WHAT IS TESO?
TESO or ESO as it's more commonly called is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) which takes place in the world of Tamriel. If you have played an Elder Scrolls Game in the past, like Skyrim, Oblivion or Morrowind, you will be familiar with the lore and you will find familiar areas from those games in ESO. If this is your first Elder Scrolls Game then you are in for a treat.
ESO is full of Beautiful Locations & awesome Story Telling backed up by outstanding Voice Acting. All of this has created one of the best Single Player Campaigns in any MMORPG.
You can also play with a group of your friends through the majority of the content on offer, this includes the Stories within each Zone as well as the Dungeons & Trials or if you prefer Player vs Player Content then you can try to become the Emperor of Tamriel in the Player vs Player Zone of Cyrodil.
No matter how you decide to take on the world of Tamriel, there is something out there for everyone.
Below you will find a wealth of information to get you started on your Epic Journey through the World of Tamriel.
Make sure to check out the other Beginner Guides on the site, and hop on over to the Shield Fam Discord to join the growing Community of New & Veteran Players who can help you on your journey through this awesome World.
THE BASE GAME
ESO is Buy to Play, which means once you have purchased any Version of the game, you own it and will be able to complete everything available within that version at no extra cost.
The game is currently available to Purchase & Play on PC, Xbox, Playstation & Google Stadia.
The Base Game currently comes with the Morrowind Expansion which was released in 2017.
EXPANSIONS & DLC'S
There are several Expansions that have been released throughout the years for ESO, the most recent being the Blackwood expansion that came out in June 2021.
It can be a bit confusing when you first purchase the game to figure out what you have access to.
Zenimax Online Studios (ZoS) typically releases one Expansion per year, these bring new Zones and Content to the world. The first of these was Morrowind in 2017, followed by Summerset in 2018, Elsweyr in 2019, Greymoor in 2020 & Blackwood in 2021.
As already stated above, if you purchase the Base Game only, you will have access to the Morrowind Expansion, however you will not have access to the other Expansions or any of the DLC's unless you purchase those separately.
The DLC's for ESO consist of various new elements for the game itself, including New Zones, Dungeons & of course Trials. The DLC's can be purchased in the Crown Store (More on that Below) or on the ESO website at a Separate cost.
There are usually 2-3 DLCs' each year, which are usually themed around the Expansion for that year to make for an immersive story experience.
Below you will find a list of all current expansions and DLC's listed by when they released and including a brief description of what each of them brought to the game.
Morrowind (2017) – This Expansion brought the island of Vvardenfell to the game, along with the Warden Class, New PvP Battlegrounds Modes, The Halls of Fabrication Trial & the Morag Tong Style Motif. If you buy the Base Game, you have this Expansion included.
Summerset (2018) – This Expansion brought the island of Summerset & the Zone of Artaeum to ESO. It also introduced Jewellery Crafting & the Psijic Skill line as well as the Cloudrest Trial. To access this expansion you will need to purchase it or have ESO+ (More on that Below).
Elsweyr (2019) – This Expansion brought Northern Elsweyr to the World of Tamriel, along with Dragons. The Necromancer Class & the Sunspire Trial. Just like Summerset, you will need to either purchase this Expansion or have ESO+ to access it.
Greymoor (2020) – This Expansion brings players back to Skyrim, or more precisely North-western Skyrim.
It also introduces the Antiquities Skill Line & the Kyne’s Aegis Trial. Just like Summerset & Elsweyr, you will need to either purchase this Expansion or have ESO+ to access it.
Blackwood (2021) - This Expansion brings players to the Region of Blackwood & introduces Companions to the game (More on that in another Advanced Guide)
this Expansion can currently only be accessed if you purchase it.
DLC’S (PURCHASED OR ACCESSED WITH ESO+)
The Imperial City (2015) – This DLC introduced the Imperial City along with a new Dungeon, The Imperial City Sewers, & the new PvP Currency of Tel Var Stones.
Orsinium (2015) – This DLC brought the land of Wrothgar to ESO, as well as the Maelstrom Arena Solo Challenge.
Thieves Guild (2016) – This DLC introduced the Thieves Guild Skill Line & the Abah’s Landing Zone.
Dark Brotherhood (2016) – This DLC introduced the Dark Brotherhood to ESO & includes a New Skill Line & changes to Poison Crafting in game. This is also where the Veteran Progression System was replaced with the current Champion Points System or (CP).
Shadows of the Hist (2016) – This is a Dungeon DLC that brought Cradle of Shadows and Ruins of Mazzatun to ESO.
Horns of the Reach (2017) – This DLC brought two new Dungeons to the game, Bloodroot Forge & Falkreath Hold.
Clockwork City (2017) – This DLC brought the Clockwork City Zone to ESO.
Dragon Bones (2018) – The Dragon Bones DLC brought two new Dungeons to the game, Fang Lair & Scalecaller Peak.
Wolfhunter (2018) – This DLC again brought two new Dungeons to ESO, Moonhunter Keep and March of the Sacrifices.
Murkmire (2018) – This DLC brought the Murkmire Zone to ESO & the Blackrose Prison Dungeon.
Wrathstone (2019) – This brought two new Dungeons to start the Year of the Dragon, Frostvault and Depths of Malatar.
Dragonhold (2019) – Which completed the Year of the Dragon Story, this DLC added the Southern Elsweyr Zone.
Harrowstorm (2020) – Dark Heart of Skyrim Story kicked off with this DLC & brought two new Dungeons, Unhallowed Grave & Icereach.
Stonethorn (2020) – Which Continues the Dark Heart of Skyrim Story & comes with two Dungeons, Castle Thorn & Stone Garden.
Markarth (2020) – This finished out the Dark Heart of Skyrim Year Long Adventure. This DLC gave us the Item Set Collection System (Sticker Book) & the New Zone of The Reach. & the New Single Player Arena, Vateshran Hollows.
Flames of Ambition (2021) – This brought the first DLC for the Gates of Oblivion Year Long Adventure. This included The Cauldron DLC Dungeon and the Black Drake Villa DLC Dungeon. Update 29 also brought a complete Champion Point System Overhaul.
WHAT IS ESO PLUS?
ESO Plus is the Subscription Service for ESO that provides some quality of life improvements & grants access to all DLC's as well as all Expansions except for the most recent one.
You do NOT have to sign up for this Extra Service, but it does give you some pretty cool benefits which if you play ESO often & have the ability to get it, then it's well worth the cost of $14.99 Per Month.
BENEFITS OF ESO+ INCLUDE:
1650 Crowns per month to spend in the Crown Store.
Access to the Crafting Bag, which gives you nearly Unlimited Storage for Crafting Materials.
Access to all DLC's in the game.
Special deals and free items in the Crown Store.
10% Experience Boost for Levelling & Crafting.
10% More Gold from sources within the game.
Double Bank Space and double the amount of items that can be placed in Player Homes.
Double the number of Transmutation Crystals you can have at one time.
CREATING A CHARACTER
Before you jump into ESO and start dominating enemies and saving Tamriel, you will need to create a Character fit for the Hero that you will become.
There are 9 Races to choose from (10 If you purchase the Imperial Race in the Crown Store), each Race has their own unique Traits & Bonuses, as well as 3 Alliances & 5 Classes (6 If you own the Elsweyr Expansion).
Add to all of that the amount of detail that can be added to the character appearance as well as coming up with just the right name, and you can spend hours coming up with just the right Character to match your personality and Play Style.
This section will provide you with some of the Basics to get you started so that you can get out into the World of Tamriel & start saving it from all manner of danger.
There are 9 Playable Races in the ESO base game, with the Imperial Race available to add from the Crown Store bringing the total to 10. For the sake of this guide we will be taking a quick look at the base game Races only.
Each Race is tied to one of the 3 in game Alliances by default, though you are able to purchase the “Any Race / Any Alliance” addon in the Crown Store, removing this tie & therefore allowing you to choose your Alliance and Race as separate selections.
By default these are the Alliance / Race Choices:
Daggerfall Covenant – Breton, Orsimer (Orc) & Redguard.
Aldmeri Dominion – Altmer (High Elves), Bosmer (Wood Elves) and Khajiit.
Ebonheart Pact – Argonian, Dunmer (Dark Elves) and Nord.
Once you have selected your Race, you will be tied to that Race & Alliance for that Character unless you want to spend Crowns to change your Race & or Alliance.
Each Race has Passives that make them better in some roles than others, but with the right set up you will be able to run any Race within any role in the game. Additionally, the Alliance only plays a small part in PvE Content and you will be able to group up with friends in other Alliances to run Dungeons, Trials & Story Quests.
The only time your Alliance has a big impact is if you go to Cyrodil or Imperial City to run PvP Content.
Check out the ESO Race Guide for a Deeper Dive into the Races of Tamriel.
There are 5 Classes available to play in the base game for ESO, with a 6th Class available if you have the Elsweyr Expansion.
Each Class has its own feel & Skills, some Classes are much easier to learn & play than others. Because of the way Skills work in ESO, you can play any Role in the game with any Class, but some will be harder to set up and manage.
Picking the right class for you is important on your first character since you will be learning the game for the first time. Check out the Basic Class descriptions below to help you decide which Class is best for you.
Dragonnight – This Class is centered around Fire and Poison & are known to be very Tanky & hard to kill, which is just like the Dragons of Legends.
Sorcerer – These are the Masters of Magic in ESO. They can Summon Daedric Pets to fight by their side and call down lighting to destroy their enemies.
Nightblade – Darkness and shadows are the Nightblades best friends. They sneak up behind unknowing enemies and take them down before they even know what happened.
Templar – Templars have the power of light at their fingertips and can call down the Sun itself to burn their enemies. Vampires think twice before going near a Templar.
Warden – Using the forces of Nature as their Ally, Wardens can take on anything. After all, no one wants to mess with you when you have a Grizzly Bear helping you fight.
Necromancer (Elsweyr DLC) – Where some see a rotting corpse, the Necromancer sees an ally. Raise the dead to fight by your side and don’t let anything stand in your way. Just be careful using some of those skills in a Town as the townsfolk aren’t exactly happy to see their ancestor who has been dead for 300 Years walking around.
STARTING THE GAME
Where you start, the game will depend on which version you bought.
Each expansion has it’s own Tutorial Quests to start out. This Tutorial will walk you through the basics of how to Fight & how the General game Mechanics work.
Once you complete the Tutorial, you will be dropped into the Massive world of Tamriel within the Starting Zone based on your Version. For example, if you own the Greymoor Expansion, you will be dropped into Skyrim with no direction other than a quest marker.
This is where the game Truly begins.
ESO is a Massive game which allows you to explore the entire world at your own pace and learn as you go. This can be really overwhelming when you first start playing, because with no real indication of where you are supposed to go, you can quickly wind up in fights you are not ready for and struggling to beat what appears to be Early Game Content.
What the game does not tell you is that while you can technically play through Expansion Zones as a low level Character, there is a system set up to help you grow and progress in a more natural way. It all starts with a hooded figure. Upon completing your Tutorial Quest, you will get another Quest titled “Speak to the Hooded Figure”. This is the first Quest in the base game & is a great place to start if you are picking up ESO for the first time.
The location of the Hooded Figure varies based on the Faction you chose in Character Creation.
IF YOU CHOSE:
The Aldmeri Dominion you will need to go to Vulkhel Guard in Auridon.
IF YOU CHOSE:
The Ebonhart Pact you will need to go to Davons Watch in Stonefalls.
IF YOU CHOSE:
The Daggerfall Covenant you will need to go to Daggerfall in Glenumbra.
When you arrive in the Correct City, go to the Map Icon for the Quest and you will find a Secretive Hooded Figure who tells you that you need to speak to their Benefactor. No spoilers, but the Story is very well executed and you will gain Experience & Skill Points as you progress through it.
Outside of the Main Quest there are Zone Specific Quests to complete within each Zone. These will tie together as you complete them, moving you from one zone to the next within each faction, and you can do them in any order.
Each Zone also contains lots of Side Quests, which are indicated by Characters with a Black Arrow over their heads. Some of these Side Quests can be just as detailed as the overall Zone Quests & can provide you with some really cool Rewards and Special Set Pieces that you can only get from Completing them.
At this point you have taken your First Steps into the world of ESO, but there is so much more to learn on your Journey!
Before you go too far, head over to ESO 21 Tips for Beginners as they will help you start your Journey off on the right foot.