eso pve build guide
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ESO PVE Build Guide

How to Build your Character for PVE Gameplay in ESO! A look at the basics of building your character for PVE in The Elder Scrolls Online. The little details you have to take into consideration when creating a successful PVE Build for Solo or Group content.

This ESO PVE Build Guide will help you understand what the best options are, depending on your role and focus. What you need to do and the best practices to create a successful PVE Build.

If you are trying to figure out which Class to play in ESO, you can read my ESO Class Guide or ESO Best Solo Class Guide. For the Best Race for your Build, take a look at my ESO Race Guide.

Table of Contents

Attributes – ESO PVE Build Guide

Attributes are very important for your Build and determine the skills you can use effectively as well as the identity of your character/build. While Hybrid Builds are a lot more popular now, creating a pure Stamina or Magicka Build is still the way to go.

Even Hybrid Builds will benefit more from a pure one Attribute setup that is using both types of skills.

eso pve build guide

Depending on whether you are creating a Stamina or Magicka build, putting all points to Stamina or Magicka respectively, is the best option. That is especially true for the role of DPS, since you will be able to use more Stamina or Magicka Skills and have a better sustain.

Tanks on the other hand can use a more mixed setup with success. It is quite common to divide your attributes into all three options as a tank. However you should not put more than six(6) – ten(10) points into Health. Aiming for a Health pool of around forty(40)-forty five(45) thousand Health is more than enough for a Tank in ESO.

This is because Tanks do not have mass aggro in The Elder Scrolls Online and need Magicka and Stamina to crowd control and aggro strong enemies.

Finally Healers, like DPS, should put their attribute points in Magicka or Stamina, based on their skills.

Armor Sets – ESO PVE Build Guide

Armor Sets are very important for your Build and should complement your main attribute and skills. As a Magicka DPS character you should pick Armor Sets that boost your Magicka or Magicka recovery along with other things. Stamina DPS characters should choose Armor Sets that boost Stamina. OF course Magicka and Stamina are not the only important stats you should be after but they do help a lot and the distinction between Armor Sets is clear.

You can take a look at my Best Stamina DPS and Best Magicka DPS Sets Guides to help you understand what they look like. With the recent Hybridization process of Armor Sets however there are also several Hybrid Sets for DPS that both types of Builds can use now. These sets mostly focus on boosting Critical Chance, Critical Damage or Spell/Weapon Power and they can give a nice boost to your overall DPS.

Another important factor when picking a Set for your DPS character, is the buffs it provides and your Build’s purpose. For Group Gameplay, focusing on DPS and getting buffs like Slayer, should be your priority. Some examples include Bahsei’s Mania, Arms of Relequen or Mantle of Siroria.

For Solo gameplay you should be focusing on sustain and survivability instead. Some great examples of Solo Sets are False God’s Devotion and Vicious Serpent.

Tanks and Healers in ESO are support roles. Which means their goal is to offer support to their group and boost Damage.

This is why some of the best Tank Sets debuff enemies like Roar of Alkosh or provide the Courage buff to your group increasing damage, like Claw of Yolnahkriin. You can use Sets that boost your Health or provide you with a shield as a Tank but they are considered as selfish Sets since they do not provide anything to your group.

Likewise some of the Best Healer Sets in ESO provide damage buffs to your group. Some examples include Vestment of Olorime, Spell Power Cure, Jorvuld’s Guidance and Hollowfang Thirst.

You can do several combinations of Armor Sets. Wearing Two Full Sets(5 pieces) and a full Monster Set or using a Mythic Item, Ability Altering Weapons etc. As long as your Build works and you perform your role efficiently, any combination is good to go.

Weapons – ESO PVE Build Guide

Magicka Builds, DPS and Healers, use mostly Staves for PVE. Magicka DPS can also utilize Dual Wield on front bar. Stamina DPS Builds are more flexible. They can use Two Handed, Dual Wield and Bow in different combinations.

Finally One Hand and Shield is primarily a Tank Weapon.

Traits – ESO PVE Build Guide

For Weapons Traits, Precise is the best option right now for DPS but you can also use Nirhnoned and Charged, especially with Dual Wield. Sharpened is another decent alternative. Infused is the go to Trait for Back bar weapons, so you can boost your enchantments.

Infused is also the best option for Tanks. Healers on the other hand can benefit from Powered and Charged.

For Jewelry Traits, Bloodthirsty is the best option for DPS. Healthy is a good option for Tanks, while Arcane or Infused are good for Healers.

Finally for Body Armor, Divines is the best for DPS and Healers while Tanks can use Sturdy, Infused, Reinforced.

Important Stats – ESO PVE Build Guide

When building your character for PVE and especially DPS, there are a few important stats you should take into consideration. These are Critical Chance, Critical Damage and Penetration.

Obviously Tanks will want their Physical and Spell Resistance as high as possible as well. Healers will require a good Recovery stat and high Spell or Weapon damage for stronger heals.

Critical Chance

The most important stat for DPS roles right now. There are several Sets that provide it and they are all very valuable. Some examples include Order’s Wrath, Mother’s Sorrow, Medusa and Tzogvin’s Warband. You should try to get as much Critical Chance as possible but try to not overdo it. A Critical Chance stat at around 70%-80% is enough.

Critical Damage

Critical Damage is also very important but capped at 125%. Going above it is a waste of valuable resources. Pick your Sets and Champion Points carefully. For example Fighting Finesse and Backstabber from Warfare, both boost Critical Damage and can get you over the cap. Depending on the Build you might want to replace them with something else, like Wrathful Strikes, Thaumaturge or Biting Aura.

eso pve build guide

The base Critical Damage in ESO is 50%. You can add more to that with one of the many sources of Critical Damage in ESO. The easiest to get come from Buffs like Minor and Major Force or Brittle(10% and 20%), Fighting Finesse(10%), Backstabber(15%) and the Shadow Mundus(18%).

Several Armor Sets can also boost Critical Damage. A good example is the Harpooner’s Wading Kilt(10%) Set. There are also Weapon and Class Passives that affect Critical Damage. So depending on your character’s class and the passives it has you should be careful of not going over the cap.

Templar and Nightblade get a 10% extra Critical Damage from their passives. That means that you will not build them the same way as other Classes, in order to avoid going over the cap. Likewise Khajiit gets a 12% from its racial passives.


Another stat with a cap in PVE. When building your character you should aim for a 18,2k Penetration stat. Going above it is again a waste of valuable resources. However this is calculated with Group Buffs active. You should aim for a 5k-7k Penetration stat before Group buffs kick in.

A few sources of Penetration include:

  • Minor Breach – 2974
  • Major Breach – 5948
  • Infused Crusher – 2108
  • Roar of Alkosh – 6000

There are other sources that affect Penetration, like Armor Sets, Monster Sets, Mundus, Armor Passives. Focus on your Penetration Stat based on how organized your group is. For Solo gameplay you should focus on higher Penetration numbers.

Physical and Spell Resistance

Resistances are easier to get thanks to Armor Sets, Skills and Champion Points. However there is a 32k cap here as well. No reason to go above it for PVE.

Recovery – Spell/Weapon Damage

Easier to get from Armor Sets, Passives and Skills. Important for Healers mostly but recovery can be helpful for every role and especially new players.

Mundus – ESO PVE Build Guide

Picking the right Mundus is vital for PVE. Mundus can also help you with the above stats.

The Lover boosts Penetration so it is better for Solo gameplay. The Thief will boost your Critical Chance and is the best option for PVE DPS right now. The Shadow boosts your Critical Damage and is better to avoid it at the moment because of how easy it is to reach the 125% cap from other sources.

The Apprentice and The Warrior can boost your Spell and Weapon damage. They are helpful for Healers. Finally The Atronach and The Serpent will boost Magicka and Stamina Recovery. They are a great option for the Support roles of Tank and Healer but they can also assist newer players.

Skills – ESO PVE Build Guide

Skills offer different Morphs, that can be Stamina or Magicka based(Health also sometimes). Choose the skills that fit your main attribute and Build purpose. If your character is Magicka based then it makes sense to focus on having more magicka based skills.

It is common to utilize a couple skills of the opposite attribute however.

eso pve build guide

Every character has access to two skill bars. Each bar can have five(5) skills and one(1) Ultimate skill. So in total you can have up to twelve(12) skills you can use in combat.

DPS Skills

Your skills distribution as a DPS should include:

  • Buffs & Debuffs
  • A few DOTs/AOE Skills
  • One Spammable
  • One Execute, if possible

Buffs and Debuffs are skills that either boost your stats, like Spell/Weapon Damage or reduce the stats of your enemies. Buff abilities can be active or passive. You have to activate manually active buffs and use resources to get their effect.

Passive buffs only need to be slotted to work. A good example of an active buff is Blue Betty from the Warden Class. Bird of Prey, Camouflaged Hunter and Inner Light are nice examples of passive buffs.

Debuff skills are usually active damage skills that deal damage while debuffing an enemy. Deep Fissure is an example of that type of skills.

Barbed Trap from Fighters Guild line is a vital skill for almost every DPS PVE Build. This is because it provides the Minor Force buff. There are alternatives to the skill, like Medusa and Tzogvin’s Warband Sets as well as the Accelerate and Morphs Psijic Order line skill.

For solo gameplay you can also add a Shield and a few self heals skills.

Every Class in the game has its own Spammable ability. Some are better than other. It is possible to use spammable skills from weapon lines, like Elemental Weapon, Rapid Strikes or Wrecking Blow. A spammable ability is a low cost skill that you can use several times in your rotation.

Execute abilities are also quite important and can help you finish enemies faster. Executioner, Whirling Blades, Assassin’s Blade and Morphs, Mages’ Fury and Morphs are examples of execute abilities. You start using your execute when the enemy’s Health is low (20%-25%) for the best results.

DPS Rotation

Your rotation as a DPS should look like this:

Buff Yourself/Debuff enemies, drop your AOE/DOT skills, use your spammable until you have to reapply buffs/debuffs/DOTs and repeat. Use your Ultimate when ready and your Execute when the enemy’s health is low.

A good and well executed Rotation with proper balance of skills can make all the difference for DPS.

Tank Skills

Tanks on the other hand require at least one taunt ability to be effective. Skills like Puncture and Morphs or Inner Fire and Morphs are vital for every tank. Skills that boost their defense and help with crowd control are also very important for the role.

Healer Skills

As expected Heals are very important for Healers! Which makes the entire Restoration Staff line vital for the role. Healers can also use support skills that boost the damage of the group along with their sets. An example of this is the Aggressive Horn Ultimate.

One extra thing to remember is that some ESO Classes have unique identity skills that you must incorporate into your rotation to be effective. Such skills include the Grim Focus & Morphs for the Nightblade Class and the Blastbones skills for the Necromancer!

Passive Skills

Passive Skills are very important for every build in PVE. You should invest skill points to them as soon as possible. The Passive skills every Build should have include:

Champion Points – ESO PVE Build Guide

Champion Points will shape your Build and help you fulfill your role efficiently. There are three constellations with passive and active perks to choose from.

  • Warfare, focusing on combat and Traits that help you play as a Tank, Healer or DPS.
  • Fitness, focusing on Defense, attributes and recovery boosts.
  • Craft, focusing on bonuses to your every day life activities in ESO, like Crafting, Stealing, Fishing, Traveling and more.

Picking the right active perks will determine how effective your build will be. You can find more details on the Champion Points System by reading my Champion Points Guide.

Food and Potions – ESO PVE Build Guide

Finally Food and Potions are vital for your success in PVE! You should pick foods/drinks that boost your main attribute and assist you in combat.

For most encounters the basic Magicka or Stamina Potions will be enough. For more challenging content though you should use crafted Potions that offer several buffs. These potions can be Essence of Spell or Weapon Power for DPS/Healers and Tri-Stat Essence of Health for Tanks.

There are several more potions you can make and use depending on your needs but these are the most common.

You can find the recipes for many important Potions and Poisons in my ESO Alchemy Guide.

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