Welcome to the ESO Beginner Guide, with this guide you will successfully start your journey in the Elder Scrolls Online. The game is very complex, therefore it is important that you are aware of the basic mechanics that I will explain in this Beginner Guide for the Elder Scrolls Online.. I highly recommend reading this before you go into the specific class sections on how to level up your character. Once you are done reading this, you will find links to different classes and how to efficiently level them up.
Note: If you have any feedback for any of the beginner topics please post it in the feedback thread on my AlcastHQ discord.
Overview New Player Beginner Guide ESO:
- Part 1 – Before we Start
- Part 2 – The Beginning
- Part 3 – Skills
- Part 4 – Basic Game Mechanics
- Part 5 – Crafting, Inventory & Food
- Part 6 – Champion Points & Follow up Guides
Part 1 – The Basics
Key Bindings in ESO
There is a few things that I do recommend changing. The Key Bindings layout of ESO is pretty good, still there is ways to improve certain bindings. These here are only recommendations, I will also explain why I set them up differently so you can understand the thought process behind it.
- Block and interrupt are two very important mechanics in ESO. The default setting is right click to block and while you hold block down, left click to interrupt. I do recommend placing those two on different buttons, so you can interrupt without holding down block. For example, I have interrupt on right mouse button and block on mouse side button 2.
- Weapon Swap is necessary to swap your two bars that you will unlock once you reach level 15. Default setting is usually the middle cursor on the mouse. I placed it on the mouse side button 1.
- Dodge Roll is required to avoid high impact damage, the default setting is set to double tap WASD move buttons. I set this to the letter T, because having to double tap it does not always reliably work. Plus you would have to stop for a split second every time you try to double tap dodge roll, this is not the case when you bind it to a separate key.
The character creation of the Elder Scrolls Online is huge. you have tons of choices that you can make. The most important thing in the character creation screen is what race you want to choose, everything else is just cosmetic and won’t impact your gameplay. You can play any race with any class. However, there are preferences depending on what type of setup you want to play.
You can find a detailed ESO Race Guide where you can check out the different max level passives of each class to give you a good oversight. I will also give you some recommendations depending on what setups you want to play on.
Leveling Rewards have been introduced a while ago. This helps new players progress and keeps them entertained at the same time. The system is very clever and you should always take a close look on what you are getting. For example, on level 10 you get a horse which you can use to travel faster, on level 15 you will get a second weapon and they will tell you that you can barswap from now on, stuff like that is what makes this tool very special and helpful at the same time.
To quote Zenimax: “This new system is designed to teach new players about the many facets of combat and progression in ESO. It contains useful rewards for new and veteran players alike as you progress from levels 2-50, and every five levels, you will receive a milestone reward with something special such as a mount, Crown Crate, costume, or a helpful weapon. Simply open the Character UI to claim your rewards! Below, you’ll find the list of milestone rewards:”
You will receive Milestone Rewards every 5 levels.
Level 3: Crown Fortifying Meal
Level 4: Trifling Glyph of Health (green), Choose one: Homespun breaches, Rawhide guards, Iron legs (all green)
Level 5: Two Green-quality Rings, part of a basic 2-piece Item Set that grants a Max Health bonus
Level 6: 3 Soul gems, 1 Crown Experience Scroll
Level 7: 500 gold, Bag Space Upgrade
Level 8: Choose one : Tailor’s Crafting Box / Leatherworker’s Satchel / Blacksmith’s Crafting Crate
Level 9: Choose one : Prophet’s Inferno Staff / Greatsword / Shield / Bow /Restoration Staff / Dagger (green quality)
Level 10: Sorrel Horse (account wide)
Level 11: 25 Gold Coast Swift Survivor Elixir
Level 12: Crown Refreshing Drink
Level 13: Recipe: Tarragon Chicken, Poultry, Seasoning
Level 14: 10 Lockpick, 3 Counterfeit Pardon Edict
Level 15: A choice of 6 blue-quality weapons (Prophet’s Inferno Staff / Greatsword / Shield / Bow /Restoration Staff /
Level 16: Tailor’s Advanced Crafting Box / Leatherworker’s Advanced Satchel / Blacksmith’s Advanced Crafting Crate
Level 17: Choose one : Slight Glyph of Hardening, Slight Glyph of Absorb Magicka, Slight Glyph of Weapon Damage (blue
Level 18: Storage Coffer: Fortified, Choose one (furniture green): Imperial Brazier, Spiked / Imperial Bed, Single / Imperial
Level 19: 2 Crown Repair Kit
Level 20: A costume of choice and a Fire Atronach Crown Crate
Level 21: Choose one: 10 Embroidery / 10 dwarven oil / 10 Turpen
Level 22: 25 Crown Tri Restoration potion
Level 23: 3 Porade, 3 Jejota, Makko, Deni
Level 24: Choose one cosmetic pet
Level 25: A choice of 6 purple-quality weapons (Prophet’s Maul / Bow / Lightening Staff / Shield / Restoration Staff / Axe)
Level 26: Minor Glyph of Shielding (purple)
Level 27: Chose one: Treasure Map I ( Glenumbra / Stormhaven / Auridon / Grahtwood / Stonefalls / Deshaan)
Level 28: Choose one : Tailor’s Expert Crafting Box / Leatherworker’s Expert Satchel / Blacksmith’s Expert Crafting Crate
Level 29: Choose one: Crown Lesson Riding : Speed / Stamina / Capacity
Level 30: 4,000 gold and a Fire Atronach Crown Crate
Level 31 Choose ten Woodworking mats
Level 32 Choose 1 of 3 Dye Stamps. Holiday: Ivy-Berry Blend – Oblivious: Cheerful Cliff Racer – Darkening: Dark of the Moons.
Level 33 Choose one Chest Armour Piece from Heavy, Medium or Light. Blue, one piece set.
Level 34 Choose one: 80 Crown Lethal Poison, 80 Gold Coast Trapping Poison, 80 Gold Coast Draining Poison
Level 35: A choice of 10 purple-quality crafting-improvement materials – for one of the 3 equipment craft.
Level 36 Cyrodiil Assault crate – 10 Siege Repair, 2 Fire Pot Trebs, 2 Rams.
Level 37 Three purple Crown Fortifying meals
Level 38 Choose a Crafting Mats Crate for either cloth, leather, metal, or wood. Contains 10 of the level 36-44 mats plus one style mat.
Level 39 Instant All Research Scroll. Shortens all on-going research by one day.
Level 40: 6,000 gold, “Ragged Style Box” containing the Prisoner’s Rags motif pieces, Also 1 Outfit Change Token.
Level 41 Choose one weapon – same range as before but blue quality, one piece set.
Level 42 Choose either 25 Spell caster’s Elixir or 25 Warrior’s Elixir.
Level 43 One Attribute Respec Scroll and one Skill Respec Scroll.
Level 44 Cyrodiil Defence crate – 10 Wall repair, 10 door repair, 2 Fire Ballistas, 2 Oil.
Level 45: An Undaunted Key, so when you do your Undaunted invitation quest you end up with 2 keys.
Level 46 5 Mimic Stones. Choose 20 level 46-50 crafting mats for either cloth, leather, metal or wood.
Level 47 50 Transmute Crystals. Choose one blue ring, one piece set, either Healthy, Arcane or Robust.
Level 48 Choose a pair of Purple Jewellery Glyphs from either 2 Stam Recovery, 2 Mag Recovery, 2 Phyisical Harm, or 2 Magical Harm Glyphs.
Level 49 One Crown Experience scroll (50% exp boost)
Level 50: 10,000 gold and a Fire Atronach Crown Crate
Combat Ability Bar
The default option for your combat ability bar is set to hidden outside of combat. However, we do recommend turning the combat ability bar on all the time, this is especially helpful when you are about to enter a fight. If you have the default option (hidden), the combat ability bar will only show up after you entered the fight, which already puts you at a disadvantage.
You can find it under Settings > Combat.
Combat Cues in Elder Scrolls Online
You can adjust the brightness settings for combat cues. I highly recommend turning the slider for “Enemy Brightness” to the max setting of 50.
Part 2 – Where Do I Start in ESO?
Starter Town and Main City for your Alliance
Each Alliance has a starter town and a main city. However, if you have the newest Chapter or any of the DLCs that were previously chapters, you will start in a different location.
Main City (Per Alliance)
The main cities are located in the second zone of each alliance.
- Wayrest in the Stormhaven Zone for the Daggerfall Covenant
- Elden Root in the Grahtwood Zone for Aldmeri Dominion
- Mournhold in the Deshaan Zone for Ebonheart Pact
Starter Village (Tutorial Island from the old base game)
- Stros M’kai for Daggerfall Covenant
- Khenarthi’s Roost for Aldmeri Dominion
- Bleakrock Isle for Ebonheart Pact
The starter towns are located in the first zone that you will visit during your journey.
- Daggerfall in the Glenumbra Zone for the Daggerfall Covenant
- Vulkhel Guard in the Auridon Zone for Aldmeri Dominion
- Davon’s Watch in the Stonefalls Zone for Ebonheart Pact
You will get directed to a boat that will lead to the main city Solitude once you own Greymoor.
Riverhold will be your starter town this time and the main city in this area is Rimmen.
Seyda Neen will be your starter town this time and the main city in this area is Vivec.
Shimmerene will be your start town this time and the main city in this area is Alinor.
Fighters Guild, Mages Guild and Undaunted
The most important thing to do with a new character is to acquire the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild and Undaunted Skill-line when you enter the starter town. That way you can already partially level them up while you are leveling your character, rather than doing that after you leveled up your character in ESO.
All you need to do is talk to the right person and you will get a quest. Here you can find the pictures of the three alliances starter towns. (MG = Mages Guild, FG = Fighters Guild, UD = Undaunted)
Level up process:
- Undaunted: To level up Undaunted you need to complete dungeon and dungeon achievements.
- Fighters Guild: To level up the Fighters Guild you need to kill Undead, Daedra or destroy Dolmens.
- Mages Guild: To level up the Mages Guild you need to gather lorebooks that are spread throughout Tamriel.
How to level up and gain experience
There is a lot of ways to level up and gain experience. You get experience from questing, completing achievements, challenges and grinding. I do recommend playing through the story line as a new player, the quests are fabulous and you gain plenty of skill points. If you are more of a grind person, then you can also only grind.
You can find a full Grind Guide in case you want to check it out, there is a lot of good beginner friendly grind spots that you can use. Grinding might be difficult at the start as you lack area based damage, so I do recommend completing a few story or zone quests first to get some skill points and some character levels to gain access to area of effect attacks.
As a new player the easiest way to level up is through Dolmen grinding.
Part 3 – Skills
Skill Points & Skyshards
In order to unlock more skills, you need to obtain skill points. You will obtain skill points through leveling up, completing story quests, zone quests or via gathering Skyshards. I do have a detailed video about how to find Story and Zone quests.
Skyshards are spread everywhere in Tamriel, once you collect three Skyshards you will get one skillpoint.
Resetting Skills in ESO
In each Major City you can reset all your skills for a certain price. So don’t hesitate to test out skills, you can always reset them!
- Wayrest in the Stormhaven Zone for the Daggerfall Covenant
- Elden Root in the Grahtwood Zone for Aldmeri Dominion
- Mournhold in the Deshaan Zone for Ebonheart Pact
- Vivec City in Vvardenfell (Morrowind)
- Alinor in Summerset (Summerset)
- Rimmen in Elsweyr (Elsweyr)
Skill Advisor & Unlock Skill-lines
The Skill Advisor system makes recommendations on how to spend skill points based on the build you select. You can use this system to prepare your character as you’re leveling up. The Advisor will outline abilities and morphs that you should choose depending on the build you selected. You can also turn the Skill Advisor off if you want.
This is an important tool and can help you make the right decisions. In the end I recommend leveling up as many skills as possible, you never know when you want to change your character and try something new.
When you start a new character, you won’t see many available Skill-lines. To be able to see all the Skill-lines you need to do certain things. For the weapon skill-lines you need to find a Weapon of that type and kill a monster with it, once the monster is dead the new Skill-line will unlock. When you want to get armor types unlocked, you need to make sure to slot at least 5 pieces of the same armor type, otherwise the armor type skill-line will not be shown. For all the crafting skill-lines you need to visit the correct crafting station and then the crafting skill-lines will show up. How to unlock the different guild skill-lines will be shown in a later part of the New Player Beginner Guide ESO.
Morph example of Bolt Escape
You can also find a guide which explains how morphing works in detail.
What do you need to do to increase the effectiveness of abilities. The most important thing that you need to remember is, that when you increase weapon/spell damage or magicka/stamina your tooltip will most likely increase. Yes, magicka and stamina also boost the effectiveness of your abilities. Other than that there are a lot of Major and Minor buff and other modifiers that can increase the effectiveness of your abilities, but for now it is enough when you know that your resources also help increase the effectiveness of abilities.
How do Skills and Skill-lines level up?
Skills level up when you slot them on your skill bar. So whenever you place a skill onto your skill bar, it will start gaining experience and slowly level up. The most important take away from this note is, that you can wield a destruction staff, but slot restoration staff abilities and the restoration staff abilities will level up as well, along with the skill line. As long as you have a skill of a skill-line slotted, then the skill line will also level up automatically.
Most Skill-lines level up by simply slotting an ability on your frontbar, from whatever skill-line you want to level up. However, there are some exceptions:
- Fighters Guild: Level up by killing Undead & Daedra
- Mages Guild: Level up by gathering Lorebooks
- Undaunted: Level up by getting Dungeon Achievements
- Werewolf: Level up by amount of monsters killed, have to be in Werewolf form to level up
- Vampire: Levels up with experience gained automatically.
How to use Skills
Using skills is essential to succeed in combat in the Elder Scrolls Online. While leveling up, you will unlock more and more skills and it might get a bit confusing because there is so many possibilities to choose from. Most important is that you always have skills slotted that you can use for combat. I will dive more into this subject in the beginner guide for each class.
Part 4 – Basic Game Mechanics
Light & Heavy Attacks, Block, Bash and Dodge Roll explained
There is a lot of different mechanics in this game. I will explain the most important combat mechanics in this section of the guide.
I highly recommend checking out the very in depth “Weaving Guide”, which showcases how to animation cancel!
Light & Heavy Attacks in ESO
Light and Heavy Attacks deal a lot of damage and are therefore essential to do good damage, healing and tanking. They also proc enchantment effects. A lot of new players struggle with Light & Heavy attack weaving. What does that mean, basically in this game what you want to do is for example: “Light Attack > Ability > Light Attack > Ability > Light Attack” and so on.
Between each Ability a Light or Heavy Attack neeeds to go out to increase your damage in combat. We will also dive into animation canceling later in a different guide, but for now that would be too complicated. As long as you try to weave Light or Heavy Attacks between abilities you are good to go for now.
Heavy Attacks also restore a lot of resources, so make sure to Heavy Attack when you are low on resources!
Blocking is the most important mechanic to mitigate damage. When you are blocking you are only taking a fracture of the damage that is applied to you. However, this will also slowly drain your stamina. While you are blocking you will also not regenerate any stamina through stamina recovery, so only block when necessary.
When you bash an enemy that is channeling an attack you can interrupt him. You will see a charge effect on enemies, that means that you can interrupt their ability and they might get stunned. This is important because you can avoid high impact damage that might be channeled from enemies.
Dodge rolling is another important mechanic. When you use your dodge roll button or double tap into a direction, you can avoid enemy abilities. This way you can mitigate a lot of damage, when you know you will soon get hit by a strong enemy ability you can simply dodge roll it. Most single target abilties are dodgeable, most area of effect abilities are undodgeable, there is a lot of exceptions that you will learn during your journey in tamriel, you will find that out soon.
Different Type of Attacks
There is a lot of different attack types in Elder Scrolls Online. I will go through the most important ones, so you get a good oversight.
- Basic Attack Type
- Light Attacks
- Heavy Attacks
- Magicka Attack Type
- Magic Damage
- Frost Damage
- Fire Damage
- Shock Damage
- Stamina Attack Type
- Physical Damage
- Poison Damage
- Disease Damage
- Special Attack Type
- Oblivion Damage
- Bleed Damage
Part 5 – Crafting, Inventory & Food
Crafting in the Elder Scrolls Online
Crafting is one of the important parts of the game. I do recommend deconstructing most white items to level up your different crafting skills. There are a few different crafting skill lines, I do have guides for all of them:
- Crafting Writs Guide (How to Guide, can be started with level 6)
- Jewelry crafting (With Summerset)
All of those profession are leveled up differently. Blacksmithing, Woodworking and Clothing being the easiest ones as you just need to keep deconstructing gear. Enchanting can be leveled up with creating or deconstructing glyph’s. Provisioning can be leveled up if you cook food once you found the right ingredients and recipes. Alchemy can be leveled up crafting potions once you farmed enough flowers and jewelry crafting requires you to find jewelry crafting materials and either deconstruct or craft jewelry to level the skill line up.
Gear, Sets & Monster Sets
There is a lot of different gear sets in the Elder Scrolls Online. For the start of the game gear isn’t that important, just use what you can find. Later on, especially once you reach Level 50 and 160 Champion Points you want to start getting your gear setup together. We are going to take a closer look about that in the follow up guides but here are the basics. If you want to check out all special gear sets that exist in the Elder Scrolls Online check out ESO-Hub.com. You can find all sets and skills there and they are always up to date.
5 Piece Sets
Most of the games sets consist of so called 5 piece Sets. They basically have a 2, 3, 4, 5 piece bonus as you can see.
You can also acquire so called “Monster Sets”. The Heads drop in specific Dungeons and the shoulder piece drop from the Undaunted Daily Chests. Once you reach 160 Champion Points I do recommend to start farming those Monster Sets. You can find a full List in the Monster Set section of the ESO-Hub.com website.
Buff-Food & Drinks
The most important thing to increase your character stats are Buff-Food and Drinks. Buff-Food usually increases max resources and Drinks usually increase recovery. There is a few exceptions, like newly added festival drinks. I will show you some examples of the most common used Buff-Foods and Drinks.
Witchmother’s Potent Brew Drink
This drink can be used at any level, it is used on a lot of magicka builds.
Dubious Camoran Throne Drink
Braised Rabbit with Spring Vegetables
Melon-Baked Parmesan Pork
Longfin Pasty with Melon sauce
Inventory, Bank, Pack Merchant and Horse Carry Weight
Inventory and Bank
Two things you need to get used to is your Inventory and your Bank. All items that you pick up will be stored in your Inventory. At the start you will have 60 slots for your Inventory, but after upgrading it can go up to a maximum of 200. Every time you buy an upgrade pack the cost will increase, I recommend upgrading to 90 slots, as this is still pretty cheap but after that it will get too expensive and we can spend money on something else.
The Bank has a lot of space to offer, make sure to deposit your treasures there, that way you will always have enough space to pick up loot when you travel around in Tamriel. You can also upgrade the bank but for new players this is quite expensive. The Bank is account wide so you can transfer anything that can be stored in the bank to another character if you would like. You can also create a so called “bank character” where you just put all your stuff that you think you might need in the future.
The Pack Merchant will increase the size of your inventory. The start inventory space is 60 and you can buy Pack upgrade up to 140. I usually do recommend saving some money to get the first three upgrades (Which cost 8300 Gold in total) Here the list of how much each increase will cost:
- 70 – 400 Gold
- 80 – 2000 Gold
- 90 – 5900 Gold
- 100 – 11’000 Gold
- 110 – 19’200 Gold
- 120 – 30’700 Gold
- 130 – 46’000 Gold
- 140 – 64’500 Gold
Horse Carry Weight
To get to a total of 200 Inventory space, you need to make sure to feed your horse every day in the Carry Weight category. That way you can get an additional 60 slots to a total of up to 200 if you have all the upgrade of Horse Carry Weight & Pack Merchant.
- If your focus will be on pvp I would recommend leveling up Stamina & Speed first.
- If your focus will be on pve I would recommend leveling up Speed & Carry Capacity.
When you have ESO plus, you will get a separate crafting bag which will store all your crafting materials. This will open up a tremendous amount of space in your main inventory, that is why I really recommend to get ESO Plus (monthly subscription). On top of that ESO Plus will also double your banking space and it has some more perks to offer. But those two things are the most important perks and that is also why most off ESO players actually subscribe.
Part 6 – Champion Points & Follow up Guides
What are Champion Points?
Champion Points are unlocked after your first character hits level 50. Champion Points are also gained through experience. Champion Points increase the strength of your character, the more you have the stronger you get. More about Champion Points in another guide, because for now its just important that you know they exist and what they do. You can also find an in depth Champion Points Guide which explains the system better.
How to build your first character
In this Beginner Guide for ESO I explained most of the important things that you need to know before start the Elder Scrolls Online. Once you have read all the info and created your character, the next step will be to check out the follow up guides for your class to efficiently level up your character.
Class Beginner Guides