Gear Sets, Traits and Enchants


Your armour sets are critical for maximising your damage output in ESO. You need to wear gear that’s going to synergise with your passives and your skills. In the current state of the game, there’s typically a “best in slot” option, with a handful of other options that are not far behind. And the best part is every build can wear a crafted set and achieve top tier dps which reduces the grind significantly.

Right, now what gear should I wear?
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard somebody say “I just need to get item/set X and then…”, well, I’d have a lot of dollars. I hear this ALL the time and I’ve been guilty of it myself. But gear is not going to magically fix your crappy dps. It’s only going to be as good as your rotation.
To illustrate this point, I did some dps tests wearing purple CP150 gear with purple enchants and no set bonuses. Not one. On my stam sorc I got 17.5k and on my mag sorc I got 14.5k (he’s an Argonian, don’t judge!) Granted, this is with max CP, but I’m missing not only the 5pc set bonuses that people get so hung up on, I’m also missing a large chunk of my other stats (crit, max resources etc.) from the 2-4pc bonuses and the additional damage from my weapon quality (the damage difference between purple and gold is significant, not to mention CP160).

I think the honest truth here is that lack of gear is just an easy thing to blame. Nobody will take you on trials, or you’ve farmed Dungeon X 50 times and haven’t had the helm drop in the right trait… It’s out of your control so it’s okay if you suck. And gear definitely matters, but not as much as people think. So yes, you should be trying to get the best gear that you can, but it’s far more important that you nail your rotation because, in the words of Iron Man…

No, seriously, what should I wear?
Since the Horns of the Reach update the gaps between best-in-slot and all the runner ups is a lot smaller. With CP, mundus stones and weapon traits you can balance whatever sets you’re able to obtain and there’s a crafted set for both magicka and stamina that’s totally viable for endgame.

Alcast covered this really well in his article on endgame gear but let me simply his article into a few lines; pick the best two endgame sets you can get your hands on and then balance your build accordingly. There are dungeon/trial sets (account bound), overworld sets (can be bought) and crafted sets that are all capable of doing vet trial worthy dps now. If you’re wearing any one of the sets in Alcast’s article and aren’t doing at least 20k dps there’s a serious issue with your rotation and upgrading to best-in-slot isn’t going to fix it.

If you really have no idea where to start, get yourself a set of Hunding’s Rage if you’re stamina, or Law of Julianos if you’re magicka. Both are crafted so they should be super easy to get. Put these with any other 5pc (stamina or magicka as appropriate) and you’ll be set. Another gear set might be better, but we’re talking probably 5-10% increase. The rest is on you!

Don’t stress too much about quality. Get CP160, but just stick with purple as golding out your gear is an extremely expensive exercise and it’s not going to cause a massive jump in your dps (hmm… that line is starting to sound familiar). I would however recommend golding your weapons. It’s only 2-3 items and this actually will have a noticeable impact on your damage. It’s by far the best return on investment in terms of improving your gear. Depending on the set, obtaining purple or gold jewellery can be very difficult, but the difference is not tremendous so wear what you can and work towards updating it.

Traits are still very important. For your armour, you want all Divines if you can get it. Infused is a good second best, particularly on head, chest and leg pieces. For weapons, Infused, Precise and Nirnhoned are all good traits and Sharpened is still decent.

Your gear enchants should all be your primary resource, or perhaps health if you want to boost that a little without having to respec your attribute points. See my article on Character Stats for more on that point. Jewellery should really all be weapon or spell damage (whichever is appropriate for your build), though you can use magicka recovery at the cost of damage if you need more sustain. For stamina builds, your weapons should be enchants such as poison or disease and for magicka use shock or flame enchants. There’s also a weapon enchantment that will boost both your weapon and spell damage. Remember that the same enchant will not stack, so you can’t enchant ALL your weapons with poison, or flame. Many endgame builds use Maelstrom weapons which have a unique enchantment so that’s one less you need to worry about, but in the Clockwork City Update this will change to a set bonus so you’ll be able to enchant these too.

tl;dr stop complaining about not having the gear you ‘need’ and start by using whatever you’ve got available. Get a crafted 5pc and whatever else you’ve got as long as it’s stamina or magicka damage focused.


Your gear and enchantments are an important aspect of getting your overall character stats as high as you can. But the real ‘secret’ to pulling high numbers is mastering your rotation.

Damage and Character Stats


Where does my damage actually come from?

Damage in ESO comes from your abilities (duh). But what actually determines the damage of your abilities? I’m not going to go into the formulas etc. but at a very high level it works like this.

Abilities have a base damage; this generally increases based on the rank of the ability. Skill morphs a) will increase the damage of the original skill as you continue to rank it and b) may add additional damage effects to the skill.

Your character attributes further affect this damage, which is why builds should specialise in either magicka or stamina to maximise their damage.

For magicka builds this means your max magicka and your spell power. For stamina this means your max stamina and your weapon power. If a skill costs magicka to cast, the more max magicka and spell power you have, the more damage it will do. Same goes for stamina.

The combination of the ability base damage and your character attributes determine the ‘tooltip value’ which is what’s displayed when you preview the skill.

When you actually hit with this ability, the actual damage dealt is further affected by the enemy resistance, your penetration (yes, let’s all have a giggle), your set bonuses, your champion points and whether or not it’s a critical hit.

tl;dr Stack max magicka and spell power to hit harder with magicka abilities. Stack max stamina and weapon power to hit harder with stamina abilities.



Is all damage the same?

Different abilities in ESO deal different kinds of damage. This is important for understanding how to get the most out of your abilities. Each ability tooltip and set bonuses will tell you what kind of damage that ability is dealing.


  • Physical
  • Poison
  • Disease


  • Magic
  • Flame
  • Shock
  • Frost

Why is this important? Physical Damage will be mitigated by Physical Resistance which can in turn be ignored by Physical Penetration. Spell Damage will be mitigated by Spell Resistance and in turn be ignored by Spell Penetration. The sub-types are important for passives, set bonuses and champion points.

  • The Dark Elf racial passive Destructive Ancestry will boost your flame damage
  • The Netch’s Touch armour set will boost your lightning damage
  • The Mighty champion point star will boost your physical, poison and disease damage

Learning what type of damage you’re dealing and how you can increase it is important for maximising damage.



I have 30k stamina and 2k weapon damage. Am I doing it right?

People ask this kind of question a lot, and there’s no hard and fast rule. Here’s some guidelines to help you assess your character sheet.

First of all, you want to have 18k health with your food/drink buff active. This is to keep you alive through most mechanics in dungeons – nobody is good enough to heal you through a one-shot. At lower levels and lower champion points this probably means you’ll have less stamina or magicka, but as you approach 300CP, improve your gear and enchants and unlock the Undaunted Mettle passives you’ll be able to hit that 18k health with more of your primary resource for dps.

Your jewellery enchants should be either damage or recovery. Eventually you’ll be able to enchant them all with damage but start with just one or two until you get used to sustaining. More on this in the Gear Sets, Traits and Enchants section.

There’s also two main options for your food/drink buff. There’s lots of blue food options that will give you max health and max stamina/magicka so I won’t list all those. There’s also one purple drink for each type of build that will still give you max health and max stamina/magicka, but not as much, and instead gives you more recovery. For stamina, this is Dubious Camoran Throne and for magicka, this is Witchmother’s Potent Brew. These are both purple recipes and can be hard to obtain as they have only dropped as holiday event rewards but if you can’t get the recipe you’ll certainly be able to buy the drink itself.

In terms of choosing between food or drink, you need to find the right balance for your character. More recovery means you can use more abilities and heavy attack less often, but you’ll have less of your primary resource (which reduces your raw damage because it scales off your stats remember!), and don’t forget you still need 18k health so if you swap buffs you’ll probably need to adjust your attributes or enchants.

Your mundus should almost always be Warrior for stamina and Apprentice or magicka. In some scenarios the Lover may be better but only choose this mundus stone if you understand how to calculate your penetration and can see it’s significantly short.



Do I need to fork out 3k crowns to change it?

Some players are very attached to their races – it’s one of the most defining aspects of your character and the thought of race changing or making a new character in a different race might sound like a really awful idea. The good news is you don’t need to. The bad news is you simply won’t do as well with a bad race/build combination.

Races in ESO are loosely sorted into magicka or stamina based passives. If you’ve at least chosen these to match your build, you’ll likely do fine.

My stam sorc is an Imperial. I chose this at launch because I wanted to craft (I know right!?) but I’ve tested a race change on the PTS and you know what? I only got 1-2k more dps so it wasn’t a deal breaker. However if I tried to go magicka that would be a different story. My passives just don’t support it at all. Speaking of magicka, my Argonian mag sorc is a poor choice to be completely honest (and I’ll probably end up changing it). I get a little bit of max magicka and a whole lot of health, but compared to the passives of High Elf, Dunmer or Breton it just makes no sense. However, I can still get 27k on a test so again, it’s about how you use it.

If your racial choice just seems completely at odds, I would suggest either changing race or changing your build (eg. turn that khajiit mag sorc into a stam sorc). But don’t expect your dps to suddenly skyrocket. In fact I wouldn’t bother with a race change (mostly because I prefer to spend crowns on pretty things and the thought of my Imperial sprouting a tail freaks me out) until you’ve pushed everything else as far as it can go and decide you need a little bit more.

tl;dr Race matters, but it’s still no excuse.


Your attributes and racial passives can make a big difference, but your stats are also determined by your gear and of course the damage you do comes from using the right skills

ESO Combat Basics Part 1

Today we’re learning all about ESO Combat Basics! In Elder Scrolls Online there is active combat, meaning you need to dodge, block, interrupt and more! In this video I go over how to do these things, as well signs the game gives you for when you should be doing them! This is only part 1 of this video guide, and my next guide will be part 2 covering more of the combat basics of ESO!

ESO Combat Basics for Beginners - Elder Scrolls Online, how to block, bash, interrupt and more!

If you have any questions about the combat basics in this video, be sure to leave a comment below and ask!

Beginner’s Guide to Builds in ESO!

Finally I am making a beginner’s guide to builds in ESO! I’m not going to give you a specific build, but I’m going to explain what stats and things can influence builds and what makes them great – or terrible! With this video you should feel confident in leveling up and figuring out your own build that is actually useful until you have gained great gear and unlocked all those skills you want!

Beginner's Build Guide for ESO - Elder Scrolls Online Build Guide

With this guide you’ll understand how to level up skills for all your different skill lines so you can unlock skills later on. I go into how magicka or stamina actually helps out your damage and healing, why hybrid builds are not good to start with, how to add to your stats and more!