Greetings Foundry Fans, Phazius here to continue our preview of the core skills lines that were available in the build of Elder Scrolls Online which was showcased at PAX Prime and Eurogamer. This article is going to be a bit shorter to normal since the armor skills only have 1 active ability and five passives. The passive armor abilities typically scale with how many pieces of that armor type you are currently wearing, creating a ton of additional options for mixing armor types beyond what is common in other games. This allows players to pick and choose how much of a bonus want from each line. One very interesting (and somewhat peculiar) note is that none of the active skills for the three armor types currently require you to actually be wearing that armor type. Bear in mind while reading these skill lines that there are a total of seven armor slots to fill (chest, legs, helm, shoulders, gloves, boots, belt).
Unlike previous TES games, clothing is now considered as “light armor”, typically considered unarmored or robes in past games. This armor type gives specific advantages for spellcasters by improving their casting efficiency, magical defense, and ability to deal sustained damage from range.
- [Active] Annulment – Absorb damage from incoming spells up to a maximum amount per hit.
- [Passive] Evocation – Reduces the Magicka cost of spells per piece for light armor equipped.
- [Passive] Recovery – Increases Magicka regeneration per piece of light armor equipped.
- [Passive] Spell Warding – Increases spell resistance per piece of light armor equipped.
- [Passive] Concentration – Your spells ignore some enemy spell resistance per piece of light armor.
- [Passive] Prodigy - While wearing 5 or more pieces of light armor you gain increased critical damage.
Light Armor most benefits players planing on using a lot of Magicka based skills, by reducing your costs, increasing your magicka regeneration, and ignoring a portion of enemies’ spell resistance. This line further benefits characters seeking to deal damage from range by increasing your critical strike damage, and increasing your spell resistance against incoming magic. Annulment, the active ability, gives you a damage shield that only works against spells, so I would expect it to be a strong shield compared to other damage absorption spells available due to the limitation in it’s effect.
Similarly, lighter armor types like leather, elven, and glass are now considered as “medium” for the purposes of ESO. This armor style is designed for hard hitting melee players and characters seeking to use mobility stealth to gain an advantage in combat.
- [Active] Evasion – Using unnaturally quick reflexes, avoid incoming melee attacks which will have a moderate chance to miss for a medium duration.
- [Passive] Improved Sneak – Decreases the area within which you can be detected and decreases the time to become fully hidden per piece of medium armor equipped.
- [Passive] Windwalker – Increases Stamina regeneration per piece of medium armor equipped.
- [Passive] Athletics – Increases sprint speed and reduces the cost of dodging per piece of medium armor equipped.
- [Passive] Dexterity – Increases critical strike chance per piece of medium armor equipped.
- [Passive] Agility – When wearing 5 or more pieces of medium armor you have increased attack speed with weapon attacks.
If your character is focusing on weapon skills, this is a skill line that shouldn’t be ignored even if you plan on using mostly heavy armor. You get to increase your stamina and critical strike chance with a few pieces, but if you want to be a bit more dexterous Improved Sneak, and Agility are more along those lines, improving your stealth and attack speed. Athletics is great, everyone is going to be using sprint and dodge roll at some point, and any where you can save on resources is great. Evasion looks like a stamina consuming equivalent of the Nightblade’s Blur ability that is available to every class.
Heavy armor is well, predictably bulky and iconic. This skill line provides a lot of defensive benefits which seems most appealing for a player who wants to sustain themselves for long periods of time in the thick of the action.
- [Active] Immovable – Reduces damage taken and become immune to knockbacks and disabling effects for a moderate duration.
- [Passive] Juggernaut – Increases power with melee attacks per piece of heavy armor equipped.
- [Passive] Rapid Mending – Increases healing received per piece of heavy armor equipped.
- [Passive] Resolve – Reduces damage taken per piece of heavy armor equipped.
- [Passive] Constitution – Increases health regeneration per piece of heavy armor equipped.
- [Passive] Bracing – While wearing five or more pieces of heavy armor, reduce the cost of blocking.
Heavy armor is very defensive minded, with passives that increase your healing received, health regeneration, and even outright absorption. Juggernaut is good for any melee player, making the armor not just good for tanking, giving a boost in power to any melee-inclined players. I find it interesting that Bracing requires you to be wearing more than 5 pieces but I would assume that tanks will be blocking a lot, gaining the largest benefit from this ability anyways. I’ve seen Immovable argued about recently on our forums; while reducing damage taken makes it valuable for non-Dragon Knight tanks, I think the largest benefit are the immunities it provides, which will likely be useful when fighting certain bosses and enemy types that frequently use knockdowns and disables.
This concludes our series of previews on the core skill lines, although remember these aren’t the only lines available to you. The Fighter’s Guild, Mages Guild, The Undaunted, 3 PvP lines, Vampires, Werewolves, in addition to some that we probably still don’t even know about leaves plenty of skills still to be discovered. I’m interested to see what combinations of armor people think will be effective, and in what capacity, so let us know in the comment section which mix of armor you plan to use in ESO, and why!