Starting your adventure in The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is exciting but can also be confusing for beginners. It’s easy to get lost in the character creation process, especially if you have not played any of the other Elder Scrolls games. Setting up a good character build is the first and very important step in helping you fully enjoy the game. If you mess up, it will be difficult to acquire and use the skills you need to progress smoothly. This Elder Scrolls Online character creation guide will help make your journey in Tamriel as smooth and entertaining as possible.
While ESO is mainly about storytelling and role-playing and not so much about leveling up, you still need to create a good character build to fully enjoy your gaming experience in its magical realm. ESO is also one of the best character creation games today. Don’t worry if you accidentally created a character you are not satisfied with because you can always create another one and delete the former.
What is The Elder Scrolls Online?
The Elder Scrolls Online is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) that has a rich, adventurous lore and world. It is part of The Elder Scrolls series which includes Morrowind, Skyrim, and Oblivion, with ESO being the only one you can play online. Since it’s an online game, you can view and interact with other players who are on the same server as you.
The first in the series was released in 2014, and The Elder Scrolls still is one of the most popular games out there six years later. It was developed by Zenimax and published by Bethesda, first for PC gaming. It has since been made available for consoles like PS4 and Xbox One over the years. ESO is set in the region of Tamriel, and you will learn more about regions, houses, and political affiliations below as you read more about The Elder Scrolls Online character creation process.
Is It Free?
Initially, ESO required a monthly subscription for you to play the game. In 2015, the developers decided it was a better business decision to make ESO a one-time purchase game or, in technical terms, a buy-to-play title. It is roughly $19 both on Steam and other platforms.
Elder Scrolls Online Features
ESO features a rich world and highly complex lore so you can expect a lot of extraordinary things you can do within the game! Because of this, both casual and hardcore gamers will equally enjoy it. Here are some of its best features.
The Elder Scrolls Online’s main feature, being an MMORPG game, is, of course, role-playing. While the game dictates where you start your adventure based on your ESO character build, you decide where to go and what to do next. You will set out as your character on your own, decide which quests to take or ignore, collect items, and level up at your own pace.
Extensive Lore History and Complex Characters
Since its release, The Elder Scrolls has become more and more immersive. Lots of people play it not for the combat and fancy upgrades but to be immersed in the game’s story and realm. As you progress in the game after building a character to your satisfaction, you will meet plenty of interesting Non-Playing Characters (NPCs) who have compelling backstories and complex personalities. You will not only fall in love with the heroes but will also appreciate the provocative nature of the villainous characters you meet within the game.
It is a game that has been built and written with masterful storytelling and extremely detailed components. Almost every character and item you encounter has significance in the quests and the game’s overall story. Even the dialogues are witty and can be funny, heartwarming, and give you wisdom you can use beyond the game.
Creative Character Customization
Now, this is where the bulk of this ESO guide comes in. To fully enjoy the features mentioned here, it’s crucial to master The Elder Scrolls Online character creation process. It may seem pretty challenging, but it is also a very fun and highly imaginative process. Creating a good ESO character build is where you start as an adventurer in Tamriel.
Beautiful Graphics and Animation
Expect no less than excellent graphics and animation. You can tell that the graphic artists behind the game spent a lot of thought and time in perfecting the aesthetics of the characters and the environment. Watch the magic unfold as you travel, interact with the characters, and go through the quests.
Relaxing and Exciting Soundtrack
The soundtrack is relaxing and exciting at the same time. As you explore different areas of the game world, you will notice how perfectly the music fits depending on your location and activities.
The quests are exciting and highly rewarding. Most of the time, NPCs act as the quest-givers. However, a particular object will trigger a quest every once in a while if you interact with it. You may come across a lore book or a flyer, and your quest will begin if you accept. Characters or NPCs offering the quests are fully voice-acted, and you can see them change their facial expressions and body language according to the actions and choices you make.
Combat and Looting
Combat mostly happens during quests—most of the time against the villains in the story within the quest. However, as you explore areas outside towns and cities, you may come across creatures that will force you to battle. You get loot for defeating monsters and game bosses that will boost your abilities. Some of the loots include crafting ingredients, consumables, armor pieces, and weapons.
You can join in-game guilds that will give you quests with high rewards or guilds with other your friends or other online players. With a group of players, it is easier to defeat monsters within dungeons and accomplish quests that involve defeating world bosses.
Play and Chat with Friends
If you know some friends who also play ESO, you can play together by meeting in a specific location. You can do a dungeon or a quest together. You can even visit each other’s houses and view what they look like. There is a chatbox that prompts you when a friend you added goes online. There are also “emotes” or commands that you can type that will make your character do things like read a book or wave.
Part of this feature is the Player-Versus-Player (PVP) mode. You can either play against your friends or invite random players to a duel. Joining groups with other random players is also an option.
The Elder Scrolls Online features in-game purchases such as modifications to your character in case you are not happy with your initial Elder Scrolls Online character creation. You can also purchase buffs, pets, and downloadable content (DLC). Purchasing in-game items and DLCs are done in the Crown Store.
How to Install The Elder Scrolls Online
ESO is available to play on PC and Mac as well as game consoles like PS4 and Xbox One.
Installing ESO Using Steam
Steam is a large online game platform where you can purchase games. There are times when you can even download them for free.
PC and Mac
To install ESO from Steam, you would first have to download Steam from its official website and install it on your computer. You will be asked to create user credentials so you can log in and access your game. Once you have Steam installed, launch the app and search for The Elder Scrolls Online from the Store page. Purchase the game using your preferred payment method and you’re ready to install it. You will see options for different platforms from which you wish to play the game. In this case, you will choose the one that has Windows and Mac icons.
You would need at least 4GB RAM and 85GB available storage space on Mac to play the game; 3GB RAM and 85 GB of space is expected out of Windows machines. You can see more of the required specifications on the ESO Steam store page.
PS4 and Xbox One
Same as with PC and Mac, you would need a Steam account to install the game. The process of creating a Steam account is the same as in the above. Once you are registered and have purchased the game, follow the instructions online on the next page to install ESO on your game console.
From the Official ESO Website
If you don’t want to play ESO from Steam, you can head to the official Elder Scrolls website and purchase and download the game from there. Once you have it installed, you will see a launcher in your desktop or applications list that looks like a crown. That is where you will launch the game.
How to Create a Character in The Elder Scrolls Online
Every single aspect and combination you choose during The Elder Scrolls Online character creation will make a difference in your gaming experience. Your first quests and starting location will be based on these because the game dictates where you start. There is no one-size-fits-all ESO character build, but certain races and classes are better suited for certain abilities you want to develop.
So, where do you start? When you first launch the game, it will prompt you to create your first character on The Elder Scrolls Online character creation page. Or if you’ve already created one and are not satisfied with it, re-launch the game and click or tap on Create Character on the bottom right of the screen. The image above is what you will see.
You can set all of your preferences on the right side of the menu.
Here are the first things you need to set up when you get to The Elder Scrolls Online character creation page.
Character Name and Gender
Enter your preferred character’s name in the first field. You can no longer change your character’s name after you’ve completed The Elder Scrolls Online character creation process, so it is highly recommended to give this some thought. The same goes for the other attributes. For a fee, you can change some of these using ‘crowns’ from the Crown Store, but that’s not ideal if you don’t want to end up spending a fortune just to reset your character. Select whether you want your character’s gender to be male or female.
There are three alliances, also called Covenants or Dominions, within the game: Daggerfall, Aldmeri, and Ebonheart.
Alliance dictates which side your character will belong in the Alliance War. Your available choice of an alliance would depend on the race you choose. For example, in this Elder Scrolls classes guide, you can only choose the Daggerfall Alliance if your character is either a Breton, an Orc, or a Redguard. Your alliance will also dictate the location where you need to complete specific quests.
This is the last thing you want to tinker with during the Elder Scrolls Online character creation process. While it is not the most important, you still want your character to look the way you want them to. After all, you are acting in the ESO world as this character.
This is a fun process even though it’s time-consuming, but it is highly recommended that you spend as much thought and time on it. There are so many aspects you can customize in your character’s appearance, from their body type and face shape to extra details like body markings, jewelry, and hair.
There are ten races you can choose from, and your race determines your character’s most powerful strengths. One race may have a higher Magicka, which is important if you want to use mostly magical abilities, and another race may have more maximum stamina that will be useful for a warrior-type character.
How to Pick the Right Race
Each race also has its own unique racial abilities. Again, you don’t have to box your character in one race just because of these abilities; the Elder Scrolls Online character creation system allows you to combine aspects and learn skills along the way. The question you want to ask yourself when choosing your character’s race, along with other aspects, is what is the most valuable thing for you to do in the game? Do you want to play casually and enjoy roleplaying more? Or are you the type that gets really excited in combat and wants to gain as much experience as possible? This is an important thing to reiterate in this ESO race guide.
Certain Elder Scrolls Online races are more suited for those who want a slow-paced gaming experience while others are for serious combat masters. However, as already stated plenty of times in this Elder Scrolls Online character creation guide, you can ultimately choose whichever race you want and still achieve the gameplay that you wish to experience.
These are the ten Elder Scrolls races and what attributes they do best.
Bretons are a nice pick for beginners. They are humanoids, mostly a cross between an elf and a human. Breton is also a good choice for those who want to use mainly magical attacks. Once you learn skills, you can increase your maximum Magicka faster than other races, have more spell resistance, and have a reduced Magicka cost for your spells.
As the name suggests, orcs are large creatures with a tanky appearance. They have expertise in heavy armor so you can expect that your orc character will have strong damage and spell resistance. Your orc character will also have more health and stamina and can sprint faster compared to Magicka-oriented races.
This is an ideal character who wants to roleplay as an assassin type. They are Middle Eastern-looking and are also very strong in terms of stamina. Aside from dealing damage, a Redguard also gains some of their stamina back whenever they hit their targets.
The High Elf is also a typical spellcaster race. You will notice these in their attributes in The Elder Scrolls Online character creation page. High Elves have a unique ability to increase their experience gain when they are equipped with a Destruction Staff. They also easily recover their Magicka while in combat. One unique talent that high elves have is that they can increase the damages they deal with cold, fire, and shock effects.
Though they don’t seem like very strong characters just based on the name, wood elves are great if you want to attack from a farther range. They mostly use bows and have a higher stamina recovery. They are great at resisting spell damages as well as poison damage. Wood Elves are a great choice for those who want to enjoy the game casually and focus more on roleplaying and attacking from distance.
Khajitts are cat-looking characters. They’re nimble and sneaky. They increase the damage they deal with while in stealth mode. They also have high critical hits. They get the most experience gain with a medium-type armor and also have good regeneration during combat. If you want to play a character that would be good at dungeons and slaying monsters, Khajiit is a good character choice.
This is one of the most interesting types of characters you can choose during The Elder Scrolls Online character creation process. They are lizard-like characters that look like dinosaurs. They are good at healing and gain more experience using their restoration skills. They also easily heal themselves in combat. Since they are amphibious, their swimming speed is faster. You will notice that you may have to sometimes swim a good distance to get to some locations in Tamriel, and Argonians are faster in locating points of interest.
Perhaps, one of the strongest and most powerful races in ESO is the Dark Elf. They are magical in nature so they naturally have increased Magicka and excellent fire resistance which is very powerful in combat. Aside from resisting fire spells, they also have increased fire resistance which increases their maximum Magicka at the same time. Dark elves have good dexterity and they gain more experience with their Duel Wield Skill.
The Nord is another strong archetype. If your goal is to level up quickly, this is a good choice for a race. Their two-handed weapon expertise allows them to gain a lot more experience points when using this skill. They have high regeneration in terms of health so they are not easily defeated in battle and gain a larger increase in armor.
Finally, the tenth race is the Imperial race. They are also human-looking like the Bretons, and they have the most health and stamina. But perhaps the best part about them is that they self-heal even as they attack, which can also be done by other races like the Bretons, on a more powerful scale. Unfortunately, you must purchase the add-on from the ESO Crown Store to be able to play as an Imperial character. While it is an additional paid option, it is also highly recommended for beginners who are still getting familiar with game to learn how to battle since it’s a race that levels up quickly.
How to Choose the Best Class
Your choice of Class will allow you to choose your basic skill lines, but you can always learn more skills as you play the game. There are four classes in The Elder Scrolls Character creation process. These are The Elder Scrolls Online classes that you can choose from.
Dragonknight is perfect for those who want to deal with the most damage that’s not limited to non-magic attacks. As mentioned, you can learn abilities along the way. If you want your character to be more like a warrior, this is a good class to start with.
The Nightblade bodes well with players who like to be sneaky. They are good at theft so you can easily acquire tools and weapons without being caught quickly. They can also launch powerful attacks using skills like Debuff on their opponents.
If you’re like many of the players who like dealing with magic damage, it’s needless to say that Sorcerer is the ideal class to pick. This class is the typical mage or wizard archetype. Perhaps, the coolest thing about being a sorcerer in the game is having the skill to summon Daedric entities or creatures like a familiar. These creatures help you attack your targets so you can stand back and deal more damage as you avoid being directly hit since your opponent will face your familiar first.
You can use Dark Magic and Storm Calling as well, both powerful spells. Another advantage of being a spellcaster, where the sorcerer falls, is that you can attack from afar.
The Templar is the typical “healer” character archetype among the Elder Scrolls classes. This is a great choice if you like playing with a guild or a group of friends. They are powerful because they not only heal and buff their allies, but they also deal huge amounts of damage to their opponents.
ESO Character Builder Tools
If all these details seem too much to absorb, especially when you’re a beginner, there are ESO character builder tools online that you can use to help you with your Elder Scrolls Online character creation. These great tools also help you pick your ESO race and classes.
One of these character builder tools is ESO-Skillfactory. This is recommended if you already have an understanding of the races and classes discussed above because it gives you more freedom to choose certain attributes on your own. If you want more control over your character archetype, it is highly recommended that you read the above descriptions again.
It is basically a skill calculator in which the tool will help you see the types of skills and abilities your character will have based on your choices. Don’t confuse it with a random character creation tool.
As you can see from the image, you get to pick which skills, weapons, and other assets you want your character to have, and the tool will help you pick your race and class.
ESO Build Editor
Unlike the abovementioned tool, you will select almost every aspect that you want to try out for your character with the ESO Build Editor before you proceed to The Elder Scrolls Online character creation process. You will pick a race, a class, and so on. From there, you will see the strengths of the character you have created before actually launching the game to create one. This can save you a lot of time in the process especially if you are really curious about the different character archetypes.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Character Builds
Character builds are more often called Character Archetypes in gaming terms. Like the suggested question to ask yourself above, you need to really think about what you want to get most out of the game. Are you more interested in strength and winning in combat? Do you prefer to learn more about the lore and experience the game as casually as possible?
Other possible things to consider are:
Preferred Combat Style
Do you enjoy close combat or have as much contact with your opponents as possible? In sports terms, this is often called “contact sports” where you are in close contact with your enemies almost all the time. In this case, choosing a character build that uses weapons that deal the most damage in close range is the best. If you want to play smart and be able to hit from afar, build a character that uses mage weapons and has a high Magicka rating.
What are you most interested in doing? Do you want to play PVP or Player-Versus-Environment (PVE) more? Focus on the attributes that will give you the best advantage in these modes.
Preferred Skills and Weapons
Now, this is the easiest part. Most times, players base their character build on this criterion, which is actually a smart tactic. If you like using swords, go for a race in which the main weapon is a sword. Combine it with a class that gives you an advantage in these types of combat such as a Nightblade or a Nord. If you like using spells and want a staff as your main weapon, you would almost obviously pick Sorcerer as a class and either a Breton, Dark Elf, or a Templar (especially for healers) as a race and class.
Sample Archetypes or Builds
Here are some examples of character archetypes or builds that will help give you an idea in your Elder Scrolls Online character creation decision-making.
One of the most preferred archetypes, characters that are built to deal the most damage are focused on strength and quick level-ups. Your character’s main goal is to destroy enemies as devastatingly as possible. If you’re playing with a group or a guild, you will be one of the front liners in the battle.
- Finish off enemies as soon as possible
- Level up quickly
- More damage resistance
- More stamina
- Short-range nature can expose you to stuns and poisons
- You can’t heal yourself or your allies
Compared to the Damage Dealer archetype, your character’s main goal is to heal allies as well as yourself. This may not look as interesting to some players, but it can be very advantageous because you usually restore health and Magicka while also dealing damage.
- Deal damage while healing
- Weapons and spells have a wider range
- Use buffs for both allies and self
- Lower health and stamina
- Prone to stuns and more damage if an enemy gets closer to you
Most experienced MMORPG players consider this the hardest or most unusual choice. The tank’s main purpose is to take the hits for their allies. They are willing to take the damage for the rest to deal damage to enemies. This is why they have great spell resistance and high health as well as stamina.
- Help allies deal damage by drawing attacks from them
- High spell resistance and health
- Lower damage dealt
- Prone to stuns and poisons
This character build enters combat without a shield. The purpose is to maximize the damage dealt and rely on resistance and health to counter the opponents’ attacks. Their skills are usually reinforced by developing their smithing and archery.
- Quick in combat
- Agile and stealthy
- Without a shield, you are more prone to taking higher damage
- Usually low Magicka
The great thing about the mage, wizard, or sorcerer archetype—whatever you want to call it—is that they can do almost anything. Though these characters don’t use shields, they usually have skills that allow them to heal themselves or restore health even while dealing damage. They are good at enchanting and can use a great assortment of magic. Passive abilities also allow their Magicka to restore on its own quickly while in battle. They hit from afar and thus, less prone to physical damage.
- Hits from far range
- Option to summon a familiar that allows them to deal damage without being hit
- Increased Magicka
- Takes higher damage when hit since they have no shields
- Vulnerable in close range especially when the familiar dies
These are just some of the character builds or archetypes that you can create when you are in The Elder Scrolls Online character creation process. There are many more out there, but these are the most popular builds for obvious reasons.
It is worth repeating that the important thing to remember in The Elder Scrolls character creation is that you choose your character’s attributes and skills based on what you want to do in the game. Always consider the skills that you want to develop for the character build that you have in mind, which weapons you are fond of using, and what kind of gaming experience you want. This way, you’ll be able to create the character that’s perfect for what you want to do.