What should you do when you start playing ESO ?
ESO is a huge game with much to do, especially if you have access to DLCs & chapters. If you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to go / what to do, this little handy guide is for you 😉
Disclaimer : you can of course play however you want, whatever you want in whatever order, I am in no way trying to shame people for not playing the game “correctly” or anything. These are simply tips for lore lovers and people who are really into the storylines & NPCs of the game.
There are no spoilers in this guide.
In ESO, you can do most quests in any order. Quests that are part of a storyline are unlocked one after the other.
Everything in the game is scaled but the Elsweyr storylines (both the Elsweyr chapter & the Dragonhold DLC) and the DLCs/chapters that come after are much harder than other quests, some bosses are difficult to kill. I recommend a certain amount of DPS before heading into those (let’s say 10k+ DPS is nice). For example, my main is a healer so her DPS is pretty low and I struggled a bit.
That being said, there are some NPCs that you encounter several times and there’s a timeline to your meetings. If you do storylines in the “””right“”” order (once again – you can do them in any order, this is mostly for lore lovers), you’ll get extra dialogue options and NPCs will reference past events. Some storylines & relationships also make “more sense” if you’re doing quests in the “””right“”” order (especially Summerset, Elsweyr and Greymoor).
Here’s the order :
- Your Alliance‘s storyline (AD, DC or EP) + Fighters Guild + Mages Guild + the Prophet. These can all be done at the same time. Your Alliance storyline and the Prophet’s storyline eventually converge in Coldharbour.
- Cadwell’s Silver. Unlocked when you finish your alliance’s main storyline + Prophet.
- Cadwell’s Gold. Unlocked when you finish Silver.
- DLCs & chapters in the order they were released : Orsinium, Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Morrowind, Clockwork City, Summerset, Murkmire, Elsweyr, Dragonhold, Greymoor, Markath, Blackwood, the Deadlands.
Additional info on DLCs :
- Imperial City‘s storyline isn’t referenced in any other storyline afaik, you can do it any time
- Orsinium isn’t heavily referenced, you meet some NPCs from Wrothgar in later DLCs though but that’s all
- Many NPCs from Thieves Guild & Dark Brotherhood come back in later DLCs, I really recommend doing them first.
- Morrowind – Clockwork City – Summerset storylines are all part of the “Daedric War storyline“, I really recommend doing them in that order and after finishing the main storyline (Alliance + Prophet).
- Murkmire is kind of a standalone, some NPCs from previous storylines show up but no big reference.
- Elsweyr and Dragonhold are part of the “Season of the Dragon” storyline. You’ll need to finish both to unlock one big “dragon storyline”.
- Greymoor and Markarth are part of the “Dark Heart of Skyrim” storyline.
- Blackwood and the Deadlands are part of the “Gates of Oblivion” storyline.
- The latest DLC dungeons serve as “intro quests” to the latest DLCs/Chapter. Wrathstone is an intro to Elsweyr. Harrowstorm is an intro to Greymoor. Flames of Ambition is an intro to Blackwood. I recommend doing both dungeon quests before starting the corresponding DLC/Chapter.
Non DLC :
- The Craglorn storyline isn’t referenced afaik, you can do it any time
- Same for Cyrodiil‘s quests.
In most zones, the NPCs you meet through side quests (delves, etc) will show up in the final storyline quest in some way. I recommend completing side quests before wrapping up the storyline in a given zone. This is especially true in “chapter zones” (Vvardenfell, Summerset, Elsweyr, Western Skyrim, Blackwood).
Start researching traits ASAP ! The last traits take ~1 month to research, it’ll take months to research everything. See our Crafting Guide for more info.
The maximum level for items (weapon, armor, jewelry, food, potions) is CP160. As such, don’t bother too much with your gear until you reach CP160. Until then, your gear will be under-leveled most of the time and you’ll need to change it every ~20 levels (general idea).
Best is to ask a guildie to craft you training gear aka gear with the Training trait. This will help you level up !
You can already start collecting CP160 gear though. Take a look at a guide or ask guildies for which sets you should look out for. If you’re doing a dungeon or trial with CP160+ members, you can ask them for gear 🙂 We trade everything for free among guildies in dungeons & trials.
My own personal advice is : don’t try to grind levels if you’re playing your first character. Just take your time and learn the game slowly. Storyline quests will reward you with much XP.
But… if you want to grind, here are the best ways to do it :
- Random normal dungeon, accessible from level 10. The first random dungeon that you do every day (reset every 20 hours) will reward you with a HUGE amount of XP. Go to the dungeon tab (P) and select “Dungeon Finder” on the left. Choose “Random Normal Dungeon” in the top right corner. Don’t forget to pick a role on the left !
- Craglorn. Some places in Craglorn are swarming with enemies and will give you a lot of XP. You probably can’t do it on your own though if you’re under CP160. You’ll need to go with a higher level DD. The two “best spots” are Spellscar and Skyreach catacombs.
- Dolmens, Geysers (Summerset), Harrowstorms (Greymoor) and the Deadlands (Blackwood).
- Public dungeons. In each public dungeon, there is a “group event” which awards you with a skill point.
Houses are really expensive but you can get a free “House” with each character ! These are actually inn rooms so don’t get too excited ;-). There are 7 free inn rooms in total, and you simply need to complete a quest to unlock 1 : Room to Spare. You can only do this quest once per character, which means you’ll need 7 characters to unlock all 7 (for free – you can also buy them). Unlocked/purchased “Houses” are account wide though.
In order to start the quest, you’ll need to read the “Housing Brochure” located in Banks or to talk directly to the NPC Felande Demarie. Felande can be found in the inns in :
- Vulkhel Guard (Auridon)
- Daggerfall (Glenumbra)
- Ebonheart (Stonefalls)
- Vivec City (Morrowind)
- Alinor (Summerset)
- Rimmen (Northern Elsweyr)
- Solitude (Western Skyrim)
- Leyawiin (Blackwood)
You’ll unlock the room in the inn where you talked to Felande. If you talk to Felande in Vulkhel Guard, you’ll unlock the inn room in Vulkhel Guard !
Quest is very simple, you only need to talk to Felande.
Tada ! Personally, I really like the rooms in Vivec City, Alinor & Rimmen, they’re actually decent & big enough to make a cosy little place for your character. The inn rooms in the starter zones are basically cupboard though 😀
On the week-end, a special furniture merchant called Zenil Thoran appears in the Cicero’s Food & General Goods shop in the Hollow City (Coldharbour). His inventory rotates every week, you’ll most likely have to wait a year if you miss an item ! I recommend checking Zenil’s furniture every week-end.
Dungeons & Trials
You unlock pledges at level 45. Pledges are basically dungeon dailies. There are 3 pledges : 2 non-DLC and 1 DLC. The daily quest is simply “complete the dungeon”. On Veteran, you can kill the last boss on hard mode or non hard mode. Veteran hard mode gives more rewards but is, well… harder :-D. Boss will be stronger and there might be additional mechanics. It’s good to start doing pledges as soon as you’re level 45 so you can accumulate Undaunted keys and Transmutation Crystals (two kinds of pledge rewards). You’ll need Undaunted keys to buy specific gear and Transmutation Crystals to change the trait of your gear (see our Crafting Guide for more info on keys and traits)
You can already do dungeons before level 45, you unlock them on Dungeon Finder as you level up. You need to be at least level 10 to queue with Dungeon Finder. In the Dungeon tab (P), go to “Dungeon Finder” on the left then select “All Dungeons” in the top right corner. You’ll be able to see which ones you have access to and you can queue for a specific dungeon. Veteran DLC dungeons are unlocked at CP300. Keep in mind the queue can be VERY LONG, especially for DDs (several hours). Plus dungeon finder is often bugged.
You can enter any dungeon through the “entrance door” though, and you can change the difficulty when you open the Dungeon tab (normal/veteran), but veteran is only accessible to level 50+ characters. I recommend always using Dungeon Finder as it gives a boost to Spell & Weapon damage.
You can see our guide about DPS to have an idea of how much damage you need for each content.
The easiest trials can be done under level 50 (but at least level 10) : the Craglorn trials, on normal. I recommend being at least CP160 for the other trials, and CP300 for veteran trials.
Come to our Wednesday events ! The Wednesday events are open to everyone regardless of level, DPS or experience. We’re doing dolmens, bosses, public dungeons, shards etc. Some of these are difficult to do on your own. You’ll get XP, achievements, shards & skill points during these runs + we will answer any question you have.
Don’t forget to pick up books as you go ! Lorebooks advance your Mages Guild skill line (even if you haven’t unlocked it ye!) which offers nice skills for magicka characters. “Regular” books serve no purpose unless you’re a completionist like me 😉
Unlock the Fighters Guild skill line by completing the Fighter’s Guild intro quest, available in your alliance’s starter city (Vulkhel Guard, Daggerfall, Davon’s Watch). Once you’ve unlocked the skill line, you’ll be leveling it up by killing daedra & undead and by completing dolmens. Unlike the Mages Guild skill line, the Fighters guild skill line will NOT level up if you haven’t unlocked it.