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The Elder Scrolls Online Beginners' Guide

Sorcerer 

Now we reach my personal favourite class – the master of magic, the Sorcerer. While other classes can play a spell caster role by carrying a Destruction or Restoration staff and using elemental or magic abilities to deal damage to Sorcerer truly excels in this role. The one real limitation on the class is that if you don’t have them in light armour then you’re basically choosing to gimp yourself since the passive bonuses of both the armour itself and the skills you learn can help your character immensely.

You are not restricted to using staves and light armour though, so it is entirely possible to make a Battle Mage type character by equipping a two-handed sword and heavy armour while summoning up Daedra to fight alongside you.

There are three paths for a Sorcerer to choose skills from:
Daedric Summoning: Harnessing the power of the otherworldly Daedra the spell caster can fight alongside them or let them do the dirty work.
Dark Magic: This support magic inflicts status ailments or healing the character.
Storm Calling: Here’s the heavy damage skill set with AoE attacks and other damage bonuses.

Daedric Summoning 

Unstable Familiar – Unlocked at Daedra Summoning Rank 1

The Sorcerer calls up a minor daedra to attack enemies. The ability is toggled and costs a small amount of magicka to bring out but it limits your maximum magicka by 10% while deployed.
Unstable Clannfear
Summons a Clannfear to attack enemies. Toggled to activate but max magicka is reduced by 10% while the daedra is summoned. The Clannfear deals 30% additional damage with its attacks and can charge or tail swipe nearby enemies.
Volatile Familiar
Summons an explosive familiar to attack enemies. Toggled to activate but max magicka is reduced by 10% while the daedra is summoned. The familiar deals 30% extra damage and explode on death, causing 20% of your maximum magicka as damage and stunning affected enemies for 2 seconds.

I’m not going to lie, as cool as it is having a familiar this ability is kind of junk. The magicka reduction can be a bit of a hindrance and the Daedra itself isn’t too useful besides as a minor distraction. However if you upgrade it to the Clannfear summon it is actually a viable combat aid since its damage bonuses make it a nice combat helper. But as a level 1 skill it still definitely has uses even if that is just as a means of distracting a nasty enemy for a few moments.

Daedric Curse – Unlocked at Daedra Summoning Rank 4

Using the power of the daedra the caster afflicts a target with the curse ailment for six seconds. When the time is up both the target and any other nearby enemies take magic damage. Only one curse may be active on an enemy at a time.
Explosive Curse
Enemy is cursed for 6 seconds. When curse completes the target and nearby enemies take magic damage. Only one curse may be activate on a target at a time. The explosion now has an increased radius.
Ferocious Curse
Enemy is cursed for 3 seconds. When curse completes the target and nearby enemies take magic damage. Only one curse may be activate on a target at a time.

As you can see this is a strange little skill. It provides a nice amount of damage once the curse ends but the curse itself is a fairly minor nuisance to the target. As such I prefer the Ferocious Curse ability since it does a good bit of damage and it triggers pretty fast. But to be honest I don’t use this ability all that often since there are plenty of more effective skills.

Rebate – Unlocked at Daedric Summoning Rank 8. Passive skill

Players receive some of their maximum magicka back when one of their summoned creatures is killed. This starts at 10% and rises to 15% at rank 2.

This is a very minor ability but it does provide a minor but helpful boon. Essentially it automatically lets you recoup the magicka you had invested into the summoning in the first place and that’s helpful enough that it’s worth the purchase.

Summon Storm Atronach (Ultimate Skill) – Unlocked at Daedric Summoning Rank 12

An immobile Storm Atronach is summoned at the selected location and acts like a turret. Enemies in the area are stunned for 3 seconds and take shock damage. The summoning lasts for 15 seconds.
Greater Storm Atronach
Summons an immobile Storm Atronach to the targeted location for 28 seconds. Enemies in the area are stunned for 3 seconds and take shock damage. The summon has increased health making it harder to destroy.
Summon Charged Atronach
Summons an immobile Storm Atronach to the targeted location for 28 seconds. Enemies in the area are stunned for 3 seconds and take shock damage. The Atronach has a powerful area of effect attack.

I’ve got to say that at first this one didn’t seem all that impressive. After all, who wants to summon a big ol’ Storm Atronach just to have it sit in place? Well once you see the damage that it does you may just change your tune. This thing inflicts a pretty impressive amount of damage especially if you take the Summon Charged Atronach morph which adds a rather impressive AoE attack.

Power Stone – Unlocked at Daedra Summoning Rank 14. Passive skill

Reduces the cost to use your Ultimate abilities by 8% at rank 1 and 15% at rank 2.

This one should be pretty obviously an immediate purchase. Ultimate abilities are always helpful and the Summon Storm Atronach ability is especially effective so you’ll want this ASAP.

Summon Winged Twilight – Unlocked at Daedric Summoning Rank 20

The summoner conjures up a Winged Twilight to attack nearby enemies. When this ability is toggled on it reduces your maximum magicka by 10% until it dies / is dismissed. The damage it inflicts is increased by 15% when it reaches rank 4.
Summon Restoring Twilight
Summons a Restoring Twilight to attack nearby enemies. Toggle to activate. Reduces max magicka by 10% while summoned. Allies near the Restoring Twilight have their magical regeneration increased by 13%.
Summon Twilight Matriarch
Summons a Twilight Matriarch to attack nearby enemies. Toggle to activate. Reduces max magicka by 10% while summoned. Heals the player when their health drops below 35%. This only occurs once every 30 seconds.

I’m generally a fan of all the skills that summon daedra but if you’re looking for an ally who can actually fight alongside you then the Winged Twilight is where it’s at. If you’re using them as a party aid then the Restoring Twilight is the one you want but if you just want a pet to fight alongside you then go for the Twilight Matriarch.

Daedric Protection – Unlocked at Daedra Summoning Rank 22. Passive skill

While you have any Daedra Summoning ability slotted in your quick bar your health regeneration rate is increased by 10% per level.

While I’m normally a huge fan of any ability that provides health regeneration I’m not a huge fan of it being on a spell caster. That said it might be worth the one skill point and it’s definitely worth that skill point if you’re playing more of a Battle Mage type character.

Bound Armour – Unlocked at Daedra Summoning Rank 30

Surrounding themselves in ethereal armour the caster sees his armour rating increased by 11% while the ability is toggled on. His magicka is reduced by 10% while it remains active.
Bound Aegis
Increases armour rating by 17 when toggled on but reduces max magicka by 10%.
Bound Armaments
Increases armour rating by 14 when toggled on but reduces max magicka by 10%. Heavy attack damage is increased by 11%.

If you find yourself needing an armour increase then perhaps you should be using medium or heavy armour instead of whatever you’re currently wearing. This skill just isn’t worth it especially as it’s another skill to drain your magicka reserves.

Expert Summoner – Unlocked at Daedra Summoning Rank 39. Passive skill

Provides a bonus for summoned creatures: Winged Twilights do increased damage of 5% per rank. Familiars and Clannfear have increased movement speed increased by 10% per rank. Atronach's have their attack ranged increased by 15% per rank.

If you’re actively using the Daedra Summoning skill tree then you’re going to want to invest in this skill. It’s worth it for the Winged Twilight and Atronach bonuses if nothing else.

Conjured Ward – Unlocked at Daedra Summoning Rank 42

The summoner creates a damage shield on themselves and all of their summoned creatures within a 20 metre radius for 20 seconds. It appears that the shield absorbs somewhere in the area of 20 damage before dissipating from that individual.
Empowered Ward
Conjure up a damage absorbing shield on oneself and summoned creatures in a 20 metre radius for 20 seconds. Summoned creatures deal 20% additional damage while they are still warded.
Hardened Ward
Conjure up a damage absorbing shield on oneself and summoned creatures in a 20 metre radius for 20 seconds. Shield strength is increased by 33% on the caster (raises it to 31 points of absorption).

If you’re using the summoned pets at all then yes, take this ability. I personally travelled with a Winged Twilight and Clannfear at all times and used the Storm Atronach whenever necessary. Pairing it up with Empowered Ward your little party will be rather damn effective in a fight. Hardened Ward buffing up your defences is a waste since you should have other abilities or equipment to protect yourself.

Dark Magic 

Crystal Shard – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 1

The caster hurls a shard of crystalline energy at a target, inflicting magic damage and knocking them down for 2 seconds.
Crystal Blast
Deals magical damage to a target and knocks them down for 2 seconds. All enemies near the target are dealt magical damage.
Crystal Fragments
Deals magical damage to a target and knocks them down for 2 seconds. There is a 35% chance to make your next use an instant casting and cost 40% less magicka to activate the ability.

A great thing about Crystal Shard is that the range for it is impressive enough that the skill will almost always remain useful. While the Crystal Fragments ability sounds interesting it’s more effective to just take Crystal Blast and damage energy groups before they split up.

Encase – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 4

All enemies in a 15x3 metre lane in front of the caster are immobilised for 4.5 seconds.
Restraining Prison
Immobilises enemies in front of you for 4.5 seconds. When the effect ends enemies are snared for 5.5 seconds.
Shattering Prison
Immobilises enemies in front of you for 4.5 seconds. After the effect ends the lane explodes, dealing magic damage to all enemies in the path.

In my experimenting with this skill I’ve found that it, quite often, just isn’t as helpful as it could be. The spell effect is rather long but it’s narrow enough that it seems to miss enemies that should be hit by it. This makes it fairly difficult to use the skill effectively or at least did so in my experience.

Unholy Knowledge – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 8. Passive skill

The magicka and stamina costs for all of the casters abilities are reduced by 3% at rank 1 and 5% at rank 2.

This is one of those skills that you should just take even if you’re not really using Dark Magic. It’s not reliant on you actually ever using your Dark Magic abilities so take Crystal Shard, use it (or just keep it slotted) until you can get to this and then take this to get the magicka cost reduction. Or even go one further and take Blood Magic when it unlocks.

Negate Magic – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 12

The sorcerer dispels all effects that the enemies have placed in an 8 metre radius from the targeted location. All enemies are silenced and monsters are stunned by the wave of magic.
Absorption Field
Dispels enemy effects in the area for 9.5 seconds while enemies are silenced and stunned. The caster recovers 15% of his health and magicka for each successful effect dispelled while they remain standing in the absorption field.
Suppression Field
Dispels enemy effects in the area for 9.5 seconds while enemies are silenced and stunned. Allies in the area gain 35 spell resistance.

When I saw Negate Magic for the first time I was impressed. When I saw the skills it could morph into I was even more impressed. Absorption Field impressed me further. But what blew me away was Suppression Field--that spell resistance bonus is amazing. Use it to blow away active effects and hamper your enemies and then move in with your spell resistance aiding your party. Fantastic.

Blood Magic – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 14. Passive skill

Hitting an enemy with a Dark Magic skill will heal the caster. The healing starts at 3% of the casters max health for rank 1 and goes up to 5% of the casters max health for rank 2.

Because the healing from this skill has nothing to do with the effectiveness of your Dark Magic ability you could easily pair this up with Crystal Shard and let those be the only two Dark Magic abilities you ever bother with.

Rune Prison – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 20

The sorcerer casts a charm on a target, disorienting them for 15.1 seconds.
Rune Cage
Disorients the targeted enemy for 16.6. When the disorientation ends the target is stunned for 4 seconds.
Weakening Prison
Disorients the targeted enemy for 16.6. Spell power of next attack against the target is increased by 40.

I’m not a humongous fan of the disorientate status ailment since all it does is prevent you from moving. Neither of the morphs for this skill really adds anything too impressive so I suggest skipping this skill entirely and getting something better.

Persistence – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 22. Passive skill

All Dark Magic spells have their duration increased by 10% per rank of this skill.

Obviously if you’re using Dark Magic you’ll want the duration increased. However make sure that you’re actually using the skills where it would help--it’s not worth purchasing if the only Dark Magic skill you’ve got is Dark Exchange or Daedric Mines.

Dark Exchange – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 30

The spell caster spends 4 seconds channelling magical energy to recover both health and magic. However he expends 23% of his stamina per second while doing so.
Dark Conversion
Restores healing and magicka while channelling but drains 12% of your stamina per second for its four second duration.
Dark Deal
Restores healing and magicka while channelling but drains 12% of your stamina per second for its four second duration. Increases armour and spell resistance by 80 while channelling. Lose 8% of your health when the effect ends.

I’m actually not a fan of this ability at all. The idea of being stuck in place while healing but being entirely vulnerable in the process of this is just a serious put-off. Dark Conversion mitigates some of this by lessening the stamina drain but it’s still sticking you in place for four seconds where terrible things can happen to you. I’m sure there’s a way to use this skill to mitigate this drawback but I’ve not found it.

Exploitation – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 39. Passive skill

Your chance to inflict a critical strike is increased by when attacking targets that are affected by Dark Magic. It’s 7% at rank 1 and 15% at rank 2.

One of the key points to Dark Magic is that it seems to be designed to be used in conjunction with weapon attacks. This is the ultimate outcome of that hybridisation--whack an enemy with Rune Prison and then pound on them while they’re disoriented.

Daedric Mines – Unlocked at Dark Magic Rank 42

The Sorcerer summons three magical mines. These last for 30 seconds and take 3 seconds to arm. Any enemy that approaches them once they’re armed causes them to explode, inflicting magical damage and immobilizing nearby enemies for 1.5 seconds.
Daedric Minefield
Summons 5 mines for 30 seconds. The mines arm 3 seconds after summoning and explode when an enemy nears them, inflicting magic damage and immobilising them for 1.5 seconds.
Daedric Tomb
Summons 3 mines for 30 seconds. The mines arm instantly after summoning and explode when an enemy nears them, inflicting magic damage and immobilising them for 1.5 seconds.

These mines pack a heck of a punch but I’ve got to say that I wasn’t terribly fond of them until I got to Daedric Tomb. Having the mines go off immediately and blow everyone in your immediate area right the heck up is a great way to say hello to a group of enemies. The only thing that limits the effectiveness of this skill is that there is no synergy with any of the passive skills in this tree, nothing to really boost its effectiveness beyond letting it heal you.

Storm Calling 

Mage’s Fury – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 1

The spell caster hurls a bolt of mystical energy that, upon impact, deals shock damage to the target. In addition the bolt explodes if the target falls below 20% health within four seconds of being struck, dealing additional shock damage to the target and all enemies within a 4 metre radius.
Endless Fury
Deals shock damage to a targeted enemy. Explodes for additional shock damage if the target falls below 20% health within four seconds. This explosion deals shock damage to all enemies within a 4 metre radius of the target. Killing an enemy with this ability restores 130 magicka.
Mage’s Wrath
Deals shock damage to a targeted enemy. Explodes for additional shock damage if the target falls below 20% health within four seconds. This explosion deals shock damage to all enemies within a 4 metre radius of the target. The secondary explosion now deals increased damage.

Mage’s Fury is a very effective spell. It’s got pretty good range and a nice ability that can trigger every now and it does a solid bit of damage even after you’ve got better skills. With that said it’s kind of like the D&D spell, Magic Missile, in that it’s useful early on but later in the game it can do some impressive damage once you’ve got perks boosting it and can get that explosive effect to trigger.

Lightning Form – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 4

The spell caster assumes a form made out of pure energy. This increases both his spell resistance and armour rating by 35 for 6 seconds. Any enemies who come near take shock damage every second that they stay near him.
Boundless Storm
Increases armour and spell resistance by 35 for 6 seconds. All nearby enemies suffer shock damage every second they’re near. The caster gains a 30% increase to movement speed.
Thundering Presence
Increases armour and spell resistance by 35 for 9 seconds. All nearby enemies suffer shock damage every second they’re near.

Lightning Form is one of those abilities that you’ll want to take if you feel like you need a defensive bonus. In my personal experience a spell caster who is in need of a defensive boost is close to dead anyway and, unless you’re playing a Battle Mage tank character the bonus doesn’t last long enough to truly matter in most situations. I’m not a big fan in case you can’t tell.

Capacitor – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 8. Passive skill

The Sorcerer’s magicka is increased by 5% per rank in this skill.

Even if you’re not planning on making any use of the Storm Caller tree it may be worth it to take Mage’s Fury and keep it equipped so that you can eventually purchase this skill. It’s a huge help to any character.

Overload – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 12

The Storm Caller draws upon his Ultimate power, using it in small bursts to empower his basic attacks instead of releasing it all in one go. This replaces the casters light and heavy attacks with empowered ones that are more effective. This is a toggled ability so you can turn it off when it is not needed.
Energy Overload
Light and heavy attacks are replaced with empowered versions. Damage is increased by 9%. Restores 84 magicka.
Power Overload
Light and heavy attacks are replaced with empowered versions. Damage is increased by 15%. Increased range and radius on heavy attacks.

Overload is a strange beast. Realistically it’s nowhere near as powerful as some of the other Ultimate abilities out there. But it’s a flexible skill that you can save up for a rainy day, use it in a bad situation and then turn it off once you’ve managed to even things out to save it up again. Since it seems to sync with the Energised, Disintegrate and Overload perks this ability grows in usefulness when you have those.

Energised – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 14. Passive skill

All of your Storm Calling abilities will have their damage increased by 3% at rank 1 and 5% at rank two.

Since most abilities in this tree seem to do between 7 – 15 damage a small 5% bonus isn’t going to really help out very much. That said it can add up if you choose to take it, just don’t feel like you absolutely have to do so.

Lightning Splash – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 20

The caster calls down a pool of lightning that lasts for 3 seconds. Enemies in the area of effect take what appears to be six ticks of damage in that period.
Lightning Flood
Creates a pool of lightning for 3 seconds that deals shock damage every second. This has a much larger radius than Lightning Splash does.
Liquid Lightning
Creates a pool of lightning for 3 seconds that deals shock damage every second. The first hit this skill delivers to each enemy inflicts increased damage.

This is a great skill especially if you can get enemies to cluster up. The radius sounds large on paper but it’s still tough to actually hit more than one or two enemies at a time with it. With that said I prefer to take Lightning Flood since the ability to hit larger groups of enemies makes this skill much more useful than simply doing a bit more damage once per enemy.

Disintegrate – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 22. Passive skill

This passive skill grants all Lightning spells a 5% chance per rank to instantly disintegrate targets with low enough health. This means lightning not Shock damage.

This isn’t the sort of skill you can ever really rely on working. Since it requires your target to have low health and even then there’s only a small percentage chance of it working you simply can’t expect it to happen. However on the rare occasion the effect triggers it’s quite the sweet bonus.

Surge – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 30.

The spell caster increases his weapon damage by 3 for 17 seconds.
Critical Surge
Increases weapon damage by 3 for 20 seconds. Critical strikes heal the player for 65% of the damage he inflicted with said strike.
Power Surge
Increases weapon damage by 3 for 40 seconds.

While this ability will boost the damage of any weapon, whether it be a sword, staff or bow, it's best reserved for a Battle Mage who plans to use lots of melee. This will make the most of the 17 second duration. It’s best to morph it into the Critical Surge so that you get the bonus of a chance to heal if you happen to land a critical hit.

Expert Mage – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 39. Passive skill

Each rank of this ability reduces the cost of all Storm Calling spells by 5% per level.

It’s a shame that this ability comes so late in the skill tree since it is so immensely useful. The damage bonus that it gives really adds up over time. This damage bonus makes the explosion from Mage’s Fury even more destructive and it even seems to apply to Overload. Make sure to purchase this as soon as you can to maximise its usefulness.

Bolt Escape – Unlocked at Storm Calling Rank 42

The Storm Caller becomes sheer electrical energy allowing him to teleport forward, stunning nearby enemies for 1.5 seconds. This has a fairly short cool down which allows the player to zip away from or into combat at a fairly high speed.
Ball of Lightning
Teleports the player forwards, stunning nearby enemies for 2 seconds. Absorbs incoming spell projectiles for 6.5 seconds after a teleport.
Streak
Teleports the player forwards, dealing shock damage and disorienting nearby enemies for 2 seconds.

Bolt Escape isn’t the most impressive high level ability. For a skill that’s mostly designed to get out of combat you would think that it’d be a bit more useful in that regard. However if you can get it up to level 4 and then morph it into Streak you have a much better chance of actually surviving. Disorientation does just as good as stun at letting you get away and it has the added benefit of dealing shock damage and also having a longer duration.

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