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ESO GUIDE - The Races and What's Right For You!


Greetings and salutations ESO nerds! Time for a guide from Tae-Rai, your OTHER ESO host! (Yes, she does things, amazing...) I've seen epople ask about races and how to choose one in Elder Scrolls Online so here is a handy-dandy guide!



First of all, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way...

Unless you are min-maxing for top scores in end-game veteren trials with the best players on your server, your race will not matter. Period.

This is by far the BIGGEST misconception about ESO is that you cannot be XYZ role unless you are ABC race. This is INCORRECT, of course. Now, are some races better for some roles then others? Yes, of course, however, just because you choose to roll something that is not the best in slot (BIS) or off-meta, does not mean you can succeed in the game.

So what are the races? 

There are ten races to play as in ESO, split into three factions. They are the same as all other in other TES games, however, unless the cosmetic item known as the 'Explorer's Pack' (also known as the 'Any Race, Any Alliance'), is bought, all race are locked to their specific faction (see below for who goes where!) Imperials are the exception, but requires a purchase known as the 'Digital Imperial Upgrade' pack. Personally, I recommend getting both of these for the sake that they are cheap and convinent for the player to have, even if they are rendered slightly moot by the One Tamriel upgrade. 

The One Tamriel quality of life change allows players to play in any zone, regardless of story, and the only reason for purchasing Any Race really is to say you can play as anyone you want in any faction, however, faction matters little save for in PvP Cyrodill. As for Imperials, it sucks they are behind a paywall but they are definatly NOT a pay to win race so no dramas there if that is not a concern.

At max level, all races gain a 15% bonus to a skill line, some form of recovery in an attribute and/or a damage boost to spell or weapon damage. All values below come from the max rank of the racial skill tree. 

Consisting of the Altmer (High Elves), Bosmer (Wood Elves) and Khajiit, the Dominion is ruled by Queen Aryeen of Summerset. Cunning and clever, the faction believes that the men of the world are not suited to rule over Tamriel. They are also the only faction to exist in a later time, most famously as the Thalmor in TES V: Skyrim.


Best suited for: Magicka DPS, healer
Highborn: Increases your experience gain with the Destruction Staff skill line by 15%. Increases your experience gained by 1%.
Spell Charge: When you activate a class ability, you restore 640 magicka or stamina, based on whichever is lowest. This effect can occur once every 6 seconds. When you are using an ability with a channel or cast time, you take 5% less damage
Syrabane: Increase your max magicka by 2000.
Elemental Talent: Increases your spell damage by 258.


Best suited for: Stamina DPS
Increases your experience gain with the Bow skill line by 15%. Decreases your fall damage taken by 10%.
Hunter's Eye: Increases your stealth detection radius by 3 meters. Increases your movement speed by 10% and your Physical and Spell Penetration by 1500 for 6 seconds after you use Roll Dodge.
Y'ffre's Endurance: Increases your Stamina Recovery by 258.
Resist Affliction: Increases your Max Stamina by 2000 and Poison Resistance by 2310. Gain immunity to the Poisoned status effect.


Best suited for: Stamina DPS
Cutpurse: Increases your experience gain with the Medium Armor skill line by 15%. Increases your chance to successfully pickpocket by 5%.
Robustness: Increases your Health Recovery by 100 and your Stamina and Magicka Recovery by 85.
Lunar Blessing: Increase your Maximum Health, Magicka, and Stamina by 825.
Feline Ambush: Increases your Critical Damage and Critical Healing by 10%. Decreases your detection radius in Stealth by 3 meters.


Consiting of the Bretons, Orsinmer (Orcs) and Redguards, the Daggerfall Covenant is an unlikely but strong alliance ruled by King Emeric of Wayrest. United by a distrust of elves and fuelled by a reverance for the Divines, they are a hardy collective.


Best suited for: Magicka DPS, healer
Oppurtunist: Increases your experience gain with the Light Armor skill line by 15%. Increases your Alliance Points gained by 1%.
Gift of Magnus: 
Increases your Max Magicka by 2000.
Spell Attunement: Increases your Spell Resistance by 2310. This effect is doubled if you are afflicted with Burning, Chilled, or Concussed. Increases your Magicka Recovery by 100.
Magicka Mastery: Reduces the Magicka cost of your abilities by 7%.


Best suited for: Stamina DPS, being Sonic the Hedgehog
Craftsman: Increases your experience gain with the Heavy Armor skill line by 15%. Increases your crafting inspiration gained by 10%.
Brawny: Increases your Max Stamina by 2000.
Unflinching Rage: Increases your Max Health by 1000. When you deal damage with a Weapon ability, you heal for 600 Health. This can occur once every 4 seconds.
Swift Warrior:  Increases your Weapon Damage by 258. Reduces the cost of Sprint by 12% and increases the Movement Speed bonus of Sprint by 10%.


Best suited for: Stamina DPS
Wayfarer: Increases your experience gain with the One Hand and Shield skill line by 15%. Increases the duration of any eaten food by 15 minutes.
Martial Training: Reduces the cost of your weapon abilities by 8%. Reduces the effectiveness of snares applied to you by 15%.
Conditioning: Increases your Max Stamina by 2000.
Adrenline Rush: When you deal direct damage, you restore 950 Stamina. This effect can occur once every 5 seconds.


Consisting of the Dunmer (Dark Elves), Nords and Argonians, the Ebonheart Pact is rulled by Skald-King Jorun of Skyrim. An unlikely trio that untied to resist the Akaviri invasion of the east, the three has formed a mutual agreement with each other to prevent their enemies from taking the Ruby Throne.


Best suited for: Magicka or Stamina DPS
Ashlander: Increases your experience gain with the Dual Wield skill line by 15%. Reduces your damage taken from environmental lava by 50%.
Dynamic: Increases your Max Magicka and Max Stamina by 1875.
Resist Flame: Increases your Flame Resistance by 2310. Gain immunity to the Burning status effect.
Ruination: Increases your Weapon and Spell Damage by 258.


Best suited for: Tank
Reveler: Increases your experience gain with the Two Handed skill line by 15%. Increases the duration of any consumed drink by 15 minutes.
Resist Frost:
 Increases your Max Health by 1000 and Cold Resistance by 2310. Gain immunity to the Chilled status effect.
Increases your Max Stamina by 1500. When you take damage, you gain 5 Ultimate. This effect can occur once every 10 seconds.
Increases your Physical and Spell Resistance by 3960.


Best suited for: Tank, healer
Amphibian: Increases your experience gain with the Restoration Staff skill line by 15%. Increases your swimming speed by 50%.
Life Mender: Increases your healing done by 6%.
Argonian Resitance: Increases your Max Health by 1000 and Disease Resistance by 2310. Gain immunity to the Diseased status effect.
Resourceful: Increases your Max Magicka by 1000. When you drink a potion, you restore 4000 Health, Magicka, and Stamina.


Not belonging to any faction, the Imperials have lost their empire, their emperer, their lands and most of their forces. Spread out across the land, they are fighting to regain control of a once great dynasty.


Best suited for: Tank
Diplomat: Increases your experience gain with the One Hand and Shield skill line by 15%. Increases your gold gained by 1%.
Tough: Increases your Max Health by 2000.
Imperial Mettle: Increases your Max Stamina by 2000.
Red Diamond: Reduces the cost of all your abilities by 3%. When you deal direct damage, you heal yourself for 333 and restore 333 Magicka and Stamina. This effect can occur once every 5 seconds.


Overall, I hope this clears up some questions about the ESO races and classes? What's your favourite race? What do you enjoy playing as? Leave a comment down below!

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  • Very helpful guide! It should be noted that khajiit, like dark elves, work just as well as well for magicka dps as they do for stamina dps.

    • Thanks! Yes, I didn't realise they were good for MagDPS. Will add

      • Oh yeah. Magicka or Stamina, they work out great if you can get your crit rate way up there. 

  • Great guide Tae and glad to see you posting--I have been woefully deficient as a host over the past couple of months in terms of posting new things on the site! 

    I have only one note of substance to add--and it's a matter of opinion I suppose. But I always find it funny that Dunmer are just ugly as hell in TES5, yet in ESO they are (to me) the most attractive of the races. I wonder if the Red Mountain exploding broke everyone's nose, and that's why TES5 Dunmer's noses are all jacked up.

    • Thanks Avi! Insperation struck me!

      As for Dunmer being hot.... Well. I have one photo to back this up6391460083?profile=RESIZE_930x

    • I think its more or less Bethesda phoning it in when they designed characters for TES V. There's hardly a pretty face to be found anywhere in Skyrim. And that is where mods come in. 

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