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Elder Scrolls Online – Beginner’s Guide to Leveling

In this Elder Scrolls Online Guide series, I’m going to cover a lot of useful information that every beginner should know. Much of this information is taken for granted by advanced players, as we forget what it was like to go through the growing pains, and much of the things that are present in the game now, were not when we first started playing. This gave us the chance to learn a little bit at a time, as it was introduced. In this first guide I want to cover leveling up, and how to do it in the most efficient way.

Getting to lvl 50

Leveling up fast is a good idea, but being efficient while doing so is even more important. What I mean is that if you skip ‘leg day’ and don’t bother with getting skill points from different sources, you’ll end up as a weak lvl 50 character. And we don’t want that, right? You don’t want to be left out of Dungeon runs or getting crushed in PvP just because your character isn’t up to snuff. Getting to level 50 will net you 64 Skill Points just from leveling up, but you can also gain 350 Skill Points from other sources. You will need these Points in order to unlock all the Active and Passive Abilities you want (mostly Passive ones because there are a lot!).

How to Gain More Experience

The Training Trait increases EXP gained from kills and can be researched through crafting by using the Research option. That way you can Craft your own Training gear whenever you want. Note that when putting item for Research destroys the item used, so make sure you don’t Research an item you were intending to use. If you don’t want to bother with Crafting, just use every new piece of gear with Training Trait that you find. Or, another way is to simply ask a Guild mate to make you a Set.

Lookout for gear that has the Training trait or craft your own
Training Trait is a great way to increase EXP earned

Besides the Training Trait, EXP gain can be increased through potions and scrolls as well. Scrolls are called Crown Experience Scrolls, and they can be bought in Crown Store (for real money), or they can be acquired as Daily Login Rewards, or rewards from boxes during special Holiday Events. For in-game gold visit any Guild Trader and search for legendary drinks under consumables. The one you need is Psijic Ambrosia. It increases EXP gain by 50 % from all sources (not only kills) for 30 mins, and the usual price of one potion is around 3000 Gold. Crown Exp Scrolls and Psijic Ambrosia however do not stack, so use one or the other.

In addition, you can purchase ESO Plus (monthly subscription) and you will receive an EXP gain increase of 10% while subscription is active. This usually costs between 10-15 USD a month and is not necessary, but it is worth mentioning here.

Zone Quest Chains

Almost every region in the game has quest chains that in the end give a Skill Point. The problem is you don’t know which ones reward Skill Points until you get to the very end, so you might end up spending a lot of time doing every quest in the region in search for these Skill Points. If you want to level fast that is not best way to achieve that. These quests will grant low amount of exp and can take more time to complete than what it would take to finish a dungeon, that can give as much as 20 times the EXP.

Quest chains within Factions are connected, meaning when you finish one you’ll be rewarded a Skill Point, and immediately you’ll be given another quest that starts the next chain in next region. Completing every quest under quest chain is a must to progress to another one. Be sure to keep the Elder Scrolls Online Wiki open as you are questing, as it contains every quest that gives a Skill Point and will save you a lot of time.

Main Quest Chain

Completing all the quests in Main Story Line gives 11 Skill Points and the Main Quest starts automatically when entering ESO for the first time. If you decided to skip the Intro and start in Summerset, going to the Docks and traveling to any Faction’s starting area will put you right in front of a Hooded Figure that will approach and tell you to go talk with the Benefactor, which starts Main Quest line. It is a good idea to prioritize these quests and do them as soon as you can.


Dungeons give lots of EXP as well as gear. Doing a random Dungeon for the first time in a day gives 4 times the normal EXP and additional rewards upon completion, so it’s a good idea to do these once you are high enough level, which is level 10.

On top of that, every Dungeon has a quest that you can complete only once. These quests give a Skill Point upon completion, so it’s a good idea to focus doing all Dungeons before reaching level 50 so that you get most Skill Points out of it. To play a specific Dungeon go to upper right corner and click on an arrow next to Random Normal Dungeon line and choose Specific Dungeon. You will only be able to run Normal Dungeons until you are a much higher level.

Here is a tip on how to use Ambrosia and Experience Scrolls with Dungeons and Quests to get the most out of it. Do multiple quests outside Dungeons but don’t turn them in. Just get to the end where you see ‘Complete Quest’ option. DO NOT CLICK THAT! Use ‘Leave’ option and do as many quests as possible like that. When you are happy with the amount of quests you’ve done up to Complete Quest option, go for Random Daily Dungeon (one a day). Pop Ambrosia or Experience Scroll right before final boss fight. That way you get increased EXP from the boss kill and increased Dungeon completion EXP on top of it already being increased by 4x because it is the first random dungeon done in a day. After completing the dungeon, finish all the quests by using Complete Quest option for increased EXP. Exp Scroll and Ambrosia will stay active for some time after doing all of this, so go for one or two more dungeon runs while increased exp effect is still active.

Leveling Skill Lines

Skills are divided into many categories, depending on their association, and Skill Ranks are increased by gaining EXP (dungeons, quests, kills…) while skills are slotted on your Skill Bar. Some Skill Lines are hidden when you first start the game and become unlocked as you perform certain actions or quests. Remember that you gain an additional Skill Bar at level 15, and Skills will NOT gain EXP if they are on the bar that is not currently active.

Class Skills (Max Rank 50)

Class Skills are skills you get by choosing Class at the beginning of the game. To level up Class Skill line fast, simply slot many active skills from one Skill line while leveling up. Having all 5 Skills and Ultimate from one Skill line is the fastest way to level that particular Skill line.

Weapon Skills (Max Rank 50)

Weapon Skills are divided into 6 categories:

  • One Handed & Shield
  • Two Handed
  • Dual Wield
  • Bow
  • Destruction Staff
  • Restoration Staff

The same principle stands here, equip the appropriate weapon and corresponding Skill line. The slot as many Skills as possible from that Skill line for fast leveling and start earning EXP.

Armor Skills (Max Rank 50)

Armor Skills are passive abilities that you level up by simply wearing Light, Medium or Heavy Armor while gaining exp. More pieces you have, the faster the skill line’s level will increase. It is recommended having 5-1-1 combination so that you level up all 3 lines at once.

World Skills

Legerdemain Skills levels up by stealing items, pickpocketing, unlocking doors & chests and selling & laundering stolen items through Fences (Outlaws Refuge). Laundering stolen items makes them available for trading with other players and listing on Guild Stores. Legerdemain Skill has maximum rank of 20.

Soul Magic Skills increases as you progress through Main Story line with a Max Rank of 6.

Werewolf Skill – in order to become a Werewolf players must be bitten by certain werewolf enemies in the game or be bitten by another Werewolf player, and then complete a specific quest. Killing enemies while in Werewolf form is the only way to level up this Skill Line and the Skills in it. Public Dungeons work exceedingly well for this because of the high volume of enemies. Consider also using a Psijic Ambrosia or Crown Experience Scroll when grinding these, as they take quite a long time.

Vampire Skills – The same goes for Vampires, but obviously with Vampire enemies and Vampire players. Unlike werewolves, Vampires don’t transform, and they do not need to slot Skills to level their Skill Line. However, they will need to slot Skills and gain XP with them on their active bar in order to level those.

Guild Skills (Max Rank 10)

Fighters Guild

To join Fighters Guild (Sword icon on the map) go to your faction starting area and talk to Hall Steward. Increasing Rank sin Fighters Guild is done by completing guild story quests (1 quest per Rank), doing bounties in Cyrodiil (PvP Area) for Fighters Guild, destroying Dark Anchors and killing Daedra & Undead. Dark Anchor Dailies are also available in Fighters Guild buildings (Cardea Gallus is the quest giver).

Fighter Guild location

Mages Guild

To join Mages Guild (Eye icon on the map) go to your faction starting area and talk to Magister. Increasing Rank in Mages Guild is done by completing guild story quests (1 quest per Rank), discovering Lorebooks and doing Public Dungeon Dailies for the Guild (Alvur Baren is the quest giver). This Skill Line can take an exceptionally long time to level because Lorebooks are scattered few and far between. Be sure to check out Lorebook locations on the Wiki.

Thieves Guild (DLC)

Thieves Guild can be joined only if you have Thieves Guild DLC, by opening Collections (default U) and clicking Stories tab you can start Thieves Guild quest line. Increasing Rank is done by completing guild story quests and repeatable quests. This is another skill line that takes a while to level up, so don’t be in a hurry.

Dark Brotherhood (DLC)

Dark Brotherhood can be joined only if you have Dark Brotherhood DLC. By opening Collections (default U) and clicking Stories tab you can start Dark Brotherhood quest line. Increasing Rank is done by completing guild story quests, repeatable quests and contracts.

Psijic Order(Summerset Expansion)

Psijic Order can be joined only if you have the Summerset Expansion. By opening Collections (default U) and clicking Stories tab you can start Summerset quest line that unlocks Arteum, city where you can join Psijic Order by talking to Loremaster Celarus. Increasing Rank is done by completing guild story quests.


To join Undaunted you need to talk to Undaunted member in your faction starting area. To increase Rank you need to complete Dungeons, Delve Dailies and Pledges (unlocked at level 45).

Ebonheart Pact: Kailstig the Axe (Fish Stink Tavern, Davon’s Watch)

Aldmeri Dominion: Turuk Redclaws (Salted Wings Tavern, Vukhel Guard)

Daggerfall Covenant: Mighty Mordra (The Rosy Lion, Daggerfall)

Tip: Use both weapon sets after level 15 and equip completely different set of skills for each weapon. Use one set to kill enemies faster and switch to second set when handing in quests to level up lots of Skill lines parallel. This method is especially useful for tanks and healers because tanky builds need more time to kill enemies, while healers won’t use healing abilities as much when playing solo. So having one skill set for damage dealing and another for tanking/healing is highly recommended.


While questing and exploring, you’ll stumble upon Skyshards. Skyshards are collectibles that give 1 Skill Point per 3 collected. It is highly recommended to pick up every single one because they are easy to get to in most cases. Be sure to check the Wiki for Skyshard locations.

Riding Skills (Leveling Mounts)

Mounts are crucial for traveling fast. and at the beginning they are slow and mostly useless. This is because your Riding Skill is not upgraded, in order to upgrade Riding Skill visit any Stable Master and purchase an upgrade for 250 Coins (one per 20h). Another way is by purchasing Riding Skill Books directly from Crown Store or randomly getting them from Crates. Riding Skill Books have no time restriction, so you can max it out quickly if you have the money. Otherewise it will take 60 days. Riding Skill applies to all mounts, so you don’t need to level it again for different mounts, however, if you make a new character you will need to level it again for that character.

Champion Levels

To get to level 50 fast is not a problem, but what comes after can be a grind. After reaching level 50, Champion Points and Champion Skill Lines are unlocked and the current cap is 720 CP, which is raising to 750 in Update 19. It takes a very long time to get there once you hit, 50 but the good news is that you only need to do it once. Your Champion Rank will remain the same across all your characters!

You will gain 1 point each time you gain enough XP, and you will alternate receiving a point in the Green, Blue and Red Champion Trees. 750 is a long way to go, but Zenimax has made it easier for new players to catch up by constantly adjusting the amount of XP needed to gain lower Champion Ranks with each update, helping new players catch up quicker. If you want to gain a lot of XP in a short while, I suggest either farming enemies in a Public Dungeon, or head out to Cyrodiil and slay some players. Gaining PvP ranks also gives you Skill Points!

Stay tuned for more ESO Guides as we take on Crafting, Dungeons, PvP and of course, Builds! If you want to find out more about the upcoming changes with Update 19 read about them in Elder Scrolls Online Wolfhunter Changes: The Age Of The Werewolf. You can also check out the upcoming dungeons in The Elder Scrolls Online: Wolfhunter Dungeons Preview.

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