Skip to main content

The Elder Scrolls Online Beginners' Guide

Dragon Knight 

The Dragon Knight will be the foundation of any well balanced party, thanks to their ability deal high amounts of DPS (damage per second) or control an enemy’s ability to attack depending on the individual character build. Generally speaking this class is most at home in a suit of heavy armour with buffed up health and stamina, smashing enemies into the ground with a mixture of raw power and elemental attacks. However, as mentioned above, the class does indeed have a large number of abilities that help them take the heat off the squishier characters while also increasing their own defences.

There are three paths for a Dragon Knight to choose skills from:
Ardent Flame: This path deals in fire damage, mostly as raw damage but a few abilities have greater utility than that.
Draconic Power: A utility power that mostly deals in effects that increase your ability to weather attacks.
Earthen Heart: This is a series of skills that immobilise or stun enemies, with a few accessory powers to round it out.

Ardent Flame 

Fiery Grip – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 1

Throws a flaming chain that pulls a targeted enemy towards you and deals some fire damage. Has a maximum range of 18 metres.
Extended Chains
Forcefully pulls an enemy towards you while dealing fire damage. Ability range is increased to 22 metres.
Empowering Chains
Forcefully pulls an enemy towards you while dealing fire damage. Increases the weapon power of your next attack by 50.

Fiery grip is a great skill, especially as your first one given. The ability to bring enemies to you allows you to easily separate groups of enemies or yoink an enemy off of a Nightblade or Sorcerer who caught their attention. The best morph is probably Empowering Chains since most enemies don’t aggro at 18 metres to begin with so you should be fine with the increased weapon damage.

Searing Strike – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 4

A blazing melee strike that deals fire damage to your target and leaves them burning, taking more fire damage over the next 8.5 seconds.
Unstable Flame
The strike deals fire damage and continues to burn, dealing flame damage over 8.5 seconds. The enemy suffers increases damage over time by 12% every 2 seconds.
Burning Embers
The strike deals fire damage and continues to burn, dealing flame damage over 8.5 seconds. The spell caster is healed for 36% of his maximum health when the effect ends.

This is probably my favourite low level Dragonknight ability especially once you get it morphed. The base ability isn’t too impressive, a solid but unremarkable attack. But morphing it into Unstable Flame makes the skill pretty amazing. The base damage seems to vary by your level in the skill but, as an example, say the flame deals 5 damage per second for 8.5 seconds. It will end up tacking on an extra 45 damage to the initial strike barring enemy resistances.

This only gets better if you’ve got any abilities or equipment to boost your fire or burning damage, such as the Dunmer Racial abilities or the passive Ardent Flame skill Kindling. If you’re using this skill be sure to purchase the passive ability searing heat so you can increase the duration and possibly Warmth to ensnare your enemies while they burn.

Kindling – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 8. Passive skill

At rank 1 this increases the damage of burning effects applied by fire abilities by 33%. This doubles when the ability ranks up to a rather impressive 66%.

I’m a huge fan of passive abilities in general since they don’t require constant micromanagement to be helpful and Kindling is one of the better Ardent Flame passives. If you’re using any of the DoT (damage over time) abilities then you will want to get this skill so it can rank up ASAP.

Dragonknight Standard (Ultimate Skill) – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 12

This skill places a battle standard in the ground at the users feet. Nearby enemies take flame damage every second and receive 50% less healing for 12 seconds.
Shifting Standard
All nearby enemies take fire damage every second they are near the standard and they receive 50% less healing for 15 seconds. The standard may be moved to the Dragonknight’s current location after it has been initially placed by the caster.
Standard of Might
All nearby enemies take fire damage every second they are near the standard and they receive 50% less healing for 15 seconds. All allied players deal 30% more damage and take 30% less damage while they are affected by the Standard of Might.

This is a fantastic choice for a Dragonknight to use as his ultimate skill. The flame damage is relatively minor for the point in the game you get the skill but the healing block is fantastic for enemies that heal or in PvP situations. However you’ll want to get it morphed as soon as possible so that you can get the more effective Standard of Might. This one skill lets a Dragonknight stand his ground against some of the nastier late-game enemies and go toe-to-toe with them. Do note if you’re planning on doing PvP it may be advised to take the Shifting Standard so that you can keep moving it to keep up with the players who won’t just stand still to let its effects pile on.

Warmth – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 14

Causing damage with Ardent Flame abilities snares the target by 15% per level for 2 seconds per level. So at rank 2 it will max out at a 30% snare for 4 seconds.

While not necessarily a fantastic ability Warmth serves quite well for tanks. If you’re trying to hold aggro for your party and the enemy moves to go after someone else use Fiery Grip to pull them in and the ensnare effect will slow them enough that your attacks should draw their attention back to you.

Fiery Breath – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 20

Spewing forth a cone of fire this ability deals direct damage to all enemies caught in the blaze and ignites them, making them take 12 damage over 8 seconds.
Burning Breath
Deals fire damage in a cone and ignites enemies for 12 fire damage over 8 seconds. Reduces enemy armour by 40%.
Engulfing Flames
Deals fire damage in a cone and ignites enemies for 12 fire damage over 8 seconds. Enemy takes 10% additional damage from fire attacks.

As you can tell from looking at the two morphs, they’re both rather good. Burning Breath provides a rather large armour reduction while Engulfing Flames adds to your fire damage capabilities. However the choice becomes a lot simpler based on your play style--are you using a lot of fire spells to stack damage? Then take Engulfing Flames and stack it, Searing Strike and Lava Whip with Kindling, Warmth and Searing Heat to pile on the burn. If you’re still a mostly melee character then take Burning Breath so you and your allies can pile on the hurt.

Searing Heat – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 22. Passive skill

This skill increases the duration of Fiery Breath and Searing Strike’s burning damage and Dragonknight Standards duration by 2 seconds. When you rank it up it also increases the damage of these skills by 3%.

This is one of my favourite passives in the Ardent Flame tree. The duration increase helps the burning damage really stack up and the damage bonus, while quite small, easily stacks with other bonuses to make a big difference.

Lava Whip – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 30

A blazing lash of fire strikes your target, inflicting flame damage. However it also knocks targets off balance causing any enemies who were immobile or stunned to take longer to recover.
Molten Whip
The spell deals fire damage and sets immobile or stunned enemies off-balance. Passively increases spell power of all fire attacks by 10 while this ability is slotted in the quick bar.
Flame Lash
The spell deals fire damage and sets immobile or stunned enemies off-balance. Now allows the activation of a follow-up attack that deals flame damage and heals you.

Lava Whip is a mediocre ability that only really shines when you morph it. Both Molten Whip and Flame Lash are really good in their own ways and how you morph it should depend on your play style. If you’re going solo you may wish to take Flame Lash so that you have a means of healing since, by the time you’re at Rank 30 you’ll probably need it. If you find yourself doing pretty good on health or are working with someone who can help you heal then Molten Whip is best since it’s a really nice bonus.

World in Flames – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 39. Passive skill

Each level of this skill increases the damage of all fire based area of effect abilities by 3%.

This skill is... unimpressive to say the least. Fiery Breath is the only skill where this damage bonus is noticeable and even then it’s not too big of a boost. Unless there’s some aspect to this skill I’m missing then give it a pass.

Inferno – Unlocked at Ardent Flame Rank 42

The Dragonknight emits a flaming aura that damages all nearby enemies every second. Every second it is active it dragons magicka and can be toggled on or off.
Flames of Oblivion
The aura deals fire damage to every nearby enemy every second. Costs magicka every second it is left toggled on. The knight gains a 13% critical strike chance bonus against enemies in the flames.
Sea of Flames
The aura deals fire damage to every nearby enemy every second. Costs magicka every second it is left toggled on. Enemies who die whilst in Sea of Flames’ area of effect restore magicka to the player.

I really didn’t like this skill when I first encountered it since it’s a pretty big mana drain for a very small damage boost. But it’s honestly rather useful once you morph it into Sea of Flames. When you’re fighting large groups of weaker enemies you can kill with judicious use of your abilities, Sea of Flames is a big help in allowing you to do so. Other than that there are better skills.

Draconic Power 

Spiked Armor - Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 1

Once used your character gains a spiked carapace that provides an armour boost of 25 and reflects melee damage for 17 seconds.
Volatile Armour
Your armour rating is increased by 25 and returns physical damage to melee attackers for 20 seconds. An energy burst damages nearby enemies when it is activated.
Razor Armour
Your armour rating is increased by 25 and returns physical damage to melee attackers for 20 seconds. The armour bonus is increased by 25% for the first 3.5 seconds.

Spiked Armour provides a really nice boost to your defences and the fact that it makes any melee attackers take damage is just a bonus. This is a skill that I’ve always felt any Dragonknight can make good use out of since they’re inevitably going to end up in melee combat even if they prefer to use a staff as their primary weapon. As for the morphing, both of the skills are pretty good. Volatile Armour’s damage is a nice add-on while the armour bonus from Razor Armour boosts the armour bonus up to 31. Just pick one of them that suits you.

Dark Talons - Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 4

Talons of darkness strike at all enemies in an eight metre radius, immobilizing them for 3.5 seconds and dealing physical damage to them.
Burning Talons
Immobilises nearby enemies for 4 seconds and deals physical damage to them. All enemies have a fire damage over time effect applied to them.
Choking Talons
Immobilise nearby enemies for 4 seconds and deals physical damage to them. All enemies affected by this skill have their damage reduced by 18%.

This is a skill that I’m pretty fond of, especially when using the Ardent Flame path. Since the enemies are stuck in place you can put some distance between you and them to heal, put up defences or just spam attacks from a distance. If you’re playing a tank you’ll want Choking Talons so that enemy damage is reduced but otherwise I wouldn’t even bother morphing the skill as the skill boost is fairly minor.

Iron Skin – Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 8. Passive skill

Allows you to block an additional 5% of damage per level with your shield.

Here’s a quick question – are you using a shield? If so, take this skill. If not, give it a pass. While you can indeed block by simply pressing the right mouse button if you’re using a two handed weapon or dual weapons you should be aiming for a more aggressive combat style so a skill like this is a waste.

Dragon Leap (Ultimate Skill) - Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 12

Sprouting giant, leathery wings, the warrior leaps at your targeted foe. Dragon Leap inflicts a high amount of damage to all enemies in a 6.5 metre radius as well as knocking most foes back.
Take Flight
Deals physical damage to all enemies in a 6.5 metre radius. Enemies are knocked back. Can now leap a further distance. Increased damage to all enemies.
Ferocious Leap
Deals physical damage to all enemies in a 6.5 metre radius. Enemies are knocked back. 33 Spell Resistance for 8 seconds after landing.

While Dragon Leap does deal a rather high amount of damage (a bit over 100) I’ve always found that it doesn’t seem to be quite as useful as it could be. The only time it really shines is when dealing with large groups of weaker enemies or just enemies weak to melee damage that have clustered. Morphing it into Ferocious Leap makes the skill much more viable in that you can use it to head straight for dangerous enemies like Sorcerers and try to take them out while SR will protect you if you fail.

Burning Heart – Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 14. Passive skill

Increases healing received by 6% per level while a Draconic Power ability is active.

I’m not a huge fan of this passive. Sure, it makes healing more effective and that’s nice but your healer should be able to keep you alive on his own. This ability jumps in usefulness in two situations: 1) you’re alone and using healing from sources such as Lava Whip and Restoration staves or 2) you’re at late game content and your healers just can’t keep up with the damage output. Then, by all means, take this ability but it can pretty much wait until then.

Dragon Blood - Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 20

Upon activation you are immediately healed for 30% of whatever health you are missing. In addition your current health regeneration is boosted by 40% for the next 20 seconds.
Green Dragon Blood
Heals 30% of missing health. Increases health regeneration by 40% for 20 seconds. Increases stamina regeneration by 20% for 20 seconds.
Coagulated Blood
Heals 30% of missing health. Increases health regeneration by 40% for 20 seconds. Increases armour and spell resistance by 30 for 3.5 seconds.

This is another skill that I tend to not even bother morphing. Most melee characters get stamina regeneration as a permanent fixture from their race reducing the effectiveness of Green Dragon Blood. Coagulated Blood has an incredibly useful ability to it but its duration is so short that it’s irrelevant. When pairing it up with a Ferocious Dragon Leap ability you can shoot your spell resistance through the roof when going after magic users but still, the duration is too short to matter.

Elder Dragon - Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 22. Passive skill

Increases health regeneration by 2% at rank 1 and 5% at rank 2.

Any skill that increases health regeneration is a skill that I’m always going to recommend. Even small boosts to it can be a huge boon in longer battles, especially for melee fighters. It might not be as immediately important for someone who is playing their Dragonknight as a fire spamming spell caster but it’s still something they should be taking.

Reflective Scales – Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 30

When activated all projectile based spells are reflected back at the caster for the next four seconds.
Reflective Plate
Reflects all spell based projectiles for 4 seconds. Increases spell resistance by 30 for 6 seconds.
Dragon Fire Scale
Reflects all spell based projectiles for 4 seconds. Reflected attacks deal 35% additional damage.

Now this is a helluva skill, especially for PvP. Normally I would suggest that this goes great for a tank character, and in many ways it does, but it doesn’t sync well with Fiery Grip. The problem is that this only works on ranged spells whereas close ranged ones tend to use cones or streams. So use this when they’re at a distance away from you, let them hurt themselves and then yank them in for the kill.

Scaled Armour – Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 39

Increases spell resistance by 2 on the first rank and by 5 at the second.

Personally speaking this skill has always been a skill that I’m not all that impressed by but I still always end up taking. Spell Resistance is just such a useful trait to have and I’m loathe to pass up even the smallest boosts to it. Your mileage may vary on this of course but I suggest taking the skill. If you happen to be playing a Breton than you’re really in luck since this will stack with your racial bonuses.

Inhale - Unlocked at Draconic Power Rank 42

Drawing in a deep breath the Dragonknight tears health away from each nearby enemy, absorbing it into themselves. After a few moments the character exhales a damaging burst of magic.
Deep Breath
Absorb health from each nearby enemy. After 2 seconds they are dealt magic damage. Nearby enemies are stunned for 3 seconds.
Drain Essence
Absorb health from each nearby enemy. After 2 seconds they are dealt magic damage. Gain magicka equal to 17% of the health drained from the enemies.

This is a fantastic skill. It’s not only better than Inferno, the top-level skill of the Ardent Flame skill tree, but it’s also much better than Magma Armour. The ability to not only heal yourself but deal an incredible amount of damage to all nearby enemies just makes this totally worth it. Drain Essence is great if you’re using a lot of spells but Deep Breath is amazingly helpful since few enemies seem to resist the stun. This is one of my personal favourite Dragon Knight skills.

Earthen Heart 

Stonefist – Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 1

The character hurls a fist shaped rock at the enemies, dealing a decent amount of damage and knocking them flat for three seconds.
Obsidian Shard
Deals physical damage and knocks down targeted enemy for 3 seconds. Range is increased by 5 metres (from 10 to 15 metres).
Stone Giant
Deals physical damage and knocks down targeted enemy for 3 seconds. Increases armour rating by 9 for 12 seconds.

While not a spectacular skill by any means, Stonefist does what it has to--inflict solid damage at range. That’s really all there is to this. If you’re using the Earthen Heart passive skills then this gets more effective but it’s generally a very basic skill.

Molten Weapons – Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 4

The caster and all allies within a 20 metre radius have their weapons damage enhanced by 1 for 45 seconds. The casters bonus is doubled.
Igneous Weapons
Increases weapon damage of the caster and nearby allies by 1 for 60 seconds. The casters bonus is increased by 100%. Light and Heavy attacks add fire damage to your weapon.
Molten Armaments
Increases weapon damage of the caster and nearby allies by 1 for 60 seconds. The casters bonus is increased by 100%. Affected targets gain 40% critical strike chance with weapon attacks for 6 seconds.

Answer a question--are you going to be working with a party? If no, ignore it and move along. If you are then yes, this is something to take. Morphing it into Igneous Weapons makes your whole party have fire enchanted weapons with an increased base damage that will make everyone more effective in combat. In comparison the short time, but powerful, bonus of Molten Armaments is irrelevant.

Eternal Mountain - Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 8. Passive skill

Increases the duration of all Earthen Heart abilities by 10% per level.

This is kind of an obvious one. If you’re using Earthen Heart abilities then take this. The 20% increase at rank 2 is a really nice boost, giving at least a two second bonus to every skill in the tree.

Magma Armour (Ultimate Skill) – Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 12

Surround your character in a shield born of the earth and flames to provide a massive amount of damage mitigation. All incoming damage is capped at 3% of your max health for the next 9 seconds and nearby enemies take flame damage every second.
Magma Shell
Caps incoming damage at 3% of your max health for 12 seconds while nearby enemies take flame damage every second. Allies may activate the Protective Shell synergy, grating a damage shield for 85% of their max health.
Corrosive Armour
Caps incoming damage at 3% of your max health for 12 seconds while nearby enemies take flame damage every second. Reduces weapon damage for nearby enemies by 40%.

While this skill is incredibly powerful on paper, and it is indeed quite useful, it’s not necessarily as helpful as it could be. Since it lasts only 12 seconds you would need to be in situation where you’re going to be hammered by a huge group of enemies for it to be very useful. Since most enemies can use their powerful attacks more often than you can use your ultimate skills it isn’t as helpful as it looks.

Battle Roar - Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 19. Passive skill

Restores health, stamina and magicka when an ultimate skill is used. The amount restored is increased by 35% of the magicka cost of said skill. This increases to 50% for the second rank.

If you’re going to be using your ultimate at all then you want this. If you pair it up with the Mountain’s Blessing passive skill then you’ll have a pretty nice source of restoring your health and magicka without having to rely on anyone else. I like pairing this up with the Dragonknight Standard ability to gain its bonus while also restoring your character.

Obsidian Shield – Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 20

A barrier of stone appears around the caster and all of his nearby allies in a 12 metre radius. This shield has a damage absorption rating of 13 for your allies and 26 for the caster for 20 seconds.
Fragmented Shield
Creates damage shield for 20 seconds on all nearby allies. The strength of this shield is doubled for caster. When the effect ends the stone shield shatters and inflicts magic damage to nearby enemies.
Igneous Shield
Creates damage shield for 20 seconds on all nearby allies. The strength of this shield is doubled for caster. The shield absorbs more damage (seems to be about 20 instead of 13).

This is a great skill if you’re making a more defensive build but honestly I like having it on even my Ardent Flame characters for the damage reduction on my squishier allies. You don’t have to morph it if you don’t want to but I would suggest investing at least the first skill rank in it. If you’re willing to spend a second one go for Fragmented Shield since the damage it deals is pretty impressive.

Mountain’s Blessing - Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 22. Passive skill

Bestows one additional ultimate skill activation when activating an Earthen Heart skill. This is increased to 2 additional ultimate’s when activating an Earthen Heart skill.

Normally you have to fill up your finesse metre to use an ultimate but with this you can use them regularly simply by using your Earthen Heart skills. That’s fantastic . While you should still aim to keep your finesse high for the experience point bonus it’s nice to know that the only thing stopping you from spamming your ultimate skill is cool down.

Petrify – Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 30

The enemy targeted by this spell is devoured in a shell of stone that stuns him for 10.5 seconds. The shell shatters if the target takes 16 or more damage.
Fossilise
Stuns enemies for 12 seconds. Affected enemies can take 16 damage before stun breaks. Enemy stamina, magicka and health regeneration is decreased by 50% during the stun.
Shattering Rocks
Stuns enemies for 12 seconds. Affected enemies can take 16 damage before stun breaks. Rocks shatter causing magic damage to nearby enemies with a 33% chance to become vulnerable to further attacks.

This is one of those skills that would probably be a lot more effective on another character entirely since you will immediately do enough damage to break the imprisonment. The only real use for it is to break up enemy groups--Petrify one target and Fiery Grip another to split up a pair of enemies. For this purpose the best use is to morph into Fossilise and use that to bind them up even more effectively.

Helping Hands – Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 39. Passive skill

At rank 1 2% of the users stamina is restored when activating any Earthen Heart skill. This increases to 5% at the second rank.

While this doesn’t sound like a lot on paper this happens every time you use a skill. So if you’ve got a bunch of Earthen Heart skills that you can use you’ll find yourself constantly regenerating stamina so long as you just space using them out.

Ash Cloud - Unlocked at Earthen Heart Rank 42

A burst of engulfing ash devours a five metre radius. All enemies in that radius are ensnared by 70% and have their miss chance increased by 30% for the next 12 seconds.
Cinder Storm
For 12 seconds, snares enemies for 70% and increases their miss chance by 30%. Enemies in the area of effect take fire damage every second.
Eruption
For 12 seconds, snares enemies for 70% and increases their miss chance by 30%. Enemies in the area of effect suffer disorientation for 3.5 seconds.

The ensnaring effect is nice for its ability to slow enemies down but the 30% miss chance is what makes this skill really useful. If you’ve got solid defences then this ability will make it much harder for anyone in a decent radius to hurt you. Morph it into Eruption and you’ll have a great tool for throwing off these enemies that were so afflicted even further.

Jump to Section: