There are six available classes to play in The Elder Scrolls Online, and they include Dragonknight, Sorcerer, Nightblade, Templar, Warden and Necromancer. Each of the six classes has 3 unique skill lines (basically, skill trees), but despite the skill lines classes are not very restrictive and don’t lock you into a particular play style. All classes can also use all types of weapons and armor.
You can find a basic overview of each class strengths and weaknesses in the table just below:
Please note the comparison table above is just a rough estimate of how one class compares to others in certain aspects, so don’t consider it the one and only rule. Low rating for Sorcerer tanking doesn’t mean they can’t do it — there’s a ton of different builds and gear combinations and with enough effort you can make almost anything viable. It just means that with the same effort put into it you still likely won’t be as effective at it as other classes .
The following are some basic descriptions of the typical class archetypes in Elder Scrolls Online. If the above comparison table didn’t help you decide which class to pick, you can click the links to find out more about each class.
Templar is a class focused on dealing melee damage, while also using the powers of light to damage or debuff enemies or heal allies. They are often compared to “paladins“, a popular archetype from other MMORPGs. If built correctly they can even become formidable tanks.
Templars are best picked if you intend to heal or tank, as their damage-dealing capabilities are not as good as those of other classes.
Dragonknights are versatile melee fighters, typically found tanking dungeons or providing melee DPS with 2-handed weapons. Due to decent fire damage passives they can be very effective casters as well. A variety of crowd control and self-sustain ensures they can come out on top of every battle.
Best builds are tanking and damage dealing (usually Destruction Staff).
Sorcerer is as expected a powerful mage class, thus relying on strong spells with a Destruction Staff as their preferred weapon. They can hurl lightning bolts, fireballs or summon Daedric minions to fight for them. They are also well versed in protection spells such as magical shields that decrease incoming damage, or crowd control their enemies. Due to powerful magicka restoration effects they can be great sustained healers as well.
Sorcerers are best ranged damage dealers (mages) in the game, and can make decent healers when required.
Nightblade is designed as the assassin class, and they use stealth to perform sneak attacks with extra damage. They often use magic to weaken their enemies, or even make themselves stronger. Typical “rogue” archetype as found in other similar games, Nightblades can be very effective in both ranged and melee combat. While they somewhat lack in AoE damage, they are formidable in single target DPS. Their powerful self-sustain abilities can make them effective tanks and healers as well.
Most commonly Nightblades are either melee DPSers or sometimes tanks.
The Warden class is an adaptable, support-orientated option for players who want to be able to fill a specific role while simultaneously providing assistance to others. If you are interested in a class that uses the wilds of Tamriel to protect, heal, or deal damage (occasionally all at the same time) the Warden is for you.
Like nature itself, the Warden is an irresistible, chaotic force in battle, able to summon fierce animals, sprout healing plants from the ground, or cloak themselves and others in protective ice.
Necromancer is the 6th class in ESO, added in Elsweyr update in June 2019. Necromancers are masters of the undead and dark arts. Grave Lord is their damage-dealing skill line, summoning undead minions to assist in combat.
Necromancers are not only useful for punishment. Their Bone Tyrant skill tree aims to protect themselves and allies, and synergizes well with other tanking skill trees. Living Death skill tree helps them drain life from their enemies to replenish themselves, or their allies.
As previously mentioned your class choice defines some of the available skill lines you can choose spells and abilities from. Thus we recommend you take the time to research every class properly and find out what your preferred play style is, as class-specific skill lines are unavailable otherwise.
You can mix and match various skill trees to make a wide variety of different builds which is one of TESO’s better features, but for new players who have no experience with the game but still want to compete at the highest level it may be best to simply follow the class’ intended role.