There is a total of 10 different ESO races, this ESO race guide should help you determine what kind or race you want to choose. Each of the races has different and unique passives that I will explain in this article. There are a total of three Alliances in Elder Scrolls Online, each of those have different races. I will also explain what race you preferably should choose for which setup. There is also a way to unlock all races for any Alliance, which I will explain below.
- Daggerfall Covenant
- Aldmeri Dominion
- Ebonheart Pact
- Other Races
- What race for which setup?
- All Races for any Faction
Daggerfall Covenant (Breton, Redguard, Orc)
Daggerfall Covenant is a Faction in Elder Scrolls Online. The Daggerfall Covenant is a compact between the peoples of northwest Tamriel—Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs—that forms an alliance of mutual defense, with a vision of establishing peace and order across Tamriel. Indeed, the kings of the Covenant take the Remans as their model, claiming to be the spiritual heirs of the Second Empire.
So this is the modern Daggerfall Covenant, an alliance of the Redguards of northern Hammerfell, under King Fahara’jad; the Orcs of the mountainous northeast, under King Kurog of Orsinium; with the Breton King Emeric of High Rock presiding from his palace in Wayrest. At its best, it is a noble alliance of honorable and chivalrous peoples, representing all the best aspects of the First and Second Empires. And from this solid foundation, perhaps a third, even mightier Empire shall arise, providing all the peoples of Tamriel the benefits of mutual respect, vigorous trade, and reverence for the Divines.
Breton racial passives have a strong focus on magicka. Increased max magicka, increased spell resistance and magicka ability cost reduction makes them a good magicka based race often used on magicka damage dealers and healers.
- Opportunist – Increases your Alliance Points gained by 1%.
- Gift of Magnus: Increases your Max Magicka by 2000.
- Spell Attunement: Gain 2310 Spell Resistance and 100 Magicka Recovery. The Spell Resistance granted by this effect is doubled if you are afflicted with Burning, Chilled, or Concussed.
- Magicka Mastery: Reduces the Magicka cost of your abilities by 7%.
Redguards are the masters of sustain. Their cost reduction passive on all weapon abilities and their Adrenaline Rush passive increase your sustain more than any other race. It can also be wise to use a more weapon abilities focused setup as a Redguard to benefit from the cost reduction even more. Also do not forget, the cost reduction also affects your weapon ultimates!
- Wayfarer – Increases the duration of eaten food by 15 minutes.
- Martial Training: Reduces the cost of your Weapon abilities by 8%. Reduces the effectiveness of Snares applied to you by 15%.
- Conditioning: Increases your Max Stamina by 2000.
- Adrenaline Rush: When you deal Direct Damage, you restore 950 Stamina. This effect can occur once every 5 seconds.
Orcs are one of the strongest stamina race both for pve and pvp. 2000 Max Stamina and 256 Weapon Damage both scale up even further with modifiers and on top of that they also get a 1000 Health boost, which means they can run Gold sustain Food and still have a decent amount of health! Other than that they also benefit from faster running speeds which makes them very fierce in pvp.
- Craftsman – Increases your crafting Inspiration gained by 10%.
- Brawny: Increases your Max Stamina by 2000.
- Unflinching: Grants 1000 Max Health and heals you for up to 600 when you deal damage with a weapon, with a 4 second cooldown.
- Swift Warrior: Increases your Weapon Damage by 258. Reduces the cost of your Sprint ability by 12% and increases your Movement Speed while Sprinting by 10%.
Aldmeri Dominion (High Elf, Woodelf, Khajiit)
Aldmeri Dominion is a Faction in Elder Scrolls Online. When word reached the High Elves of Alinor that the Imperial City had fallen under the control of the human supporters of Molag Bal, the Aldmeri Dominion was formed. The High Elves reached out to the neighboring races of Wood Elves and Khajiit with a plea that their combined forces might prevent the younger races of Tamriel from bringing disaster to the world, as they had so many times in the past. The High Elves were the original settlers of Tamriel and created the common tongue used throughout the continent today. They are also naturally proficient with magic. The Wood Elves inhabit the thick, near-impenetrable forests of Valenwood. They are supreme hunters, guides, and masters in sneaking and thievery. They are also the most gifted archers in all of Tamriel. The Khajiit, a proud feline race, are fearsome warriors, proficient with bladed weapons. They stand proudly at the forefront of every battle. The power and determination of the Aldmeri Dominion should not be underestimated.
Altmer (High Elf)
Altmers are one of the strongest magicka based races. 2000 Max Magicka and 258 Spell Damage also scale further with modifiers. Most people do run Gold sustain Food with this race to help with sustain. On top of that it reduces damage taken by 5% while you are using an ability with a cast or channel time.
- Highborn – Increases your experience gained by 1%. Increases experience gain with the Destruction Staff Skill line by 15%.
- Spell Recharge: Restore 645 Magicka or Stamina, based on whichever is lower, after activating a Class Ability. This effect can occur once every 6 seconds. Reduces damage taken by 5% while you are using an ability with a cast or channel time.
- Syrabane’s Boon: Increases your Max Magicka by 2000.
- Elemental Talent: Increases your Spell Damage by 258.
Bosmer racial passives have a strong focus on stealth based gameplay style. 2000 Max Stamina and 258 Stamina Recovery that can be further increased with modifiers. They are also very good at detecting enemies thanks to the increased detection radius. On top of that they also gain faster movement speed and increased penetration after a dodge roll, which makes them especially dangerous on stamina Nightblades.
- Acrobat – Decreases your fall damage taken by 10%. Increases experience gain with the Bow Skill ine by 15%.
- Y’ffre’s Endurance: Increases your Stamina Recovery by 258.
- Resist Affliction: Increases your Max Stamina by 2000 and your Poison Resistance by 2310. You are immune to the poisoned and status effect.
- Hunter’s Eye: Increases your Stealth detection radius by 3m. After you use Roll Dodge you gain 10% Movement Speed and 1500 Physical and Spell Penetration for 6 seconds.
Khajiit racial passives are both good for magicka and stamina based setups. Both stamina and magicka benefits from the extra Critical Damage buff. On top of that they also get 825 Max Health, Magicka and Stamina. Which is not a lot but again, that way you can run Gold sustian Food and get pretty good sustain without having too low health or resources. Khajiit are also the prime race for gankers, as the Critical Damage modifier really pushes up the critical hits on enemies. They are also harder to detect than other races due to the detection radius reduction by 3m.
- Cutpurse – Increases your chance to so successfully pickpocket by 5%. Increases the experience gain with the Medium Armor Skill line by 15%.
- Robustness: Increases your Health Recovery by 100 and your Stamina and Magicka recovery by 85.
- Lunar Blessings: Increases your Max Health, Magicka, and Stamina by 825.
- Feline Ambush: Increases your Critical Damage and Critical Healing by 10%. Reduces your detection radius in Stealth by 3m.
Ebonheart Pact (Nord, Dark Elf, Argonian)
Ebonheart Pact is a Faction in Elder Scrolls Online. Jorunn, of Eastern Skyrim, is acting High King of the Great Moot, but he does not rule absolutely. His decisions must be ratified by all three races in a unique form of governance called The Great Moot. He is down-to-earth, humorous, and has an iron will to succeed.
Nord racial passives have a strong focus on tanking based passives. Increased Max Stamina and Health, extra Physical and Spell Resistance and also more Cold Resistance. On top of that they also get one of the most important passives, extra Ultimate regeneration. Ultimate regeneration is always important, be it in PVP or PVE.
- Reveler – Increases experience gain with the Two-Handed Skill line by 15%. Increases the duration of any consumed drink by 15 minutes.
- Stalwart: Increases your Max Stamina by 1500. When you take damage, you gain 5 Ultimate. This effect can occur once every 10 seconds.
- Resist Frost: Increases your Max Health by 1000 and your Cold Resistance by 2310. You are immune to the chilled status effect.
- Rugged: Increases your Physical and Spell Resistance by 3960.
Dunmer (Dark Elf)
Dunmer racial passives let you play both Stamina or Magicka based setups. They are not really best at playing stamina or magicka, but again you can easily swap between each of those without having to race change. If you want to play a hybrid setup, then Dark Elves are a very good choice because of the double stats they get. They also get flame resistance, which can be helpful if you are a Vampire.
- Ashlander – Increases the experience gain with the Dual Wield Skill line by 15%. Reduces your damage taken by environmental lava by 50%.
- Dynamic: Increases your Max Stamina and Magicka by 1875.
- Resist Flame: Increases your Flame Resistance by 2310. You are immune to the burning status effect.
- Ruination: Increases your Weapon and Spell Damage by 258.
Argonian racial passives are focused on healing and tanking. Increased resource return when you drink a potion, increased max health, increased disease resistance and increased healing done. Argonians are often used on tank setups due to their passives. The Resourceful passive also makes them one of the best races in order to improve sustain tremendously.
- Amphibian – Increases your experience gain with Restoration Staff skill line by 15%. Increases swimming speed by 50%.
- Resourceful: Increases your Max Magicka by 1000. Restore 4000 Health, Magicka, and Stamina when you drink a potion.
- Argonian Resistance: Increases your Max Health by 1000 and your Disease Resistance by 2310. You are immune to the diseased status effect.
- Life Mender: Increases your Healing Done by 6%.
Imperial racial passives are focused on stamina and health. Increased Max Health and Max Stamina gives them a big extra piece of resources compared to other races. Having that much Health makes it possible to run Gold sustain Food, which will make resource management easier. They also get 3% cost reduction, which applies to everything, including Ultimates.
- Diplomat – Increasees experience gain with One Handed and Shield Line by 15%. Increases your gold gained by 1%.
- Tough: Increases your Max Health by 2000.
- Imperial Mettle: Increases your Max Stamina by 2000.
- Red Diamond: When you deal Direct Damage, you restore 333 Health, Magicka, and Stamina. This effect has a 5 second cooldown. Grants 3% cost reduction to all abilities.
What race for which setup?
What race should you choose to have the optimal passives for your setup. Here are some recommendations and explanations for pve:
Best choice: Nord and Argonian
The best choice for a tank race is a Nord or an Argonian. Argonians have superior resource management because of their Potion passive. With a click of a button they restore 4000 extra magicka, health and stamina on top of the potion effects, which makes them the best beginner race for tanks. You also gain extra health and extra healing received on top off that.
Nords on the other hand have increased ultimate regeneration, which becomes more and more important in endgame and makes them therefore the best tanks in endgame.
Best choice: Breton, High Elf and Argonian
Breton, High Elf and Argonian are all very good healer races. Bretons have the overall best sustain by far. High Elf and Argonians are not far behind in terms of healing output which makes them also viable races for healers.
Magicka Damage Dealer
Best choice: High Elf, Dark Elf, Breton
High Elf and Dark Elf have the highest overall damage due to their Spell Damage and Max Magicka passives. Breton is not far behind but has way better overall sustain. As a new player I would recommend choosing a Breton to help with sustain.
Stamina Damage Dealer
Best choice: Orc, Redguard, Dark Elf, Kahjiit
As a stamina damage dealer Orcs have the best stats, followed up by races like Redguards, Dark Elves and Khajiits. All are viable choices, so you can pick whichever race you like the most.
In PvP the builds and races are usually more diverse than in PVE, therefore it is quite tricky to suggest races. I recommend reading through the races to see what kind of race would suit you best for your build or idea.
All Races for any Faction
I highly recommend buying the “All races any faction perk”, this will allow you to use any race in any faction. So you are not locked to the certain alliances. For example this way you could use a Redguard in the Ebonheart Pact, even tho Redguard is usually in the Daggerfall alliance.