Sunshine Daydream's Guide to ESO

Developing Your Class for Your Role

There are currently 5 classes within Elder Scrolls Online. While the creators suggest any class can fulfill any role, some are less suited a given role based on their class skills. Although class skills are not your only skill lines, they are unique to the one thing you cannot change amid your character's progress.

Here we offer some things to consider when tailoring your class for your role. Follow the links to check out all the class skills available for your given your class. Consider what you want to do and how you envision doing it, then determine what path your character will take to greatness!


These skillful masters-at-arms use the ancient Akaviri marital arts tradition of battle-spirit, and wield fearsome magic that pounds, shatters and physically alters the world around them. (description within character creation)

The class-based skill trees for a Dragonknight are Ardent Flame (with a focus on DPS), Draconic Power (particularly useful for tanks, also has crowd control), and Earthen Heart (a blended tree).


The cultural bonuses of the Dunmer make a very attractive choice for DPS. The Magicka bonuses for an Altmer or a Breton present strong options from other Alliances. Light Armor would be favored in most situations and Silks of the Sun would be an easily acquired drop set that would also add to a Flame Damage build.

For a Magicka-based Tank, no realistic options present themselves from any alliance other than the Pact. An argument could be made to support the selection of an Argonian as a curious but possibly fitting choice for a self-healing tank. Again however, particularly as a dragonknight in this role, the Dunmer also presents as an excellent option for consideration. Magicka-oriented Heavy Armor sets that are well-suited to the Dragonknight's skills include...

The Dragonknight is not well-suited to play as a Healer since Obsidian Shard & Cauterize are the only class abilities that can heal other players. A dragonknight focused nearly exclusively on restoration staff abilities might claim a healer role, but cannot deliver the variety of healing and support most players would expect; when oriented toward a support role, this class definitely leans toward that of a Tank.


A Dragonknight designed for Stamina-based DPS will seek to deal primarily Poison Damage from Class abilities and Physical Damage from Weapon skills. This makes Medium Armor sets such as ... appealing options.

Within the Aldmeri Dominion, the Bosmer's bonus to Maximum Stamina would be appealing in this role. Within the Daggerfall Covenant there could also be a dilemma where an Orc's damage boost might win for short fights but in longer battles the Redguard's Stamina Recovery could tip the scales. If playing from within the Pact one might choose a damage-dealing Dunmer.

A dragonknight focused on the role of a Stamina-based Tank might favor the racial skills of the Imperials, Orsimer or Nords who each seem well-suited to the task. If playing an Aldmeri Dominion character perhaps a Khajiit might be an interesting choice. Stamina-based Heavy Armor sets that complement the Dragonknight's skills include...


Necromancers (description within character creation)

The three class-based skill trees for Necromancers are Grave Lord (DPS), Bone Tyrant (defensive), & Living Death (healing). For stamblades the weapon trees are often even more important than class trees, although several class skills can be morphed into stamina-based skills.



Nightblades are adventurers and opportunists with a gift for getting in and out of trouble. Relying variously on stealth, blades, and speed, Nightblades thrive on conflict and misfortune, trusting their luck and cunning to survive. (description within character creation)

The three class-based skill trees for Nightblades are Assassination (DPS), Shadow (defensive), & Siphoning (crowd control or support). For stamblades the weapon trees are often even more important than class trees, although several class skills can be morphed into stamina-based skills.


If one designs a Magicka-based Nightblade for DPS, I would suggest considering an Altmer for the boosts to Destruction Staves, Max Magicka and Magicka Recovery or a Breton for its boosts to Max Magicka, Magicka cost reduction, and rapid training in Light Armor. A Dunmer vampire build seems like it could also be an interesting choice.

To run Magicka DPS, Light Armor would be ideal and for a Nightblade sets to consider include...

A Nightblade in a group could cultivate a strong role in helping with crowd control or be built for defense through resistances and health passives along with a trickle of self-healing. However, the majority of a Nightblade's defensive skills focus on evasion and stealth rather than openly drawing an enemy's rage. This fact combined with very few class abilities that target multiple enemies makes designing a Nightblade to be a group's Tank seem a difficult if not impossible stretch.

While Tank itself would not an ideal role to attempt to fill, a defensive Magicka-based Nightblade could be designed as a Breton thanks to inherent boosts to magicka and spell resistance or an Argonian to self-heal through a fight; each could be workable as defensively played Magicka-based choices. Whether one should consider Medium Armor for benefits to stealth, Light Armor for benefits to Magicka, or Heavy Armor for its defenses would be a setting-based or individual style choice of balance here. Sets to consider would include... The Destruction Staff skill line would need to be strongly blended in for this to work although Shadow's passives for defense/recovery would be important and potential skills would include:

A Nightblade would be a poor choice for a Healer. The Siphoning skill line has a few intriguing passive skills, but only a total of 4 Nightblade skills heal others: Soul Siphon (Soul Shred), Shadow's Refreshing Path morph of Path of Darkness, Siphoning's Funnel Health morph of Strife, and Siphoning's Sap Essense morph of Drain Power. These skills are Magicka-based so could at least be blended with Restoration Staff abilities, but this very small collection of skills means that a Nightblade Healer could not be very individualized, and I'd not recommend pursuing such a build. The only racial option worthy of consideration here is the Argonian to try to compensate for the weaknesses of the class in this role.


The only role a Stamina-based Nightblade would be well-suited for is DPS. Nightblades can definitely be highly varied and effective in this role, either melee or ranged builds who frequently use a stealth-oriented approach and gain extra damage from attacking while stealthed. If you choose to melee, expect to focus on dual-wielding daggers; other weapon types may be of interest, but the boost to critical strike chance with daggers — once you have the Twin Blade and Blunt skill — is frequently the best option.

Although you might consider wearing a cuirass (heavy chest) and sash (light waist) if you also want to level those armor skill lines as you progress, medium armor must be your focus.

Khajiit skills add to the stealthy style of DPS that a Nightblade typically delivers. A Bosmer or Redguard melee Nightblade might feel like it has limitless Stamina. A Nord, Orc, or Imperial Nightblade might feel invulnerable. These would be some of things to consider if desiring a Stamina-based Nightblade.

Defensive Nightblade skills leans heavily toward Magicka-based skills. Hence this class's contribution to a Tank would mainly be buffs/debuffs. If one does pursue this you would surely be relying upon Heavy Armor and Shield-based skills which means other classes may have far more to offer in the role.

A Nightblade for the role of Stamina-based Healer is simply a non-starter as not a single Stamina-based Nightblade skill heals other players.

Some enticing Nightblade designs would include:


Sorcerers can use conjuration and destruction spells to hurl lightning bolts and create shock fields, wield dark magic to snare and stun, and summon Daedric combat followers from Oblivion to assist them. (description within character creation)

Dark Magic (crowd control), Daedric Summoning (defense & damage), & Storm Calling (DPS) serve as the Sorcerer's class-based skill lines.


Magicka DPS benefits from good synergy with Altmer racial skills, perhaps surpassed only by Breton's magicka & defensive skills from within the Daggerfall Covenant. Within the Pact a Dunmer would perform strongly.

Magicka damage-based Sorcerers will mostly be found in Light Armor, although while leveling one might wear a heavy chest piece and medium legs to provide some extra protection as well as training those skill lines. Heavy Armor might be more suitable if one opts to design a Magicka Tank or for use in PvP depending upon the PvP group's balance.

One could stick to the cultural choices described above for their Magicka benefits or consider options based on bonuses to defense and/or healing for a Tank. Although without many boosts to Magicka, a Nord, Argonian, Orc, or Khajiit might be worthy of consideration in this role...

The Nord's boosts to health and damage reduction would enhance defenses and the Argonian would gain more self-healing while also having boosts to health and resistances. Orc and Khajiit also have bonuses to health & healing that would impact the role of a Tank. Still, their bonuses are mostly tied to Stamina so they would make unusual choices.

A Sorcerer would not be a wise choice for a Healer. While there are a few self-heals within Sorcerer's skills, there is only one skill (Absorption Field, which is an Ultimate ability at that) for healing allies.


Stamina-based Sorcerers will focus on Medium Armor (damage) or Heavy Armor (defense) depending upon other build details. Wearing a heavy cuirass and light sash while leveling will train the other armor lines to keep more options open.

Sorcerer skills of most interest to a stamina-build would be:

DPS would likely look to Redguard, Dunmer, or Orcs, although Khajiit may also provide another option to consider. Bosmer and Redguards both receive bonuses to both Max Stamina and to Stamina Recovery which would be helpful to a Stamina DPS build. A Dunmer would have boosts to both Magicka & Stamina as well as to all types of elemental damage, making the mix of Magicka Sorcerer & Mages Guild skills with Stamina morphs & weapon skills an interesting option. Orcs have a boost to Max Stamina and while lacking Stamina recovery boosts do have strong damage numbers; with Heavy Attacks restoring Stamina and being more important post-Morrowind, orcs are worth serious consideration.

Imperial, Nord, or Orc would be worthy of consideration for a Stamina Tank. The Nord's boosts to health and damage reduction would enhance defenses and their unique ultimate generation should not be overlooked. Orcs and Khajiit also have bonuses to health & healing that would impact the role of a Tank.

A Sorcerer would not be a wise choice for a Healer. While there are a few self-heals within Sorcerer's skills, there is only one skill (Absorption Field, which is an Ultimate ability at that) for healing allies.


These traveling knights call upon the powers of light and the burning sun to deal massive damage to their enemies while restoring health, magicka, and stamina to their allies. (description within character creation)

The Templar class's skill trees are Aedric Spear (DPS), Dawn's Wrath (crowd control), and Restoring Light (healing and/or tanking). For Stamplars the weapon trees are at least as important as Templar class trees since very few morphs here are stamina-based.


The cultural bonuses of Argonians make them attractive choices for Healers. Bretons or Altmer could also thrive as healers. Restoring Light skills will help protect and heal your party; to be even more supportive, consider weaving in some of Dawn's Wrath's debuff or crowd control features as well. A Templar who is tightly focused on healing will likely be found in Light Armor; these builds might toss on a heavy cuirass to level that skill line for PvP -- or more heavy pieces when playing solo if they run like a tank at such times.

Templars can also choose the role of DPS, where the Magicka Damage of Aedric Spear and Dawn's Wrath class skills could shine under a magicka-oriented race such as Altmer, Breton, Argonian, or Dunmer. DPS Templars whose resources stem from Magicka will likely be found in mostly Light Armor.

A Magicka Tank might wield a destruction staff or use a sword and shield depending on the balance of defense vs recovery. A Khajiit's health recovery might come in handy if playing an Aldmeri tank and would tip the scales a bit further toward sword and shield despite being a Magicka build, or one might use an Altmer instead for its buffs to Magicka builds. Bretons, Argonians or Nords would all be strong potential choices for such a build's race. A tank or healer/tank blend should most often be found in Heavy Armor, although such a build while leveling might wear a light belt and medium gloves to level those skill lines as well. If making a Templar into a Tank, they will at least gain have some self-healing abilities from Templar skills, if not also some debuffs and crowd control measures.


Templars are sparse on Stamina-based morphs. The few available are:

Realistically a Stamina-based Templar would not be suited to a Healer's role within these limits.

A DPS build would rely heavily on weapon skills for most damage while possibly using Aedric Spear's Biting Jabs as a cheap & handy AoE. Aedric Spear's passive skills, namely Piercing Spear and Balanced Warrior, would also be wise considerations. In the end however, most of the skills for the role would need to come from weapon-based abilities. A Stamina-oriented DPS build would likely wear Medium Armor and favor being designed from the Redguard, the Bosmer, the Khajiit, or perhaps the Dunmer.

Templar Tanks would benefit most from an Imperial's skills although Orc or Nord could make strong options as well. Consider mixing the skill line trees but focus most attention on Dawn's Wrath which helps crowd control enemies. A tank or healer/tank blend should be found in Heavy armor (often using a sword and shield as well); although such a build while leveling might wear a light belt and medium gloves to level those skill lines as well. If making a Templar into a Tank, they will at least gain have some self-healing abilities from Templar skills, if not also some debuffs.


Wardens are defenders of the Green, master storytellers whose nature tales become magical reality. They wield frost spells against enemies and summon animals to aid them. (ESO's character creation text)

The class skills for Wardens are Animal Companions (DPS), Green Balance (healing), and Winter's Embrace (defensive with some frost/magic damage).


A character seeking to deal significant DPS would consider the standard Magicka-based options which are recommended here again: Altmer have both boosts to frost damage and general magicka utility with boosts to Max Magicka & Magicka Recovery, Bretons while not offering anything warden-specific have wonderful magicka utility with boosts to Max Magicka & Magicka cost reduction, while a Pact-based Dunmer offers boosts to Max Magicka and a slight boost to frost damage.

For a Healer, an Argonian with its boosts to healing done and to healing received would be the top choice although the Breton's Max Magicka boost and utility with Magicka cost reduction make them a strong selection as well. Altmer would again be the preferred option from the Aldmeri Dominion, both for Magicka Recovery and Max Magicka, even without considering the bonus to elemental damage that was weighed for their selection in the role of DPS.

A Magicka Tank might well seek a Breton's balance of spell resistance and magicka utility. Enough defensive options exist in the Warden's skill lines to make Altmer a solid option from the Aldmeri Dominion even without more specialization than their Magicka utility/boosts. Another possibility would be to benefit from Argonian healing boosts, but an Imperial's superior Max Health would make them the top choice.


Warden skills of interest to a Stamina build present solid options for DPS but show few skills to benefit a Healer or Tank:

DPS builds would shine as a stamina-based Warden. Here the Redguards, Dunmer, or Khajiit could hope to shine, although perhaps none as well as Orc.

Wardens make excellent healers and tanks, but they are vastly better suited to a Magicka-based builds for these roles. I see little hope for realistic build options suited to a Stamina-based Healer in these skill lines.

To make a workable "Stamina-based Warden Tank," one could balance stamina-based Tank skills found in other skill lines (Armor/Weapon/Shield) with magicka-based Warden skills for self-healing, defense, and crowd control. If pursuing this path, I would suggest a Khajiit, an Orc, or probably best of all, a Nord for its unique ultimate generation boost as well as other bonuses. If the Imperial Edition was purchased, the Imperial would present a solid option as well with its boosts to Max Health and Max Stamina as long as one chose a melee weapon to Restore Health with melee attacks.

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Sunshine Daydream's Guide to ESO

Sunshine Daydream

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