ESO leveling guide - check the best ways of getting experience
The Elder Scrolls Online offers an interesting level scaling system that allows every player to go to every area of the game and the local monsters will scale to your character’s level. This formula makes grinding experience less important than in most other MMORPGs and at the same time gives players more freedom in deciding how exactly they want to go about it.
It’s important to understand that the level scaling doesn’t mean that experience is not necessary. This system doesn’t remove the power curve, instead, it makes it smoother. There’s still a lot of character progression. Levels give you Skill Points as well as the possibility to wear better gear. Items have levels and to equip them your character has to at least match them. You also get some rewards for leveling up, most of them are pretty minor but some are actually really nice. You also have to remember that getting from level 1 to 50 is only the beginning because then you will still need better gear and Champion Points. There’s still plenty of room to make your character stronger, after hitting level 50. Some of the ways we're going to talk about might require certain DLC.
A great candidate for a first MMORPG
Published by Bethesda Softworks, but actually developed by ZeniMax Online Studios is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The game is available on PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4. It was released in April 2014, with an old school method of collecting revenue in form of a mandatory subscription. After less than a year it switched to a buy to play model, keeping the subscription as a way to access some premium content. It’s called ESO Plus and most of its perks are cosmetics and some quality of life improvements.
It’s the first MMORPG in the Elder Scrolls franchise and obviously, it takes part in Tamriel, the continent known from series’ previous installments. The action takes place roughly a millennium before the events of Skyrim.
It’s especially great for a long time Elder Scrolls fans that they can finally travel through Tamriel with their friends in a game that was specifically designed for it. There’s the option of using the Skyrim mod, but it’s not the most elegant solution.
At the same time, Elder Scrolls Online is a great option not only for the long time fans of the series. The title is less demanding than some of the more classic MMORPGs. That and the welcoming community make it an excellent choice to start getting into the genre.
Obviously, the complexity is still in there, but instead overwhelming the beginners it’s challenging the players who want to become one of the very best, have top gear and in general explore all the possibilities of the endgame.
ESO has a few ways of attracting players. One of them is actually managing to bring the single player RPG storytelling quality to an MMO. Many NPCs are well written, likable or at least memorable. For sure it’s easier to accomplish having the possibility to work with a well-crafted world that was firmly established in previous titles, but hey, they have an advantage, at least they use it to a full extent.
Tamriel is a huge continent and being able to freely travel through it is wonderful. We do recommend completing quests and following the story, but if you don’t want to do that, with the level scaling system you can literally go wherever you want.
Players can pick out of five playable classes: Dragonknight, Nightblade, Sorcerer, Templar and Warden. The sixth one – Necromancer will be added in July 2019 with the upcoming chapter Elsweyr. In Elder Scrolls Online players can create a character from nine unique races belonging to three factions. Daggerfall Covenant is formed out of Breten, Redguard and Orsimer. Nord, Argonian and Dunmer are united into Ebonheart Pact. While Altmer, Khajiit and Bosmer together create the Aldmeri Dominion.
ESO Guide to Leveling
An important thing to realize before starting to grind is the fact that items in ESO can have the Training Trait. When equipped, they increase the wearer’s experience gains from kills. Another way to get those EXP points faster is by using consumables. There are two kinds of them:
Experience Scrolls from the Crown Store and ambrosia drinks.
Psijic Ambrosia, 50% experience boost
Aetherial Ambrosia, 100% experience boost
Mythic Aetherial Ambrosia, 150% experience boost
They aren’t limited to kills only and they increase the experience from all sources.
A useful tip for using them is the fact that finishing quests often reward you with EXP. You can stack the almost finished quests, then use the scroll or ambrosia and complete them all, getting multiplied EXP. Also, remember that every day you can complete a random dungeon for a massive one-time experience boost, you can stack it with the scroll or ambrosia EXP bonus and get a really nice gain for a single dungeon.
ESO Leveling 1-50 – the recommended way
First we're going to talk about the method that takes a bit longer to take you to level 50, but you're going to get a lot of extra power along the way, mostly in form of collecting Skill Points. They will be extremely important to make your character as powerful as possible. This way of gathering exp is also much more enjoyable than a mind-numbing grind.
Faction quest chains are a great idea to optimize both your levels and your Skill Points. As we said earlier, the level scaling will tune up your base statistics, but it won’t unlock nor upgrade your abilities. By finishing those quest chains you will get decent experience gains, extra Skill Points and you’ll be able to follow some interesting storylines.
For the same reason, you should complete the main quest line. You really shouldn’t disregard them, because they will grant you 11 Skill Points and that’s definitely worth getting.
After hitting level 10 you will be able to enter Dungeons. They will not only help you with getting a couple of quick levels but also there’s a big chance that you’ll get some worthwhile items while doing them.
Exploration is another source of experience in ESO. It’s definitely not the quickest way of getting levels, but it’s an extra incentive to see every corner of Tamriel. The world has numerous beautiful locations and seeing them is a reward itself, but some bonus EXP is nothing to scoff at.
Remember, it’s not a valid power leveling option, but if you feel like sightseeing in game, at least you will know that your character progression is not completely impaired. If you’re exploring Adventure Zones, make sure to find and collect every skyshard you see. They’re important because collecting three skyshards will grant you a Skill Point and we already established why you want as many of them as you can get, even if the experience gain will be pretty slow.
You also have to remember to level skill lines. Only the skills that are placed on an active bar are getting experience. To max out your class skills the fastest possible way, you have to equip as many of them as you can while you’re leveling up. The principle is the same for weapon and armor skill lines, but you have to equip both the gear and the skills. Furthermore, there are some unique skill lines like legerdemain that you max out for stealing items or vampire and werewolf that require getting bitten, completing some quests and gaining experience with certain skills slotted.
Another thing to take care of is leveling guild skills. To get them, you have to join NPC guilds and perform some quests for them. To develop the Fighters Guild Skill Line you have to kill Deadra and Undead as well as destroy the Dark Anchors. Completing the Mages Guild Skill Line requires collecting lore books, clearing daily dungeons and finishing some quests. To level up the Undaunted Skill Line you also need to do certain dungeons. Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood and Psijic Order were introduced to the game later. Finishing their skill lines requires completing the guild story quests as well as some repeatable tasks. Don't forget to level up your weapon skills too.
There are tons of different kinds of progression in ESO. Another one is leveling your riding skills. Mounts are very important since they reduce the time you spend on traveling. At the same time, to make them actually useful, you’re going to have to level up your riding skills, because it makes them go faster. You can do that either at Stable Master for 250 gold or by buying Riding Books in a Crown Store.
ESO Leveling 1-50 – the fastest way
If for some reason you really want to get to level 50 in the quickest possible way (which is NOT the recommended way), there are some more grindy options for that. In general, if you want to seriously rush to level 50, you will need the armor set with the training trait. You might hit level 50 a couple hours quicker thanks to that. But even if you're leveling your alts it's still better to go with the recommended way. You don't want your alt to be weak, because they lack Skill Points.
One of those methods is Dolmen farming. To do it you have to go to Alik’r Desert, unlock three wayshrines and go in. The best idea is to have some AoE in your kit, because it will allow you to kill multiple targets as fast as possible. When you get there, some people will probably be killing Dolmens already. Just join them, DPS monsters as much as possible and enjoy your quick experience gains. You don’t have to be in a party with anyone, just participate in farming, deal damage and you will get rewards.
Map of Dolmen farming in the Alik’r Desert
Killing the World Bosses is another way of getting EXP. You won’t really want to fight them alone, especially when your character is not that strong yet. But if you’re able to gather some friends, members of your guild or a party of randoms, you should be good to go. Experience gains are really nice, you might even get some worthwhile loot and it’s always more interesting to fight a boss than to kill hundreds of mobs over a long time.
If you want to grind some EXP solo, you should definitely try Delves. They are a kind of small dungeons designed to be completed by single players or small groups. To complete a Delve and get the reward you’re going to have to kill the boss. They’re usually not that strong and you should be able to kill them by yourself, with any kind of decent solo PvE build. High damage magicka users are especially efficient here. In general a DPS will be better for solo grinding than a tank or a healer. You can test different builds and check which one suits you best for this kind of endeavor.
Finally, there’s probably the least interesting and the most basic, classic MMORPG method of leveling up – the good old fashioned grind. Get to an area that has a lot of monsters in it and start killing them as many times as you can, as fast as you can. Again AoE will be very useful here. Remember that the devs introduced so many different ways of getting experience, specifically for players not to be forced into this kind of grind, but if you really want fast power leveling and nothing else, it’s still a viable possibility. It might get boring after some time though.
I will say that again, you really don’t want to rush to level 50 as fast as possible. Firstly, there’s a lot of fun to be had, while leveling up a new character. Secondly, you really want those extra Skill Points, because guess what, after hitting 50, you will still grind for them.
ESO Champion Points Leveling
Even after you leveled you character to 50 which is theoretically the max level you can get in ESO you can’t really call everything after that the endgame. After getting the level cap, your characters start getting champion levels instead, they also grant the CP.
The current cap of usable CP is 810. That means that there are 810 levels to get after getting the so-called max level. Moreover, the strongest gear in the game is unlocked at CP160, which is way beyond level 50 as well. That’s why crafting items with the training trait on them even after level 50 is a good idea. The truth is, the amount of experience you need to hit 50 is negligible compared to the amount you need to max out your CP.
There are no magical ways that will get you to the CP cap very fast. You can clear dungeons, you can fight in PvP, you can basically do what you like the most. The important milestone is CP160 and then maxing out your gear. After that, the power curve becomes even smoother and you will be able to progress more easily. It’s also important to remember that the CP is shared between all the characters on your account, so you’re not going to have to grind it on every single one. Some good news at last.
The level scaling in ESO means that most of the methods of getting experience that works for the 1-50 leveling will also work for Champion Points.
What you want to do for while accumulating CP is entirely up to you. We seriously recommend enjoying the game, exploring all the storylines, challenging yourself with Public Dungeons, Group Dungeons and Trials, since that’s one of the most interesting parts of MMORPGs. There's plenty of things to do, you just have look for them.
It's also a good idea to look at crafting professions. It can prove itself worthwhile with accelerating your experience gains a bit. The classes that can craft items are: alchemy, blacksmithing, clothing, enchanting, jewelcrafting, provisioning and woodworking. You should definitely look at the crafting writs - check them out and you'll learn that those dailies can offer realy nice rewards.
Of course, there are also ways to get CP faster. If you got all the Skill Points already and you really want those champion levels as fast as possible, you might actually consider grinding for them. It’s much more reasonable to do it now, than during 1-50 level up. Also, remember to complete every daily that you can, they usually have some real nice EXP multipliers.
Optimizing your EXP gains
Since you’re going to need an incredible amount o experience to get maxed out, it’s really important to optimize your gains. Purple quality training trait will give you +10% per item. The ESO Plus subscription gives extra +10%, being in a party of two is another +10%. We already talked about the Psijic Ambrosia and the Crown Store Experience Scrolls that give additional +50%, being married in the game is also +10%. The last thing to remember is taking advantage of events, they sometimes give absurd free bonuses like +100% to all experience gained. If you manage to combine all of the above with a Mythic Aetherial Ambrosia Drink (which is really expensive) you will be able to get over +350% extra experience gains, what would allow you to farm and exp extremely efficiently. It’s a very substantial acceleration of the champion leveling.
ESO Best grinding spots
When you have all the bonuses you’re able to get, it’s time to kill some mobs. The most popular grinds involve killing tons of zombies because they are not threatening at all and die fairly quickly. Some of the best locations are Alik’r Desert, Coldharbour, and Greenshade. It isn't the most interesting thing to do in ESO, but the experience gains are really good.
Another good idea is to enter the dungeons in Wrothgar. Rkindaleft and Old Orsinium both are really easy to complete and feature a lot of monsters to kill. You might also earn decent amounts of gold for your effort there.
Some of the more difficult spots are Skyreach in Craglorn, the Imperial City Sewers. There are also some good spots in Cyrodiil, such as Cracked Woodcave and Lipsand Tarn. It’s a risky option though, because Cyrodiil is a designated PvP zone, so you instead of farming in peace you might fall victim to some players practicing before Alliance War and actually get killed.
These are some of the best advice we can give you if you want to power level in Elder Scrolls Online. Remember that with the level scaling system, the experience by itself won’t really make you that powerful. Enjoy the game, gather the much needed Skill Points, gear up and then start grinding Champion Points to become one of the greatest heroes on Tamriel. Write a comment below. Tell us what do you think about our ESO guide to leveling and what do you want to read next.