The Elder Scrolls Online Beginners' Guide

The Daggerfall Covenant 

In a lot of ways you could call the Daggerfall Covenant the last bastion of humanity. The human Redguards, the half-human Breton and the Orsimer are all working together to put High King Emeric on the throne of Cyrodiil. Where the Dominion have two races that are rather good at stealth and the Pact have two races that are rather good at magic, the Covenant has two warrior races but this is balanced out by having the rather excellent Breton mages at their back. However as a whole this faction seems to be geared towards survivability and weathering your enemies attacks.


Residents of High Rock, the Breton were born from an ancient elven experiment to mix men and elves. This has granted them a good bit of the magic that the elves are so well known for with the sturdiness of humans. Where the Altmer are frail but powerful the Breton lean more towards general aptitude. They’re not quite as effective but their magicka reserves tend to run deeper and their larger builds make them much more comfortable wearing armour, giving them a natural affinity for it.

Racial Abilities 

Light Armour Affinity – Increases experience gain with the Light Armour skill by 15%
Light armour provides bonuses to spell casting so it’s the ideal armour to slap on your spell caster. Go for the skills that grant magicka regeneration and reduce the cost of spells, pair that up with your racial skills and watch as your magicka reserves goes through the roof.

Gift of Magnus – Increases maximum magicka. Unlocked at Rank 5
If you’re going to be playing a Sorcerer then you’ll want to get this to rank 3 ASAP. This provides a 10% bonus to maximum magicka which, when added to by other modifiers, can add up to a rather massive increase. Even non-Sorcerers can benefit from at least one rank invested.

Spell Resistance – Increases spell resistance. Unlocked at Rank 10
Spell resistance is a tricky thing since it can sometimes not be obvious what counts. That said enough abilities do fall under its protection that you will definitely benefit from investing in this skill no matter your class. It’s a slight increase of 2 per level but it can help.

Magicka Mastery – Reduces the magicka cost of spells
And here we have the second “must have” skill for Breton. The magicka cost reduction is incredibly small, being 1% per level, but it stacks with the light armour skill Evocation. With the right equipment and skills it is possible to get that reduction down even further, making the skills all the more useful.


While they might not look like it, the Orsimer of Orsinium are actually one of the various types of elves. Where the other races of mer (elves) are masters of stealth or magic, the Orsimer are masters of the forge. This trait, as well as their martial prowess, has made them quite popular as mercenaries or even soldiers. Where the Redguards’ tend to make for more effective offensive warriors there are few creatures in the entirety of Tamriel that make better tanks than an Orsimer.

Racial Abilities 

Heavy Armour Expertise – Increases experience gain with Heavy Armour by 15%
Take a guess at what armour the Orsimer prefer? Due to their other racial skills providing health regeneration and max health increases you will probably want to aim for the highest defense you can find and leave the armours natural abilities as a secondary concern. Quickly go for the Resolve skill and you’ll have a massive amount of sustainability.

Brawny – Increases maximum health and stamina. Unlocked at Rank 5
At a bonus of 2% per level this skill rapidly starts to add up. Paired up with the next Orsimer skill, Robust, you’ll be surprised at how sturdy these guys can be.

Robust – Increases health regeneration while in combat. Unlocked at Rank 10
Providing a nice bonus of 5% per level if you take this skill then you definitely don’t need to bother with the heavy armour skill Constitution. Try to get at least two ranks in this ability to make the most out of it.

Swift – Reduces sprint cost by 4%. Increases sprint speed by 3%. Unlocked at Rank 25
Ahhhhahahaha! Aww, man. That’s a great practical joke that Bethesda tried foisting off on us. Where’s the real rank 25 skill? No, this is it? Ugh, fine. Take a guess what I think of this skill? It’s a piece of crap. It’s nice if you want to run away from something at high speed but if something is dangerous enough that you want to run away it can probably prevent you from doing so. Good luck with that.


The great warriors of Hammerfell are renowned for their fierce independence and incredible combat skill. Their independent streak makes them useless as your average soldier or city guard, excelling instead as scouts or in some groups of elite troops. As can be inferred from this the Redguard excel in melee combat and few can stand before them.

Racial Abilities 

Shield Affinity – Increases experience gained with One-Handed and Shield by 15%
While the Orsimer just prefer to tank injuries the Redguards are a bit more refined. They use a light weapon to cut their foes apart while they protect themselves with a shield. Use heavy armour and take the Bracing skill and learn the Fortress skill to get the most out of this.

Vigor – Increases stamina recovery while in combat. Unlocked at Rank 5
Since the Redguard clearly prefer to use shields, stamina regeneration is clearly critical. Increase this as soon as possible so that you don’t run out at a critical junction.

Conditioning – Increases maximum stamina. Unlocked at Rank 10
The boost you get from this skill is rather impressive being 4% +3% per rank invested, topping out at 10%. This helps you stay in combat without needing to pull back to recover. If you’re going into melee and / or using a shield then this is a skill you’ll want to invest heavily in.

Adrenaline Rush – Restores stamina to player when damaging enemy with melee attacks. This can happen no more than once every 3 seconds. Unlocked at Rank 25
This skill is a bit on the dubious side. You start out with 100 stamina and can swing your weapon about once per five seconds or so at what seems to be a cost of 10 stamina or so. If you hit an enemy with every attack you’re looking at spending 100 stamina to regain 12 or so at first level, 36 at maximum. These numbers aren’t incredibly impressive. A maxed out Vigor bonus seems to work more effectively than a maxed out Adrenaline Rush, swinging away constantly.

Jump to Section:

Freelance Writer

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