ESO New Player Beginner Guide | Quick Start Guide

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ESO Beginner Guide

This ESO Beginner Guide will show you the very first steps for success in The Elder Scrolls Online. ESO offers a vast, beautiful world to explore with many interesting activities to perform and stories to follow. Starting your Journey in Tamriel as a new player can be intimidating but definitely worth it! Below you can find several useful tips that will help you make your first steps in ESO!

Table of Contents

Getting Started – Character, Race and Class

Your first step in ESO is to customize your character and pick the right Race and Class. Races and Classes have their unique characteristics that will affect gameplay.

Race – ESO Beginner Guide

There are ten playable races in The Elder Scrolls Online, nine available with the base game and one available for purchase/unlock. The base game Races are equally divided in the three Alliances of the game, Daggerfall Covenant, Aldmeri Dominion and Ebonheart Pact. The ESO Races are:

Daggerfall Covenant Races

  • Breton
  • Orc
  • Redguard

Aldmeri Dominion Races

  • High Elf
  • Wood Elf
  • Khajiit

Ebonheart Pact Races

  • Argonian
  • Dark Elf
  • Nord

You can unlock the Imperial race and use it with every Alliance. Each Race has four Racial Passive abilities that will affect their effectiveness in activities like PVE, PVP, Tanking, Healing etc. The first Racial ability for each Race is mostly about leveling up and offers a minor perk. You can ignore this one when selecting a race for your character, since it will become irrelevant fast as you progress in the game.

eso beginner guide

The other three abilities are important for your character, depending on the role and activities you wish to perform in the game. The truth is that the difference between Races is not that significant and all of them can complete everything successfully in ESO.

The difference between them will only show in end-game PVE or PVP gameplay. For the best efficiency on that level some of the Races are better than the rest. So for example, High Elf and Dark Elf are better as Magicka DPS, Dark Elf and Orc are better as Stamina DPS, Nord and Imperial are better as Tanks, while Argonian and High Elf make great Healers. Racial Passives unlock at level five. You can find more info about the Races of The Elder Scrolls Online in my ESO Race Guide.

Class – ESO Beginner Guide

Your next big decision is picking the right Class! There are seven playable classes in the game, four with the base game and three available for purchase. The ESO Classes with the base game are:

and available for purchase:

Each Class has its pros and cons but all of them can fulfill every role in the game with success. Sorcerer, Templar, Dragonknight and Warden are easier for new players! Necromancer and Nightblades are harder to master. Arcanist is somewhere in the middle with its own unique Crux system! You can find more info about the Classes of ESO in my ESO Class Guide and ESO Best Solo Class Guide. Now that you have picked the right Race and Class, complete the customization of your character, pick a name and start playing!

Tutorial – Isle of Balfiera, Basic Settings

When you enter the game for the first time, you will find yourself in The Isle of Balfiera, the Tutorial area for ESO. Follow Norianwe‘s instructions to learn the basics of combat but to also reveal a few important mechanics! Before you start following the NPC around and actually playing the game, there are a few settings you can pick that will make your life easier.

While in Settings go to the Gameplay tab and turn the “Quick Cast Ground Abilities” On. This will allow you to cast ground AOE ability fast without the need for a second input. In the Nameplates Tab turn “Nameplates” On, to know who you are talking to!

Now in the Combat Tab, put the Ability Bar to “Always Show” and turn the Ability Bar Timers and the Ability Bar Back Row, On. Likewise put the Attribute Bars to “Always Show” and Resource Numbers to Number Only, Percent Only or Number and Percent. This last option will allow you to see how much Health enemies still have in numbers. Finally you can leave the Active Combat Tips to “Automatic” or put it to “Always Show” for some helpful combat tips.

These are some very basic settings that will help you enjoy the combat more. You can experiment with the rest options and pick the ones you prefer. Assign your controls and you are good to go. At the end of the Tutorial you will unlock an area full of portals. The portals will take you to the first zone of your journey in Tamriel! Some portals will get you to a DLC zone, like Vvardenfell, Summerset, Elsweyr, Greymoor, Blackwood or High Isle and start the corresponding story line.

There are also portals that will take you in the Starter zone of your Alliance, which is what i recommend you to do. Like this you will understand the game better. These zones are:

  • Khenarthi’s Roost – Aldmeri Dominion
  • Stros M’kai – Daggerfall Covenant
  • Bleakrock Isle – Ebonheart Pact

Pick a portal and jump to your first zone. Do not worry though! No matter what zone you will find yourself into, you can always travel around Tamriel for free by using a Wayshrine and other methods.

Free Travel – ESO Beginner Guide

You can travel anywhere around Tamriel for free by using a Wayshrine, a Boat or a Caravan. Wayshrines are special points of interest that allow you to teleport around, to other Wayshrines. They are basically connecting areas of a zone and different zones in-game.

To travel to a Wayshrine though you must have first discovered it. This makes exploration in ESO not only fun but also important. You can travel to a location without interacting with a Wayshrine but this will cost gold, so it is not advisable. An easy way to discover new Wayshrines is by porting to the location of a party member.

Another way of Traveling for free is via Boats and Caravans. These can be found around Towns and connect zones. Each Boat or Caravan will take you to a specific destination, another zone that is connected to the one you are. The Navigator NPC responsible for the Boat or Caravan will tell you where you can travel. Usually it takes a few Jumps to reach your desired destination with this method. But traveling via Boats or Caravans is the best way to visit locations you have not discovered yet.

Main Quest – ESO Beginner Guide

Now that you know how to travel for free, visit the main starter town of your Alliance and speak to the “Hooded Figure” to acquire the main story line of the game, “Soul Shriven in Coldharbour“. The Main Starter Towns for the three Alliances are:

  • Vulkhel Guard – Auridon for Aldmeri Dominion
  • Daggerfall – Glenumbra for Daggerfall Covenant
  • Davon’s Watch – Stonefalls for Ebonheart Pact

Follow this story line first to uncover an amazing plot and reach a new zone, Coldharbour!

How to Unlock new Skill Lines in ESO

ESO has hundreds of skills you can learn but you have to unlock their skill lines first! The most important you must unlock as soon as possible include Guilds Skill Lines, Weapon and Armor Lines.

Guilds Skills

First unlock the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild and Undaunted Lines. You can get all three with a simple dialogue with the appropriate NPC. For the Fighters Guild and Mages Guild, visit their building at one of the three Alliance Starter Locations, talk to the appropriate NPC and join.

To join the Undaunted you can talk to Turuk Redclaws in the Salted Wings Tavern, located at Vulkhel GuardAuridon or Mighty Mordra in the Rosy Lion located at DaggerfallGlenumbra or Kailstig the Axe in the Fish Stink located at Davon’s WatchStonefalls. Each line requires different tasks to level it up. Hovering over their progress bar will show you what you have to do!

eso beginner guide

Weapons Skills

To unlock weapon skill lines you just have to kill an enemy or a critter with the appropriate weapon. In total there are six Weapon Skill Lines in ESO:

Armors Skills

There are three Armor Skill Lines in ESO:

To unlock them, all you have to do is wear three pieces of each Armor. You can buy them from NPC or find them as loot. To level up the Armor Skill Lines, always wear at least a piece of each. The more pieces you wear, the faster they will level up.

Level Up, Claim Rewards, Skills and Morphs

As you explore, complete quests and kill enemies you earn experience that will help you level up and gain levels. Every time you gain a new level you also unlock rewards that will make your journey easier. Do not forget to claim those rewards. At level ten you will also unlock your first mount! You can assign it from your Collections, Mounts tab and summon it with the “H” key.

You also earn attribute points(64 in total) when leveling up. Allocate those to Stamina, Magicka or Health to further strengthen your character. Attributes determine what kind of skills you can use and how efficiently. For the best damage you should go full Stamina or Magicka, depending on your goals and build purpose. If you would like to learn more about Building your character for PVE or PVP you can read my ESO PVE Build Guide and ESO PVP Build Guide.

Skills and Morphs – ESO Beginner Guide

To level up skills and their lines you have to place them in your skill bar. Try to have skills from different lines there, to level them up faster. When you hit level 15, you will unlock your second skill bar. Equip a weapon in your inventory, under the existing weapon, to start using it.

You can now place and use more skills. However only the skills in your active bar will level up when you complete an action that earns you experience. When you open your skills overview(“K” by default) you can see the Skills Advisor on the left. Use this as a guide to which skills are important and should be leveled up first.

Once a skill reaches its maximum level, you can morph it! Two new options will appear, which basically transform the base skill into two new different skills with different purpose and some times different attribute cost! Choose the morph carefully and make sure it fits with the play style and purpose of your character. Morphs are the main skills of ESO, that you will be using to complete content, not the base skills!

Skill Points

To unlock Skills and Morphs you need skill points. You can get those by leveling up, completing quests and collecting Skyshards. Every three Skyshards you collect, you earn one skill point. Skyshards can be found everywhere in Tamriel. Overworld or inside Delves and Public Dungeons. There are hundreds of Skill points you can collect in the game, so do not worry about running out of them anytime soon.

Beyond Level 50

Level 50 is the maximum level in ESO. However the leveling up does not stop there! After level 50 you start earning Champion Points that you can use to unlock strong passives for your character. The maximum amount of Champion Points you can earn is 3600! But this is not something that should bother you as a new player. To learn more about Champion Points and how to use them, take a look at my Champion Points Guide.

Crafting Certification, Research and Deconstruction

If you wish to get into Crafting, you need to complete Certification Quests first. To become certified you have to visit two NPC in your Alliance’s main starter city, Vukhel Guard, Davon’s Watch or Daggerfall. The first NPC is Millenith in the Fighters Guild that can help you become certified in Blacksmithing, Clothing and Woodworking. The second NPC is Danel Telleno in the Mages Guild that can help you become certified in Alchemy, Enchanting and Provisioning.

Finally, to become certified in Jewelry Crafting you must have access to the Summerset DLC and visit Alinor. Right outside the city’s main crafting area you can talk to Felarian to begin the certification process. This certification process is nothing more than a short quest for each profession that will teach you how to collect materials, refine them, create items and deconstruct them. Certification is required to also unlock Daily Writs Quests at level 6. Writs can be a great source of income and will be part of your Daily Routine in ESO.

Whenever you drop items you do not need, Research or Deconstruct them! Researching an item, allows you to learn its Trait. Learned traits are necessary to craft Armor Sets later. You can research more items and faster by advancing your crafting professions. Deconstructing items awards you with crafting materials but also advances the crafting profession. To learn more about Crafting, read my ESO Crafting Guide.

Group and Activity Finder – ESO Beginner Guide

At level 5 you will unlock the Group and Activity Finder. An amazing tool that will give you access to Endeavors, Dungeons and Battlegrounds!


Endeavors is a series of Daily and Weekly Quests that you unlock at level 5 as well. Every day you login into ESO you receive them automatically without the need to perform a specific action, like talking to an NPC.

Endeavors can ask you to complete any in-game task, from killing enemy NPC to crafting items. You can only complete a limited number every day/week. Once you reach that number, the other Endeavors will grey out and you will have to wait for a quest refresh for new ones.

You can complete three(3) Daily quest every Day and one(1) Weekly every Week at the moment. Endeavors reward you with the Seals of Endeavor currency. With Seals of Endeavor you can purchase Crown Crate items that are available with the active Crates.

eso endeavors

Random Daily

At level 10 you can start using the Group and Activity Finder for Dungeons and Battlegrounds. Completing your first Random Normal or Veteran Dungeon and your first Battlegrounds every day, rewards you with extra EXP and other useful items. Queue up through the Group & Activity Finder Tab to earn the extra EXP and the rewards. This is a great way to gain an EXP boost if you are a new player.

Cyrodiil – ESO Beginner Guide

Cyrodiil is the open world PVP area of ESO! You can visit this zone for the first time when you hit level ten! Press “L” to open the menu, pick the appropriate campaign and set it as your Home campaign with “R”. Enter the Campaign to teleport into the zone.

Talk to the NPC waiting for you there and follow the instructions to finish a short PVP tutorial and unlock two new Skill Lines. The Assault and Support Skill Lines contain several useful abilities that you can use in PVP but PVE as well.

Participate in PVP activities in Cyrodiil or Battlegrounds to earn some AP(Alliance Points) and unlock the first passive of the Assault skill line, “Continuous Attack“. This passive will allow you to travel faster with your mount everywhere, not only Cyrodiil. If you are new to PVP, you can read my ESO PVP Beginner Guide!

Mundus Stones – ESO Beginner Guide

These are monuments scattered around Tamriel that provide passive bonuses to your character when you interact with them. A Mundus stone can boost Damage, Critical chance, maximum Magicka or Stamina, recovery stats etc. You can have one Mundus Stone active at any time(with certain exceptions). Picking the right Mundus for your character is rather important and will boost your capabilities.

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Upgrades – ESO Beginner Guide

There are a few more important upgrades you should pursue as soon as possible. These are basically Quality of Life features that will help you have more fun with the game.

Inventory Upgrades

Find the Pack Merchant in your Starter Town to purchase Inventory Upgrades. Every upgrade increases the number of Inventory Slots by 10. There is a limited number of upgrades you can buy and the cost will increase the more you buy.

Mount Upgrades

Visit the Stable in your Starter Town to purchase Mount Upgrades! Talk to the Stablemaster, to level up the Speed, Stamina and Carry Capacity of your mounts. You can only apply one point every day at the cost of 250 gold. The timer resets at 3am UTC for European servers and 10am UTC for North American servers. Mount and Inventory Upgrades are character bound, not account wide, so you should do this with all of your characters. To learn how you can get Mounts in ESO, you can read this ESO Mount Guide!

Free House

Open the Crown Store and get the “Room to Spare” quest for free. Follow this quest and complete the dialogue to earn access to a free room. The room can work as your first House in Tamriel! A place where you can store items, place crafting stations, Mundus Stones and training dummies to practice your combat skills!

Join a Guild

Although ESO is very Solo friendly, you do not have to adventure alone! Use the Guild Finder to find a player Guild to Join! Use the filters to browse Guilds that fit your play style and apply to those you like. Guilds in ESO can be focused on Trading, PVE, PVP, Social interactions or all of them at the same time. You can be part of up to five guilds in The Elder Scrolls Online!


What is the Best Class for Beginners in ESO?

The Best Class for Beginners in ESO is the Magicka Sorcerer. A potent Class with several helpful tool that will allow you to experience everything ESO has to offer! To learn more about Classes in ESO, you can read this ESO Class Guide!

Is ESO Fun for New Players?

ESO is an amazing MMORPG, that allows players to follow any path and explore a vast world. You can start playing ESO as a single player game, exploring new zones and completing Quests. When you are ready and if you wish, you can jump into more challenging Group content. Read this ESO New Player Guide to prepare for your first steps in The Elder Scrolls Online!

Can you play ESO Solo?

ESO is the most Solo friendly MMORPG you can play! There are several activities of various difficulty that a Solo player can enjoy. From questing Overworld around the map, to clearing Solo oriented Delves and Public Dungeon! For Solo players that are after a challenge there are also Solo Arenas with strong enemies and great rewards!

More Guides to Read

These are just the first steps you can do in ESO for a successful and fun adventure! There are several more advanced mechanics that you will encounter later, as you advance in the game. A few more important Guides you can find at my site include:

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