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[Preview] Elder Scrolls Online: A Deep Look at ESO's Racial Skills

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,619MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

It can be traced back to the very early editions of pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons (1974) and even Chainmail from (1971), possibly even further, but my knowledge stops at D&D and Chainmail. Even back then, Special Racial Abilities were an important part to creating an immersive and unique game. It offered players an additional option to creating that perfect character. We’re going to discuss character racial abilities and find which role each character will be best suited for in The Elder Scrolls Online.

Read more of Ryan Getchell's Elder Scrolls Online: A Deep Look at ESO's Racial Skills.

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Comments

  • reillanreillan Tulsa, OKPosts: 234Member Uncommon

    "racial abilities are never a defining characteristic that you need to have to be good at a class. If you’re a min/maxer who wants to have that added little bit of damage then yes it is"

    read: it's a defining characteristic.

    /ESPECIALLY if you're a spellcasting build

  • p4ttythep3rf3ctp4ttythep3rf3ct Austin, TXPosts: 120Member

    Nice article pigeonholing every race...min/maxers are gonna min/max, huh? lol

    Bosmer traits are fine with me, I had no issue kicking tail as a melee DPS.  I also found myself getting wrapped up in the RP value of it, which hasnt happened in a long time for me. 

    That's just, like, my opinion, man.

  • reillanreillan Tulsa, OKPosts: 234Member Uncommon

    Further:

    All classes get a +experience bonus.  As a result, this trait of any race is unimportant.  Looking at this trait can only really give you an idea what builds Zenimax intended for the race.

    One key to determining whether race selection is vital is to know how long combats are intended to last.  If big boss fights are lengthy (which is almost assuredly the case, as this is an MMO), then regeneration is critical for stamina and magicka.  As a result:

    Altmer is the best race any magicka-dependent builds should use.

    Bosmer is the best race for a stealth-focused Nightblade.

    Redguard is the best race for all other stamina-focused builds.

     

    Tanks are slightly different.  Their longevity depends upon incoming healing.  As a result, all tanks should be Argonian.

     

    I suppose you could try to build something based entirely on physical attacks with few skill uses so that you don't burn through stamina or magicka.  If you were to do that, you'd want to play Khajiit.

     

    That's it.  Don't play another race, or we will mock you.

     

    edit:

    Ohh... you're looking at PvP.  My post deals with PvE, but clearly the author is a PvP-only player.   I don't know PvP, as it's boring as snot.  Won't comment on it.

  • LagKingBongLagKingBong Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 54Member

    A Breton Sorc has no issues taking down similar Altmer Sorcerers en masse, cookie cutter builds will fall through the cracks, there are so many different ways to play - each race offering slight perks for different styles of play.

    CC/Tank & moderate AoE DPS does wonders versus min/max atk builds shooting straight for the kill

  • Mad+DogMad+Dog EdinburghPosts: 656Member Uncommon

    I still have no clue what race to pick for my heavy, melee, healing tempter!?

     

    Any ideas?

    image
  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,417Member Uncommon

    Always play my race/class to whatever conception I've got, without regard to these strictures.  Will sometimes consult the minimaxer wisdom for fine tuning though.  

     

    I'm actually more likely to try to find out what's considered the worst combos.   Playing them well is even more impressive.   Often they eventually ended up getting boosts to their power, as devs finally realized they needed it.    

     

    So what seems to be the worst races for the classes?  Inquiring minds and all.....

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • black_isleblack_isle IstanbulPosts: 239Member Uncommon

    " The Dunmer is best suited as a Ranged DPS, standing just out of the frey, reining havoc on thy enemy." Wrong. It's just as good for a Dragonknight due to fire damage. And it's not just magicka bonus, there is a sta bonus too which is great for melee.

     

    Bosmer isn't as bad as people make it out to be imo, it's just their luck that they are in the same alliance with Khajit.

     

    Overall, nice article. I'm gonna go for Breton Sorc, Khajit Nightblade and Dunmer Dragonknight probably. Or maybe i'll go Dunmer heavy armor 2hander Sorc, who knows? So many choices and possibilities.. :)

  • NivisiruNivisiru Spokane, WAPosts: 186Member
    What if I wana make a Sorc-Tank! What is the best race then!? For real that is what I wana do...
  • black_isleblack_isle IstanbulPosts: 239Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Nivisiru
    What if I wana make a Sorc-Tank! What is the best race then!? For real that is what I wana do...

    Actually since all classes and builds benefit from all three attributes all races are suited for anything. Even if you make an Altmer or Breton tank, you'll still love the bonus magicka, spell resist or bonus elemental damage. This is just for stereotypical archetypes mostly.

     

    Some would even argue that since there is soft cap on stats, you shouldn't be stacking one stat and overcharging them and instead pick something that complements your other attributes, you know?

  • GarbracGarbrac Brockville, ONPosts: 22Member Uncommon
    With the removal of faction locks for Pre-orders, the Breton gets really knocked down because fo the Khajiit. Had the Breton been in a different faction and the faction locks were in place. It wouldn't be as bad, you're right.
  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member
    Originally posted by reillan

    "racial abilities are never a defining characteristic that you need to have to be good at a class. If you’re a min/maxer who wants to have that added little bit of damage then yes it is"

    read: it's a defining characteristic.

    /ESPECIALLY if you're a spellcasting build

    Given the presence of soft caps for all the stats, racial abilities are definitely *not* a defining characteristic.  There are multiple ways to achieve any desired bonus, you don't have to rely on racials (though you can) and if you focus too heavily on min/maxing, you are going to end up with a lot of over-emphasized stats with marginal returns on your investment.

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • reillanreillan Tulsa, OKPosts: 234Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by CazNeerg
    Originally posted by reillan

    "racial abilities are never a defining characteristic that you need to have to be good at a class. If you’re a min/maxer who wants to have that added little bit of damage then yes it is"

    read: it's a defining characteristic.

    /ESPECIALLY if you're a spellcasting build

    Given the presence of soft caps for all the stats, racial abilities are definitely *not* a defining characteristic.  There are multiple ways to achieve any desired bonus, you don't have to rely on racials (though you can) and if you focus too heavily on min/maxing, you are going to end up with a lot of over-emphasized stats with marginal returns on your investment.

    Passives don't slot, so you can have as many as you want.  If there are 3 +6% Magicka Regen passives from sources other than race, and 1 from race, that means you can get +24% as an Altmer and +18% as anything else. 

    Will that +6% Magicka Regen matter?  Well, having played spellcasting classes in other games, mana regen mattered a *ton*, and being able to use your biggest abilities over and over again meant doing hugely-increased damage or healing without having to carefully balance output with regen.  It's entirely *possible* ESO won't have the same problem...

    hahahahaha no, you need it.

  • ariestearieste toronto, ONPosts: 3,308Member Common

    Definitely agree with the Argonian racials not being appropriate.  Although i do think Argonians might make great tanks due to this (more max HP, more heals received).    But from lore perspective, it's awful.  

     

    According to the official race description on the ESO website:

     

    "The Argonians are possessed of a cool intellect, and are well-versed in the magical arts, stealth, and the use of blades. They are also guerilla warfare experts, long accustomed to defending their borders from invaders. They often serve as the scouts and skirmishers for the forces of the Pact."

    So... they're good at magic, stealth and use of blades.  Which is to say, they should get bonuses to Magicka, Steath and either 1h, 2h or DW swords.

     

    Instead they get bonuses to:

    Health (not Magicka)

    Staff (not blades)

    Incoming heals (not stealth)

     

    So instead of "stealthy scouts", Argonians are poised to be "staff-wielding tanks".

     

    The easy fix is to replace staff with some kind of blade (although the xp abilities aren't that important) and one of the health abilities with the same Stealth ability that Khajit and Bosmer get.    

     

    I disagree on Bosmer.  They seem to match up pretty well - Bow bonus (be scouty, use bow). + Stealth bonus (be scouty, especially with that bow) + stamina regen (for all those bow abilities).   

     

    Also, i've gotta say that for a "Deep look at racials" this article provides very little depth.  I would have liked to see some experience-based  comments about how much those skills are worth at endgame, which some of the veteran players have provided elsewhere.   Instead, this "in-depth" look doesn't tell me much more than i could have gleamed from just looking at a chart.

     

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  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member
    Originally posted by reillan

    Passives don't slot, so you can have as many as you want.  If there are 3 +6% Magicka Regen passives from sources other than race, and 1 from race, that means you can get +24% as an Altmer and +18% as anything else. 

    Will that +6% Magicka Regen matter?  Well, having played spellcasting classes in other games, mana regen mattered a *ton*, and being able to use your biggest abilities over and over again meant doing hugely-increased damage or healing without having to carefully balance output with regen.  It's entirely *possible* ESO won't have the same problem...

    hahahahaha no, you need it.

    You didn't address my primary point; the presence of soft caps.  If there are enough different bonuses to a given stat for a 50% total increase, but diminishing returns kick in at 20% and prevents the stat from ever getting higher than 24% no matter how many skill points you invest in passives, then it makes no sense to pursue every opportunity for that particular bonus.  If you are trying to be efficient, you only invest in a given stat until it hits the soft cap, then you invest in something else.  Unless there is something where the only way to reach the soft cap is by having a certain race's racials, they are not necessary to any builds.

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • IselinIselin Vancouver, BCPosts: 5,614Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by reillan
    Originally posted by CazNeerg
    Originally posted by reillan

    "racial abilities are never a defining characteristic that you need to have to be good at a class. If you’re a min/maxer who wants to have that added little bit of damage then yes it is"

    read: it's a defining characteristic.

    /ESPECIALLY if you're a spellcasting build

    Given the presence of soft caps for all the stats, racial abilities are definitely *not* a defining characteristic.  There are multiple ways to achieve any desired bonus, you don't have to rely on racials (though you can) and if you focus too heavily on min/maxing, you are going to end up with a lot of over-emphasized stats with marginal returns on your investment.

    Passives don't slot, so you can have as many as you want.  If there are 3 +6% Magicka Regen passives from sources other than race, and 1 from race, that means you can get +24% as an Altmer and +18% as anything else. 

    Will that +6% Magicka Regen matter?  Well, having played spellcasting classes in other games, mana regen mattered a *ton*, and being able to use your biggest abilities over and over again meant doing hugely-increased damage or healing without having to carefully balance output with regen.  It's entirely *possible* ESO won't have the same problem...

    hahahahaha no, you need it.

    You missed the "soft cap" part. In this game, unlike most other MMOs you've played, you run into soft caps early and often. I had a level 12 Dark Elf Sorceror running into the Magika Regen soft cap with just green gear and a couple of blues.

     

    EVERYTHING is soft capped and you'll see it easily when your stat changes color to gold and you get a pop-up message when you hover over it.

     

    The correct way to look at those racials is in descending order as listed. They unlock from level 1 for the first one to level 25 for the lat one on the list. And as you'd expect, the farther down you go the more important and/or unique a racial passive is.

     

    And there is absolutely nothing on that list that can't be capped in other ways by adding stat points (Health, Magika, Stamina) or gear enhancements.

     

    They really actually matters very little at level 50 with the soft-cap system.

     

    You should read the reddit thread from a couple of days ago from a full-time beta tester explaining why he re-specced his Altmer Sorcerer at 50 by putting all 49 of his points into Health and was still capped for all Magika related stats.

     

    As you're leveling? Yes, there are some racial advantages, but they're only temporary.

  • GarbracGarbrac Brockville, ONPosts: 22Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by arieste

    Definitely agree with the Argonian racials not being appropriate.  Although i do think Argonians might make great tanks due to this (more max HP, more heals received).    But from lore perspective, it's awful.  

     

    According to the official race description on the ESO website:

     

    "The Argonians are possessed of a cool intellect, and are well-versed in the magical arts, stealth, and the use of blades. They are also guerilla warfare experts, long accustomed to defending their borders from invaders. They often serve as the scouts and skirmishers for the forces of the Pact."

    So... they're good at magic, stealth and use of blades.  Which is to say, they should get bonuses to Magicka, Steath and either 1h, 2h or DW swords.

     

    Instead they get bonuses to:

    Health (not Magicka)

    Staff (not blades)

    Incoming heals (not stealth)

     

    So instead of "stealthy scouts", Argonians are poised to be "staff-wielding tanks".

     

    The easy fix is to replace staff with some kind of blade (although the xp abilities aren't that important) and one of the health abilities with the same Stealth ability that Khajit and Bosmer get.    

     

    I disagree on Bosmer.  They seem to match up pretty well - Bow bonus (be scouty, use bow). + Stealth bonus (be scouty, especially with that bow) + stamina regen (for all those bow abilities).   

     

    Also, i've gotta say that for a "Deep look at racials" this article provides very little depth.  I would have liked to see some experience-based  comments about how much those skills are worth at endgame, which some of the veteran players have provided elsewhere.   Instead, this "in-depth" look doesn't tell me much more than i could have gleamed from just looking at a chart.

     
     

    The only End Game we know about is PvP. PvE end game information is mostly speculation. We know of adventure zones but we don't know what exactly they are. Perhaps I could have gone into detail discussing hypothetical situations and how the passives would be utilized but I'll leave that up to the theory crafters. Least until we get some actual time to test them and not just weekend betas.

  • ariestearieste toronto, ONPosts: 3,308Member Common
    Originally posted by Garbrac
     

    The only End Game we know about is PvP. PvE end game information is mostly speculation. We know of adventure zones but we don't know what exactly they are. Perhaps I could have gone into detail discussing hypothetical situations and how the passives would be utilized but I'll leave that up to the theory crafters. Least until we get some actual time to test them and not just weekend betas.

    By endgame i didn't mean "how these perform in a raid or pvp", just meant the general "once you level up and have good gear and lots of abilities".   For example, several people have mentioned that while the regen (like Altmer magicka recovery) racials look nice, but that it's easy to cap those stats (making those less useful).  

     

    I would have appreciated this kind of commentary on the skills over "Magicka racials will help spellcasters".  That is not what i would consider "depth" in an article.   No offence meant.    It's still nice to have an article on racials for those that haven't gone to the official site or any of the skills calculators, it just doesn't add much to those.

    "I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity."

    - Raph Koster

    Tried: AO,EQ,EQ2,DAoC,SWG,AA,SB,HZ,CoX,PS,GA,TR,IV,GnH,EVE, PP,DnL,WAR,MxO,SWG,FE,VG,AoC,DDO,LoTRO,Rift,TOR,Aion,Tera,TSW,GW2,DCUO,CO,STO
    Favourites: AO,SWG,EVE,TR,LoTRO,TSW,EQ2
    Currently Playing: EQ2, Firefall

  • SavageHorizonSavageHorizon ParisPosts: 2,081Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by arieste

    Definitely agree with the Argonian racials not being appropriate.  Although i do think Argonians might make great tanks due to this (more max HP, more heals received).    But from lore perspective, it's awful.  

     

    According to the official race description on the ESO website:

     

    "The Argonians are possessed of a cool intellect, and are well-versed in the magical arts, stealth, and the use of blades. They are also guerilla warfare experts, long accustomed to defending their borders from invaders. They often serve as the scouts and skirmishers for the forces of the Pact."

    So... they're good at magic, stealth and use of blades.  Which is to say, they should get bonuses to Magicka, Steath and either 1h, 2h or DW swords.

     

    Instead they get bonuses to:

    Health (not Magicka)

    Staff (not blades)

    Incoming heals (not stealth)

     

    So instead of "stealthy scouts", Argonians are poised to be "staff-wielding tanks".

     

    The easy fix is to replace staff with some kind of blade (although the xp abilities aren't that important) and one of the health abilities with the same Stealth ability that Khajit and Bosmer get.    

     

    I disagree on Bosmer.  They seem to match up pretty well - Bow bonus (be scouty, use bow). + Stealth bonus (be scouty, especially with that bow) + stamina regen (for all those bow abilities).   

     

    Also, i've gotta say that for a "Deep look at racials" this article provides very little depth.  I would have liked to see some experience-based  comments about how much those skills are worth at endgame, which some of the veteran players have provided elsewhere.   Instead, this "in-depth" look doesn't tell me much more than i could have gleamed from just looking at a chart.

     

    Totally agree, makes you wonder what the hell they were thinking about when they decided on racials for Argonians. 

     

     

    They say that shadows walked away from their hosts with my coming into the world of Nirn. Scales darker than night, eyes burning with intelligence. All who were there that night when the second seed, the shadow, burned bright in Nirns night sky. My name was ordained long before that night, my son and his sons for the next 1000 years will shape the Argonian scales of shadow. Born under shadow in a black city of shadows, taken to Seths faithful who have taken hold of Gideon. From this day fourth i will walk within the shadow, darkness shall be my cover, hist my vision.

     

     

    And they think Argonians shouldn't have any racial skills that revolve around stealth?

     

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  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    I've always been more about looks, animations, and in the case of ESO- racial armor.

    Faction identity is "meh" to me.

    I am currently planning on an Altmer Templar- heavy armor, sword+shield + bow, primary focus on a mix of magicka and stamina based ranged attacks for Bow, and with heavy healing/survival to "bunker" with the sword/shield. 

    Altmer racials will help the more magicka heavy side of the Templar skills.

     

  • SavageHorizonSavageHorizon ParisPosts: 2,081Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    I've always been more about looks, animations, and in the case of ESO- racial armor.

    Faction identity is "meh" to me.

    I am currently planning on an Altmer Templar- heavy armor, sword+shield + bow, primary focus on a mix of magicka and stamina based ranged attacks for Bow, and with heavy healing/survival to "bunker" with the sword/shield. 

    Altmer racials will help the more magicka heavy side of the Templar skills.

     

     

    I've been saying this all through beta and since the first vids before beta. ESO has some the worst animations/armour i've seen in mmo's to date.

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  • SatyrosSatyros Posts: 134Member Uncommon

    Couldn't agree more on Argonians.. 

    It seams to me they messed up pretty bad there, absolutely no need for their passives whatsoever.  If anyone picks them now with the broken Factions it will be only for the looks/lore.

     

    Shame. Really.

  • GarbracGarbrac Brockville, ONPosts: 22Member Uncommon
    double post. - delete
  • achesomaachesoma Portland, ORPosts: 1,000Member Uncommon
    This simply isn't a min/max game. There is a soft cap on stats which makes it pointless to do so. In fact, you'll more or less be gimping yourself if you try to. The stats straight up tell you on character page when you are over cap and to put emphasis somewhere else. So people should be playing race they really enjoy.

    image

  • KendaneKendane Las Cruces, NMPosts: 225Member

    Screw min/maxers, they're the most boring people when it comes to character. I mean picking a race purely because it is the "best" which becomes the "required" race if you're a "serious" PvPer or Raider, etc just make the game so bland. It turns into every melee dps Dragonknight "MUST" be a Redgard or you're considered a bad player.

    I think having racial traits is a good thing, because it means the race is more than just a different skin. I just see no point in picking a specific race because I want to play tank. If I want to be an Imperial Templar tank, the game has the mechanics for that. The min/max difference is very likely not going to make or break any dungeons/raids/PvP fights. Sure a min/maxer that has the exact same internet connection, skill level, but picked the "correct" race/class/role combo will win 1 v 1, but you almost never run into situtations like that.

  • marcustmarcust AdelaidePosts: 467Member Uncommon

    I pick my race based on having to look at them for the entire time I'm in-game.

    It also helps my immersion to pick a race that I feel matches my RL (Scottish/Swedish) ancestors.

    My Norn Templar already exists in my mind, he just needs to appear in game.

    Playing: ESO, Submerged
    Favourite games have been: UO, Lineage2, WoW, Darkfall, Lotro, GW2

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