Classes

Classes Guide

There are four available classes to play in The Elder Scrolls Online, and they include Dragonknight, Sorcerer, Nightblade and Templar. Each of the four 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:

  Templar Dragonknight Sorcerer Nightblade
Damage

 ★★★☆☆ 

 ★★★★★ 

 ★★★★★ 

 ★★★★★ 

Healing

 ★★★★★ 

 ★★☆☆☆ 

 ★★★☆☆ 

 ★★★☆☆ 

Tanking

 ★★★★☆ 

 ★★★★★ 

 ★★☆☆☆ 

 ★★★★☆ 

PvP

 ★★★★☆ 

 ★★★★★ 

 ★★★★★ 

 ★★★★★ 

Grouping

 ★★★★☆ 

 ★★★★★ 

 ★★★★★ 

 ★★★★☆ 

CC

 ★★★★☆ 

 ★★★★☆ 

 ★★★★★ 

 ★★★★☆ 

Reminder: we have a similar comparison table for racial bonuses here.

Remember that every class has access to all weapon skills, thus even a Nightblade can be an effective healer when equipped with a Restoration Staff, and a Dragonknight can just as easily be a ranged damage dealing mage. While some choices may not be the most optimal, you aren’t completely locked out of a certain play style by class choice.

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

Templar GuideTemplar 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.

Read our Templar guide »

Dragonknight

Dragonknight Guide

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).

Read our Dragonknight guide »

Sorcerer

Sorcerer GuideSorcerer 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.

Read our Sorcerer guide »

Nightblade

Nightblade GuideNightblade 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 tanks.

Read our Nightblade guide »


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 it may be best to simply follow the class’ intended role.

I’ll make it simple for you:

  • Do you want to be the best tank? Pick a Dragonknight.
  • Do you want to be the best DPS? Pick a Sorcerer.
  • Do you want to be the best healer? Pick a Templar.

If you don’t care about being the best and just want to play the game and enjoy it, pick whatever class you like.

To learn more about each class simply click the links with their names above, or alternatively read this guide for a more detailed overview of skill lines, abilities, spell rotations, builds and class strategies.

5 Responses to Classes

  1. krypte says:

    Just a short question.
    Is it possible to tank the first dungeons as a nightblade with sword/shild + heavy armor?
    Like the idea to level with dualwield (+ medium armor) and tanking dungeons :p

    • admin says:

      It’s possible. You are somewhat limited with lack of proper defensive skills, but active abilities from Heavy (and even Light) armor should help a bit, and you can take the taunt from 1H&Shield skill line. Nightblade does have decent self-sustain spells and some crowd control so I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to make them into viable tanks.

  2. Rimskjegg says:

    Can I ask what makes Dragonknights superior tanks to, say, Templars, in your opinion? In the separate guides, the Dragonknights’ spell trees are given respectively 4, 3 and 1 stars for tanking, while in the Templars, their spell trees are given 4, 3 and 2 – only a marginal difference, but still enough to make me ask the question, since it actually might give the impression the Templars actually come out on top. Are there specific abilities/ability combos that make you decide in favour of the Dragonknights?

    • admin says:

      The ratings are just roughly how one class compares to the other in certain things. Dragonknights are (at least for the time being) more favorable for tanks primarily due to AoE crowd control (Dark Talons), and definitely Dragonknight Standard ultimate.

      I have seen quite effective Nightblade tanks as well, and even Sorcerers, so if anything I gave those two classes way too little credit. I did just revise my class descriptions and the table with ratings slightly, but it may change further due to frequent balance changes in patches.

  3. Anthony R. says:

    I want to go with a high elf dragon night, is there any reason to not put heavy armor with a mage?

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