healing Ritual – This is a powerful yet costly AoE burst heal. The Ritual of Rebirth morph heals a single ally outside the ability’s radius, and the Hasty Prayer morph increases the movement speed of allies healed.
Cleansing Ritual – A powerful AoE HoT which can cleanse allies within of negative effects if they activate the skill’s “Purify” synergy. It also removes up to 2 harmful effects from you immediately. The Ritual of Retribution morph deals damage to enemies, and the Extended Ritual morph increases the duration and the amount of harmful effects that you can cleanse from yourself.
Restoring Aura – An interesting skill with two unique morphs, though you will want to take the Radiant Aura morph. Radiant Aura applies Minor Magickasteal to all enemies around you with an increased radius compared to the base skill. It also gives you increased sustain just for having it on your bar.
Rune Focus – Unmorphed, this skill will increase your resistances and make you extremely tanky. Take the Channeled Focus morph, which restores Magicka to you over time.
Spear Shards – This skill is both an AoE Damage over Time (DoT) skill, and a resource return skill for your allies. Allies who take the skill’s synergy will have their primary resource returned to them, either Stamina or Magicka. The Luminous Shards morph returns a little bit of the ally’s secondary resource, and the Blazing Spear morph restores only the primary resource, but deals increased damage.
Backlash – Another great skill with two unique morphs. You will want the Power of the Light morph, which applies the Minor Fracture and Minor Breach debuffs to targeted enemies.
Minor Sorcery buff via Illuminate – Templars are the only group-wide source of Minor Sorcery in the game, which increases allies’ Spell Damage by 10%. They do this by means of their “Illuminate” passive, which is proc’d whenever they cast a Dawn’s Wrath ability.
Rite of Passage – The Templar’s powerful healing ultimate, which is a combination of an AoE HoT and an AoE burst heal. The Practiced Incantation morph lasts longer, and the Remembrance morph will make you more resistant to damage.
Nova – A powerful ultimate that offers a lot of damage mitigation for your whole group via afflicting enemies within with Major Maim while stunning them. It also deals damage, and a provides one ally with a synergy. The Solar Prison morph deals even more damage and stuns enemies for longer, and the Solar Disturbance morph leaves Major Maim on the enemy for a short amount of time after they leave the AoE.
You can find a full list of all the Templar skills on the Templar page.
Wardens are a bit less user-friendly than Templars because their class burst heal relies more on positional awareness; however, they are very powerful healers that provide a lot of group utility, making them a highly sought-after healer spec. Their theme is that of nature, with some longer, flourishing animations. Like Templars, they have an entire skill line dedicated to healing, with passives that both increase their healing power and the survivability of their teammates.
Fungal Growth – A conal AoE burst heal, and the first healing skill that you unlock. Morph this to Enchanted Growth as this morph gives allies Minor Intellect and Minor Endurance.
Healing Seed – An AoE skill which lingers on the ground for 6 seconds and fires an AoE burst heal when it expires. It also offers a synergy to 1 ally. The Budding Seeds morph turns the skill into a HoT, with a secondary cast which can instantly trigger the burst heal, and the Corrupting Pollen morph applies Major Defile to enemies in the area.
Living Vines – A single-target HoT. The Leeching Vines morph applies Minor Lifesteal to all enemies that damage the target, and the Living Trellis Morph burst heals the target when the effect ends.
Lotus Flower – This skill causes your light attacks to heal a nearby ally for a little bit of health, and your heavy attacks to heal for more. You will want the Lotus Blossom morph, which gives you Major Prophecy.
Nature's Grasp – This skill is a targeted single target HoT with a pretty cool effect; think Tarzan! It also gives you some Ultimate after you cast it. The Bursting Vines morph lets you travel faster and converts it into a single target burst heal, also giving you more Ultimate, and the Nature’s Embrace morph applies a HoT to you as well.
Enchanted Growth – Though this is primarily a healing skill, the Minor Intellect and Endurance buffs are very powerful and are worthwhile to keep up if possible.
Healing Seed and morphs – While this, too, is a healing skill, the fact that it gives a synergy makes it very desirable. Synergies are very important in group play.
Dive – This skill does damage, though its secondary effect is what makes it special. When used on an enemy that is more than 7 meters away, you will set them off balance for 7 seconds. Off balance is also very important in group play. Morph this to Screaming Cliff Racer, which deals more damage the farther away you are from the target.
Scorch – An AoE burst damage ability. The Subterranean Assault morph applies AoE Major Fracture, and the Deep Fissure morph applies AoE Major Breach.
Swarm – This skill applies Minor Vulnerability to affected enemies for 10 seconds, which is an extremely important debuff. The Fetcher Infection morph deals increased damage every second cast, and the Growing Swarm morph deals bleed damage and additional AoE damage to enemies near the affected target (this does not apply AoE Minor Vulnerability).
Betty Netch – The base morph is not useful for sustain, but the Blue Betty morph gives you Magicka back every second- this is the one you want.
Falcon's Swiftness – This skill will give you Major Expedition when used, which can be useful in some situations. The Deceptive Predator morph gives you Minor Evasion when slotted, and the Bird of Prey morph gives you Minor Berserk when slotted.
Frost Cloak – This skill gives Major Resolve and Major Ward to you and your allies within its radius for 20 seconds. The Expansive Frost Cloak morph increases the radius and reduces the cost, and the Ice Fortress morph gives you Minor Protection and increases the duration.
Frozen Gate – This skill summons up to 3 portals which teleport enemies to you and immobilize them. The Frozen Device morph applies Major Maim, and the Frozen Retreat morph teleports allies to you.
Minor Toughness via Maturation – Wardens are the only group-wide provider of Minor Toughness in the game, which increases the Max Health of allies they heal by 10%. This is a very important group survivability buff.
Secluded Grove – The Warden’s powerful AoE HoT ultimate. The Enchanted Forest morph gives you ultimate if the initial heal is used on an ally under 50% health, and the Healing Thicket morph continues to heal you and your allies after leaving the area.
Sleet Storm – When used, you and nearby allies gain Major Protection, and enemies in the area are snared. The Northern Storm morph increases you Max Magicka after activation, and the Permafrost morph applies the Chilled status effect while increasing the potency of the snare.
You can find a full list of all the Warden skills on the Warden page.
Necromancers are a powerful and complex class, with a dark theme of, you guessed it, Necromancy. They also have an entire skill line dedicated to healing, with many skills whose potency will increase if you take advantage of the class’s “corpse play” mechanic. This means using skill on a corpse will increase its power. Getting the most out of this core class mechanic will require positional and situational awareness which makes it trickier to master. Necromancers also provide a lot of group utility by means of other class skills that are not in their healing tree, making them a very sought-after healing spec.
Render Flesh – The Necromancer’s class single target burst heal, and the first healing skill that you unlock. The Resistant Flesh morph increases the resistances of the target you heal, based on their missing health, and the Blood Sacrifice morph can be converted into a limited target burst heal if a corpse is consumed by the skill. Both morphs afflict you with Minor Defile.
Life amid Death – A powerful AoE burst heal which can be converted into an AoE HoT if you use the skill to consume a corpse. The Renewing Undeath morph will remove up to 3 negative effects on consuming a corpse, and the Enduring Undeath morph increases the duration of the HoT per corpse consumed.
Spirit Mender – Conjure a ghostly spirit for 16 seconds which heals you or the lowest health ally around you every 2 seconds. This skill creates a corpse when it expires. The Spirit Guardian morph reduces your damage taken, transferring some it to the Guardian, and the Intensive Mender morph increases the healing done, but lowers its duration by half.
Restoring Tether – This skill can be used on a corpse to create an AoE HoT between you and it which lasts for 12 seconds. You will want the Braided Tether morph, which also creates an AoE HoT around you.
Expunge – When slotted, this skill reduces the cost of all your abilities by 3%. When used, it removes up to 2 negative effects from you at the cost of your own health. The Expunge and Modify morph returns Stamina and Magicka per negative effect removed, and the Hexproof morph increases the amount of negative effects removed.
Spirit Mender and morphs & Skeletal Mage and morphs – Having a Necromancer “pet” active will trigger the Necromancer’s “Undead Confederate” passive, increasing your Magicka and Stamina recovery by 200.
Boneyard – An AoE DoT. You want to morph this to Unnerving Boneyard. This morph applies Major Fracture and Major Breach to enemies within its radius. It also grants a synergy to 1 ally.
Bone Armor – Gives you Major Ward and Major Resolve. You want the Beckoning Armor morph, which will pull in any ranged enemies to you should they target you with one of their attacks.
Bitter Harvest – This skill reduces your damage taken by 3% when it’s slotted and heals you a little bit per corpse that you use it on. Its real brilliance, though, is that you generate Ultimate per corpse consumed. You will want the Necrotic Potency morph, which gives you even more Ultimate back per corpse.
Bone Totem – This skill creates a protective AoE around you which grants allies within Minor Protection. After 2 seconds, it will fear enemies inside. The Remote Totem morph can be placed up to 28 meters away, and the Agony Totem morph gives 1 ally a synergy which applies Minor Vulnerability to enemies within.
Reanimate – This is a powerful ultimate which will resurrect 3 allies at once at the target location. The Renewing Animation morph gives you back Magicka and Stamina per ally resurrected, and the Animate Blastbones morph summons Blastbones per each corpse in the area.
Frozen Colossus – In my opinion, the Necromancer’s most powerful ultimate. It conjures a Flesh Colossus which smashes the ground at the target area, dealing damage over time and afflicting enemies within with Major Vulnerability on its final smash. This is the most powerful damage buff in the game and is extremely sought after in group play. The Pestilent Colossus morph deals disease damage, and the Glacial Colossus morph stuns all enemies with its final smash.
You can find a full list of all the Necromancer skills on the Necromancer page.
Sorcerers are powerful and underrated healers, with a theme of lightning and Daedric magic. Though they do not have a dedicated healing skill line, they do have some unique healing skills. They have a powerful 360-degree burst heal which can really come in handy in certain situations. They also provide a lot of group utility. Lastly, I think one of the most overlooked things about the Sorcerer healer is that they have the potential for incredible sustain, which is an indirect boost to their healing power.
Summon Twilight Tormentor – The Sorcerer’s powerful healing ability, which is a 360-degree single target burst heal. When activated, the pet will heal itself and 1 nearby ally. You will want the Summon Twilight Matriarch morph, which turns it into a limited target burst heal, now healing itself and up to 2 nearby allies.
Surge – When used, this skill will give you Major Brutality and Major Sorcery and will heal you once per second every time you deal critical damage. You want the Power Surge morph, which transforms this skill to an AoE HoT, healing allies in the area once every 3 seconds when you perform critical healing.
Encase – This skill will immobilize enemies in front of you for 4 seconds. The Shattering Prison morph deals damage when the effect ends, and the Restraining Prison morph gives you Major Vitality.
Dark Exchange – The Sorcerer’s incredibly powerful sustain tool. Casting it will give you Magicka back immediately, and additional Magicka back over time, at the cost of Stamina. You will want the Dark Conversion morph, which reduces the cost.
Conjured Ward – A strong damage shield. You will want the Empowered Ward morph, which gives you and nearby allies Minor Intellect.
Lightning Form – When activated, this skill gives you Major Resolve and Major Ward. You will want the Boundless Storm morph, which will increase the duration and give you Major Expedition.
Lightning Splash – This skill is an AoE DoT, though it is most sought after because it provides 1 ally with a synergy. The Liquid Lightning morph increases the duration, and the Lightning Flood morph increases the radius.
Minor Prophecy via Exploitation passive – Sorcerers are the only group-wide source of Minor Prophecy in the game, which increases the Spell Critical rating of nearby allies. This buff is proc’d whenever a Sorcerer casts a Dark Magic skill.
Negate Magic – This powerful ultimate will dispel enemy placed effects in the target area instantly. Enemies within its radius will be stunned. The Suppression Field morph deals damage over time, and the Absorption Field morph heals allies within.
Summon Storm Atronach – This ultimate can be used to boost the damage of one lucky ally via its Charged Lightning synergy, which grants them Major Berserk for 8 seconds. The skill itself summons a Storm Atronach that deals damage over time. The Summon Charged Atronach morph deals AoE damage when it is summoned, and the Greater Storm Atronach increases its duration, damage, and health.
You can find a full list of all the Sorcerer skills on the Sorcerer page.
Nightblades make for interesting and powerful healers, with a theme of stealth, shadow and blood magic. In my opinion, this is also a very underrated healer spec. Some of their healing skills also do damage, which is a powerful form of group utility in its own right. Additionally, they also provide other forms of group utility, both from their passives and other skills in their kit. Its class single target burst heal comes at the cost of your own health, which can be daunting, but really is a minor thing so long as you are self-aware. Nightblades do not have a dedicated healing skill line.
Strife – This skill deals damage and heals you or a nearby ally for 50% of the damage inflicted every 2 seconds, for 10 seconds. You want the Funnel Health morph, which can heal up to 2 other nearby allies.
Malevolent Offering – The Nightblade’s powerful single target burst heal, which comes at the cost of your own health, slowly draining it over 8 seconds. The Healthy Offering morph grants you Minor Mending, and the Shrewd Offering morph reduces the health cost.
Drain Power – This skill deals AoE burst damage. You will want the Sap Essence morph, which both deals damage and heals allies around you based on how much damage you inflict.
Path of Darkness – This skill is an AoE DoT, which grants allies within Major Expedition. You want the Refreshing Path morph, which changes it into an AoE HoT.
Teleport Strike – This skill deals AoE burst damage and inflicts all enemies hit with Minor Vulnerability, increasing their damage taken by 8%. You will want the Lotus Fan morph, which adds an AoE DoT component.
Mark Target – This skill afflicts 1 target with Major Fracture and Major Breach. The Piercing Mark morph increases the duration, and the Reaper’s Mark morph will give you Major Berserk for 5 seconds after the afflicted enemy dies.
Veiled Strike – This skill deals single target burst damage. You want the Surprise Attack morph, which reduces the enemy’s physical resistance if you cast it behind them.
Summon Shade – This skill summons a shade “pet” which will attack an enemy for 15 seconds. While it is active, the targeted enemy will be afflicted with Minor Maim. The Dark Shade morph deals increased damage, and the Shadow Image morph allows you to teleport to it.
Cripple – This is a single target DoT ability. You will want the Debilitate morph, which applies Minor Magickasteal to the afflicted enemy.
Siphoning Strikes – When activated, this skill will cause your light and heavy attacks to restore Health and Stamina to you. You want the Siphoning Attacks morph, which turns the Stamina gain into Magicka gain.
Minor Savagery via Hemorrhage passive – Nightblades are the only group-wide source of Minor Savagery in the game. Proc’d via the “Hemorrhage” passive, this buff will increase the Weapon Critical rating of allies in the area if you deal critical damage with an Assassination ability slotted.
Consuming Darkness – This ultimate grants you and allies within Major Protection. Allies can also activate the Hidden Refresh synergy, which will grant them invisibility, increase their movement speed, and heal them over time. The Bolstering Darkness morph further reduces your own damage taken, and the Veil of Blades morph adds a damage over time component.
Soul Shred – This ultimate deals AoE damage and stuns enemies that are hit. It will grant 1 ally the Soul Leech synergy, which deals additional damage to 1 enemy within and heals them based on their damage done. The Soul Siphon morph heals you and nearby allies, though it no longer does damage or stuns. The Soul Tether morph deals additional damage over time and heals you.
You can find a full list of all the Nightblade skills on the Nightblade page.
Dragonknight healers can provide some interesting group utility, with a theme of fire and stone. They are probably the least user friendly of all healer specs, largely because their class burst heal relies both on damaging other enemies, and the position of your allies in relation to that enemy. A lot of their utility comes in the form of crowd control and shielding, though they have the potential to provide some other group buffs and debuffs. Dragonknights also do not have a dedicated healing skill line.
Stonefist – This skill deals direct physical damage and applies a Stagger debuff to the targeted enemy. At 3 stacks of Stagger, the enemy is stunned. For healing, you will want the Obsidian Shard morph, which converts it to a Magicka ability which heals you or up to 2 other allies near the enemy after it has been hit.
Ash Cloud – This is an AoE HoT which can be placed on the ground at a targeted location. You will want the Cinder Storm morph, which does increased healing.
Inferno – This skill summons a fireball around you which deals damage to one enemy every 5 seconds. You want the Cauterize morph, which makes the fireball heal allies instead of dealing damage.
Fiery Breath – This skill deals flame AoE burst damage as well as additional damage over time. The Noxious Breath morph converts it to a Stamina ability which deals Poison damage, and afflicts enemies hit with Major Fracture. The Engulfing Flames morph increases the Flame Damage that affected enemies take.
Fiery Grip – This skill unleashes a chain which pulls 1 enemy to you. You will want the Unrelenting Grip morph, which will refund the skill’s cost should the pull fail.
Dark Talons – This skill calls forth talons which deal damage and immobilize nearby enemies for 4 seconds. While enemies are held, 1 ally is granted the Impale synergy, which deals damage to the held enemies when activated. The Burning Talons morph deals more damage over time, and the Choking Talons morph afflicts held enemies with Minor Maim.
Inhale – This skill deals AoE burst damage, and an additional burst of flame damage after 2.5 seconds. You will want the Deep Breath morph, which is an AoE interrupt.
Stonefist – This skill deals direct damage and applies a Stagger debuff to the targeted enemy. At 3 stacks of Stagger, the enemy is stunned. For a group utility skill, you will want the Stone Giant morph, which adds an additional effect to the Stagger, causing the targeted enemy to take additional damage from all sources for 5 seconds.
Molten Weapons – This skill gives you and nearby allies Major Sorcery and Major Prophecy. The Igneous Weapons morph increases the range and duration, and the Molten Armaments morph increases your own damage with fully charged heavy attacks.
Obsidian Shard – This skill summons a damage shield around you and nearby allies, which also gives you Major Mending. The Fragmented Shield morph increases the duration of Major Mending, and the Igneous Shield morph increases the shield strength on yourself.
Combustion passive – A class passive which will help your sustain. When you apply Burning to an enemy, you restore 500 Magicka.
Battle Roar passive – Another class passive that will help your sustain. When you cast an Ultimate ability, you restore Health, Stamina and Magicka relative to the cost of the Ultimate.
Minor Brutality via Mountain's Blessing passive – Dragonknights are the only group-wide source of Minor Brutality, which increases the weapon damage of nearby allies by 10%. This buff is proc’d via the “Mountain’s Blessing” passives which activates when using an Earthen Heart skill.
Magma Armor – A powerful survivability ultimate which limits your incoming damage to 3% of your Max Health, and deals damage to nearby enemies. You will want the Magma Shell morph, which also grants nearby allies a shield for 100% of their Max Health.
You can find a full list of all the Dragonknight skills on the Dragonknight page.
More on Class Passives
Though some are more healer-related than others, it’s a good idea to unlock all your class passives. Be sure to read each of their tooltips for more information on what they do, and how they can benefit you as a healer.
Other useful Healer Skills
Now we are going to take a loot at what other healer related skills that are useful:
Grand Healing – Your bread-and-butter heal, and the first one you unlock from the Restoration Staff skill line. This skill places an AoE on the ground at the target location which heals once per second for 8 seconds. The Illustrious Healing morph increases the healing power and duration, and the Healing Springs morph will give you Magicka back per ally healed, making it a potent sustain tool. Pick whichever morph is best for you.
Regeneration – A strong skill if your allies are spread out. In my opinion, this is a situational heal that is outshined by Grand Healing in most scenarios. The base morph is a single target HoT, and when cast, it will target the ally most in need (yourself included). For PvE, you will always want the Radiating Regeneration morph, which transforms it to a limited-target HoT, healing you or up to 3 nearby allies.
Blessing Of Restoration – An absolute must-have. This skill at its base is a powerful AoE burst heal which also buffs allies with Minor Ward and Minor Resolve. The morph you want is Combat Prayer, which also buffs them with Minor Berserk. You should aim to always have excellent uptimes of this buff, as close to 100% as possible, as it is one of the most impactful things that you can do to improve your group’s DPS.
Steadfast Ward – A situational skill which places a damage shield around 1 ally, the strength of which is increased relative to the severity of the target’s wounds. The Ward Ally morph places an additional shield around you, and the Healing Ward morph heals the shielded target over time in proportion to the shield’s size.
Force Siphon – This skill applies Minor Lifesteal to targeted enemies. The Siphon Spirit morph also applies Minor Magickasteal to the enemy, and the Quick Siphon morph applies Minor Expedition to allies healed.
Panacea – This ultimate is a strong single target heal over time. The Life Giver morph additionally fires off Regeneration, Blessing of Protection and Steadfast Ward at the same time at no cost (whichever morphs you have chosen), and the Light’s Champion morph will proc Major Force on the person that is healed. I would only use this ultimate for progression runs or in an emergency, though generally I would not have it slotted.
Force Shock – The base morph of this skill deals single target burst damage. As a healer you would want the Crushing Shock morph, which also functions as a ranged interrupt.
Elemental Blockade – This skill is an AoE DoT which you lay down in front of you. Its primary purpose is to proc your Destruction Staff’s enchantment, and and when used with a Lightning Staff can help proc Off Balance. I recommend that you take the Elemental Blockade morph, which will increase its duration. The Unstable Wall of Elements morph can be nice to do a little more damage.
Weakness to Elements – This skill applies Major Breach to the targeted enemy. You will want the Elemental Drain morph, which also applies Minor Magickasteal.
Annulment – This skill will protect you with a damage shield. The Dampen Magic morph increases the shield’s size, and the Harness Magicka morph will restore Magicka to you up to 3 times whenever the shield absorbs damage, based on how many pieces of light armor you are wearing.
Circle of Protection – This skill will brand the ground around you with a rune. Allies within the rune gain Minor Protection and Minor Endurance. The Turn Evil Morph will fear enemies when cast, and the Ring of Preservation morph will heal allies within.
Magelight – This skill at its base will give you Major Prophecy while slotted. You want the Inner Light morph, which will also increase your max Magicka by 5%.
Meteor – If slotted, this ultimate wouldn’t be used for its damage, but rather for its passive increase to your max Magicka and Magicka Recovery while slotted thanks to the “Magicka Controller” passive. Either morph would suit this purpose.
Blood Altar – A powerful group utility skill and heal. When used, it will proc Minor Lifesteal on all enemies in the area. It also grants allies a synergy that they can use when at low health, which will heal them for 40% of their Maximum health (with a chance to crit, too!). The Sanguine Altar morph lasts longer, and the Overflowing Altar’s synergy heals for more.
Trapping Webs – This skill is used for the synergy it provides. It hurls webs at the target area which snare and deal damage. Allies at range can activate a synergy from this skill which allows them to deal additional damage. You want the Shadow Silk morph; whose synergy deals even more damage.
Bone Shield – This skill will give you a small damage shield and will additionally grant 1 nearby ally a synergy. When synergized, a larger shield will be granted to the ally who activated it, as well as to 5 other nearby allies. You want the Bone Surge morph, which also applies Major Vitality to the shielded allies.
Necrotic Orb – One of the most important skills, if not the most important, that a healer should have in their kit. Unmorphed, this skill will project an orb in the direction you are facing which damages everything in its range. It also grants nearby allies a synergy which can be used by everyone in the group. This synergy will give them back 3960 of their primary resource instantly, either Stamina or Magicka, making it an extremely powerful tool for sustain. The Mystic Orb morph deals more damage and the Energy Orb morph heals allies in the area instead of dealing damage.
Time Stop – This is a channeled skill which will place a slowly-materializing globe on the target area that stuns enemies once it is complete. You want the Time Freeze morph, which removes the channel but takes longer to stun.
Mend Wounds – An extremely situational skill which transforms your light and heavy attacks into abilities that heal. The Mend Spirit morph gives allies healed Major Resolve and Major Ward, and the Symbiosis morph also heals you. I would only slot this for one encounter, and only if needed—the Lokkestiiz boss fight in Sunspire.
Assault (Alliance War)
War Horn – This is the most important ultimate that a healer has in their kit, so you will want to try and get it as soon as possible. Its base morph increases the Max Magicka and Stamina of all your groupmates by 10%. You want the Aggressive Horn morph, which also gives your groupmates Major Force.
Support (Alliance War)
Purge – A skill which cleanses you and your group members of up to 3 negative effects. You want the Efficient Purge morph, which reduces the skill’s cost by a lot (this is important because it’s quite expensive!).
Guard – This skill will tether you to 1 ally, which will redistribute 30% of their damage taken to you, helping to increase their survivability. The Mystic Guard morph gives both of you Minor Vitality, and the Stalwart Guard morph gives both of you Minor Force.
Barrier – A great skill which can help boost group survivability as well as increase your sustain thanks to the “Magicka Aid” passive. When used, it grants all allies in your group a massive damage shield for 30 seconds. You will want the Reviving Barrier morph, which also heals shielded allies over time.
More on Non-Class Passives
It’s a good idea to unlock all passives within the weapon skill lines that you use. Be sure to read the tooltips to understand how they work. You should also unlock all Light Armor passives, but only the Heavy and Medium armor passives that are applicable for having 1 piece of that armor type equipped.
Concerning other skill lines, keep an eye out for any passives that will improve your sustain, damage, and survivability. Noteworthy ones that I want to mention are:
Alliance War – Support
Magicka Aid – Increases your Magicka Recovery by 10% for each Support ability slotted.
Guild – Fighters Guild
Intimidating Presence – Allows you to Intimidate NPCs in conversation. Reduces the Stamina cost of your Fighters Guild abilities by 15%.
Banish the Wicked – You generate 9 Ultimate when you kill an Undead, Daedra or Werewolf.
Guild – Mages Guild
Magicka Controller – Increases your Max Magicka and Magicka Recovery by 2% for each Mages Guild ability slotted.
Guild – Undaunted
Undaunted Command – Activating an ally’s synergies restores 4% of your Max Health, Stamina and Magicka.
Undaunted Mettle – Increases your Max Health, Stamina, and Magicka by 2% per type of armor you are wearing.
World – Vampire
Skill not found – Increases your Magicka and Stamina Recovery by 10%.
Undeath – Reduces your damage taken by up to 33% based on your missing health while you are below 50% health.
Skill not found – Reduces the severity of the Health Recovery determent in Vampirism stages 2 through 4.
keep in mind that you take extra fire damage as a Vampire.
Crafting – Alchemy
Medicinal Use – When using potions, resulting effects last 30% longer.
Leveling your Healer
How should you level your healer?
There are a number of different ways to level as a healer. Some important things to keep in mind are:
- To level a weapon skill line, you need to gain experience on the bar with the actual weapon equipped
- To level a class skill line, you need to have skills that are a part of that line on your bar when you gain experience
- To level an armor skill line, you need to have at least one piece of the armor weight equipped- the more you have equipped, the faster it will level
- To level any skill, you need to gain experience on the bar that the skill you want to level is on
- There are other skill lines that function differently in terms of how you level them up, but the way to level their skills is the same as leveling any other skill (gain XP on the bar)
- Use Training Gear and Experience Boosters to level more quickly (See Grind Guide)
- You cannot heal monsters to death!
All this in mind, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how you level, or which skills or skills lines you should level first. If you are a solo player, you will need to have some kind of damage skill on your bar in order to kill enemies to be able to gain experience. If you want, you can place one damage skill on your Restoration Staff bar and fill the rest of the slots will Restoration Staff skills. This will quickly level your Restoration Staff skill line. You can also place a mixture of skills from different lines on your bar if there are some you want to level and morph more quickly than others. Or you can decide to level all your class skills first. It’s really up to you!
Concerning what content to do to level or where you should go if you want to grind, you should check out Alcast’s different leveling guides for more detailed information. In less detail, some good options are:
- Play through overland content and quests- be sure to have a damage skill on your bar so you can kill enemies to gain experience!
- Queue for random dungeons, choosing “Healer” as your role- here you will be able to have lots of healing skills on your bar since there should be Damage Dealers in your group that will kill enemies
- Grind at Dolmens
- Grind in Public Dungeons with friends
- Grind in Craglorn with friends
Attribute Points Distribution
How should I distribute my Attribute Points as a Healer in ESO?
My recommendations for new healers is to put enough Attribute points into health so that you are at 18k HP (including a food buff). This will give you a large enough pool to take some hits without worrying about dying. Put the rest of your points into Magicka. That being said, there is no “one size fits all” answer to this. Do what is most comfortable for you! For example, I usually run all of my points into Magicka and let my buff food and passives supply the health I need. If you want, you can always respec later.
Champion Points Distribution
What Champion Point distribution should I use as a Healer in ESO?
Red Champion Points
For Red CP distribution, refer to Alcast’s Red CP distribution guides.
Green Champion Points
This distribution will also be affected by the content you are running as well as your playstyle. It’s good to have 75 to 100 points into Arcanist, and 49 to 75 in Tenacity. For the other trees, it will be most beneficial to divide them up between Warlord, Shadow Ward and Tumbling. For some content, you may also consider spending points in Bashing Focus and Sprinter.
For lower CP players, pump up Arcanist first, then Tenacity next if you find that you are needing to heavy attack a lot to gain back Magicka.
Blue Champion Points
There is no right or wrong answer for a healer’s Blue CP distribution, though you may find that some distributions are more effective than others depending on the situation. Blessed will increase your healing done, so if you find that you need to do a lot of healing, you’ll want to pump up this node, anywhere from 56 to 100. Elfborn will increase your critical healing done, so you can spend a lot of points here if you need to, anywhere from 56 to 100. That being said, you will find that you can actually heal a lot of content without any CPs into Blessed, in which case you might be interested in spending some or all CPs into nodes that will buff your damage.
For the rest of your Blue CPs, you can put them into nodes that increase your damage. Check out Alcast’s damage dealer guides relative to your class.
For lower CP players, spend your points into Blessed and Elfborn first to get more out of your heals.
If you are unsure yet how to place your Champion Points, you can always use the Champion Points Leveling Distribution Calculator.
Buff Food, Drinks & Potions
How do Buff Food & Drinks and Potions work?
Buff Food & Drink
For every encounter, you will want to have a buff food or drink active. Doing so will increase your health, resources, and sustain.
For new players, I recommend trying to buy or learn to craft Witchmother’s Potent Brew early on, because you can use it no matter what level you are, even if you don’t have any Champion Points. It’s also cheap to buy. You can search for both the food and the recipe in guild traders.
Health, Max Magicka and Magicka Recovery
Use one of these if you want Health and Magicka bonuses with a little bit more sustain:
- Clockwork Citrus Filet (best option)
- Witchmother’s Potent Brew (more affordable alternative)
Health and Max Magicka
Use one of these to get the maximum possible amounts of Health and Magicka:
- Artaeum Pickled Fish Bowl (best option)
- Mistral Banana-Bunny Hash, Melon-Baked Parmesan Pork, Solitude Salmon-Millet Soup (more affordable alternatives)
Use one of these if you want Max Health, Magicka and Stamina bonuses:
- Bewitched Sugar Skulls (best option)
- Capon Tomato-Beet Casserole, Jugged Rabbit in Preserves, Longfin Pasty with Melon Sauce, Withered Tree Inn Venison Pot Roast (more affordable alternatives)
Potions can be used to increase your sustain, healing power, and damage. You should use potions in every encounter.
I recommend that you level up the Alchemy skill line early on so that you can unlock the “Medicinal Use” passive, which will make your potion effects last 30% longer (meaning that they will last up to and a little beyond when you will be able to use your next potion).
I wouldn’t stress too much about using the best potions as you level up. As you play through the game, you will find dropped Magicka potions that match your level which will give you some Magicka back on use and increase your sustain. You will be fine to use these until you are able to use max level potions.
When you reach CP 150 and above is when you can use max level potions. Most of the time, you will want to use the tri-effect Essence of Spell Power potions, which will give you Magicka back on use and increase your sustain, increase your Spell Critical rating, and your Spell Damage.
In some content, you might want to run different potions such as the tri-effect Essence of Health, which will give you back Health, Magicka and Stamina and increase the recovery of each.
Which Mundus Stone should I use?
Mundus stones will grant you a permanent buff which can increase your combat effectiveness. You can find them scattered throughout the world, and you can also place and use them in housing areas. You can only have one Mundus buff active at a time. There are several Mundus stone options that you can choose as a healer. Pick the one that is best for you.
For new players, I recommend using The Atronach Mundus to help your sustain until you have reached higher CP levels.
This will increase your Critical Strike chance, which effects both your chance to critically heal and deal damage.
This will increase your Spell Damage, which impacts both healing and spell power.
This purely increases your healing power, more effectively than any other Mundus.
This increases your Magicka Recovery, which will help your sustain.
Gear for Beginners
What gear should I use? Here you can find a lot of Information about gear and also gear for new players.
You will be fine to pick up and equip any armor as you go. Along your journey, you should equip 3 pieces of Medium Armor and 3 pieces of Heavy Armor at once just to unlock the passives. Once you have done this, you should keep 1 of each of these armor weights equipped so that you can continue leveling them up. For your other pieces, you will want 5 Light Armor because, as a healer, the 5-piece Light Armor passives are extremely important. Even though you won’t have all of these right away, it will be most beneficial to unlock them quickly instead of the Medium or Heavy armor passives- those are less important and can wait.
Having 5 pieces of Light, 1 piece of Medium, and 1 piece of Heavy is what is known as a 5-1-1 armor setup, which is an excellent option to wear when healing PvE content. Doing so will give you the maximum possible amount of stats due to the Undaunted Mettle passive.
For armor traits, the best options are either:
This will maximize the effectiveness of your Mundus Stone.
4 small Divines, 3 big Infused
This will give you a slightly higher resource pool, still with excellent Mundus Stone effectiveness. “Small” refers to shoulders, hands, waist, and feet. “Big” refers to head, chest, and legs. Big pieces give slightly more Enchantment stats than small pieces do, even more with an Infused trait. This is why it is optimal to run your 3 big armor pieces as Infused to get the most bang for your buck.
For armor enchantments, the most effective options are:
7 Magicka Glyphs
This will maximize your healing power and the effectiveness of all your Magicka-based spells.
4 small Magicka Glyphs, 3 big Prismatic Defense Glyphs (aka Tri-Stat Glyphs)
This will give you slightly more Health and Stamina at the cost of a small amount of Magicka, which you might find preferable for some encounters.
My recommendation for most content, especially as you level up, is 7 Magicka Glyphs. They are very common drops throughout the world, and they are cheap to craft and buy from merchants. It’s a bit more expensive to craft and buy Tri-Stat glyphs. If you don’t have Tri-Stat glyphs and you find that you want more Health or Stamina, you can respec your Attribute points to get the numbers that you are comfortable with. You can also use different kinds of buff food to fit your needs.
You should equip and level both a Restoration Staff and a Destruction staff. This combination of staves is the best option for healing PvE content, with a Restoration Staff as your main weapon, and a Destruction Staff as your off weapon. You will usually want a Lightning Staff to help proc Off Balance. Sometimes you might opt to use two Restoration Staves, or maybe even two Destruction Staves, but most of the time it will be best to go with Resto + Destro.
For weapon traits, the best options are:
This trait is best for proccing status effects. To do so, you would want this as your main bar weapon trait.
This trait is best for getting the maximum effectiveness out of your staff’s enchantment.
This trait is best for maximum healing potential.
This trait is best for an excellent mix of healing and damage.
There is no “one size fits all” single best weapon trait for healers because the answer will depend on the content you are running. If you’re not sure, a solid choice is Precise as your main bar weapon and Infused as your back bar weapon. You can check out the Advanced Healing Guide (soon) for more information on each of the above weapon traits, and the types of situations that call for each.
Excellent options for Weapon Enchantments are:
This will increase the power of all of your casted skills.
This will reduce the enemy’s armor.
This will reduce the enemy’s power.
This can apply the “Concussed” status effect on enemies, which afflicts them with Minor Vulnerability. In some instances, Concussed is also required to proc “Off Balance,” which can even further increase an enemy’s damage taken.
This will help your sustain.
Proccing your Weapon Enchants
Weapon enchantments can be proc’d either with light or heavy attacks, or with any AoE DoT ability from a weapon skill line. This means that if you want to activate your Restoration Staff’s enchant, you need to be sure to light attack weave on that bar or perform a heavy attack on it. You cannot use an AoE DoT ability on your Restoration Staff to keep up your enchantment simply because Restoration Staff abilities do not deal damage!
To keep up your Destruction Staff’s enchant, the best option is to use Wall of Elements. This will continue to proc your Destruction Staff’s enchant no matter what bar you are on, so long as the skill is active.
In either case, light attack weaving is important on both bars!
The most common and effective jewelry trait to use as a healer is Arcane. This will give you the highest possible Magicka pool. A larger Magicka pool also means better sustain. You will find that lots of healer sets that you grind for already have Arcane-traited jewelry. In some instances, though, you might find that you need to Transmute your jewelry to Arcane (for example, if you want to run Hircine’s Veneer to support stamina DDs, which has Robust jewelry drops).
Other interesting options are Infused, and in some very specific situations Swift. Infused will increase the potency of your Jewelry piece’s enchant, and Swift will increase your movement speed. For more information on these two traits and where they can be useful, check out the Advanced Healing Guide.
How many of each of Jewelry enchant you should use will depend on your playstyle and level of comfort with the encounter. This means that there is no “best” option- choose what is right for you, and experiment with a few different setups until you find what works.
The best options to use as a healer are:
Glyph of Magicka Recovery
This will increase your sustain. I recommend these enchants if you are leveling/new. If you run out of Magicka, you can’t heal and allies might die.
Glyph of Increase Magical Harm
This will increase your spell damage, maximizing the power of your Magicka-based skills.
Crafting Gear Sets – Very Important!
I highly encourage you to begin leveling Crafting as soon as possible. Research traits as often as you can, and deconstruct any extra armor, weapons and jewelry you come across. I recommend unlocking 3 traits for each armor weight, weapon type, and jewelry piece as early as you can, because doing so will allow you to craft some solid starter healing gear that you can use successfully throughout the entire duration of leveling and grinding:
Armor of the Seducer
The Armor of the Seducer set will help your sustain which, without having Champion Points and the rest of your passives unlocked, will be a huge asset to you as you level up. It is a fine choice until you can grind max-level healing gear and unlock more passives.
The Torug's Pact set will help your survivability and increase your healing power a little bit. The additional great thing about it is that it is actually one of the many sets that can be used in end-game content, too, so even as you level, you will already be able to craft something useful for healing in trials!
The next milestone to shoot for within leveling Crafting is 6 traits:
Law of Julianos
The Law of Julianos is a powerful set that will increase your spell damage, and ultimately your healing power. You will be fine to both heal and deal damage with this set, no matter what content you take part in as you level up. If you ever want to queue as a Damage Dealer in a dungeon, this set will be good for that role too.
Finally, another potentially useful set to craft is one that requires 8 traits:
The Kagrenac's Hope set will increase your healing power, sustain, and survivability, though its true potency comes from its 5-piece bonus which decreases the time it takes to resurrect allies by 25%. This can really come in handy for progression groups, or in pug groups where your teammates die a lot. Because it is an 8-trait set, though, it is more out of reach than the previous ones. Should you find that you don’t need to be constantly resurrecting your allies by the time you are able to craft so many traits, I would not bother with it.
I do not recommend grinding for any gear until you reach CP 160. CP 160 is the gear cap, and you will find that you will quickly outgrow any lower-level gear as you go.
Do join a guild as soon as possible, people will craft gear for you if you ask them nicely!
Gear for CP 160+
What gear should I use? – Information & Gear for CP 160+
At CP 160 is when you can start collecting every set you might want to use, and as healers, there are a lot of them! If you get into end-game raiding, it’s a good idea to have lots of different sets that you can swap between.
In deciding what gear to wear, you should know that there are 12 gear slots you can fill up: There are 7 armor slots, 3 jewelry slots, and 2 weapon slots. 2-handed weapons (such as the Restoration and Destruction staves that you will be running) count for 2 slots, and 1-handed weapons each count toward 1 slot. It’s possible to wear your gear in such a way that you open up 2 “extra” weapon slots, which I will touch on shortly.
The types of gear sets that you will be most concerned with as a healer are as follows:
- 5-Piece Sets
- Monster Sets
- Unique Weapons
5-Piece sets have bonuses attached to them starting from the 2nd piece, all the way up to a 5-Piece bonus. As the name implies, 5-Piece sets take up 5 of your gear slots. As a healer, you will typically wear 2 different 5-Piece sets together, which will take up 10 of your total gear slots. You cannot stack 5-Piece bonuses from the same sets (including perfect vs imperfect).
Monster Sets are exclusively head and shoulder pieces. This means that if you want to wear a Monster Set with 2 different 5-Piece sets, you cannot wear any part of the 5-piece sets on your head or shoulder slots.
Unique Weapons are where it gets interesting. One part of one of your 5-piece sets will need to be a staff. In order to proc its 5-piece bonus on both bars, you must have another staff of that same set on both bars. However, there are lots of sets that don’t need to be run on both bars to be used effectively. This opens up the opportunity for us to use a Unique Weapon (staff) on one bar that provides something extra for the group. Pretty cool!”
Following are the sets that I would recommend to have as a max level healer, where in the game you can find them, and additionally how you can successfully run them (i.e., on your front bar, back bar, or both):
The Torug's Pact set decreases weapon enchantment cooldown and increases non-Oblivion Damage enchantment potency by 30%. When running this set, it is best to use have an Infused weapon with a Crusher glyph on at least one bar. It needs to be active on both bars in order to maintain the 5-piece bonuses. That means you should run it either on the body/double barred, or as a front bar set.
Way of Martial Knowledge
The Way of Martial Knowledge set will activate when you are below 50% stamina, your light attacks will make the affected enemy take 8% more damage from your entire group for 5 seconds. Because it has a short cooldown and a tricky proc condition, I recommend using this set on both bars.
The Ebon Armory set increases the maximum health of your groupmates and is a great boost to your group’s survivability. It’s usually worn by tanks, but can sometimes be used by healers, particularly in the Cloudrest trial. This set always needs to be active on both bars.
The Hircine's Veneer set reduces the cost of Stamina abilities by 4% for you and your groupmates. It’s the best set that a healer can wear to help your group’s Stamina sustain. This set always needs to be active on both bars.
The Hollowfang Thirst set will activate whenever you do critical healing or deal critical damage, this set creates an AoE on the ground at the target location. After 2 seconds, up to 6 groupmates standing in the AoE will instantly receive 3000 Magicka and will also receive Minor Vitality for 9 seconds. This is the best set to use to help your group’s Magicka sustain if they are stacked together. It is most effective to wear on both bars, though you can also front or back bar it only and use it successfully.
The Jorvuld's Guidance set increases the duration of all Major buffs, Minor buffs, and damage shields you apply to yourself and allies by 40%. Note that the bonus reads Major and Minor buffs, not debuffs- for example, Minor Vulnerability is not affected. This is a solid choice for increasing a number of important buffs which you can run successfully on both bars, or back bar only. If you run it on the back bar only, you would also want to use the Aggressive Horn ultimate there so you can increase the duration of Major Force.
The Worm’s Raiment
The The Worm's Raiment set reduces the cost of Magicka abilities by 4% for you and your groupmates. It’s one of the best sets that a healer can wear to help your group’s Magicka sustain and will be better than Hollowfang in hectic fights where your group isn’t stacked. This set always needs to be active on both bars.
The Z'en's Redress set applies a debuff for 20 seconds to any enemies that you light attack. Debuffed enemies will take increased damage from your entire group for every single target DoT ability that you put on them, 1% per DoT, up to 5 dots for a maximum of 5% increased damage taken. This set can be used either front or back bar only, or on both bars successfully. Because the debuff lasts for so long, it’s very easy to use as a back-bar set.
The Healing Mage set activates when you use an AoE healing ability, you reduce the Weapon Damage of all enemies within 10 meters by 430 for 3 seconds. Though the tooltip says, “Weapon Damage,” it essentially means “Power,” and that it decreases all damage done by affected enemies. This is a great set for progression groups. It’s best to have it active on both bars at all times due to its extremely short duration.
The Infallible Mage activates when enemies damaged by a fully charged heavy attack will be afflicted with Minor Vulnerability for 10 seconds. This is a great set to use if you don’t have any other sources of Minor Vulnerability in your group. This set can be used either front or back bar only, though if you have trouble managing its uptime, I recommend either front barring it or running it on both.
(Perfect) Vestment of Olorime
The Perfect Vestment of Olorime set activates when you’re in combat, casting abilities that leave an AoE on the ground will create a circle at the target area for 10 seconds, which “ticks” once every second. Groupmates (including yourself) who receive a tick in the circle will receive Major Courage for 30 seconds. Standing in the circle will refresh the duration per each tick. Allies can leave the circle and will maintain the buff for the full 30 seconds. As soon as they enter the circle again, the buff’s duration will refresh. This can affect 12 allies at a time. This is an essential set for all healers to have as it is the most reliable source of Major Courage in the game, and because Major Courage is an incredibly powerful damage boost. You can successfully run it on both bars, or back or front bar only. If you cannot get the Perfect version of this set, the Imperfect version is still perfectly suitable. You can effectively use this as a back bar set.
The Earthgore set activates when you heal yourself or an ally who is under 50% health, you will summon a large healing AoE around them. This AoE will both remove all previously placed enemy effects in the area, and heal an ally in the area every second over 6 seconds, for a total of 34500 health—in other words this is a 6-second AoE HoT which ticks for 5750 health per second. It is not limited to healing only the first ally it procs on; rather, it is a smart heal which will select the lowest health ally within its radius. It has a cooldown of 35 seconds, so while it is powerful, its use is situational.
The Nightflame set activates when you heal yourself or an ally, you have a 10% chance to summon a 5-meter healing AoE at the target area for 6 seconds which heals you and your allies within its radius once per second. It has a 10 second cooldown.
Sentinel of Rkugamz
The Sentinel of Rkugamz set activates when you heal yourself or an ally, you have a 10% chance to summon a small spider that creates a 5-meter healing AoE. This AoE heals over time and restores 115 Magicka and Stamina to you and your allies within its radius every second for 8 seconds. It has a cooldown of 15 seconds. This set is a good mixture of group utility and healing.
Symphony of Blades
The Symphony of Blades set activates when you heal an ally under 50% of their primary/maximum resource, you will put a sustain buff on them called “Meridia’s Favor.” This buff restores 2325 of their primary resource, either Magicka or Stamina, every 1 second for 6 seconds. It has a cooldown of 18 seconds. This is the most powerful sustain-oriented monster set for group play, though it has a proc condition of healing missing health—in other words, it will never proc on someone who is at full health.
The Troll King
The The Troll King set activates when you heal yourself or an ally when they are below 50% Health, their Health Recovery is increased for 10 seconds. While this may not sound that impressive, it is strong in combatting healing debuffs which are present in several fights. This is because Health Recovery is not affected by many mechanic-based healing debuffs, such as Baneful Mark in Cloudrest, and Frozen Prison in Sunspire.
Blackrose (Perfected) Restoration Staff
With the Perfect Mender's Ward set equipped, Steadfast Ward and its morphs applies Major Vitality to your target for 3 seconds, increasing their Healing Taken by 30%. This is a powerful tool for countering healing debuffs, particularly Frozen Prison in Sunspire, though it can also be used effectively in other situations. If you cannot get the Perfected version of this weapon, the Imperfect version is still perfectly suitable.
The Master’s Restoration Staff
With the Grand Rejuvenation set equipped, your initial heal of Grand Healing and its morphs will restore 100 Magicka and Stamina every 1 second for 4 seconds, for up to 6 allies within its radius. This is the most powerful sustain-oriented unique weapon for group play. As a side note, if you perform multiple casts of Grand Healing back-to-back, you will provide 200 Magicka and Stamina per second to your allies due to the timing of the resource return.
Other useful (niche) sets
The Beckoning Steel set generates an aura around you that causes you and your group members within to take 10% less damage from projectiles. This is generally used on the Hunter Killer boss fight in the Halls of Fabrication trial.
The Gossamer set activates when you heal yourself or an ally, you grant them Major Evasion for 2 seconds. This is another set which cannot proc on allies at full health. It’s great for helping increase the survivability of your teammates in AoE-heavy encounters, such as the Assembly General in the Halls of Fabrication trial.
The Meritorious Service set activates when you cast a Support ability, you increase the Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance of yourself and up to 3 allies within 10 meters by 3010 for 2 minutes. This can easily be used as a pre-buff set due to the long duration of its buff and can really help group survivability. Support abilities are resource intensive, though, so keep this in mind when you use it.
The Powerful Assault set activates when you cast an Assault ability, you and up to 3 allies within 15 meters gain 164 Weapon Damage and Spell Damage for 15 seconds. This can be an interesting option to run if there are no better options, though it is not often used due to how few allies it can hit per proc.
The Sanctuary set increases healing received by 12% for you and your group members within 10 meters of you. I would only recommend this set as a filler until you can find something more useful. In my opinion, “healing received” is an underwhelming and very unnecessary bonus, and you will find that with proper management of your HoTs, you can do plenty of healing. Not only that, but its radius is fairly small, so your groupmates need to be stacked close to you for it to affect them.
Spell Power Cure
The Spell Power Cure set activates when you heal yourself or an ally that is at 100% Health, you have a 50% chance to give them Major Courage for 10 seconds. This set can only affect 6 allies at a time. I only recommend Spell Power Cure if you are unable to get your hands on Olorime. If you can get both, I recommend farming Olorime first and not to bother with this set at all. Major Courage uptimes from Olorime will be far greater than what you can achieve with Spell Power Cure in every possible scenario, even pug groups—this is because all you have to do to proc Olorime on people is place its circle on them once every 30 seconds. For Spell Power Cure, you must be sure to heal allies who are at full health every 10 seconds, and even then, you only have a 50% chance to apply the buff.
The Asylum’s (Perfected) Restoration Staff
The Timeless Blessing (Perfected) set activates when you cast Blessing of Protection or its morphs, the cost of your Magicka and Stamina healing abilities are reduced by 27% for 3 seconds. The Perfected version increases this to a 30% reduction. If you struggle with sustain, this is a nice choice for a unique weapon.
The Maelstrom’s Restoration Staff
The Precise Regeneration set activates when you critically heal with Regeneration or its morphs, you restore 800 Magicka. This effect can occur once every 4 seconds. This is also an option if you are having sustain issues, and is most commonly used in the Asylum Sanctorium trial.
The Morag Tong
The The Morag Tong set activates when you deal direct damage, you cause the enemy to take 10% more damage from all Poison Damage abilities for 5 seconds. This is normally a tank set, though it never hurts to have it just in case.
Now that all that is sorted… How do I heal?
There is no set “healing rotation,” and what it boils down to is keeping some general practices in mind, and learning how to best prioritize them in the heat of the fight:
Keep yourself and your teammates alive
Positioning is key. Above all else, make sure you are standing in your own healing skills, and of course, try to make sure as many of your teammates as possible are receiving heals from you! To accomplish this, you will generally need to be positioned close to everyone, usually right behind them, though there are some fights with exceptions to this rule. Be sure to watch your feet—try not to take damage if you don’t have to. Additionally, if you notice that your teammates are standing in the wrong place, be sure to communicate this with them so they can change their behavior to make it easier for you to heal and buff them. Keeping everyone alive is a team effort! This will be a learning process and will come with time and practice, and an understanding of fight mechanics.
You will want to do a bulk of your healing with AoE HoTs such as Illustrious Healing, Energy Orb, and your class’s unique HoT. If your group is spread out, Radiating Regeneration can also be a potent choice. Learn to anticipate when damage is incoming and prepare and layer your HoTs accordingly. If people are stacked in your HoTs, in most cases, that should be more than enough healing to keep everyone alive. If anyone needs burst healing, using Combat Prayer is a good habit to get into. This is because Combat Prayer both heals for a lot and provides a buff, meaning that you accomplish two tasks at once. You may find that this is not possible in certain fights, particularly if your group is unorganized or spread out, in which case you may need to use your class burst heal such as Breath of Life or Twilight Matriarch. Try your best to save skills such as these for emergencies only, and definitely do not make a habit of doing most of your healing with them, except in very niche situations.
Buff, Debuff, and provide Resources
These tasks share equal importance, and your ability to perform them well will have a significant impact on the success of your team (more so in Trials rather than Dungeons). Amid keeping everyone alive, you should do everything in your power to buff your DDs’ damage. You do this by casting skills (or using sets) which give them a damage buff, such as Combat Prayer, and by putting debuffs on enemies they are attacking, such as Elemental Drain and Minor Vulnerability, to make those enemies take more damage. There are lots of buffs and debuffs in ESO, but the most basic ones that you should focus on as a healer, which every class has access to, are the following:
Minor Berserk (Combat Prayer)
Major Courage (Olorime)
Major Force (Aggressive Horn)
Minor Magickasteal (Elemental Drain)
Major Breach (Elemental Drain)
Minor Vulnerability (If no class skill, Infallible Mage)
You should aim to have high uptimes of all of these, but not at the expense of your teammates—in other words, you should never let someone die so you can “parse uptimes”. You will learn this through practice and an understanding of when dangerous mechanics occur.
You must also provide your allies with resources. This is largely done through the Necrotic Orb skill, which will give them back nearly 4k of their primary resource instantly. Try to make sure your DDs receive Orbs on cooldown.
Skills such as Elemental Drain will also help your Magicka DDs sustain, so be sure to keep it up on at least one target they are hitting.
If you’re on PC, you can use addons to help manage buffs, debuffs, and even your allies’ synergy cooldowns. If you’re on Console, you will want to utilize the in-game buff and debuff trackers. You can find this under:
Settings > Combat > Buffs & Debuffs
In the dropdown menu, choose either Automatic or Always Show, and turn on Self Buffs, Self Debuffs, and Target Debuffs. Make sure the other 3 options are turned off. This is the most efficient setup, reducing the clutter on your screen as much as possible.
Check out the Advanced Healing Guide (soon) for more information about healer addons, as well as other important buffs and debuffs that are relevant to different healer classes.
How do I manage my resources?
A healer with no Magicka is no use to anyone. There are lots different ways to manage your resources:
Don’t overcast your abilities
There’s no reason to cast 10 Illustrious Healing in a row, and there’s no reason to spam Energy Orbs. Look at the tooltips of each skill that you use and learn how they work, how long they last, etc.
Make sure you spec your Attributes and Champion Points properly
Be sure you spec enough Attributes into Magicka to give yourself a large enough Magicka pool, and that you have enough CPs into the Arcanist node.
Use the correct Mundus Stone
If you struggle with sustain, try using the Atronach Mundus. At the very least, you want to make sure you use one that is impactful toward your Magicka-based abilities.
Use appropriate enchantments on your armor, jewelry, and weapons
Be sure to use enough Magicka glyphs on your armor so that you have a comfortable Magicka pool. Also consider using an Absorb Magicka glyph on your weapon if you have trouble sustaining, and Magicka Recovery glyphs on your jewelry.
Use the correct gear
Be sure to wear at least 5 pieces of Light Armor. The more Light Armor you have, the higher the bonus to Magicka Recovery and Cost Reduction you receive. Having 5 pieces of Light Armor also increases your Spell Critical rating, which is important to make your healing abilities more potent.
Use sustain-oriented skills
Every class has a sustain skill in their kits that they can use. If you have trouble with sustain, consider using one of these. Having Elemental Drain on enemies you are attacking will also improve your sustain, so make sure to run it, or that someone else is running it.
Learn how your passives work and take advantage of them
There are lots of passives which can help your sustain. Take a thorough read through all of them and learn how they work, and see if you can work them into your gameplay.
If you have the “Undaunted Command” passive unlocked (which you can find in the Undaunted skill line), you will receive resources back whenever you use a synergy. If possible, be sure to use either the Necrotic Orb or Spear Shard synergies, because they will give you back almost 4k of your main resource at a time.
Use potions and food/drink buffs
Always be sure to use potions and food/drink buffs, and make sure they are appropriate for your role and the content you’re doing. Use sustain-oriented food if you have to, like Witchmother’s Potent Brew. Make sure your potions have a Magicka Recovery component to them.
Be a Vampire
Vampires have a powerful passive which grants them an additional 10% Magicka and Stamina recovery. Free sustain? Why not!
Heavy attacking with a Magicka-based weapon will give you back a lot of Magicka, especially if you have a lot of points into the Tenacity CP node. Heavy attacking with a Restoration Staff will give back an additional 30% Max Magicka thanks to the “Cycle of Life” passive.
Learn the fight mechanics!
Lastly, learn the mechanics of every fight so you don’t panic and cast skills needlessly. Watch videos of other players doing your role in the fight, and read some guides so you have a thorough understanding of what you need to do.
Am I doing enough healing?
This can be a daunting and frustrating question, especially if you see teammates around you dropping like flies. The question you need to ask is: Did they die due to avoidable or unavoidable damage? If your teammates die to avoidable mechanics then, for the most part, it can be said that their deaths are not on you. If a mistake is made and a teammate takes avoidable damage which requires reactive healing that you miss, causing them to die, then they might say that more or faster healing could’ve saved them. This can and does happen, so you should try to pay attention to these “reactable” moments as best you can. If your teammates die to unavoidable damage such as sustained damage over time, then you may need to take a look at how you are going about healing them and make some adjustments. If you are unsure, ask for help.
The final point I want to stress concerning this question is this: Healing per Second (HPS) in ESO (for the most part) does not matter. It’s possible to do a lot of HPS and still have your teammates die all around you. It’s also possible to do very little HPS and have all your teammates live! There is so much more to “doing enough healing” than big HPS numbers, which will come with an understanding of fight mechanics, self-awareness, and the healer role in general.
Thanks for reading the Beginner Healing Guide! I hope this will help you on your healing journey.
If you have any further questions, you can always message Stileanima on discord (stileanima#2173) or in-game (PC-NA server)!