In Elder Scrolls Online, you can be whatever high-fantasy fictional character you want. A thieving Khajiit, a Bosmer who doesn’t adhere to the Green Pact, or an Argonian who is afraid of water. Role playing preferences aside, however, choosing your race does carry actual stat benefits, which can influence how proficient you are at your role. Many beginners overlook this, so here’s a list of the best race choices in Elder Scrolls Online.
Before we get into it, understand that races do not necessarily align perfectly with certain classes. Instead, you should view racial passives as a guideline towards what role you should lean towards. For example, Altmer racial passives boost spell and weapon damage and feature passives that boost Magicka stats. Use the racial passives to choose your role instead of your class — Tank, Healer, Magicka DPS, and Stamina DPS.
Here’s a list of all the races, their passives (at max rank) and what role they’re best suited for:
Altmer (High Elves — Magicka DPS/Healers)
Proud and more than a little snobby, the Altmer fight to establish their supremacy and dominance over others, as their High Elf ancestry wills. They excel as Magicka DPS or Healers.
- Highborn: Destruction Staff (+15% EXP gain), overall EXP gain +1%
- Spell Recharge: Activating an ability restores 625 Magicka or Stamina, based on whichever is lowest. Only occurs once every 6 seconds. When you channel an ability, you take 5% less damage.
- Syrabane’s Boon: Magicka is increased by 2000
- Elemental Talent: Weapon and Spell Damage increases by 258.
Argonians are the masters of the swamp. Used to fighting off encroaching forces, they tend to specialize in healing and resistances. As such, they should focus on being either Healers or Tanks.
- Amphibian: Restoration Staff (+15% EXP gain), swimming speed +50%
- Life Mender: Healing output is increased by 6%
- Argonian Resistance: Max health +1000, Disease and Poison Resistance +2310
- Resourceful: Max Magicka and Stamina +1000. Whenever you drink a potion, heals 3125 Health/Magicka/Stamina.
Breton (Healers/Magicka DPS)
Bretons were enslaved by the Altmer once upon a time, so elven blood still courses through their veins, giving them heightened magical abilities, allowing them to function best as either Healers or Magicka DPS.
- Opportunist: Light Armor (+15% EXP gain), Alliance Point +1% gain
- Gift of Magnus: Max Magicka +2000
- Spell Attunement: Spell Resistance +2310, doubles to +4620 if afflicted with Burning, Chilled, or Concussed. Magicka Recovery +130
- Magicka Mastery: Magicka cost -7%
Bosmer (Stamina DPS)
The Wood Elves of the Valenwood adhere to something known as the Green Pact, mandating that no plantlife be harmed in exchange for the blessing of the Forest god. They defend their home with nimble reflexes and keen intuition, and are most proficient as Stamina DPS.
- Acrobat: Bow (+15% EXP gain), fall damage -10%
- Hunter’s Eye: Stealth detection radius +3 meters, movement speed +5%, physical and spell penetration 950
- Y’ffre’s Endurance: Stamina Recovery +258
- Resist Affliction: Max Stamina +2000, Disease and Poison Resistance +2310
Dunmer (Stamina and Magicka DPS)
The Dark Elves of Morrowind are fearsome sorcerers, having used their innate magical talent to drive away invading Nords many times in the past. They excel at DPS roles of both Stamina and Magicka varieties.
- Ashlander: Dual Wield (+15% EXP gain), lava damage -50%
- Dynamic: Max Magicka and Stamina +1910
- Resist Flame: Flame Resistance +4620
- Ruination: Weapon and Spell Damage +258
Imperial (Tanks/Stamina DPS)
Stop right there, criminal scum, because this unique Race is only obtainable via DLC. Imperials passives allow them to shine the most as Tanks and Stamina DPS.
- Diplomat: One Hand and Shield (+15% EXP gain), gold gain +1%
- Tough: Max Health +2000
- Imperial Mettle: Max Stamina +2000
- Red Diamond: Ability cost -6%
Khajiit (Stamina and Magicka DPS)
Khajiit are strong prairie dwellers whose culture revolves around the worship of the moons and their phase shifts. The waning and waxing of the Two Moons resembles their multi-faceted capabilities as Stamina and Magicka DPS.
- Cutpurse: Medium Armor (+15% EXP gain), pickpocket chance +5%
- Robustness: Health Recovery +100, Stamina and Magicka Recovery +85
- Lunar Blessings: Maximum Health, Magicka, and Stamina +915
- Feline Ambush: Critical Damage and Healing +12%, detected in stealth: -3 meters
Hailing from the icy reaches of Skyrim, Nords are hardy and tough battlemasters, quick to jump into conflict and drown out the pain with jugs of mead. Their nature allows them to specialize as Tanks.
- Reveler: Two-handed (+15% EXP gain), Drink duration +15 minutes
- Resist Frost: Max Health +1000, Frost Resistance +4620
- Stalwart: Max Stamina +1500/Upon taking damage: +5 Ultimate (once every 10 seconds)
- Rugged: Physical and Spell Resistance +2600
Orc (Stamina DPS/Tanks)
Master warriors, fearless combatants, and unparalleled blacksmiths and armorers, Orcs are frightening to come across in combat. Their aggressive upbringings allow them to shine as the best choice for Stamina DPS and a solid choice for tanks.
- Craftsman: Heavy Armor (+15% EXP gain), crafting inspiration +10%
- Brawny: Max Stamina +1000
- Unflinching Rage: Max Health +1000, when you deal damage, heal 2125 health (once every four seconds)
- Swift Warrior: Weapon and Spell Damage +258, Sprint Cost -12%, Movement Speed +10%
Redguards (Stamina DPS)
Redguards are a nomadic desert race hailing from a lost land. They value honor in all of its forms and also harbor a dislike for magical entities, allowing them to shine as Stamina DPS.
- Wayfarer: One Hand and Shield (+15% EXP gain), Food duration +15 minutes
- Martial Training: Weapon ability cost -8%, snare duration -15%
- Conditioning: Max Stamina +2000
- Adrenaline Rush: Restore 1005 Stamina on hit (once every five seconds)