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A Deep Look at ESO's Racial Skills

Ryan Getchell Posted:
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  • Shield Affinity - Increases experience gain with the One-Handed and Shield skill line.
  • Vigor - Increases Stamina recovery while in combat.
  • Conditioning - Increases Max Stamina.
  • Adrenaline Rush – Restores Stamina to the player when damaging an enemy with a melee attack. This can happen no more than once every 3 seconds.

Redguard – The abilities for the Redguard are very stamina focused. Along with the incredibly powerful self-heal ability when they attack an enemy with a melee weapon, makes this class an ideal candidate for the tank role. With the racial abilities focusing on the stamina the Dragonknight tank skill line will focus on the health and damage mitigation.


  • Ambidextry - Increases experience gain with the Dual Wield skill line.
  • Dynamic - Increases maximum Magicka and Stamina.
  • Resist Flame – Increases Fire Resistance. Increases maximum Magicka.
  • Flame Talent – Increases Spell Power with fire effects.

Dunmer – The double Magicka increase with the added fire damage bonus puts this race in the spell caster category. The Dunmer is best suited as a Ranged DPS, standing just out of the frey, reining havoc on thy enemy.


  • Two-Handed Weapon Expertise – Increases experience gain with the Two Handed Weapon skill line.
  • Robust - Increases Health regeneration while in combat.
  • Resist Frost - Increases Cold Resistance. Increases maximum Health.
  • Rugged - Increases Armor rating.

Nord –The increase to Health Regeneration in combat and the increase armour make the Nord an ideal race for the Tank role.


  • Restoration Expertise – Increases experience gain with the Restoration skill line.
  • Amphibious – Increases swimming speed and the effectiveness of potions.
  • Argonian Resistance - Increases maximum Health and Poison and Disease Resistance.
  • Quick to Mend – Increases healing received.

Argonian – This race suffers from the same thing the Bosmer does, it’s garbage, in terms of racial abilities. From a Lore or roleplaying perspective this race has a lot of uniqueness and can offer some great gameplay, but from a Min/Maxer perspective, it has nothing beneficial to it. Increase swimming speed is great when you’re solo, but in a Dungeon or Raid situation, you’re not going to do anything by yourself, so the swim speed is no advantage.

The increase to resistances and healing received is great as defensive abilities, but when you’re facing opponents that all offer advantages to offensive skills, the Argonian is at a disadvantage.

Perhaps an Argonian healer, they’d have a massive self-heal ability with the Quick to Mend passive, but is that one ability enough to justify the other almost useless abilities?


  • Shield Affinity - Increases experience gain with the One-Handed and Shield Skill Line.
  • Tough – Increases maximum Health.
  • Conditioning – Increases maximum Stamina.
  • Red Diamond – Melee attacks have a chance to restore health.

Imperial – The bonus to Health, Stamina and a unique self-heal, makes the Imperial a perfect fit for a tank or a melee DPS role.  Imperial is the only race to offer an ability that self-heals with melee. I foresee a lot of Imperial Nightblades, and Dragonknights running through Cyrodiil.

The experience bonus is a great racial ability for leveling but once you’ve hit level 50 in that skill the ability becomes useless. Eventually everyone will have level 50 in the skill lines of their choice, so this ability is more of a luxury than any form of requirement. However the other abilities definitely offer some great bonuses to specific roles.

Looking at all the racial abilities, they‘re fairly well balanced with the exception of the Bosmer and the Argonian. Hopefully by March 31st, Zenimax will have a patch ready that will provide those two races some love. I’d like to see the Bosmer drop the Stealthy racial and get one similar to Carnage. Instead of benefiting melee attacks, the Bosmer version should be ranged attacks. This would make Bosmer the ideal race for anyone who wanted to be a primary archer.

As for Argonian race as much as the swim speed is similar to the Skyrim Water breathing, I think it has no place in ESO. There is very little swimming in Tamriel and virtually none in Cyrodiil. I’d like to see that removed and replaced it with Scale Hide, and increase armour rating. Even the Quick To Mend is somewhat under powered considering it is the last one in the tree. Perhaps something similar to what was in Skyrim, Histskin. Instead of it being an active ability it could be a passive that offers increased health regeneration in and out of combat.

Early access day is still over a month away, Zenimax has plenty of time to think of possible solutions to this racial issue – that is, if they even consider the Bosmer and Argonian racials an issue.

Do you think the Bosmer and Argonian racial abilities should be changed or do you think they are fine the way they are?

Ryan Getchell/ Ryan Getchell is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com. His roots go deep within the MMORPG gaming genre, branching back as early as Ultima Online. When he's not swaying around the forums you can find him lumbering around on his twitter, barking tweets. @Garbrac

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Ryan Getchell