Tamriel Foundry

Healing race comparison - PVE

Hello ! I've been focusing on healing during the past few months, and I have always wondered what are the pros and cons of the different main healing races, that is, breton, high elf, argonian. I often read "high elf is the best for sustain, breton has also good sustain but a bit less, argonian is best for raw healing", but my question was what is the reality of it ? This morning I had a bit of fun on UESP build editor so here are my thoughts. For the TLDR guys, switch to the comparison section directly. Check out my website www.tabatta.eu for more content :)!

In order to test up the possibilities of the different races, I assumed the said healer was using a typical healer setup that is 5 Spell Power Cure and 2 Worm cult body pieces of legendary quality, 3 Worm cult jewels of epic quality, 1 powered Master restoration staff, 1 infused random lightning staff. As for the traits and enchant, I chose three infused big pieces with a prismatic enchant, and divines small pieces with magicka enchant. On the jewels, I chose one magicka recovery glyph and two spell damage glyphs. While the tooltips that I will give below obviously depends on the enchantment and exact setup, I believe the qualitative results should be the same for any "classic" healer setup. My healer is a vampire stage 4 using Clockwork citrus filet, and has magicka aid leveled up. Here are the bars I set up on the website : 

For each race, I modified the attributes so that the total hp was around 18.4k unbuffed, which I think is a comfortable value. I kept the three prismatic enchants because I like having a bit more stamina on a healer. Here comes the comparison now : for each race, I first show the unbuffed "stats of interest", that is max magicka, max hp and magicka recovery. Then, I show the healing and magicka cost tooltips as indicated on the build editor. For the healing tooltips, I assumed we were given the following buffs : warhorn, spell power cure, weapon damage enchant, minor mending, minor and major sorcery. It seems that these tooltips are not exactly the same as in game, however, they seem to be close enough. In any case, my goal isn't to give exact tooltips but rather to show qualitative values. 

1. Breton

Unbuffed stats (Attributes are 52 points in magicka, 12 points in health)

  • Health : 18392
  • Magicka : 36211
  • Magicka Recovery : 2356

Tooltips (Formatting : healing tooltip per tick (spell cost))

  • Healing springs 2970 (2633 magicka)
  • Combat prayer 7626 (2835 magicka)
  • Breath of life 11227 -- 7413  (3443 magicka)
  • Ritual 2034 (3240 magicka)
  • Siphon 792 (1418 magicka)
  • Orbs 1046 (3443 magicka)

2. High elf

Unbuffed stats (Attributes are 52 points in magicka, 12 points in health)

  • Health : 18392
  • Magicka : 36211
  • Magicka Recovery : 2486

Tooltips (Formatting : healing tooltip per tick (spell cost))

  • Healing springs 2970 (2738 magicka)
  • Combat prayer 7626 (2949 magicka)
  • Breath of life 11227 -- 7413  (3581 magicka)
  • Ritual 2034 (3370 magicka)
  • Siphon 792 (1475 magicka)
  • Orbs 1046 (3581 magicka)

3. Argonian

Unbuffed stats (Attributes are 62 points in magicka, 2 points in health)

  • Health : 18390
  • Magicka : 35573
  • Magicka Recovery : 2356

Note : the Magicka recovery equivalent from the Ressourceful argonian passive is 205 (granted that the potion is not used when the user is already full of magicka).

Tooltips (Formatting : healing tooltip per tick (spell cost))

  • Healing springs 3061 (2738 magicka)
  • Combat prayer 7860 (2949 magicka)
  • Breath of life 11149 -- 7640  (3581 magicka)
  • Ritual 2096 (3370 magicka)
  • Siphon 822 (1475 magicka)
  • Orbs 1039 (3581 magicka)

4. Comparison

In order to compare the three classes, I will show the effective additional cost reduction per cast for each skill for Bretons, as well as the difference of healing between Argonian and the other races and the additional magicka recovery brought by being a High elf. 

Magicka saved per cast being a Breton (Breton spell cost minus High elf (or Argonian) spell cost)

  • Healing springs 105 magicka
  • Combat prayer 114 magicka
  • Breath of life 138 magicka
  • Ritual 130 magicka
  • Siphon 57 magicka
  • Orbs 138 magicka

Additional healing from the Argonian setup (Argonian healing tooltips minus High elf (or Breton) healing tooltips. NB : a negative value means the High elf (or Breton) healing is higher.)

  • Healing springs 91
  • Combat prayer 234
  • Breath of life -78 -- 227
  • Ritual 62
  • Siphon 30
  • Orbs -7

NB : Two lines here show a negative value : the first heal of Breath of Life, and the ticks from Orbs. Using the coefficients on this page, I do not reproduce these results. This is an error from the build editor. Analytical considerations show that all the healing spells casted by an argonian should be about +2.5% more potent than the same for Breton or High elf.

In order to have something more meaningful, here is the healing tooltip per magicka used per second for the different healing skills comparing Breton and Argonian (thank you @Latin for this very nice suggestion :)).

Healing Springs1.501.49
Combat Prayer2.692.67
Breath of Life3.26 -- 2.153.11(! error) -- 2.13
Ritual of retribution0.370.36
Quick Siphon0.560.56
Energy orb0.610.58(!error)

Additional magicka recovery from the High Elf setup (High elf magicka recovery minus Breton/Argonian magicka recovery): 130.

Discussion While it seems that Argonians are able to provide more healing on most spells, sustain seems to be more comfortable on Breton given the fact that magicka recovery ticks only every 2s while the cost reduction is applied on every cast. Of course, this doesn't take into account the phases where you don't actually cast spells (heavy attacks, chilling in a corner ... :)), during which, obviously, magicka recovery is better. 

In this comparison, I compared only the healing tooltips and magicka recovery/cost, and didn't include the other racial bonuses. High elf will be more efficient if you want your healer to be able to provide a bit of damage. Breton brings an additional 4k spell resistance which is absolutely insane, given that a lot of trials have incoming spell damage. Argonian brings poison and disease resistances which are not that helpful for PVE imo, but they also get 4.6k health and stamina everytime they take a potion, which is a huge boost to your survavibility. My conclusion is that this post isn't meant to tell people "that's the best healing race", but rather to show the different aspects of each. See what you prefer and enjoy :)! Thank you for reading and if you have questions let me know here or contact me ingame @Tabatta (EU) :).

About Tabatta:

Aelynia High elf Magsorc (DC), Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen Breton Healplar (AD), Shadowbinder Khajiit Stamdk (AD), Aemma Blackfyre Imperial Warden tank (AD), Saerenaï High elf Magblade (AD), Amaelia by the Shadow Breton Magden (AD)

Core healer in Ordo and Arkadium. (EU)

13 Replies
  1. #1


    Moderator1308 Posts

    Thank you for sharing your comprehensive analysis. Here are a few thoughts at a glance.

    Altmer has never been the best sustain option for anything. As I demonstrated in this post 1.5 year ago, they range from 'really really bad' to about par depending on your effective magicka recovery; the breakpoint for which it beats the Argonian equivalent is ~2350 buffed (will be slightly different for your case, because I assumed slightly different stat benchmark and there was also a change in mechanics). You also miss out on the 4.6k stam return from Argonian (the potion), which if you are being relied on for keeping up PotL, can be useful on top of all the necessary dodge, block and break free. Since I made that post, the Resourceful passive was changed from 12% to 4620 at c160 - this is actually a buff, if I use your Argonian benchmark of 35.6k, the 4620 magicka returned is higher than the 12% equivalent. This means that the magicka recovery breakpoint for Altmer to reach Argonian will be even slightly higher now.

    The average action per second over an entire combat event for a healer is definitely going to be higher than 0.6. Therefore, Breton's cost reduction is in favour over Altmer's recovery; and as you've astutely pointed out, if you use a skill every GCD, cost reduction will inevitably come out on top by virtue of 'magicka saved'.

    I'm not convinced about the usefulness of 'healing tooltip per tick'; it feels like a convoluted way of saying the same thing as your quoted unbuffed stats for the races (i.e. showing that Breton and Altmer have same tooltip values but Breton with lower spell cost, and that Argonian have higher tooltip values than the former two, and share the same spell cost as Altmer). Perhaps an average healing (tooltip or otherwise) per second per magicka spent equivalent would be better, as Orbs tick every 0.5 s, Rituals tick every 2 s and these skills all have different duration (and thus the number of ticks per cast). This way, you have a common parameter to highlight the differences by skill, with consideration of the nature of these skills (short HoT, long HoT, burst and etc.).

    Also, your quoted spell costs seem lower than the base cost in-game (even if you include the Worm Cult effect), e.g. Healing Springs being at 2738 rather than 3510, BoL at 3581 rather than 4590 - am I missing a factor somewhere? It matters because it will change the healing per second per resource spent ratios, and in turn, the per-skill effective gain between Argonian and Breton.

    You would be glad to know that the Quick to Mend passive for Orbs and BoL works fine on the PTS, it also works correctly when stacked with CP and other sources of Healing Done/Received. The negative values you found are unique to the Build Editor.

    e pluribus unum

  2. #2


    Member54 Posts

    @Latin Thank you for your answer ! I didn't see your previous post, but indeed it's essentially the same. I completely agree on your high elf recovery analysis, still, most of the recent healer builds I checked stated something in the lines of "high elf is the best in terms of pure magicka recovery", which seems to be just wrong from these datas. That being said, what I don't like about the "regen" on Argonian is that if you take your potion on cooldown you're not guaranteed to be in a situation where you can recover 7.6k magicka (from the potion) + 4.6k (from the passive), the recovery is wasted. If you don't use your potion on cooldown, then the passive is less and less interesting. I do not play Argonian so I don't know how often these situations occur :).

    Indeed, I didn't take into account the 4.6k stam recovery every 45s which is pretty insane. My fashion sense forbids me to play a lizard but this stam recovery gives them a huge edge in my opinion. I see some healers running the Asylum staff, but I think it's pretty dangerous to use it (instead of the Master's staff) when your class is not Argonian. 

    Thank you for your very good idea, the healing per second per magicka spent should be a more enlightening parameter, I will do the calculations soon ! For Orbs and BoL, I had an Argonian friend change all his setup to exactly this one (thanks @Noise.S :D) last night, and indeed under the same condition he did get more healing than me on my Breton. I will report this error to the build editor managers. 

    For the cost tooltip, did you include the cost reduction due to 7 light armor pieces ? Checking right now in game, the costs for Breton seems to be exactly the same as the ones provided by the build editor, with worm.

  3. #3


    Member36 Posts

    This analysis sadly ignores the two key reasons to go with an Argonian. Those sweet sweet tails, and the swim speed.

    Also, the Argonian potion passive give an additional 4.6k return on magicka as well, not just Health and Stamina, which is nice.

  4. #4


    Administrator3186 Posts

    Really nicely put together guide and analysis @Tabatta, I'll be interested to keep an eye on the feedback you get from the TF community on this and if/how you adapt it for future updates!

    Creator of Ashen Foundry and Tamriel Foundry. Former guildmaster of Entropy Rising. Economist and MMO enthusiast.

  5. #5


    Moderator1308 Posts


    Yes, the light armour passive, thanks.

    It's true about the Argonian "regen", if you cannot make full use of the magicka restored from passive and the potion, the effective recovery can be lower than the one asserted. That is the caveat about working with an equivalent "regen". In practice, for me at least, it doesn't happen that often.

    Archamus wrote on Feb. 10, 2018

    Also, the Argonian potion passive give an additional 4.6k return on magicka as well, not just Health and Stamina, which is nice.

     This was already accounted for and is essentially the basis of the Argonian "regen" that the OP and I were discussing.

    e pluribus unum

  6. #6


    Member54 Posts
    Atropos wrote on Feb. 11, 2018

    Really nicely put together guide and analysis @Tabatta, I'll be interested to keep an eye on the feedback you get from the TF community on this and if/how you adapt it for future updates!


    Thank you for your answer ! As for this update, no change has been made to sustain or races, so the analysis still stands. :)

  7. #7


    Member55 Posts

    Interesting read, but was confusing read as Templars aren't only healers. I was unfortunately looking seems how races are effective across the board.

  8. #8


    Member54 Posts

    Yes, this was meant to be a comparison for templar, hence the category :D.

  9. #9


    Member55 Posts

    Whoops, got confused by new site structure , but have a proper question now. How much stamina do actually end with everything?

  10. #10


    Member54 Posts

    @Tasear With 3 infused tristats glyphs, I have around 11.6k stamina. :)

  11. #11


    Member55 Posts


  12. #12


    Member32 Posts

    Another great post!

    Nice to see some quality discussions on Foundry again about healing.

    I have also tested the 3 races and I have to say I agree with the conclusion. Though I play on console and don't have access to alot of detail statistics, Breton Healers just feel a lot better than High Elf. I'd even say Argonian healers are also a lot better, at least for me.

    I tested a bunch of combinations after Morrowind nerfs and the one I ended up liking the most is Breton with 2 Cost Reduction glyphs (as I said on the other post, I know the math says I'm wrong, but somehow Reduction just feels so much better in practice for me, even as a Breton).

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

  13. #13


    Member55 Posts

    Thanks again for the info! Also would like to invite you to ESO healer's discord: https://discord.gg/6CmzBFb


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