The Elder Scrolls Online Beginners' Guide

The Aldmeri Dominion 

Choosing to play as a member of the Aldmeri Dominion means that you are fighting to see the elven people placed in a position of superiority over the rest of Tamriel. Widely considering themselves to be the smartest and most capable of men and elves, the Dominion fights with the firm belief that the Altmer Queen Ayrenn is the only one truly capable of ruling Tamriel. The Aldmeri Dominion is an oddity in that it doesn’t have a “true” dedicated fighter race: In a way both the Khajiit and Bosmer fill the fighter / thief archetype, although the Khajiit do have a leg up in that their melee survivability is higher than the Wood Elves who tend towards archery.

Altmer / High Elves

The residents of the Summerset Isles are known for their attitude of smug superiority to humans as well as a general condescending attitude to everyone who isn’t an Altmer. But that arrogance has a good reason behind it--they are some of the most powerful spell casters to ever walk Tamriel. These eugenics loving mystics are the race of choice if you want to play as a general, all-around powerhouse spellcaster.

Racial Abilities 

Destruction Talent – Increases experience gained with the Destruction Staff Skill by 15%
This skill starts off unlocked and it’s one of the most useful of the starter mage skills. Since all of the various elemental attack spells are used via Destruction, you’ll be able to use all of them with increased efficiency and level them up incredibly fast.

Spellcharge – Increased magicka recovery while in combat. Unlocked at Rank 5
Another incredibly useful skill, Spellcharge helps you stay in combat for longer by boosting the speed at which magicka recharges. Once you have this skill you’ll probably want to level it up as soon as possible since, while the higher levels only confer a minor increase, that increase stacks with other bonuses to recharge rate and it starts to really add up.

Gift of Magnus – Increases maximum Magicka. Unlocked at Rank 10
The usefulness of this ability should be rather obvious. The bonus is 4% per level and a 12% increase at maximum level is nothing to sneeze at.

Elemental Talent – Increases damage with cold, fire or shock effects. Unlocked at Rank 25
While this ability sounds great on paper, and the bonus in nice, the % boost just isn’t enough to justify it unless you literally have nothing else to spend points on anymore. Taking one rank in it for the initial 2% increase is advised but beyond that it’s very much up to individual preference.

Bosmer / Wood Elves

The reclusive Bosmer of Valenwood are known for two things: their survival abilities and their archery. They’ve chosen to stand beside their brothers, the Altmer, in bringing peace and stability to Tamriel through Elven rule. Excelling in fighting from concealment, you’ll most often know that a Bosmer is nearby when an arrow strikes you in the back.

Racial Abilities 

Archery Expertise – Increases experienced gained with the Bow Skill by 15%
Care to take a wild guess at what weapons the Bosmer prefer? They’re quite good at staying at a distance while plucking away at the enemies with their bow and its accompanying skills so use that with their natural stealth abilities even if you’re not a Nightblade.

Vigor – Increases stamina recovery while in combat. Unlocked at Rank 5
Yes please. Even at rank 1 this is still a skill that’s worth having. Running, blocking, attacking and sneaking will all consume this resource so even putting in just the one point will make for a nice return on this investment.

Resist Affliction – Increases maximum stamina. Increases poison resistance and disease resistance. Unlocked at Rank 10
Stamina buffs are great since they let you use special attacks more often as well as letting you hide behind your shield. However you probably won’t be blocking a whole lot with your bow and Vigor helps enough. The poison and disease resistance is very minor but it can help if you’re feeling swayed towards this ability.

Stealthy – Increases damage done in stealth. Improves stealth radius. Unlocked at Rank 25
With how late this ability comes it’s almost a shame to invest in it since there are assuredly skills the points could be better used on. The damage bonus is small and the radius is irrelevant since you should be sniping enemies at a distance. If you wish to take the skill do so but it’s actually not a necessity for this character.


The various cat people of Elsweyr are all part of one race known as the Khajiit. These curious and mercantile folk are content to wander hither and thon, exploring the world and maintaining high spirits even in light of the crushing bigotry and hatred that they face wherever they go. Khajiit are natural thieves and this affinity hasn’t done much to make people trust them. But their combat abilities are top of the line, often choosing to go after foes with their bare claws.

Racial Abilities 

Medium Armour Expertise – Increase the experience gained with the Medium Armour skill by 15%
Any of the races that get an armour boost are quite lucky since the ability increases based upon what armour you’re wearing and what skills you’re using. So if you have a full set of medium armour on it’ll level up very fast and all without getting the way of your sneaking too much.

Robust – Increases health regeneration in combat. Unlocked at Rank 5
Uhmagerd guys, this is great. Increasing at a rate of 5% per level, Robust will keep your Khajiit in the fight for a whole lot longer than you might expect. I’ve seen Khajiit with just this ability and some good armour tank the heck out of enemies that should have been taking them down.

Stealthy – Improves stealth radius. Increases damage done while in stealth. Unlocked at Rank 10
If you aren’t going to be using stealth too much then don’t bother purchasing this at all. A Dragon Knight, Sorcerer or Templar can make use of this ability simply by using it to get a first strike on a tough enemy but it may be a waste of skill points. Invest a single point if you want and then simply wait on the rest. If you’re a Nightblade then go all out on this bad boy.

Carnage – Increases critical rating of melee attacks. Unlocked at Rank 25
Normally I’m not a fan of skills with small incremental raises like this. With the effort you go through to level up, a small 1% or 2% improvement just doesn’t feel like it’s worth the effort. However you unleash so many basic attacks over the course of the game that you’re almost guaranteed to get a couple of critical strikes in any fight you’re in.

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Freelance Writer

Daniel is a freelance games journalist, but is also the Editor-in-Chief at Gaming Excellence.