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Ask Us Anything: Progression

Answers to your questions about progression in The Elder Scrolls Online are here. Learn more about skills, ability morphing, and more.

We’ve been sharing more information about progression systems recently, including a new video overview and a Creating ESO feature with details about the development of our skills. As we reveal more about the game, we’re always watching for new questions that you have. We have several questions and answers for you courtesy of our French fansite Game-guide.fr and German fansite TESOnline.de. We’ve translated them for you here.

Check out our newest batch of questions and answers below and find out more about ESO!


Will it be possible to reset your skill points and redistribute them if you made mistakes or want to completely revamp your character?

Yes. You’ll be able to re-allocate attribute or skill points. To do so, you’ll need to visit a shrine and pay a fee in gold. You could, however, just decide to start taking your character in a different direction, and you’ll likely garner all the points you need to do so as you progress.


Considering the very high versatility of character progression, with the armor, weapons, guilds, and other skills, why did you choose to maintain a class system?

There are a number of reasons we made this decision, but let’s look at these two:

1.  Many of you have an idea about how you want to start the game in your head already. When you create your character, you may be looking for an archetype and a certain style. Classes help provide choices right from the beginning and can give you something you’re comfortable with.

2.  Multiplayer games are about standing out in a crowd, competing and cooperating with other players, and playing off their strengths and weaknesses. The different skill lines provided by the classes allow for this right from the beginning. You’ll have the freedom to mold your character however you want eventually, but class choices allow you to strategize and combine your character’s core skills with others’ in a fun way.

Our goal is to allow for maximum diversity while still giving you interesting, clear choices that let you stand out.


If you are leveling a new armor or weapon skill line, will you take more (or do less) damage?

No, trying out something new won’t put you at a disadvantage. You can attack and defend normally, just like with the weapons or armor you were using before. You’ll still want to unlock the active and passive abilities in that new skill line, though, so it will take some time before you have access to all the benefits.


Can a skill level be higher than my character level or are they linked?

Yes, a skill line can and likely will be higher.


In order to morph an ability, do you just have to earn enough XP in the given ability, or are there other requirements?

Abilities will morph when you reach a certain level with them. Morphing does require you to spend a skill point, though, so there is a cost associated with it.


Will there be a maximum number of points you can spend on a given attribute (health, magicka, or stamina)?

You can spend all the attribute points you gain through your career on a single attribute if you choose to do so. Whether or not that’s a wise choice is a different question.


How is the experience / level gain determined for a given ability or skill line?

Class, weapon and armor skill lines advance in rank as you gain leveling experience by questing, discovering new areas, successfully lockpicking chests, etc. This direct experience gain, which also contributes to your level progression, adds to your rank in that particular skill. If you have an ability in your ability bar, that skill line rank goes up faster, as does that particular rank for that ability. Crafting skill lines go up through various crafting activities. Mages Guild and Fighters Guild go up as you collect books or kill Daedra respectively. Other skill lines may advance in different ways, such as our Alliance War skill lines. These advance through killing other players or gaining Alliance Points.


From the video, it looks like crafting is part of the overall skill system. Is it still true that we can master only two professions?

No. You can master all the tradeskills with one character if you so choose. However, that is a significant time and skill point investment and you will be ignoring other parts of your character. We discussed having a tradeskill maximum, but people create secondary characters to get around this limitation anyway, so we felt it just wasn’t worth it to limit this freedom.


I didn’t see any PvP abilities. Do you still have skill lines for these?

Yes. Apart from the emperor skill line, there are also two skill lines designed to be particularly useful to you when fighting other players and participating in sieges in Cyrodiil.


For abilities, is there a single morph, or are there multiple as you advance?

At the moment, abilities can be morphed once.


Could a character advance all of their skills just through exploration of Skyshards?

Skyshards help you get more skill points. You still need to gain experience, influence (for the Fighters Guild, for example), or inspiration from crafting to advance and level your skill lines.


How do you balance passive and active abilities? Is a good (and big) set of passives required to be effective in PvE and PvE or can I choose to rely on my hotbar only?

We have many tools we use to balance internally; probably none as effective as testing. That being said, we do have soft caps to our numbers which we call overcharging. If you have a stat which is too high based off various buffs, you will get diminishing returns for those buffs over the soft cap.


Exclusive from the French Fansite Game-guide.fr:


Do you plan to add new armor skill lines, weapon skill lines, races, or even classes? Or is that too difficult to even consider in the foreseeable future?

As we settled into our current skill system, our goal was to maintain a great deal of flexibility. We plan to dynamically add skill lines that you can obtain through various activities in the world.


Will there be specific activities that provide more XP than others?

Initially, questing and exploration will be your most certain methods of gaining experience. Participating in PvP and exploring dungeons will grant XP as well, but because the amount of monsters and players will vary, these activities may be slower or faster depending on the circumstances. Our hope is that you’ll try a variety of activities and enjoy the journey as you explore Tamriel.


Do attributes (health, magicka, and stamina) affect more than just HP and your magicka or stamina pool (like resistances, speed, etc.)?

Yes. Your attributes will affect certain other stats. Some of these will be exposed, but others will be more behind the scenes. As an example, magicka affects not just how many spells you can cast, but their overall efficacy as well.


Why did you choose to put character levels in, considering there are also skill levels?

Levels are a good tool for understanding growth and communicating your approximate power level to others. When you want to see how strong you’ve become compared to how you used to be, a level is a quick, easy way to see a measure of it. That same method allows others to recognize your level of power. Leveling is also an Elder Scrolls standard, which contributed to keeping it.


How will the choice of race impact a character? Will the racial skills play an important role in character progression?

Choosing your race opens up a unique racial skill line to you. They’ll definitely have an impact on character progression.


And exclusive from the German fansite, TESOnline.de:


Will it be possible, thanks to level-ups, Skyshards, Alliance Ranks, and special quests, to gain enough skill points to acquire ALL the possible abilities for a given class and race?

With a game that will grow and change as much as ESO will, this is a tough question to answer! At launch, you won’t be able to max out every skill with the number of points available. However, we’ll be adding more skills and skill points, so it will be fluid. You might not be able to max out everything at once, but you might be able to have all but the class and racial skills, for example, completely unlocked at different times with a single character.


Are requirements for handling a weapon of a certain level based on the weapon skill line or the character’s level?

Weapon requirements are all based on character level. If you meet that requirement, you’ll be able to use any weapon you come across. We hope you’ll find a weapon so interesting you’ll try it out and see how you like it, even if it’s a type you haven’t used before.


Will enough points in magicka or stamina allow me to cast / fight without stopping? Will I be undefeatable if I invest all my points in health?

Well, it is possible to cast more abilities with more magicka, but fighting without a break would be very difficult indeed. You’d have to use a very low cost ability / spell, and have lots of magicka potions. Even then, it is unlikely you could keep it up indefinitely for many reasons.

Damage output is always balanced to be higher than health and in-combat health regeneration, assuming two opponents of equal level. So regardless of your high health, you aren’t going to be invulnerable.


Would you recommend that a group player spread his attribute points across all three pools, or should he focus on the one attribute that fits his favored role?

It depends on how you want to play. Some people will put all their points into a single attribute and supplement their other attributes with Mundus Stone buffs, food buffs, gear buffs, etc. However, if you put all of your stats into one attribute and have all of your buffs in one attribute you may hit overcharge for that stat. You’ll keep getting diminishing returns, but that’s up to you the player to decide if you want to do it.


Will passives evolve too? Like morphs for active abilities?

After unlocking a passive ability with a skill point you will be able to spend more skill points to improve that passive ability. 


Discuss this on the official ESO Facebook page.