The Elder Scrolls Online: Beginner’s Guide to Tanking

Support Role: Tanking

Since the launch of The Elder Scrolls Online, there has been a tank shortage. So much so that, you will notice how convenient it is to create your own for situations where it’s possible to find one. However, it’s not particularly surprising why that is— in a group setting, tanks often suffer a lot of pressure. A group heavily relies on their tank, just as much as they rely on their healer, to keep them alive. When creating and leveling your first tank, it can often be frustrating, and even a bit complicated. I hope that after reading this simplified beginner’s guide, you will not only understand the basics of tanking, but also feel more comfortable and confident when doing so!

Your First Tank

Within all roles and classes, there is a lot of room for experimentation and flexibility, especially for the average player. That isn’t quite the case at end-game, but until you’re concerned with trials, know that there is room for whatever the heck you’re trying to do. My favorite tank build, which I played religiously, was the iconic “Sap Tank” on a Magicka Nightblade. Although arguably not viable in end-game, I was able to take it through all dungeons, including DLC hard-mode versions, without a scratch.

Nevertheless, I find that when it comes to tanking, it helps a lot to start with a fool-proof build that is very classic, very basic, and easy to execute – at least the first time around! In that case, I would recommend picking up a Dragonknight and selecting a race that offers supplementary passives, such as a Nord. Furthermore, your first tank will wear all heavy armor, be focusing primarily on high health, enough stamina to taunt and block successfully, and just enough Magicka to cast Magicka-based abilities. In regards to character stats, you will be focusing on physical and spell resistance, as well as health recovery. For abilities, aside from your taunt, you will seek out anything to reduce the damage you’re taking, as well as casting shields that “eat” or absorb damage. I will discuss this a bit more as we progress through the article.

Leveling, Questing, and Grinding

When leveling your first tank, it will probably feel like torture, especially if you’re used to playing a damage-dealing role. This is why I would suggest picking up a pair of daggers (or swords, or axes – it’s up to you!) and going duel-wield on one of your bars. Did you know that you can gain experience in any particular skill line, including another weapon, by simply putting those abilities on your primary bar (the bar you will be spending most of your time on)? For example, even if you have duel-wield equipped, you can still slot a few sword and shield abilities on that same bar in order to level both weapon skill lines simultaneously!

Additionally, you can adjust the skills on your bar before turning in or completing a quest to better control where that experience is applied. Another benefit to duel-wield is it provides the best stamina AOE (area of effect) at an early level. That means, even at level 10, you can have a single target ability, as well as an AOE! This will make fighting enemies, mob-grinding, and gaining levels, much easier, especially for those in heavy armor.

Dungeon Delving

So, you’ve found yourself in a dungeon with 3 other players, and you’re the tank. Oh boy, I’m sure you’re wondering what am I supposed to do! What is expected of me? First of all, let me tell you that you can relax. Although it would be misleading to suggest that you will never run into unfriendly folks, most, and really, a good portion of those you run into will be nice people. Personally, I have had a great experience with other players. Most are patient and understanding of those who are learning.

Your main concern in dungeons will be keeping your taunt up, which will, in turn, keep the boss focused on you. That is your primary and most important job. Your second job is, of course, staying alive. I’m sure by now you’ve figured out that a lot of being a tank is getting smacked around, and I suppose, looking like you don’t feel it.

Moreover, in most cases, you do not need to move all over the place. You can stand in one spot and block critical hits. I know you’re used to running from your enemies, but now you’re face-to-face! If it helps you, it would be no problem to step aside if there is a ground attack, but for the most part, you can safely block all damage. By staying still, it will also be easier for your healer to support you. It also helps your damage dealers, especially those who are in melee range. Having to chase you or the boss around the room only makes it harder for everyone. As a tank, you’re essentially the group’s leader. The group reacts to your movements.

Additionally, it is imperative that you communicate with both your healer, as well as the entire group. Communication is key – I cannot stress this enough. Dungeons require teamwork.

Short Course: Damage Mitigation aka Hey! That Tickles!

I wish it weren’t so, but taunting is only half the battle! You also have to stay alive! How do tanks manage to take such a beating? The reason tanks can take so many hits and it only briefly tickles them is because they’re mitigating so much damage through blocking, with their armor, physical and spell resistances, and the abilities they’re using. You’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about!

Through sword and shield passives, heavy armor passives, as well as armor set bonuses, you can significantly raise your physical and spell resistance. Paired with major or minor maim, major and minor protection, and aegis, you can mitigate a huge amount of damage! Again, like I mentioned above, if you also choose the Nord race, you can also gain the “Rugged” passive to mitigate even more damage! Being a vampire may also be useful, as they also have both passives as well as skills that offer damage mitigation. The downside is you also take more fire damage.

Don’t forget you can also apply damage shields that will absorb incoming damage. It is often recommended to not only save on resources but also as a quick save during “oh shit!” moments when you find yourself low on health. Having a shield active can often be the difference between a group wipe or victory. By shielding yourself, you can resurrect an ally, preferably the healer, and ultimately save your group.

Last but not least, and perhaps the most obvious, is to simply block! Heck, tell your DPS and Healer to block as well!

Armor Sets For First-Time Tanks

Hatchling’s Shell / Shadowfen
Akaviri Dragonguard / Eastmarch
Meridia’s Blessed Armor / Coldharbour
Mark of the Pariah / Wrothgar (REQUIRES DLC)

Hist Bark / Craftable
Alessia’s Bulwark / Craftable
Song of Lamae / Craftable

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The Elder Scrolls Online: Beginner’s Guide to DPS

DPS Like a Pro, Even When You’re Not

With the upcoming release of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, I’m sure Zenimax Online Studios can expect an influx of new and returning players. Before we dive in, I’d like to point out that some of the best players, the ones who dance at the top of the leaderboards week-after-week, they didn’t become the best players overnight! In fact, it took a lot of time, dedication, and practice. If you’re like me, with a history of being incredibly bad at video games, I can assure you that your experience with TESO will be different once you finish reading this article.

Getting Down To The Basics

As a damage-dealer with the intention to do the absolute most damage possible, you will want to first begin by choosing if you’d like to utilize magic or stamina. Does a caster sound appealing? Pick up a destruction staff! Maybe you’re after a rouge-like character, with a bow and a pair of daggers?

Keep in mind that when you’re taking up the role of damage-dealer, it would be ideal to put all of your attribute points into the respective resource you have picked – this being Magicka or Stamina. Why do we do this? Because all of your skills will scale off of your max resources! For example, if the ability you’re using costs Magicka, the more Magicka you have, the harder that ability will hit. So, ideally, as a caster, playing as a Magicka Sorcerer, you would choose to put every single one of your attribute points into Magicka in order to maximize the power of your damage abilities. Same can be said for Stamina-based builds. The more Stamina you have, the harder your Bow abilities (and all melee weapons) will hit.

High Critical Damage Or Raw Power? You Choose.

When looking at your character stats, you will want to focus on max resources (Magicka or Stamina), Weapon or Spell critical (critical chance), Weapon or Spell damage, and last but not least, Magicka or Stamina regeneration. Like I mentioned previously, the values showcased upon your ability’s tooltip (the numbers that are shown when hovering over an ability) is scaled off of your max resource. Additionally, the same can be said for your weapon and spell damage. The higher both of these values are, the stronger your damage abilities will be. Coupled with weapon or spell critical, which increases the chance of a critical hit, you will give any enemy you come across in Tamriel a run for their money. Magicka and Stamina regeneration determines how quickly you run out of resources, and how quickly those resources regenerate during combat. Consider cost-reduction as well, which can be obtained with glyphs and special armor sets – this will allow you to better manage your resources in longer fights.

Any veteran player will tell you, “You can’t DPS when you’re dead or when you’re out of resources.”

Endless Armor, Endless Builds, Endless Possibilities

The armor or “gear” possibilities are literally endless. ZoS has released an enormous amount of zone-specific drop sets, as well as numerous craftable sets all over Tamriel. As stated above, max resources, critical damage, and weapon/spell damage are what you want to aim for. Law of Julianos for Magicka users and Hunding’s Rage for stamina users are both great base sets to start with. They’re both craftable and not difficult to get your hands on. Don’t be afraid to ask your guildmates or friends to help you out if you’re unable to craft it yet. Feel free to test different sets and get creative while mixing and matching different armor. In short, find what is most optimal for you.

Don’t Be Afraid To Do Your Own Thing!

I can’t stress this enough – experiment on your own. In fact, many of the choices you make will depend greatly on how you choose to enjoy the game, and that will change as you play and get familiar with the game! For example, many organized groups will provide their allies certain buffs that increase their critical damage. With this in mind, you may want to adjust your own play style to best fit those you’re grouped with. Will you be spending most of your time as a lone-wolf traveler – roaming around and doing quests as they come? Maybe you’re excited by large scale PVP sieges? Are you strictly Undaunted – is your core purpose defeating the most difficult dungeon bosses?

This guide is definitely aimed at those who are looking for a pretty straightforward guide to fulfilling the role of DPS. I’m here to help you understand the very core basics of how the game works but is up to you to decide how you want to apply this information to your adventures in Tamriel. Happy adventuring!

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The Elder Scrolls Online: Beginner’s Guide to Healing

Support Role: Healing

Although DPS has always been my niche, when I noticed how difficult it was to find a Healer, I decided it was time to give it a try myself. Soon after, I started to realize the appeal of support roles and began to really enjoy the feeling of aiding and supporting my group. It made me feel truly important! Magicka DPS and Healing are very similar in terms of the statistics you’re aiming for. Similarly to DPS, where your damage abilities are scaled off of your max Magicka and spell damage, your healing abilities also scale off of these same values. In short, the higher your Max Magicka and spell damage, the stronger your heals will be.

Kagrenac’s Hope

Regardless of what others may say, it is entirely possible to run a hybrid Magicka DPS and Healing builds, assuming you have fairly good group composition, and you’re not healing trials. However, I would highly recommend Kagrenac’s Hope – a craftable armor set you can access by completing the Fighter’s Guild questline. This armor set is personally my absolute favorite in the game.

If you’re debating between Law of Julianos and Kagrenac’s Hope, I would highly recommend putting on Kagrenac, especially if you plan to go the healing route at some point. As a Templar, known for their quick resurrection passive, there is simply no better set that would compliment that class. In PVE and PVP, you will be getting your allies up off the ground at the speed of light. How quickly your group manages to resurrect a dead ally contributes so much to your overall success. Kagrenac offers unmatched utility, power, and survivability, which can go as far as preventing your group from wiping on a boss fight.

Spell Power Cure and More

Additionally, it is important to mention that many groups, especially those comprised of Veteran players, will often request certain armor sets from their healers in Veteran Dungeons and Trials, especially Hard Mode versions. These sets are generally Worm Cult, also known as Worm’s Raiment, Mending, and Spell Power Cure. However, all of these sets aren’t necessarily easy to obtain because they require dungeon and trial farming.

Picking the Right Abilities

It is true to say that most healers have their own style of healing which is often determined by their class and who they’re playing with. Still, a good healer considers both proactive and reactive healing extremely important. Buffing your group, maximizing your group’s DPS, and keeping your HOTs (healing-over-time) abilities active at all times are all equally important. Utilizing Healing Springs (Restoration Staff) as your “spam-able” ability, while keeping a 100% uptime on 2-3 HOTs (such as Mutagen), buffing your group with Combat Prayer (Restoration Staff), and having a big, strong healing ability in *oh shit!* moments such as Healing Ward or Breath of Life is a very cost-effective rotation to start off with.

Dead Healers Can’t Heal

Also, keep in mind that the quicker your group kills the enemies, the fewer hits they will take, and the less healing you will need to do! That is why, for example, Combat Prayer is so important because it contributes to not only your group’s survivability but also their damage. Moreover, it is important to make sure you can take a few hits – a dead healer can’t heal! Invest in a little bit more health, and 1-2 pieces of heavy armor if you’re really taking a beating.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

Healing takes practice! Don’t beat yourself up when your teammates die. And, they will. A good group takes more than a good healer. It also takes a great tank and even better DPS. When I first took up healing, it gave me insane anxiety because I was always worried about my friends dying. Before anything else, have fun – you will all improve and become great players together!

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The Elder Scrolls Online: Beginner’s Guide to Leveling

We’ve All Been There; by That, I Mean We’ve All Been “Noobs”.

I think what makes TESO special is how mature and inviting the community is. When a game is that great, and I mean this, wholeheartedly, we want others to enjoy it at the capacity we’re enjoying it. Generally speaking, that means dying less and feeling like the strong, heroic adventurers that we are. When I first started playing this game over 3 years ago, I didn’t progress very far in levels. In fact, I created and deleted numerous characters—many of which didn’t progress beyond level 15. Why? Well, because I sucked and I had a hard time finding a character that I liked enough to push me onward. Still, I’m glad I didn’t quit, and a lot of that is due to friendly players in the world who offered advice and companionship. In the coming paragraphs, I will share with you a personal guide as to how I level my characters from 1-50 and how these small details can not only make the leveling process more enjoyable but also set you up for victory early on.

First Things First, Do the Tutorial.

Go through the Wailing Prison. This is a great chance to gain some easy levels and get accustomed to your first few abilities on each of your skill lines. As soon as you gain your first skill point, unlock a damage ability. Then, for each skill point that is gained thereafter, unlock an ability in each of your class skill lines, as well as your preferred weapon, and put one of each on your bar. In short, you want to have an ability from each of your class skill trees, plus a weapon ability, on your ability bar.

If you’re planning to go the Stamina DPS route, start equipping any medium armor you pick up. Similarly, if you plan to play as Magicka DPS, or as a healer, equip any light armor you come across. And, lastly, if you want to try your hand at tanking, start getting some heavy armor on. Hopefully, by the time you leave the Wailing Prison, you will have a few good levels under your belt. Once you leave the Wailing Prison, chances are you’ll end up in the first main city of your alliance. Your first priority will be to join the Undaunted, Fighters and Mages Guilds in order to unlock those skill lines. Now, whenever you complete a dungeon, kill Daedra, or find a lore book in the world, you will gain experience for those skill lines!

How Do You Want to Play?

At this point, you can decide to level through the game “normally”, which means progressing through the game by questing in the direction of the main story, or you can mob grind your way to level 50. In my experience, I like to do a little bit of everything (questing, dungeons, and mob grind). More importantly, I find the most proactive way to go about this is by also wearing the most optimal gear. Ask a guildie, friend, or a stranger in zone chat to craft a set of training armor for you. I would recommend fully experiencing all the zones with your first or main character – that means completing all of the quest hubs and exploring the caves too! Not only are the quests very well-written and entertaining, but some of them provide unique rewards, as well as skill points. Caves have sky shards hidden within them and also give great XP. You will learn later on the importance of collecting every skill point, every sky shard, and even every lore book. If you skip them now, you will only go back for them later! At that point, it will probably feel painfully tedious – I’ve done it nearly 10 times, myself!

Hack and Slash to Your Heart’s Desire!

When it comes to level grinding, many mob grind locations are indicated on Add-Ons such as “Destinations”. However, you can grind just about anywhere with low health, quick-respawning enemies. Zombies are a favorite because they’re quick, squishy, and have low health. They also grant Fighter’s Guild XP which will be appealing to any Stamina-based player. Ideally, you would bring a friend with you to help cut through enemies quicker, or at the very least, help keep you alive. Even if you are staying alive just fine, it will be 100x faster if you bring a friend to help you burn through the enemies faster. Your goal is to simply kill as many enemies in the shortest amount of time.

Armor with the “training” trait, combined with experience scrolls or potions, you can realistically get from level 1-50 in less than 10 hours, effortlessly. If you bring a friend, you can quickly turn a hack and slash grind into an epic party. Keep in mind, if you have more than 2-3 to a group, your individual experience gain will drop drastically.

Best Grinding Spot For Any Level

Vet Levels and Beyond

On that note, I’d just like to add that there is nothing wrong with taking your time, and learning how to play at your own pace, in your own time, with what you already have. TESO isn’t particularly hard, but I believe to become very good at this game, there is indeed quite a learning curve. In fact, less than 1% of active players ever see the leaderboards, nor have they even step foot in a trial. Still, end-game content is very much, in my opinion, a realistic challenge any player can tackle. You can expect more on TESO end-game content in the coming articles!

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