Elder Scrolls Online Starter Guide

This guide covers map icons, skyshards, dungeons, and many other things to help you get started on your Elder Scrolls Online adventure!
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Elder Scrolls Online is a pretty big game and overwhelming for people not familiar with the Elder Scrolls series and/or MMOs in general. Skill points, gathering and crafting, dungeons, races, factions, and more are different from most MMOs.

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This is a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know to get started in Elder Scrolls Online. From Skyshards to Wayshrines, anything you might ask about is in this guide. For anything else related to Elder Scrolls Online, please visit the ESO Guide Team Directory.

This guide will cover everything you need to know when starting the game including:

Tutorial and Starter Areas


The first time you play, you will start in a tutorial area. This is great because it teaches you how to play the game, and is the beginning of the main story. If you aren’t familiar with the game, or if things seem confusing, pay close attention during the tutorial.

Starter Areas

The starter areas are now optional after you complete the tutorial. You get a quest to go to one of the areas, depending on what faction you choose. For example, Daggerfall Covenant players can choose to go to Stros M’Kai after the tutorial.

I recommend you go there because it has quests for experience and gear. Most importantly, all the starter areas have Skyshards. These give extra skill point and I’ll explain them in detail later.

Races and Factions

Each alliance has 3 races. If you pre-ordered the game you can pick any Alliance and race combo you want. Imperial is a race you can choose if you get the Imperial edition. You can choose any faction with this race. They also come with the ability to craft Imperial gear and change other gear to look like The Imperial Style.

Races are important because each has a set of passive skills. Picking a race to fit your play style is very helpful. The 3 alliances are: Daggerfall Covenant, Aldmeri Dominion, and Ebonheart Pact.

Daggerfall Covenant Races

  • Breton
  • Redguard
  • Orc

Aldmeri Dominion Races

  • High Elf
  • Wood Elf
  • Khajiit

Ebonheart Pact Races

  • Nord
  • Dark Elf
  • Argonian

If you didn’t pre-order the game, you must stay in whatever faction the race you chose is in. Make sure you look at what faction you’re in during character creation if you pre-ordered the game. You have to choose that as well, otherwise you’ll be put in whichever is selected and not the one you want. For more details on each race and what they give, visit the Racial Skills Overview.

MMO Lingo

Here are some MMO terms that people new to MMOs may not know.

LFG/LFR = Looking for Group/Looking for Raid

DPS = Damage per Second. This can mean how much damage you do, or your role as a damage dealer on a team.

WTB/WTS/WTT = Want to buy/want to sell/want to trade.

RP= Role play.

PST = Please send tell.

If you have any more questions for any not listed here, or need more clarification, let me know in the comments.


These are found all over the world and are very important. In this game, you get skill points by leveling, completing certain quests, and Skyshards. Every skill you get, including racial and crafting, requires skill points.

There are shrines that allow you to reset your stat and skill points. They cost 100g per point and you have to reset all, not just some. You have to choose between stat and skill when resetting. For example, if you have 20 stat points and you want to reset those, it costs 2,000 gold. If you have 100 skill points and you want to reset, it costs 10,000 gold.

Every 3 skyshards you collect gives 1 skill point. There are 321 total Skyshards which equals 107 extra skill points. As you can see, Skyshards are very important.


Wayshrines are places you fast travel to in Elder Scrolls Online. You have to discover a Wayshrine before you can use it, but when you do, you can fast travel to it at anytime. You can fast travel to a Wayshrine at any time, from anywhere. The downside is that it costs gold to do this. The cost increases every time you fast travel shortly after the last time you fast traveled. The price goes down over time the longer you wait between fast travelling.

If you walk to a Wayshrine, you can use it to fast travel to any other Wayshrine. If you do it this way, it is free to travel

Gathering and Crafting

Gathering and Crafting is different in this game because it doesn’t require you to learn any of them. Anyone can gather materials in the world and you don’t even need tools to do it. You can also craft anything without learning the skills. You have to go to a crafting station for whichever craft you choose to craft anything.

You do have to put points in a crafting profession to progress past the beginning stages though. Although you get a lot of skill points, you should focus on 1 or 2 at first until you know exactly what you will spend points on.

The crafting professions in the game are: Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Clothing, Enchanting, Provisioning, and Woodworking.

Alchemy makes potions by combing herbs and water.

Blacksmithing creates heavy armor and melee weapons.

Clothing creates light and medium armor.

Enchanting adds extra stats, such as stamina or magicka, to your gear.

Provisioning creates food and drink that give buffs to your character when used.

Woodworking creates magic staves, bows, and shields.

Map Icons

The map is overwhelming for sure. There is no explanation on what each symbol means, so if you don’t know, it’s hard to know what you’re doing. Below is a map of Daggerfall city. The colors describe what each icon means. Black icons means you have not completed everything for that icon yet. White means you have completed everything for that icon.

The Blue and Purple Icons have more than just what’s listed there. When you hover over them it tells you exactly what crafting professions are in that area.

The bank is where you deposit items. The guild bank and guild store are also there. All characters on your account share the normal bank, so if you want to send something to another character, store it in a bank.

Everyone in a guild can use the guild bank, so only place thing in there you want to share. Guild stores are similar to auction houses in other MMOs, but limited to your guild. Place items you want to buy or sell here.

The Shrine of Mara is a place you go to get married, basically. People who bought the Imperial Edition get the Rings of Mara. They can share this with anyone and the other person does not have to have Imperial Edition.

  • Both players must go to the Shrine of Mara, then the player with the rings must target the other players and use the item.
  • Both players must agree to the union. Afterwards, each player gets a ring in their inventory with the name of the other player.
  • Both players must equip the rings and group together for it to work. This gives extra experience to each player.
  • You only get one and you cannot change who you link with. 

Below is a world map of Stonefalls. I’ll explain below the picture what each symbol means.

 The cave is the main story area. Every time you get a new main story quest, you come back here.

Torches are dungeons. Dungeons come in 3 forms, Solo, Public, and Group. I’ll explain dungeons later. Group dungeons have a plus icon next to the torch.

Mundus Stones are places you attune to for permanent buffs. Each type gives a different buff and as long as you stay attuned to it, you keep the buff. You can change at anytime.

Anything marked with a red dot is a quest area. They have many symbols, but going to these places starts a quest line for that area.

The portal icons are Daedric portals. These involve killing enemies in the area and ends with a boss fight.

Skull and crossbones icons are very strong mobs and boss fights. These require groups to complete.

The eye icons are striking locales. They are for achievements and many quests lead to these icons.


As I said before there are 3 types of dungeons: Solo, Public, and Group.

Solo dungeons have only a few enemies at a time and a boss at the end. It is the easiest of the 3.

Public dungeons have more enemies at a time than solo dungeons and multiple bosses. these dungeons are easier done with more people, but does not need a pre-made group.

Group Dungeons require a 4 man group and instanced for your group. They are the hardest of the three.

That wraps up the starter guide for Elder Scrolls Online. If you have any questions, or suggestion, let me know in the comments. Be sure to visit the ESO Guide Team Directory for other helpful guides and tips.

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After gaming for 25 years, Synzer leveraged his vast knowledge of RPGs and MMOs into a job as a games journalist, covering the games he loves. Five years later, he's still writing about Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and Knights of the Old Republic. Synzer has a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing. You can see him in action on his YouTube channel (https://bit.ly/2F97BrR) and Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/synzergaming).