With a surge of new players joining Elder Scrolls Online, I figured it was time to post on one of the most important parts of character creation, racial passives. In this guide, we’ll cover why it matters, what you can expect, and some power combinations to make sure you pick the right race for you adventure. Welcome to our ESO Racial Passives guide.
Racial Passives Video here
Table of Contents
Why Race Matters
No this isn’t a political statement, but race matters in ESO! One the faction you pick determines the race you can be (unless you buy the explorers pack). Two, each race has their own unique passives that separate them from other races. Three, matching up a good race with the perfect class can be extremely rewarding. On the other hand, picking a defensive race with an offensive class can suck the fun out of your end game experience. 30 days of game time on my Nord Dragonknight, I wish someone would have told me that.
Luckily, if you’re new to ESO or returning, I’m going to show you the racial passives currently in testing in patch 1.6 and give some examples of some good class/race combos. I will update this guide if something changes, however most of the racial bonuses have remained the same and most are pretty balanced. One of the best things about ESO is that you can literally make ANYTHING work. Yes my Nord Dragonknight was capable of leading my guild in DPS even though I wasn’t a Dunmer (more on that). I could ramble on for another 5000 words, but
Define what’s most important to you in terms of race. Is it a cool looking Orc? A fully min-max Dunmer Vampire Dragonknight? Maybe you want to RP on a Wood Elf. Whatever the case, make sure you know prior to pressing “create character.”
Aldmeri Dominion (AD)
- High Elf
- Wood Elf
Daggerfall Covenant (DC)
Ebonheart Pact (EP)
- Dark Elf
High Elf (Altmer)
AD’s finest casters and one of the best in the game, the Altmer. With the addition of the champion system and the removal of soft caps, 10% magicka is an incredible bonus. Not to mention a flat 4% elemental damages make this magic wielder top of the line. My Veteran Rank 14 Sorcerer is a High Elf and I’m glad I picked it early on.
Patch 1.6 saw a massive buff for the poor Wood Elf. Now they are rocking 21% stamina regeneration and resistance to poison and disease. They are naturals at bows and pair that race with Werewolf 15% stamina regeneration passive, and you have a monster weapon user class. In 1.7 the Wood Elf hasn’t seen any change to the passives so it still makes up a crazy stamina regeneration killer in PvP.
Khajiit’s are the skooma drinking kitty cats that pack a punch. They’re the only race with weapon critical bonus making them another bad arse bow user or melee weapon. The updated 1.7 Robust Constitution passive is a massive upgrade to the 1.6 gaining 10% stamina recovery and losing 10% health recovery. The stealthy passive is the same from 1.6 but is still an awesome killer in PvP and PvE. My VR 16 Nightblade is a Khajiit and he “hits like a truck.”
DC’s magical user that has some unique bonuses. The reduction in cost makes Breton one of the better races for a PvP build. Added some spell resistance and more max magicka, this race is hard to pass up if you’re looking for a human appearance but magicka talents.
Orc’s are natural tank types with some health and stamina bonuses. The swift passive is unique to this race making it an interesting choice for medium armor users. Pair this will some well-fitted traits, you can seriously zoom around the battlefield.
Redguard’s are the Kings (or Queens) of stamina. They make natural weapon based users though tanking with massive stamina regeneration could work well. Consider Redguard if you plan on sustained weapon class.
Argonian’s are the hippies of ESO and saw a nerf to their potion passive in 1.6. The Amphibious passive gives you a good resource balance with potions which every class uses. Plus the resistance makes them great for PvP.
Dark Elf (Dunmer)
The undisputed choice for Dragonknights, Dunmer are the min-maxers dream. Oh how I wish I could change my Nord to a Dunmer. You are the master of fire paired well with the fire breathing Dragonknight class makes a match in heaven.
Nord’s make great tanks with the rugged passive but not much else. I choose this race for my VR 14 Dragonknight and the race offers literally nothing for offensive minded characters. Long story short, if you plan on doing damage, look at another race.
Imperial’s are the all around best in my opinion. With no soft caps in 1.6, the 10/12% bonuses are powerful. If you’re not sure what you want to do at end game, Imperial is a great choice. You can only pick this race if you have the Imperial Edition upgrade.
Before I list my go to race/class combos, make sure you have an idea of what you want to do at end game (max level). Not within 10 hours of the game, but 500 hours down the road. Do you want to be a damage dealer, healer, or tank? Do you want something that can fit multiple roles or just one? Think about these things because race does matter in ESO.
If I were to design the ultimate archetypes regardless of faction, this is who’d I have.
- High Elf Sorcerer Lighting Staff – Sorcerers are going to come back with high DPS (start the hate mail now). Once 1.6 gets out, people will be able to rock the pet build and or the Crystal Fragments casting build. Either way, pairing the Sorcerer class with Disintegration passive and Elemental damage makes this combo devastating.
- Khajiit Nightblade Bow – If you want burst and range, take this combo. No one else has 6% weapon critical nor the Nightblade passives. Now that some morphs scale off of stamina, it makes Khajiit Nightblade the go to combo that I plan on using in 1.6.
- Breton Templar Restoration Staff – Cost reduction is key in healing. Plus a boost to your overall magicka pool makes a Breton a beast healer.
- Argonian Templar Restoration Staff – Potions baby! Yes the original Nightblade Argonian potion combination got nerfed, but out of the ashes has a 6% resource back on potion use. Now you can combine that with potion effectiveness on your jewelry and you will have tons of magicka which is needed for healing.
- Imperial Templar Sword and Shield – 12% health bonus and Red Diamond for self heals in between blocks make the Imperial Templar a beast. Templar’s have tons of stamina regeneration passively and actively with Restoring Aura. Combine that with Nova ultimate and 10% stamina, you are the rock star tank every group will want.
- Nord Dragonknight Sword and Shield – 6% damage mitigation off the top, the end. The Nord doesn’t have a lot to offer outside of that, but no one else has that type of damage reduction. Combine that with the Dragonknight Crowd Control and buffs, makes a Nord DK a great choice.
Dunmer – This isn’t original at all, but it’s so effective. Going with Dunmer for massive fire damage while being a Vampire. At end game, you’ll be able to reduce fire damage to a moderate amount just through you racial passive alone. Vampire gives you Super Natural Recovery thus increasing your magicka regeneration by 10%. The DK’s Kindling passive gives 6% damage to fire plus Dunmer Flame Talent are a match made in DPS heaven. And with the removal of soft caps in 1.6, you get an added 9% magicka making Dunmer my #1 choice for damage dealing Dragonknights.
Khajiit – My favorite burst damage combination is a Khajiit Nightblade (One-Shot-Willy). Combine the Master Assassin class passive with Khajiit Stealthy racial for 20% extra damage from stealth. But we can go a couple steps further using the Archers Mind set for an added 15%. Going EVEN further, the Champion System has the Precise Strikes passive that can go up to 15% CHECK. Top that off with a Shadow Mundus stone and you will literally hit like a mac truck. Yes the 1.6 One-Shot-Willy will be fun.
Breton – Weird choice right? Pair the Magicka Mastery passive with some end game gear via Arch-Mage and Seducers (you can wear both) and you have literally 19% reduction in cost. As a PvP build, I would be able to Bolt Escape out of rough situations, cast my wards for protection and heal when needed. You can truly be a light armor tank if you will. Pump up your spell damage via jewelry and you can cast endlessly. If I could re-roll a Breton Sorcerer for PvP, I would.
Imperial – Luckily I actually picked the right race for my Templar Big-Jake. As an Imperial Templar, I can pump massive points into magicka because my passive boost to health and stamina give me tons of stats. Or you can pump more into your health and use Blazing Shield as your primary damage source. This is the idea behind Bubble Trouble (yes I’ll rework it). Whether you’re tanking, healing, or doing damage dealing I believe the Imperial Templar the best choice for ALL roles. It’s the jack of all trades class/race choice making it my favorite class for 1.6 (RIP Nord Dragonknight).