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MMO Aspects of ESO - a brief guide for new players

MMO Aspects of ESO - a brief guide for new players

  10:01:00 pm, by Alarra   , 1711 words  
Viewed 2479 times since 06/08/15
Categories: Elder Scrolls

I meant to write this a while ago, back before the change to Tamriel Unlimited. The other day I was replying to a comment in an Elder Scrolls Facebook group, where someone had asked about what's different in ESO since it's an MMO, and my reply got so long, I realized that it would be much more readable - and beneficial to more people - as the blog post I had intended to write.

Note that more detailed information - especially when it comes to character creation, classes, skills, and crafting - can be found on the wiki; a great place to start is our First Time Players page, which links to a lot of the key information.

Read after the break to read the whole thing:

(If I have any inaccurate information, or if I've missed something important, please let me know!)


  • Everything you do is automatically saved. Can't go back and redo a quest after it's done, or anything, and every item use and death is recorded. There's no spot to save the game, because of this - that's something I was confused about when first playing Guild Wars 2, as that was my first MMO.

  • When you die, you respawn at a "wayshrine" - one of several points in each zone - rather than in place. (Unless you or a friend has a filled soul gem that corresponds to your level, or you've unlocked the passive ability that lets you respawn in place once or twice per hour for free). Wayshrines are also the way to fast travel. If you're just somewhere in the wilderness and you fast travel to one, that costs gold, but if you go up to a wayshrine, you can travel between them for free.


  • Quests and dungeons are a lot shorter than a main-series game. Doesn't mean that quests aren't interesting, though. That's one thing that ES does better than other MMOs: it's not just fetch-quests, there's an actual story in each one. True, they're not as long as regular-series quests, mostly, but there's still a lot of good ones.

  • As far as the NPCs, there are a lot more "generic" unnamed ones to fill out towns (for example, in Vulkhel Guard, the first Aldmeri Dominion town, you'll see a lot of deckhands from the ship at the docks, members of the Fighters/Mages Guild, and temple acolytes.) It does have far more named NPCs than the main-series games though (Oblivion and Skyrim had around 1,000; ESO has around 11,000 so far). They don't have as much dialogue as main-series NPCs simply because there's so many of them, and it's mainly the quest-related NPCs that have the most characterization, but all of their dialogue is voiced (other MMOs tend to just have only the most important NPCs voiced, as far as I can tell.)

  • The currently available NPC guilds are the Fighters Guild, the Mages Guild, and the Undaunted. The Fighters and Mages Guild have a guildhall in many of the major towns and cities, and have a solid questline, while the Undaunted are a group of dungeon explorers who will reward you for completing group dungeons.  All three have their own skill lines.  The Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood will be in future DLC; no date set yet.  EDIT 9/1/15: Thieves Guild is expected Q1 2016; Dark Brotherhood is expected Q2 2016.

  • The province of Cyrodiil is the PvP part of the game, and it's available at level 10.  This is the only place where players can kill other players.  In addition to the whole fort-capturing PvP thing, you can also just explore on your own, or with friends, and do NPC quests.  Just remember - you can be attacked by an enemy player at any time!


Character Creation and Combat

  • Weapons are still controlled the same way as in the regular ES games, but now in addition to that you have a "hotbar" - a set of skills you've chosen from a variety of skills that you spend points to unlock.  These are usually either spells (usually determined by your class) or stronger weapon-based attacks.

  • One thing to decide is which of the four classes you want.  These determine some of the potential hotbar abilities that are available to you.  You can use any type of armor and any weapon with any class.

  • Your race determines your passive abilities, as well as which Alliance you're in. (Each Alliance is in a different part of Tamriel and will take you through mostly different quests.) Ebonheart Pact is Nord, Dunmer, and Argonian; Aldmeri Dominion is Khajiit, Altmer, and Bosmer; Daggerfall Covenant is Orc, Breton, and Redguard. (Imperials are only available through the Imperial Edition and can choose any. There is also an item available from preordering or by purchasing it in the cash shop that grants you the ability to have any of the nine races in any Alliance.)

  • You can create up to 8 characters, and can delete up to 3 characters per day if you get bored of any of yours.

  • The level cap is 50, plus 14 additional "veteran" levels. Creatures in a zone don't scale to your level; they're a fixed level, so beware if you're going into an area underleveled!  Crafting skills also cap at 50.



  • Items work a bit differently. You can't, say, throw a sword on the ground and see it there; it's just an icon in your bag. (There are, however, swords and other objects laying around that you can pick up, like in a main-series game.)

  • Your inventory is slot-based rather than weight-based (so, 95 iron swords of the same type/stats will take up one space - which is just as much space as it would take if you only had one of that type.)  You can increase the space available by leveling up your mount-riding skill, or by buying bag space with gold.


  • You have an account bank that is shared between all your characters. You can increase the bank space with gold.  If you're part of a guild with at least 10 members, you can have a guild bank that is shared between all members that have permissions.

  • You're not going to come across items and gold as easily as in a regular ES game.  When you kill an enemy, it might just have 3 gold and/or a crafting material on it; actual armor and weapons are rarer. You don't get their full inventory like in the main-series games.

  • Items are level-based. If you find/craft a piece of armor that says lv 15 on it, for instance, you can't wear/use it until you're at least level 15.

  • Gold in particular is pretty valuable in this game - not only can you buy items with it, but you can unlock bank slots and inventory slots, train in a riding skill, etc.  Tip: don't buy armor and weapons from NPC merchants; it's much more cost-effective to make it yourself or buy it from someone else.  Likewise, in many cases it's more profitable to sell items to other players than to NPCs (a recipe that an NPC will pay you 7 gold for, might get you 50 or more from another player).

  • Mounts aren't creatures that you have to take care of. You press a button to summon it and climb on it wherever you are. If you get hurt too much while on it you'll fall off and it will disappear; this does not kill it, you can summon it again whenever you get out of combat. All mounts have the same stats, but characters can go to a stable once per day to train in a riding skill (to increase speed, carry capacity, and stamina of all mounts that character rides.)

  • There is a cash shop (this one is called the Crown Store), which is typical for MMOs. Unlike other MMOS, ESO's is all convenience and cosmetic items which do not affect your gameplay should you choose to not buy any; they either are only aesthetic, or available in-game.  Vanity pets and costumes are only visual things, for example.  Mounts can be bought for in-game gold, and their stats are identical to the Crown Store mounts (because the stamina/capacity/carry weight is based on the character, not the mount.)  Items like the motifs are possible to find in-game, and the food/potions the Crown Store sells is inferior to player-made food/potions of the same level.  (Now compare all that to, say, Guild Wars 2 - again, the only other MMO I'm familiar with, so others might be different - in GW2 you only get the minimum bank space unless you use the cash-shop currency to unlock more space.)


  • There are more creatures in the wilderness than main-series, and they tend to be easier to kill. Bosses respawn. There will be some, though - zone bosses, and some in caves, dark anchors, and obviously dungeons, that are meant for multiple people - that may require the help of others. Most of the world, though, can be solo'd.

  • You'll see other players running around in the world. There tends to be more in the cities, and some only every now and then in the wilderness. Makes the world feel more alive, IMO, despite the slight-immersion-breaking of several players gathering around a quest NPC or banker in the busier areas. There's also a chat window; you can hide it, or set multiple tabs in it with different filters (for example one of mine is filtered for just guild chat, while another has that plus the general zone chat.)  You can also do emotes - have your character perform one of over a hundred actions (which is great for RPing!)

  • I recommend finding a guild; it's nice to get a handful of players that you're used to and can have fun with, and if you want to run a dungeon it's usually easier to ask your guildies than just finding random people. There's the guild bank, as previously mentioned, and guilds also have a guild store where you can sell to other players; if your guild bids on a guild trader - certain NPCs in the world - then players who aren't part of your guild can interact with that NPC and buy from your store. 


I think I've covered everything I can think of at the moment.  Like I said, if you can think of anything to add, if I need to correct anything, or if you have any questions, please leave a comment!


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