Elder Scrolls Online – Guide To Racial Skills Per Alliance

Breakdown of ESO's three alliances, their races, and their respective passive abilities.

Elder Scrolls Online has officially launched worldwide, so be prepared for the lack of dinner being made and laundry being done. We, the Elder Scrolls junkies, won’t have time for those petty chores! With so much to do in this MMORPG, how could we possibly find the time?

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Some of the toughest decisions to be made are trying to decide on an alliance. There are three factions in Elder Scrolls Online that are forces to be reckoned with. Here is your breakdown of each alliance, the races within them, and their abilities.

All of the abilities listed below are passive. All skills but Expertise skills have two additional Ranks, up to Rank III.

The Aldmeri Dominion

Led by Queen Ayrenn, she is intelligent, honorable, with a genuine humility and is also a decisive leader with a stubborn streak. 

The High Elves, or Altmer, are powerful mages and warriors, and the de facto leaders of the Aldmeri Dominion. 

The Wood Elves, or Bosmer, are mischievous, curious, nimble, experts at the art of defense, and gifted archers.

The Khajiit have a wry wit and a hedonistic outlook, but they are fearsome on the field of battle. They are the strong arm of the Aldmeri Dominion.

High Elf skills (proficient in magic):
  • Destruction Talent (Level 1) –  Increases experience gain with Destruction Staff Skill Line by 15%
  • Elemental Talent (Level 25) – Increases damage with Cold, Fire or Shock effects by 2%
  • Gift of Magnus (Level 5) – Increases Max Magicka by 4%
  • Spellcharge (Level 5) – Increases Magicka recovery while in combat by 3%
Wood Elf skills (supreme hunters, guides and master of thievery & sneaking):
  • Archery Expertise (Level 1) – Increases experience gain with Bow Skill Line by 15%
  • Resist Affliction (Level 10) – Increases poison & disease resistance by 8%; increases maximum Stamina by 1%
  • Stealthy (Level 10) – Improves Stealth radius by 1 meter; increases damage done while Stealthed by 3%
  • Vigor (Level 5) – Increases Stamina recovery while in combat by 3%
Khajiit Skills (fearsome warriors proficient with bladed weapons):
  • Carnage (Level 25) – Increases Critical rating for melee attack by 1%; damage done by successful Critical Hits by 5%
  • Medium Armor Expertise (Level 1) – Increases experience gain with Medium Armor Skill Line by 15%
  • Robust (Level 5) – Increases Health regeneration while in combat by 5%
  • Stealthy (Level 10) – Improves Stealth radius by 1 meter; increases damage done while Stealthed by 3%

The Daggerfall Covenant

Led by High King Emeric, he is a Breton merchant lord whose shrewd policies and masterful diplomacy earned him the trust of the Kings of High Rock, an alliance by marriage with the Redguards, and ultimately, a war treaty with the Orcs.

The Bretons have an innate grasp of magic that distinguishes them from the other human races. Passionate and flamboyant, intelligent and resourceful, they’re renowned and talented craftsmen, shrewd merchants, gallant cavaliers, and inventive wizards. 

The Redguards are talented and athletic warriors, born to battle. 

The Orcs are noble warriors who live under a simple code of honor by which the strong survive and the strongest rule. Their weapons and armor are prized by warriors everywhere.

Breton Skills (magic & diplomacy):
  • Gift of Magnus (Level 5) – Increases Max Magicka by 4%
  • Light Armor Affinity (Level 1) – Increases experience gain with Light Armor Skill Line by 15%
  • Magicka Mastery (Level 25) – Reduces Magicka cost of Spells by 1%
  • Spell Resistance (Level 10) – Increases Spell Resistance by 2
Redguard Skills (supremely athletic outstanding warriors):
  • Adrenaline Rush (Level 25) – Restores 1 Stamina when you hit an enemy with a melee attack; can happen once within a 3 second period
  • Conditioning (Level 10) – Increases Max Stamina by 4%
  • Shield Affinity (Level 1) – Increases experience gain with One-Handed & Shield Skill Line by 15%
  • Vigor (Level 5) – Increases Stamina recovery while in combat by 3%
Orc Skills (stalwart soldiers, talented armorers who make the finest weapons):
  • Brawny (Level 5) – Increases Max Health & Max Stamina by 2%
  • Heavy Armor Expertise (Level 1) – Increases experience gain with Heavy Armor Skill Line by 15%
  • Robust (Level 5) – Increases Health regeneration while in combat by 5%
  • Swift (Level 25) – Reduces Sprint cost by 4%; increases Sprint speed by 3%

The Ebonheart Pact

Led by Jorunn, of Eastern Skyrim, he is acting High King of the Great Moot, but he does not rule absolutely. His decisions must be ratified by all three races in a unique form of governance called The Great Moot. He is down-to-earth, humorous, and has an iron will to succeed. 

The Nords are excellent with arms, quick to anger, boisterous, strong, and are natural-born warriors. 

The Dark Elves, also known as the Dunmer, are hardened warriors who have a natural affinity for magic and great intellect, making them skillful sorcerers. 

The Argonians have a cool intellect, are well-versed in the magical arts, stealth, and the use of blades, are guerilla warfare experts, and serve as the scouts and skirmishers for the forces of the Pact. 

What makes the Ebonheart Pact unique is that they’re the most unlikely of the three alliances. The Nords and Dark Elves have a long history of conflict, and the Argonians were enslaved by the Dark Elves for thousands of years.

Nord Skills (fierce warriors, expert weapon masters):
  • Resist Frost (Level 10) – Increases Cold Resistance by 11; increases maximum Health by 1%
  • Robust (Level 5) – Increases Health regeneration while in combat by 5%
  • Rugged (Level 25) – Increases Armor by 2
  • Two-Handed Weapon Expertise (Level 1) – Increases experience gain with Two-Handed Weapon Skill Line 15% faster
Dark Elf Skills (natural affinity for magic):
  • Ambidexterity (Level 1) – Increases experience gain with Dual Wield Skill Line by 15%
  • Dynamic (Level 5) – Increases maximum Magicka & Stamina by 2%
  • Flame Talent (Level 25) – Increases Spell Power with fire by 1
  • Resist Flame (Level 10) – Increases Fire resistance by 11; increases maximum Magicka by 1%
Argonian Skills (best guerilla warriors):
  • Amphibious (Level 5) – Increases swimming speed by 50% & effectiveness of potion by 5%
  • Argonian Resistance (Level 10) – Increases Maximum Health by 1% & Poison and Disease resistance by 8
  • Quick to Mend (Level 25) – Increases healing received by 2%
  • Restoration Expertise (Level 1) – Increases experience gain with Restoration Skill Line by 15%

Which alliance will you be joining?

For all your Elder Scrolls Online needs please go to our directory for help, tips and guides.


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Venisia Gonzalez
Venisia is a public relations professional, video game industry contractor, published author, freelance entertainment journalist, copy editor, a co-organizer of the Latinx Games Festival, and a member of the Latinx in Gaming and the Puerto Rico Game Developers (PRGD) community. Her passion is video games. She loves the adrenaline rush from a multiplayer match and understands the frustrations of a brand-new raid. Venisia finds immense value in gaming especially in the realm of mental health.