Elder Scrolls Online: PAX East – How Many Trees Does It Take to Make a Forest?


Okay, I have to admit I don’t have a punchline for the joke, but that’s because when it comes to ESO’s skill system it’s far from silly. Thanks to preview articles from Massively and Destructoid, we now know much more in-depth information on the skill trees or skill lines if you prefer.

There are 4 confirmed classes in ESO and those are Dragonknight, Templar, Sorcerer and Nightblade(hell yes!!!). The last one was accidentally leaked during a panel apparently and thank God because I was dreaming for a Nightblade class so Dar’Turok, my Khajiit, would be the spellcasting assassin I’ve wanted. Each class will start out with a minimum of 3 skill lines or trees that they can begin working on. For example, as stated by Massively, the sorcerer will have Dark Magic, Daedric Summoning and Storm Calling trees. Within these trees are abilities for you to start using and build experience with. As you continue in a tree, you will unlock more abilities to use but also level up the ones you already have. You’ll quickly find trees within trees as the skills themselves start branching off gaining more power and attributes like stuns, cripples or lingering damage-over-time effects.

Don’t think you’re stuck with just those first 3 trees either. There are many more skill trees to unlock as your character progresses while exploring Tamriel. Guilds or Factions such as the Fighters Guild and Mages Guild will have their own skill tree for you to unlock and progress in and don’t forget the confirmed lycanthropy and vampirism skill trees. You heard right! Vampirism and lycanthropy(werewolves) will have their own skill trees though little detail has been released on these other then their existence.

As if the skill trees were not enough to keep us busy, there are 6 weapon trees and 3 armor trees to work on as well. Two-handed, one-handed, dual-wield, shield, staff and bow are my guesses and each of these will unlock skills to equip to your mouse buttons and play around with. You’re also not limited to just one of the weapon trees because once again confirmed by Nick Konkle in the Rev3Games interview, mid-combat weapon swapping is in the game. We assumed it would be but it’s great to see it confirmed. This means that you can start out with ranged attacks as a melee character closes in on you and then switch to your ebony greatsword and smack them in the face! This also means quick role swapping in dungeons. On top of weapon swapping, Paul Sage confirms that when swapping weapons, your skill bar will also swap to what skills you have linked to that weapon. So should your group need a temporary off-healer, simply switch to your restoration staff that you’ve hopefully leveled some and start casting some AoE heals.

Let’s also not forget the 3 armor trees(light, medium, heavy), though it’s still not quite known if these will be more like lines if they don’t branch out. We currently believe the passive bonuses received from level armor trees will be based on your class but this is mere speculation at this point.

Oh, one thing I almost forgot to mention… racial trees! It seems like they are taking racial abilities and passives to the next step as they introduce racial trees to the game. It will be very neat to see how they translate previous racial abilities of past TES games into the ESO setting.

Also, respeccing (spelling?) will be possible in ESO but the process of doing so is still under development.

So much information to cover but our fingers only work so fast. What isn’t covered here will surely be covered in our video podcasts to come. Stay tuned!

-Kyle


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