Newb ESO question - why is the game so "staff" centric?

I hope this doesn’t come off as a rant after being gone so long, so bear with me please…

After trying out ESO for a week, I’m really having buyer’s remorse. I’ve been playing Skyrim for years and I’m so very used to the infinite customizations you can have with your weapons, armor, and skills to be effective. There is no “one way” to play Skyrim.

However, here in ESO (the online version of Skyrim), it seems just the opposite. I’ve been researching classes and so forth, I’ve tried out 4 different classes, trying to figure out all these builds, build guides, build suggestions, morphing skills - it’s all quite overwhelming. But I don’t mind that, in fact I’m down for the learning curve 100%.

But, here is where I’m faltering. With ESO, one thing is clear - for every Magicka build (without exception it seems) you basically run the entire game with 2 staffs - a Destro staff and a Restro staff. Then at level 15, if you want to be original, pick a weapon combo and keep it on your “back bar” because to be effective, you have to use your staves.

So…is everyone in ESO just a glorified wizard? Why is the entire game’s combat system designed around one single weapon that everyone is forced to use from cradle to grave? And it’s not even a sexy weapon! LOL. It’s a stick.

Well…I don’t want to be a wizard. I want to sneak, tank, shoot a bow…you know - the traditional Online RPG stuff. Even with stamina builds it seems you are STILL stuck using a staff. OR. The game will be MUCH harder without using a staff. OR. Your DPS will suck trash unless you use a staff.

What am I missing? I don’t understand the concept of, “use a staff or end up being under powered with that gigantic sword you have there.”

Help please - how can I play the game and not be a wizard? I want to S&B, Dual Wield, and definitely shoot a bow. But, at the same time, I don’t want to be 25% behind the damage curve when I get to max level.

Perhaps this isn’t the game for me. :frowning:

This is the bane of mmo’s; it happens all the time to appease the squealers. I started out early as Sword and Board. Long before the updates and addons, when you had to look for stuff. I will tell you if you werent there. … It was AWESOME!

My recommendation if you dont mind, is to find a group of like minded individuals, like I did, and enjoy the game to max level. It can be done, with coordination and patience. Youll have a blast, and everyone else who is screaming bloody murder can go…

Remember, this is OTG, we be more relaxed about that kind of stuff. if you need a team, count me in!

1 Like

That sounds pretty uncreative of a dev team if you ask me. Seems they have taken the lazy road. Why not submit your overview to the game devs, who knows, they might just rethink how they are doing things.

I’m going to give it the old college try csillver. Going to make a stamina nightblade dual weild/bow, and a dragonknight that is S&B/bow. Staves be damned!

Incidentally, I found a website that listed - the top 7 DPS builds in the game are (are you ready???) all Magicka builds using Staff as primary weapon. Should call this Elder Wizards Online.

When update 29 hits this morning staff builds maybe come a thing of the past
new weapon skill and passive changes
watch this video and get some more info on whats coming out today

Not sure how well it plays with today’s changes, but this Solo PVE Nightblade build is 2H + Bow

Same site also has a “grind” Stamina build for fast leveling of Champion Points after level 50 that is Dual-wield Daggers + Bow. But yes, Magicka builds historically do seem to fare better with staves.

My advice: Completely ignore any ‘best’ ‘top dps’ or ‘fast’ builds/videos/whatever. Just don’t.

Play something you enjoy. There’s no point in being ‘the best’ in a game when what you’re playing isn’t something that you find joy in.

And I don’t think there exists a class that can’t run content, so go wild.


One of my most survivable toons is a sword and board Dragon Knight (…or was before I took a break). Maybe, with the recent content, that has changed, but she used to be almost unkillable. Took forever to finish combats, as all defense though. I really enjoyed the shield mechanics in this game.

No joke about that. I remember my first block/roll/ block knockback. I think I may lost the fight because I got tears in my eyes.
Play something you enjoy.

1 Like

Hi all, newbie here. I just uninstalled ESO after having it for years. I had a few young folks help me out but that was years ago. Please correct me, I found out my build was Dps (being use to being a sword and shield guy from Skyrim), and I needed a group with Healer, Tank … and I forget the rest. But to do dungeon runs you really needed to be in a group … or you’d just die constantly.
It seems nobody was in Discord and all communicated thru chat, a big downside for me since my typing skills are slow. That being said, I’d love to play again with actual teammates not on Red Bull like a time run. If anyone’s interested please give me a shout. Hope to get to know some older players here for some fun and comradery. My single player games are getting stale. Cheers.