Skill Overview – Armor Types

There will be some beautiful and iconic armor sets in ESO.

There will be some beautiful and iconic armor sets in ESO.

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).

Light Armor

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.
Breton Shrine

Light armor will help spellcasters make the most of their magical abilities

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.


Medium Armor

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.
A Dunmer sentry keeps watch

Medium armor is most effective for mobile skirmishers in melee range.

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

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 sets are the most ornate and imposing

Heavy armor sets are the most ornate and imposing

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!

308 responses to “Skill Overview – Armor Types”

  1. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 17

    Khajiit Dragonknight

    Va Khaj Dar

    Sounds like medium armor for me. That attack speed bonus will come in handy with a two-handed weapon.


    ”He who is without enemy is also without character.” Dro’ Paul Meowman

  2. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 14

    Dunmer Sorcerer

    finally the armor skill lines are out


  3. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 81

    Khajiit Nightblade


    Do the armors not have an armor factor that naturally reduces damage? If so what would be the armor factor difference between the three?

    ”It is not about who you are ,but who you are with”

  4. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 386

    Aldmeri Templar

    Thankyou for the information and the effort put into this.

  5. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 61

    Khajiit Nightblade


    Nice write up again there @Phazius.

    I will be interested to see what sort of bonuses you get per piece of armor, but going by what is written here, I will probably be playing my first character with 4 Medium (Chest, Shoulders, Legs and Boots) + 3 Light Armor (Helm, Gloves and Belt) to start with. Depending on what sort of bonuses and resource efficiency I get from that setup I will do my tweaking from there.

    Life is too short to be normal ….

  6. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 219

    Bosmer Templar

    Woot, finally the armor skill trees, Thanks!

    Always strive to better yourselves and others.

  7. Profile Photo
    Loki Blood eyes


    Total Posts: 26

    Bosmer Nightblade

    [NA/EU][PS4] Exiles of Artaeum


    Medium armour for me I be shootin off arrows all day and keep up the good work guys doin a great job so far.

    ”Do you feel that in your blood my son that is the ancient roots of valenwood flowing through you vanes. Go and protect her strike down anyone who would see to harm her. Bring honer to your people and for the Aldmeri Dominion.”

  8. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 386

    Aldmeri Templar

    I like the line ” decreases the time to become fully hidden per piece of medium armor equipped.” in medium armor. That means without the nightblade skills to vanish it will not be as easy as going into stealth to be undetectable .

  9. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 2841

    Breton Templar


    5/2 light/heavy as a templar to get the most armor rating out of a couple pieces and the light armor for magicka regeneration.  There is an active for getting more stamina regeneration as a Templar.

    As a sorc, 5/2 medium/light so I can follow my sneaky guild as a sneaky healer

  10. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 1813

    Altmer Sorcerer

    Strange, the heavy armor passives have been switched up from the leaks. This seems like it will be stronger though, so good news for me. :D

  11. Profile Photo
    Erik Nyrburethr


    Total Posts: 129

    Imperial Nightblade

    The Incursion

    Awesome stuff, I can’t wait to see the armor that will be available in game.

  12. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 26

    Dunmer Sorcerer

    i love all different skill lines ZOS puts in it really shows their dedication

    You shall never find me. No matter how much you think you’ve won i’ll always be 1 step ahead. Now you see me….. Now you don’t.

    -Almor Pyropalm

  13. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 87

    Altmer Sorcerer

    Hmmmmm…….more medium or more light, dont know what  5 plus passive to have or having one, it probably a thing that only when playing ill find the good balance, or at least test all of it to see if it fit me well.

  14. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 195

    Ooooh shiny!

  15. Member Avatar


    Total Posts: 2


    Well, medium armour is a given for my planned play style, combining with my plans of dual wielding. Now if only I could decide on the class.

  16. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 14

    Nord Dragonknight

    Blood Of The North

    Thank you for the post @Phazius

  17. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 112

    Argonian Nightblade


    brokenpsyche said on October 25, 2013 :

    I will be interested to see what sort of bonuses you get per piece of armor,

    Me too, but I guess as numbers are of beta is inconclusive to say now… but well, the skill lines are also beta.

    But It will not harm anyone hearing an estimate like light armor 1:3 heavy armor, etc…

  18. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 42

    Breton Dragonknight

    The NorthPoint Mercenaries

    Medium armor sets for me better the stanmina regeneration will come in handy


  19. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 72

    Orc Sorcerer

    Medium Armor looks way more useful than the others. I Bet Everyone will be sporting at least some  medium armor. Me, I am going full medium, as many pieces as possible.

  20. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 181

    Altmer Templar

    The Poisoned Blade

    That awesome, sounds like I am going to be a medium caster/sneak




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