ESO (Part III): Starting and Character Creation

on July 4, 2021 in Elder Scrolls Online, ESO

Starting the game is pretty much a matter of launching and creating an ESO account. Once those are taken care of, you will be dumped into character creation.

You can have up to nine characters associated with your account if you don’t do anything else. You can increase this number by buying additional character slots at the Crown Store (1500 Crowns each – $15), but you won’t have access to this until after you have created a character and gotten into the main game, so let’s just stick with the one for now.

To be fair and forthcoming, I’ve burned through four or five characters before settling on my current main, so lots of trial and error happening. The whole point of this is to help you avoid my errors.

Character creation is a matter of choosing your character’s race, alliance, and class, plus setting their appearance. The character’s class can never be changed, or at least not through means I have been able to discover.

Unless you bought the Imperial Edition of the game way back in the day, you will not be able to have an Imperial character until you buy that expansion in the Crown Store (1000 Crowns or 2100 Crowns for the Imperial Edition upgrade). Also, and unless you buy the “Any Race, Any Alliance” expansion in the Crown Store (2000 Crowns) or if you are playing an Imperial, you are going to be stuck with the standard races for the three alliances. This does not affect anything except what you do in Cyrodiil and which of the three alliance storylines you will be following.

The character’s name can be changed by buying a name-change token (2500 Crowns – $25 with 500 Crowns left over). Character race can be changed by buying a race-change token (3000 Crowns – $25). Character alliance can be changed by buying an alliance-change token (2500 Crowns – $25 with 500 Crowns left over), but this will reset your current Alliance progress to zero. Appearance (not including clothing) can be changed by buying an appearance-change token (1000 Crowns – $15 with 500 Crowns left over). The point here is that unless you feel like spending real-world money or starting over with a new character, think long and hard about your choices. You get 500 Crowns for buying the base game, but that’s not enough to buy any of these tokens.

Making your character

If you choose to be Altmer, Bosmer, or Khajiiti, you will be following the Aldmeri Dominion questline. If you choose Breton, Orc, or Redguard, you will be following the Daggerfall Covenant questline. If you choose Argonian, Dunmer, or Nord, you will be following the Ebonheart Pact line. If you are Imperial, you can take your pick.

Race gives you some passive skills. These passives make some races a bit better suited to some play styles than to others, but unless you are min/maxing, any race is workable in any class.

There are four classes for the base game: Templar, Sorcerer, Nightblade, and Dragonknight. The Warden class requires having the Morrowind chapter installed, and the Necromance class requires having the Elsweyr chapter. If you have a subscription, then all six classes will be available to you.

You class will determine your three class skills. Class and other abilities are activated from your hotbar and you will gain new abilities as you develop those skills and assign skill points to them. Initially, however, you start with no skills. Put those two together and there are seven skills trees that you have automatically. Any other skills must be unlocked by what you do in-game.

Characters are mostly going to be magicka-centered (spellcasters) and stamina-centered (fighters), with a lot of blending depending on whether the player wants damage or healing. It is not necessary to pump attribute points into Health unless your purpose is to tank for a group where you need to be able to soak up more damage. This is not to say that you would be wrong to put points into Health at some point, but you will really want to be spec’ing in with the types of skills you will be using and those are mostly going to be relying on a good pool of Stamina or Magicka. All three attributes can be buffed through enchanted items and consumables, which is why you will probably want to focus on one attribute and deal with the rest through equipment and food.

To be perfectly honest about it, the game does not do an exceptionally good job with stealth-centered character builds. The Nightblade has two skill trees that lend themselves to a stealthy playstyle (Assassination and Shadow), but stealth comes across as an afterthought as far as the majority of the game is concerned and it is mostly governed by the Ledgermain world skill rather than any class skills.

You will find many very good online videos and tutorials on the pluses and minuses of each of the races and classes in the game. I think they are very well made and offer very good advice, so go watch, listen, and learn. I would argue, however, that these “best race for this class” sorts of things are mostly aimed at players who want to seriously do the MMO thing. If you are going to be playing solo and mostly sticking to the PvE stuff, all races can be decent with any class and all classes are workable for a solo player. I am partial to Bretons as being the better all-around race due to some of racial bonuses and passives, but that’s just personal preference (and a lot of time spent playing Bretons in the main Elder Scrolls games). It’s really only when you get into the group stuff and others are depending on your character being able to support the rest of the group that the differences show up. I think those build guides are excellent for this sort of thing and you really should seek out some. But just like with whether you should pay for the subscription or not, you will want to gather your information, and then you do you.

Your build concept is going to dictate your weapon choice, but if you follow my advice on playing the tutorial, you will have some options built-in and can proceed from there. I am going to strongly advise not skipping the tutorial solely so you can open those options. So, stay tuned for the next installment.

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