Dragonknight is a versatile fighter class which is based on the ancient Akaviri martial arts. Dragonknights are extremely diverse and a majority of players are going for full tanks or strong melee DPS. Since DK can fill different roles, you can even build an offensive healer or a ranged damage-dealer.
Dragonknight Skill Lines
As every other class in The Elder Scrolls Online, Dragonknight also has access to three different skill lines: Ardent Flame, Draconic Power and Earthen Heart. You can either focus on improving skills in one category, or mix skills, spells and abilities from different skill trees.
The first skill line for Dragonknights is Ardent Flame, focused on fiery attacks and debuffs. This is the most offensive of the three skill trees. The spells include the following:
- Dragonknight Standard – while standing inside Dragonknight Standard enemies take fire damage every second and receive reduced healing. Additionally your allies can activate the Shackle ability, further damaging and rooting enemies in the area.
- Active Abilities:
- Fiery Reach – pulls an enemy towards you and deals damage.
- Searing Strike – burns your target and deals damage over time (DoT).
- Fiery Breath – deals fire damage to all enemies in front of you, while also igniting them for additional damage over time.
- Lava Whip – ability dealing fire damage and causing enemies to become off-balance if they are immobilized or stunned.
- Inferno – toggled aura dealing damage over time to nearby enemies while also draining an increasing amount of magicka the longer it is active.
- Passive Abilities:
- Kindling – increases damage dealt by burning effects.
- Warmth – dealing fire damage to your opponents snares them.
- Searing Heat – Increases duration of abilities in the Ardent Flame tree which apply burning.
- World in Flame – increases the damage of all your fire-based AoE spells.
Draconic Power skill line is focus on defense, improving your durability in both PvE and PvP/AvA. The abilities are:
- Dragon Leap – your character leaps forward, dealing magic damage on landing and knocking back nearby enemies.
- Active Abilities:
- Spike Armor – increases your damage resistance and returns damage to melee attackers.
- Dark Talons – roots all nearby opponents an deals additional damage to all enemies not already affected by Dark Talons.
- Dragon Blood – instantly heals and applies a heal over time effect on yourself.
- Reflective Scales – reflects incoming projectiles.
- Inhale – absorbs health from all nearby foes, and also deals damage to affected enemies depending on the total amount of health absorbed.
- Passive Abilities:
- Iron Skin – increases the amount of damage you can block.
- Burning Heart – you receive increased healing for every Draconic Power ability on your action bar.
- Elder Dragon – increases your passive health regeneration for every Draconic spell on your action bar.
- Scaled Armor – increases your resistances to spells.
The last Dragonknight skill tree is Earthen Heart, which is in essence a support tree line specialized in group utility and control. The spells include:
- Magma Armor – limits the damage you receive by a percentage of your health, and also deals fire damage to all enemies near you.
- Active Abilities:
- Stonefist – hurls a rock to an enemy dealing physical damage and knocking them down.
- Molten Weapons – aura which increases the power of nearby allies. You get double the amount.
- Obsidian Shield – conjures a shield around nearby allies which absorbs a percentage of damage they take; you also receive double the amount of shield.
- Petrify – affects your enemy with a long duration stun, but after certain damage is taken by your enemy the stun will break.
- Ash Cloud – snares enemies affected by it and increases their chance to miss attacks. Allies can also use Ash Shroud synergy.
- Passive Skills:
- Eternal Mountain – increases the duration of all Earthen Heart skills.
- Deep Breaths – when you activate your Ultimate ability your other resources are restored by a certain amount.
- Mountain’s Blessing – when activating any Earthen Heart ability you gain an additional ultimate charge.
- Helping Hands – When your Earthen Heart abilities affect another player you gain stamina.
For the most part DK players are going with heavy armor. Of course heavy armor offers the best protection against both attacks and spells, and since most Dragonknights are essentially tanks heavy armour is most suited for them.
Nothing prevents you from using medium or even light armor however, and the choice mostly depends on your endgame build. If you prefer using a bow or other form of melee DPS medium armor is likely going to be superior, and even in highest endgame content (Trials) magicka-based casters with Destruction Staves wearing light armor are more than welcome.
Experiment with different types of armor, and tell us your preferred choice in the comments below!
One-handed weapons and shields are Dragonknight’s preferred choice. As mentioned since a vast majority of players choose Dragonknight class for their tanking prowess a shield is always a must-have tool to mitigate damage in any group setting. You can also wield a two handed weapon of course, or even a staff if you’re more inclined to play a support or damage-dealing caster.
Dragonknight class players should focus their skill points into increasing health and magicka. If you primarily intend to be a tank then a greater focus on health and stamina is recommended, but for more offensive DKs a higher magicka pool can be beneficial. Stamina requires the least amount of points spent, however a larger stamina pool can help you block and evade attacks more frequently, which is especially important if you’re the main tank in groups.
My recommendation would be to put all attribute points into bonus health, or go with something like 35 into health and 15 into magicka. Truth be told in most situations you will either be tanking or dealing damage, and this distribution of points will be the best in any case.
Your tank equipment (or medium armor for melee/bow DPS) can easily be enchanted with Stamina, and it’s much easier to swap equipment than respec attribute points. For everything else, Health and a few points in Magicka will be great.
Orcs, Nords and Redguards are best races for tanks. High Elves are the most common race choice for mage-oriented Dragonknight players, but Bretons and Dark Elves are equally good for the role. If your focus is on melee DPS, Khajiit and Redguards are top two choices. Choosing a race doesn’t heave a very significant effect on your play style so players tend to choose whatever race they like playing, which is probably what you should do as well.
Why play a Dragonknight?
Players who enjoy being useful in groups and tanking while also having utility will surely enjoy Dragonknights. Do remember that simply picking a class doesn’t limit your options to Dragon Knight skill trees though as various other tree lines are available and can be combined to create even deadlier tanks or more powerful mages.